Christmas is done planned.
Sort of. I mean, we have airline tickets (yay for airline miles!). I’m working on hotels and transportation. I have three of four guidebooks…
I am working on hotels, but I probably won’t make those reservations until August or so. We have a nice amount of AmEx points, and those can really do lovely things (like paying for a hotel in Budapest!).
This will be our third annual Crazy Amount of European Countries at Christmas tour (see Take One here), and as usual there will be a lot going on.
For instance – looking at that picture – one of those things is not like the other one.
Did you guess Amsterdam? No? Good, because I was talking about Marrakech. Why on EARTH would that be thrown in the mix all willy nilly? Makes no sense, right?
Actually, it makes TONS of sense. See, a round trip ticket from our town to nearly anywhere in Europe will run us about 110,000 miles in the new United miles scheme, plus about $250 per person in taxes (because if there is one things countries in Europe know how to do it is tax the holy heck out of arriving and departing flights. NO JOKE). It’s two zones away, so we’re paying maximum pointage (because if pointage is not a word, it totally should be).
HOWEVER – Marrakech counts as same zone travel for us. End result? Business class travel round trip for 70,000 points and $200, plus a round trip Ryan Air Flight to Eindhoven, which gets us to Amsterdam via train or bus, for $300.
So airfare to visit three European countries and Morocco in business class for $500? BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!
After I snagged the reservations (when traveling with so many people at a time, it is best to make reservations far in advance before the offered seat disappears), there was an issue. United was unable to ticket one leg of our flight to Marrakech.
You see, in order to get to Marrakech, we had three plane changes, including one through Cologne, Germany. It seems like a lot, but considering how much we save on tickets, we’re willing and able to put up with it.
So when the first leg of our return flight – the Marrakech to Cologne flight – showed up as unable to ticket, we jumped in and asked if we could keep the rest of the itinerary and just cancel that. In effect, we were able to snag 110,000 point tickets from Europe (which is where we wanted to be anyway) for 70,000 points because of a computer glitch. Oh – and we save another $150 on the return flight to Marrakech from Geneva, not to mention that the cost per person in airline fees dropped to $160 per person. New total: 70,000 miles and $310 per person.
I’m telling you – this is as addictive as poker for me. It’s my alcoholism. I am addicted to planning budget travel for precisely this reason – WIN!