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A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I booked business class seats on miles for my family of five from Dallas to Paris. I couldn’t believe my luck!
I was hoping to book premium economy home from Switzerland with miles. I’m happy to report that I was able to book us in business class for the way home as well. This trip will be my family’s first time in business class. Woohoo!
Since we didn’t use our United miles for flights to Europe, my goal was to use them for the way back. As I mentioned in a recent post, award space on United has all but disappeared in the past few weeks. But, I didn’t give up. For the past several weeks, the first thing I did when I woke up in the morning was check award space. I searched for award space from Zurich, Geneva, Paris, Rome, Milan, and Frankfurt to DFW and other major U.S. cities.
For some reason, saver awards in the premium economy cabin were nonexistent. I found cheaper awards in business class. Unfortunately, most of the business class awards I found involved at least two stops and were 30+ hours in duration. I discussed the situation with my husband, and he agreed that he would rather fly economy for 13-15 hours than fly in business for 30 hours with long layovers. So I waited.
Finally, one morning I saw some saver award space in business nonstop from Zurich to Chicago. I jumped on those flights for my husband and sons. The cost was 60,000 miles + $55.55 per ticket. Score! Ideally, I would have loved to get flights a day later and/or directly to Dallas. But, I can always cancel and re-book if better flights become available.
We will figure out flights from Chicago to Dallas closer to the trip. They are considering sight-seeing in Chicago for a day or two before returning to Dallas.
Searching Other Options for Later Return
My daughter and I have the flexibility to stay a few extra days in Switzerland, so I always figured we would book a different flight home. I kept searching for United flights but also expanded my search to Alaska, Avianca, Aeroplan, Air France and more.
Air France had both premium economy and business class flights from Geneva to DFW via Paris. So did Alaska Airlines via partner airline British Airways. Both options were very convenient and quick but with a few hundred dollars of fuel charges.
In the end, I decided to book British Airways flights in business class with Alaska miles. Go big or go home, right? The cost was 60,000 miles + $412.50 each for the two of us. I admit that I’m a little excited to try the Club Suite seats with privacy doors.
One thing that bugs me, though, is that British Airways charges extra to pick your seat. Really, BA? Even in business class? Yup.
I will save my Air France Flying Blue miles from my recent credit card sign-up bonus for a subsequent trip to Europe we are tentatively planning for 2023.
Total Cost of All Flights
Our trip to Europe isn’t going to be one of those “nearly free thanks to miles and points” trips. Not by a long shot. Aside from flight taxes and fees, our time in Paris and Switzerland is going to be expensive. I have no doubt about it.
We are definitely splurging for this special experience in lie-flat business class seats. If we would have booked round-trip business class seats using the cash price, the total for all five of us would be at least $18,000 on the cheapest possible route. I just wouldn’t spend that much cash to fly in business. That’s almost a year of college tuition.
Using miles and points, our total round-trip expenditure was 585,000 miles and points + $2101. We could have cut that cost in half had we chosen economy instead of business class.
Will the expense be worth it? I’ll let you know.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.