I started this post while I was in Dublin on a ten day trip around Europe, but I never found the time to finish it. Probably due to the fact that I was walking 7-10 miles a day checking out the sites! I primarily used miles/points to book the majority of the travel and lodging, which is detailed below.
My first flight was from DEN (Denver) – HOU (William P. Hobby/Houston) on SW (Southwest) as a positioning flight, which I paid 7.6k miles for, and $5.60. The retail price was $127, so I averaged 1.6 Cents Per Point (CPP), which is pretty average for SW. I Uber’d to IAH (George Bush Intercontinental/Houston) for around $40.
I then flew IAH-MAN (Manchester) on Singapore (SQ) Business for 65k miles that I transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR), and $24 in fees. The retail price for the flight was $3,000. I averaged 4.6 CPP on the redemption. Singapore business was amazing by the way.
Then I flew MAN-DUB (Dublin) on Ryanair (FR), which is truly a low cost carrier. If the seats were much thinner, cardboard would have been more comfortable. I paid $52 for the FR flight.
I stayed at the Dublin Westin for three days, which I booked for 70k US Bank FlexPoints (FP). The retail price was approximately $1,050, so I averaged around 1.5 CPP on my booking, but since I earned the majority of my FPs at grocery stores, which earn 2x, I estimate my CPP to be 3 on this booking.
Next was DUB-CDG (Charles de Gaulle/Paris) on AF (Air France), which cost $117. I stayed in Paris at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme, which I booked by transferring 90k URs. The retail price was around $800 per night. I received a €50 breakfast everyday, because I had a friend who is a Globalist book me under Guest of Honor (GOH). CPP was 2.8.
Then I took the train (TGV high speed train, 200mph) from Paris to Frankfurt, which cost me $95. I stayed in Frankfurt at the Jumeirah Frankfurt (same chain that owns the Burj al Arab in Dubai), which was the exact same points and cost as the Westin Dublin.
I intended to fly home nonstop from FRA-DEN on Lufthansa (LH) Business, which I transferred 70k URs to United MileagePlus (MP) to book, and $108 in fees. The retail price for the flight was a $7,000. I averaged 10 CPP on the redemption.
The night before my flight home, my friend Nigel noticed that LH had an equipment change for my flight, from a 747-4 to a 747-8, and there were First Class seats available for my flight, which is not normal, since LH does not have First Class available on the DEN-FRA route. United was showing availability in First Class on the flight, so I transferred another 40k points to United MP from UR to book.
United was nice enough to waive the close in booking fee and charged me $.07 in additional taxes to upgrade to First (I was unable to make the change online). Cha-Ching!!! I was showing as the only passenger in First right up to approximately 10 minutes before my flight, when my First Class Lounge attendant came and told me that I had to be moved back to Business. They did not have a crew for the First Class cabin…because you guessed it…they don’t normally have First Class on the flight. DOH!!!
The attendant advised they would reimburse my points, but did not offer me any type of compensation for my troubles, or offer to book me on another connecting flight that had First Class. It really didn’t matter, because I wanted to fly direct to Denver and get home, since I needed to be back to work the next day, but I thought they would offer some type of compensation. Anyways, I waited for a week and my points were never reimbursed, probably due to the fact that LH would not have the ability to reimburse MP miles.
I have since sent an email to LH Customer Service and inquired about compensation for my downgrade, and when/how my points will be reimbursed. As of this writing, it has been six days and I still haven’t received a response from LH. I reached out to their Twitter team, and they responded requesting I give the Customer Service team more time to look into my situation. Anybody else have any experiences dealing with LH Customer Service? I am considering filing an EU 261 claim once I hear back from Lufthansa and find out what they are going to offer me for compensation, if anything.
I don’t have the exact numbers yet, but my out of pocket was under $500, and the overall cost would have been around $15,000. Not too shabby! I don’t know exactly how much I expended on Manufactured Spending (MS) to acquire the points for the trip, since there were several sign-up bonuses, and the majority of my MS has been fee free, or I’ve been making money on it. Another thing to consider is $300 of the $500 was on my Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR), which I received the travel reimbursement on.
Accruing points and miles can seem tedious and time consuming at times, but I can tell you it is very much worth it in the long run! I had the trip of a lifetime, and sometimes it seemed like I was in a dream or a movie (“Paris is always a good idea.” -Sabrina Fairchild). One thing for sure, I will return to Europe as soon as possible to continue my explorations.
Stay tuned for more posts about the flights, hotels, and places that I visited on my trip.
Ironically according to Denver International Airport’s Twitter feed this is the first time a 747-800 has ever landed at DIA and they caught it on video! Check out the tweet and video of the landing here.