Trip Details: Miles and Points Success Story

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I’m just wrapping up a month-long trip; I’m already in my final city Kharkiv, Ukraine. I’ll be home on Wednesday in time for a big softball game and the dodgeball playoffs if all my flights are on schedule. Since all my costs are now known, I thought I’d give a breakdown of everything I’ve spent to show a true points success story!

Miles

  1. 50k American miles + $323- LAX-Tampa in AA first, five-day stopover, Tampa-London-Paris in BA biz
  2. 30k United miles + $113– Kharkiv-LAX, 11+ hours in a United BusinessFirst flat bed, no typos on this line 😉

 

Paid inter-city transportation

  1. $68– Paris-Krakow on easyJet. One bag travel helped me avoid any baggage fees! Using 10k miles plus taxes would have been a huge mistake.
  2. $16- Krakow-Warsaw by train.
  3. $180– Warsaw-Kiev on AeroSvit. This was a bit annoying, but LOT was only offering the route in biz class for 20k United miles plus tax, so cash was the better option.
  4. $31– Kiev-Kharkiv by train.

 

Hotels and Hostels

  1. $70– Two nights at the Holiday Inn Krakow. I did this by buying 10,000 Priority Club points from the Priority Club website and taking advantage of PointBreaks as outlined here.
  2. $126– One night at the Park Inn Krakow. As outlined in yesterday’s post, I valued the room at $60 and considered the other $66 the cost of getting in on their 44k points for a one-night stay promotion. I netted almost 50k Club Carlson points for this stay.
  3. $133– Three nights at the St. Christopher’s Inn hostel in Paris. I highly recommend it for solo travelers who are young at heart.
  4. $76– Three nights at the Oki Doki Hostel in Warsaw. $2 for a liter of beer from 7-8 PM, so bring a friend or make one.
  5. Free- Eleven nights couchsurfing and five with family. I’ll do a post on couchsurfing because it really is the most fun way to see a city, meet travelers in your city, and save money. And it isn’t just for young people.

 

Food and Intra-city Transportation

I would estimate my food bill here has been about the same as at home, since I don’t cook much. Intra-city transportation in Poland and Ukraine has been a lot of walking and cheap buses and metros (25 cents in Ukraine.) Paris’s metro is expensive. But I have to drive a ton in spread-out LA at California gas prices, so I am probably saving money compared to being in the USA.

Tickets

  1. $61- Two day passes to the outer courts at Roland Garros (French Open tennis)
  2. $88- Netherlands vs. Portugal ticket (Euro 2012 soccer)
  3. $139- England vs. Sweden ticket (Euro 2012 soccer)

Souvenirs

  1. $9– Polska hat
  2. $15– Ukraine scarf
  3. $31– Euro 2012 ball
  4. Free– Memories

 

So I spent 80,000 airline miles and $1,479 out of pocket for a month of traveling, mostly in Europe, and tickets to world-class sporting events. The 80,000 miles represented parts of two pulls on my credit file. But I still have 25,000 AA miles and 20,000 Ultimate Rewards left from those credit pulls.

If you aren’t going on the vacation of your dreams, it’s not money that’s stopping you! Sure I saved money in ways that many people wouldn’t want to like hostels and couchsurfing. But those could have been replaced by hotel points, cheap apartments through airBnB, or any number of creative ways.

On this trip, I’ve accomplished some long-held goals like seeing a tennis grand slam, seeing the Euro Cup in person, and getting to Eastern Europe. I’ve had some great food, met interesting people, and gotten lost dozens of times. Basically it’s been everything I’d want out of a trip. This is what we’re earning the miles for.

 


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12 COMMENTS

  1. Who’d you see play at Roland Garros?

    I’ll be interested to hear more about your couchsurfing experience. I didn’t know it was a thing. I only did that once, and it was accidental!

    • The most impressive player I saw was Milos Raonic. He will be top 5 soon. I watched tons of doubles, especially women’s doubles to get ready for my upcoming doubles tournament.

  2. You write a very wonderful blog with lots of very tips. Thanks for sharing the cost details of your trip. Would you mind sharing how you got the business class ticket from Europe to LAX for only 30k. I know the normal coach ticket costs the same.

    • The way I got the business class ticket for 30k miles was unintentional and unrepeatable by me or anyone else. Like the old Community Chest Monopoly card, it was a “Bank Error in [My] Favor.”

  3. Great trip report. How did you get the business class on United for the price of coach?

    Looking forward to your posts on Lima as I am preparing to book an award trip to Peru with a free one way to the Carribbean thanks to what I learned from your blog.

  4. I’d love an email with the explanation of 30k EU-US UA biz award. I have a feeling it would be prudent to not post that publicly! 🙂

  5. Your trip looks like a good time.

    Did you think St. Christopher’s Inn in Paris was too far out of the city center?

    PS I’m with the other commenters here, I’m wondering how you did Kharkiv-LAX in business for 30k miles.

    • No because it’s 200m from a metro stop, and those things can get you anywhere. And I liked walking in the area. None of the tourist attractions, but plenty of Parisian character and a pretty canal.

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