Author Topic: Travel Hacking - Getting to London  (Read 5472 times)

MillenialMustache

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Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« on: June 05, 2015, 01:16:34 PM »
I recently signed up for the Soutwest credit card and flew myself and my husband to Alaska from Florida for less than $150 ($99 credit card annual fee and taxes). It was awesome.

Now, I am looking at going to London and not sure I understand how to get such a lucrative deal. I am considering signing up myself and my DH for the Delta SkyMiles card, which will give us 50,000 points each - flights are not out yet for when we want to go (summer 2016), but in May the flights to London are 72,000 points or so. Looks like we would pay a couple hundred to five hundred dollars or so each. That sounds great, but can I do better? Is this the route I should go?

Side note, We will probably sign up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® for hotels at a later date.

Philociraptor

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2015, 01:18:55 PM »
Do you NEED to go in summer? If you go off-season (September-May I think), you can go to Europe and back for 40k AA points each. Their current CC gives you 50k with a fairly low minimum spend IIRC. You can each get one and BOOM, done.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2015, 01:21:23 PM »
Do you NEED to go in summer? If you go off-season (September-May I think), you can go to Europe and back for 40k AA points each. Their current CC gives you 50k with a fairly low minimum spend IIRC. You can each get one and BOOM, done.

Good point I should have addressed. I work at a university, so at this time I can only do long vacations over winter break (costly b/c of Christmas travel) or over the summer. You are right though, and when I retire in a few years I will take full advantage of that.

Also, I was looking at Delta because Virgin Atlantic is a partner and they fly nonstop, but something else isn't a deal breaker.

desk_jockey

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2015, 04:25:49 PM »
Of late, Delta is the airline that requires the most points to redeem for tickets on average.  I saw someone refer to them as SkyPesos recently.  Off-peak seasons they're fairly competitive, but you have to look harder and be more flexable with travel plans than with other airlines.  It's probably not worth buying points at $.02/mile to make up for the shortfall in the 70k to 75k redemption price when you have a good probability of finding lower points fares on AA, UA, BA and others. 

A number of airlines are running 50k point offers at the moment.  Can you get to $10,000+ in spending for the remaining points before you need to make the reservation?

kpd905

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2015, 04:34:40 PM »
Delta miles are pretty bad in regards to finding good award seats.  American and United would both be pretty solid options. 

When the 50k offer is available for the United card, you can get 55k miles + 45k from CSP for an easy 100k. 

milesdividendmd

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2015, 05:26:48 PM »
Delta is notoriously hard to find saver award space on.

You will improve your chances with flexible currencies like chase ultimate rewards and membership rewards.

What is your home airport?

MillenialMustache

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2015, 08:47:37 AM »
Thanks for the insight on Delta. My home airport is Orlando. It looks like there would be a possibility of going non-stop on British Airways, or having a stop in Chicago, which isn't terrible. It looks like I am leaning towards the AAdvantage card, which is 50,000 miles right now too. With Delta, you can just pay the extra in cash (not points). Is it the same for American? Is this a better choice? Other thoughts? Thanks so much!

mskyle

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2015, 10:51:20 AM »
British Airways is actually pretty terrible for using frequent flyer miles for transatlantic flights. The cost of those tickets is almost all fees, and the miles are only applied to the base fare, not the fees. So you get a "free" flight from Orlando to London, but then you pay $600 in fees. GREAT.

Don't just look at fares to London - if you can get to any major city in Western Europe, you can fly to London for very cheap (as low as $25 one-way). I personally have used my British Airways miles (Avios) to fly from Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus, then I take the ferry/train or a cheap flight to London.

MillenialMustache

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2015, 01:43:26 PM »
British Airways is actually pretty terrible for using frequent flyer miles for transatlantic flights. The cost of those tickets is almost all fees, and the miles are only applied to the base fare, not the fees. So you get a "free" flight from Orlando to London, but then you pay $600 in fees. GREAT.

