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I still can’t believe my luck. Last Friday, I booked lie-flat business class seats for my family of five to Paris next summer using miles and points. This is my first time booking business class seats. See my prior post Moving On Up! Why I’m Splurging on Business Class (Finally).
Originally, I was going to book economy seats TO Europe and hope for business class seats FROM Europe (see this post for the debate). However, after seeing that some options were available for the overnight flight to Paris, I decided to jump on a deal.
Air France for the Win
Unbelievably, Air France had five business class seats on a direct flight from DFW to Paris during my desired time frame. On ExpertFlyer, I could see that four seats were available with the caveat that more seats may be available for FlyingBlue members. Sure enough, one more seat was available when I signed into my FlyingBlue account.
However, I had a problem. The bonus from my new CSP card had not yet hit my account, so I was short on miles. I figured that someone would snatch up these award seats before I had a chance to get my ducks in a row.
But I persevered. I researched all the points transfer partners of Air France (there are a lot, fortunately). I decided to transfer points from Marriott and Capital One to the FlyingBlue program.
The Capital One transfer was instant, while the Marriott transfer was supposed to take 3 days. Fortunately, the Marriott transfer posted the following day, and the award flights were still available.
Each ticket costs 56,000 miles with $222 in taxes and fees. Booked! Paris and Switzerland, here we come!
By the way, the cash cost of one ticket without using miles and points would have been over $6000. No way I would pay that X 5 for my family.
How Did I Get the Miles and Points?
When I started this award booking, I had zero miles with the Air France FlyingBlue program. I transferred miles to the program from other programs. Transfer partners are so important!
As I mentioned in my earlier post, my husband and I were both approved for a few new credit cards over the past two years. The majority of our points came from sign-up bonuses from these credit cards.
The bulk of our FlyingBlue AirFrance miles came from transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points. My husband has the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. I was approved for the Chase Ink Cash business card last year and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card this year.
The Marriott points we transferred came from organic stays during my husband’s work travel pre-Covid. The Capital One miles came from my Capital One Venture Rewards card.
What About Flights Home?
We plan to fly home from Zurich or Geneva. Our flight dates are not available yet, so I will have to sit tight for a few weeks.
I’d love to book business class seats on the way home as well. I’m even willing to split my family up 3 and 2 to make it happen. But we’d also be fine with Premium Economy flights or (gasp!) regular economy. I’ll keep you posted on our luck for returning flights.
Takeaways from my Recent Award Booking
Since it’s been a minute since I booked my last big international award flight, I was a bit rusty. I forgot that airlines publish their new flight schedules at different times. While United is going out to mid-june 2022, British Airways and Air France are already selling into July 2022. I thought I had more time until my travel window, but for some airlines, that window was already here.
I was also reminded how important it is to look at all possible options. Thankfully, I could lean on another miles and points aficionado (Leana) to toss around award booking ideas and strategies. I was going to go a different way for these flights, and she encouraged me to look at Air France. So glad I listened! If you’re about to book a big award, don’t be afraid to ask an expert for advice.
Who else is booking a big international award trip for next summer?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.