Author Topic: Flying with points vs paying for it  (Read 1370 times)

RethinkTheRatRace

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Flying with points vs paying for it
« on: August 28, 2017, 07:47:58 AM »
I just wanted to brag a little about my experience with booking my flights. My wife and I found a good deal for flights to Athens, Greece (my wife's family is from Cyprus, so flights to Cyprus from Athens are usually very reasonable) for around $400-500 depending on when/where you flew from. But, we decided to just use our points instead. On the UR website the flights would've been 180k of our 220k points. But through United, it was only 120k points, so we transferred the points and booked those. A couple of our friends were interested in joining us, so we looked at booking the same flights and they were over $2,000 per person one way. So we searched for other options, found a flight from NYC straight to Cyprus for $275. We cancelled our flight there with points and ended up buying 4 of those. And we found flights back for $260 so we cancelled our flights back and booked 4 more of those.

TLDR: Booked flights with points, cancelled the flights and are flying 4 people round trip to Europe for under $2200.

If you are interested in reading more details about what went down, you can check out my blog in my signature
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 11:08:03 AM by RethinkTheRatRace »

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  • Bristles
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Re: Flying with points vs paying for it
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2017, 09:41:46 AM »
So a few questions:

How are you getting from Nashville to NYC? You have to add the price of:

-RT tickets from Nashville to NYC
-Possible hotel in NYC
-Travel between NYC airports if they are different

Good job promoting your RRR blog on the MMM forums though.

ducky19

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Re: Flying with points vs paying for it
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 10:59:40 AM »
Good job promoting your RRR blog on the MMM forums though.

I actually shot a little bit of yogurt out of my nose - well done!

RethinkTheRatRace

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Re: Flying with points vs paying for it
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 11:07:04 AM »
So a few questions:

How are you getting from Nashville to NYC? You have to add the price of:

-RT tickets from Nashville to NYC
-Possible hotel in NYC
-Travel between NYC airports if they are different

Good job promoting your RRR blog on the MMM forums though.

So, yes I do still have to book RT tickets from to NYC. But, where I live, I can fly out of Nashville, Atlanta, or Birmingham and  I have until May to book the flights to NYC, so I have the flexibility of waiting on the best deals to pop up. And I don't expect to have to get a hotel, surely there will be a flight from one of these three airports to NYC the same day as my flight (which leaves NYC at 11:00 pm, once again giving me the options of picking any flight earlier in the day). I can book flights right now round trip for under $200 a person, and that's if I went ahead and booked it now. I could wait till SouthWest, Frontier, Spirit, or Allegiant have a sale sometime in the next 8 months. But, I went ahead and removed the hyperlink. Sorry if a link hurt your feelings.

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Re: Flying with points vs paying for it
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2017, 11:54:18 AM »
So a few questions:

How are you getting from Nashville to NYC? You have to add the price of:

-RT tickets from Nashville to NYC
-Possible hotel in NYC
-Travel between NYC airports if they are different

Good job promoting your RRR blog on the MMM forums though.

So, yes I do still have to book RT tickets from to NYC. But, where I live, I can fly out of Nashville, Atlanta, or Birmingham and  I have until May to book the flights to NYC, so I have the flexibility of waiting on the best deals to pop up. And I don't expect to have to get a hotel, surely there will be a flight from one of these three airports to NYC the same day as my flight (which leaves NYC at 11:00 pm, once again giving me the options of picking any flight earlier in the day). I can book flights right now round trip for under $200 a person, and that's if I went ahead and booked it now. I could wait till SouthWest, Frontier, Spirit, or Allegiant have a sale sometime in the next 8 months. But, I went ahead and removed the hyperlink. Sorry if a link hurt your feelings.

My feelings aren't hurt. I was just pointing out your post seemed like a blog promotion.

I have looked into flying to NYC and getting cheap flights on Aer Lingus, TAP,  WOW or Norwegian, but it never works out in the end. The return flights on the cheap carriers always get back to NYC in the evening which makes clearing customs and getting a flight home expensive or impossible. So I've always had to add the cost of a hotel room into the mix.

Before you know it, you are:

$530 RT Europe to NYC
$200 RT NYC - Home
$75pp Hotel Room

Which is valuing your 60k points at 1.35c/point. Add in cutting your vacation a day short and spending that time traveling instead.

