I’ve said many times that this hobby attracts a certain type of personality. Namely: Control freak, tendency toward OCD, a hoarder. I possess the first two qualities, for sure. Let me show you how my brain worked in picking our next bonus, and you’ll see what I mean.
I’ve written about Citi Thank You Preferred card and the fact that that bonus was recently increased to 30,000 points. You get it after spending $2,000 in 4 months, so quite doable for most families. The card pays me commission.
I’ve said before that I try to aim for bonuses of at least $350 or more. However, I went ahead and applied for this card in my husband’s name. It was approved. I don’t plan to redeem it for gift cards, but rather speculatively transfer it to Air France Flying Blue program. Why?
Well, in 2.5 years, I hope to fly to France with my family and stop there for a few days before continuing on to my home country. I might even do some Vendoming while I’m there. Does it make me a hypocrite? Yes, yes it does. Call me crazy, but I just have to see what all the fuss is about. We’ll probably end up staying 2 nights, so all it would take is signing up for Chase Hyatt Visa card X 2 to get 4 free room certificates.
Besides, I plan to make a social statement of sorts. I will dress the kids in Goodwill finest and will wear my sweatpants from Dollar General. Take that, all of you Gucci and Prada snobs! Riff raff is invading Hyatt Vendome. It will be similar to a famous event of French revolution known as March on Versailles. See, it’s all for a good cause!
Anyway, Air France flies non-stop from Miami to Paris for 25,000 miles one-way. The fuel surcharges are very mild (around $85 per person for outbound flights) and availability is very good, at least for the time being.
So, for 4 of us, I would need to have a total of 100,000 miles. At the moment, I’m working on the second part of the sign-up bonus for Citi Thank You Premier cards for both my husband and me. The card is listed in my page of bonuses and also happens to pay me referral. Once the minimum spending is done, we should have around 67,000 points total. They can be transferred to 67,000 Flying Blue miles.
That means I would be 33,000 points short. Air France miles transfer from Membership Rewards (I have none). Plus, since the 1 bonus/ per card rule has been implemented, I wouldn’t be able to sign up for Amex Premier Rewards Gold, since I’ve had that card before. So, it would mean getting Flying Blue miles by transferring SPG points, which are quite valuable.
But what about AA miles? I have a ton and will have more once the US Airways Dividend miles merge with AAdvantage, and American does fly non-stop from Miami to Paris. Take a look at what non-stop one-way flights run for this route during next summer:
As you can see, it’s 65-110K miles per person one way! I literally couldn’t find one non-stop saver flight to Paris that was bookable via miles. Sure, you may be able to get seats for 30K miles if you go through London on British Airways and pay $350 in fuel surcharges… per person.
Now take a look at Air France availability for the same time period for 4 people:
As you can see, lots of flights are available, and many run 25K miles plus $85. The tax on AA flights is only $5.60. But I’ll gladly pay $80 more per person to save 40K miles. The truth is, not all frequent flyer programs are created equal when it comes to fuel surcharges. The amount also depends on many factors, like the type of redemption, such as economy vs. business class.
That’s why I’ve decided to go ahead and get Citi Thank You Preferred Visa. Normally, the points don’t transfer to miles if you only have that particular card. But since I have the Premier version as well, I can combine them into one single account.
Once the bonus posts, I will empty my Citi Thank You stash and cancel the Premier cards for both my husband and me. The card comes with a $125 annual fee (already posted), and I should get a partial reimbursement.
Will Air France increase the mileage requirements between now and the summer of 2016, the time when I plan to book my award flights? It’s totally possible and, actually, quite likely. Fuel surcharges may go up as well. But I really want to go to Paris, and would love to fly non-stop. I also want to get most of my Citi Premier card’s annual fee refunded if possible. What can I say, I’m cheap!
This will be a speculative move on my part, and I don’t necessarily advise you follow in my footsteps. A lot of stuff in this hobby does require a leap of faith. So hopefully, we can make use of this stash. Plus, I’ll have my SPG points as a back-up in case the price of redemption goes up.
I guess if things don’t work out with Air France, I can always attempt to find 4 saver tickets on Delta (its partner) within the Continental US. Now that is something that definitely requires a leap of faith!
And that is how OCD people do this hobby.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.