Don't just look at fares to London - if you can get to any major city in Western Europe, you can fly to London for very cheap (as low as $25 one-way). I personally have used my British Airways miles (Avios) to fly from Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus, then I take the ferry/train or a cheap flight to London.

Thanks! That is another great tip. I will make sure to check nearby airports like Dublin. Awesome guys :)

Richmond Savers

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2015, 02:09:36 PM »
British Airways is actually pretty terrible for using frequent flyer miles for transatlantic flights. The cost of those tickets is almost all fees, and the miles are only applied to the base fare, not the fees. So you get a "free" flight from Orlando to London, but then you pay $600 in fees. GREAT.

Don't just look at fares to London - if you can get to any major city in Western Europe, you can fly to London for very cheap (as low as $25 one-way). I personally have used my British Airways miles (Avios) to fly from Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus, then I take the ferry/train or a cheap flight to London.

Thanks! That is another great tip. I will make sure to check nearby airports like Dublin. Awesome guys :)

Lots of good replies above!  I want to echo that you DO NOT want to use British Airways Avios to/from Europe except in very limited cases.  That would be using them to fly on either Aer Lingus or Air Berlin.  Interestingly, there is an Aer Lingus flight from MCO-DUB!  I detail all the options here:

http://www.travelmiles101.com/avios-no-fuel-surcharges-to-europe

I find United to be the easiest airline to use to fly to Europe and United miles are easy to come across as well.  It costs 60,000 United miles for the round-trip flight.  There are usually 50k United offers and Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to United (from Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus).  For instance, I just ran a search for your trip MCO-LHR and in the 61 days in Sept-Oct 2015 I see Saver Level availability 58 of those days! 

If you want to see generally how to search for United award availability, you can check it out here:

http://www.richmondsavers.com/simplest-way-to-europe-with-points-use-united-miles-on-lufthansa/

Just one thing to note:  You can get clobbered with these UK taxes when you just fly into and out of London, so consider seeing another country too!  I just changed my mocked up flight to flying into LHR and out of Paris and it saved $100!

Exflyboy

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2015, 02:23:08 PM »
My Wife and I are going to the UK in July.. On United we found two return tickets from Oregon to London Heathrow for 60,000 miles total and $11 yes eleven dollars in fees.

So for 30k airmiles each return and almost nothing in fees.. its almost as good as the return to India BUSINESS CLASS to 70,000 each..:)

Anyway I digress.. Flying into London is about $5 in fees.. flying OUT of LHR is $250 EACH!.. Ouch.

So we are taking the train to Edinburgh and catch some of the festival before we leave... Flying out of Edinburgh is about $5 total..:)

Now to trains.. Trains are hideously expensive.. Unless you go on line about 12 weeks in advance.. you search the individual trains and you'll find one or two trains a day will be very cheap (in comparison)

so trains one way for both of us is about $200. as compared to nearly $500.

Trains might have been cheaper but we are going from London to Skegness, then Skegness to Edinburgh a few weeks later.


Richmond Savers

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2015, 06:39:45 AM »
Hey MillenialMustache,

I was looking into this again and saw you had even more options than I initially thought!  I was playing around with it and figured I'd just whip up a personalized video for you so you can see exactly how to do it:

http://www.travelmiles101.com/millenialmustache

(this incidentally is a good one for anyone who wants to learn how to search AA, United and how to learn the trick to finding Aer Lingus availability to be used with BA miles (Boston for 25,000 miles round-trip anyone??)). 

Thanks,
Brad

Richmond Savers

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2015, 09:15:51 AM »
To add to this discussion, this was a perfectly timed post today by MileValue on the taxes when departing European countries:

http://www.milevalue.com/list-of-award-taxes-from-major-cities-in-europe-so-you-return-from-low-tax-countries/

MillenialMustache

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Re: Travel Hacking - Getting to London
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2015, 09:47:34 AM »
Richmond Savers,

Thanks so much for your valuable advice! I signed up for the United card and will work from there :)