Do you know about google flights? You can find the cheapest route choosing between nearby departure/arrival airports and see the how the cost changes depending on day. For instance, anytime in May 2018 aside from the week between 14th and the 18th, you can buy RT tickets on Turkish Airways for less than $675 or Delta/Air France for less than $750.

RethinkTheRatRace

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Re: Flying with points vs paying for it
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2017, 12:25:44 PM »
So a few questions:

How are you getting from Nashville to NYC? You have to add the price of:

-RT tickets from Nashville to NYC
-Possible hotel in NYC
-Travel between NYC airports if they are different

Good job promoting your RRR blog on the MMM forums though.

So, yes I do still have to book RT tickets from to NYC. But, where I live, I can fly out of Nashville, Atlanta, or Birmingham and  I have until May to book the flights to NYC, so I have the flexibility of waiting on the best deals to pop up. And I don't expect to have to get a hotel, surely there will be a flight from one of these three airports to NYC the same day as my flight (which leaves NYC at 11:00 pm, once again giving me the options of picking any flight earlier in the day). I can book flights right now round trip for under $200 a person, and that's if I went ahead and booked it now. I could wait till SouthWest, Frontier, Spirit, or Allegiant have a sale sometime in the next 8 months. But, I went ahead and removed the hyperlink. Sorry if a link hurt your feelings.

My feelings aren't hurt. I was just pointing out your post seemed like a blog promotion.

I have looked into flying to NYC and getting cheap flights on Aer Lingus, TAP,  WOW or Norwegian, but it never works out in the end. The return flights on the cheap carriers always get back to NYC in the evening which makes clearing customs and getting a flight home expensive or impossible. So I've always had to add the cost of a hotel room into the mix.

Before you know it, you are:

$530 RT Europe to NYC
$200 RT NYC - Home
$75pp Hotel Room

Which is valuing your 60k points at 1.35c/point. Add in cutting your vacation a day short and spending that time traveling instead.

Do you know about google flights? You can find the cheapest route choosing between nearby departure/arrival airports and see the how the cost changes depending on day. For instance, anytime in May 2018 aside from the week between 14th and the 18th, you can buy RT tickets on Turkish Airways for less than $675 or Delta/Air France for less than $750.

Sorry if I was coming off like a dick. But, using google/flights is actually the exact method we used to find the tickets for $275 on Norwegian. Like I mentioned, our flights are leaving at 11 pm, which can be good or bad. If you want to deal with jet lag, then go ahead and sleep the whole way there. But we usually adjust our sleeping schedule about a week out, there's a pretty handy website that supposedly optimizes your schedule so you can transition as easily as possible. We are going to be getting to Cyprus at 8:00 pm, but we usually have to take at least 4 flights (home to major hub, major hub to european hub, european hub to athens, athens to cyprus) but we lucked out with a direct flight from Oslo to Cyprus. Our flights back on the other hand are leaving Dubrovnik, Croatia, short layover and plane change in Oslo again, and getting back to NYC at 8:20 pm. Not a ton of time to get a late flight back, but we haven't discussed whether we'll try to get one that night or stay the night in NYC.

NotJen

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Re: Flying with points vs paying for it
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2017, 12:27:47 PM »
TLDR: Booked flights with points, cancelled the flights and are flying 4 people round trip to Europe for under $2200.
What were the redeposit fees for the United award tickets, and are they factored in to your cost for your trip?

RethinkTheRatRace

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Re: Flying with points vs paying for it
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2017, 01:09:48 PM »
TLDR: Booked flights with points, cancelled the flights and are flying 4 people round trip to Europe for under $2200.
What were the redeposit fees for the United award tickets, and are they factored in to your cost for your trip?

I did not factor those in so add $150 to the total because it was $75 per reservation, and we had two. The reason why I didn't factor those in is because had we just booked the flights and paid for them, that wouldn't be a cost that anyone else would incur. It was an error on my part by being so eager to book the flights with points, but even adding in that amount, we are looking at $2350 for 4 people round trip to Europe. Right now, the flight has jumped up to $1,831 for 4 people, one way (14 hr. travel time). Admittedly, Ukraine air has come in strong at $1,354 one way, with a 29 hour travel time lol.