I wrote before that if you were going to throw caution to the wind and book a seat in business, it may be worth outright buying the miles instead of paying for the flight.
We saw that it did not make sense to buy miles to take a simple trip to Paris. But let’s make that trip a little less simple.
Let’s say your name is Jeanne, and you love French culture (which may be partially due to being named Jeanne-Marie). While planning your trip, someone mentions that if you love French culture, you should also Czech out the culture in Prague. (Get it? Get it? Ehh?)
I add this to my trip:
My trip went up in price a bit! QUITE a bit!
But one thing to know about US Airways award trips (which rings true generally in the other ones) is that you can have TWO destinations as part of your award trip. The stop in Prague is called a “stop-over,” and you are allowed one stop exceeding 24 hours per trip in addition to your final destination.
So if I booked this with award miles, the cost would be $1,050 plus taxes and fees. I would probably save a few hundred dollars on this trip (and it is up to me to decide if I am willing to lose those miles, both elite qualifying and redeemable).
(NOTE: I am about to over simplify award trips to make a point. Seasoned travelers, please commence your twitching now. :P)
Let’s say the friend called me up and said, “Forget Prague. There’s a place you need to go in Australia for dinner. Totally go to Australia on your way to Paris.”
Since I’m especially impressionable, I check it out.
Ouch! That’s a lot of dough. So I check out the award chart.
Which totals a price of…
Much more affordable! I’ll be able to drop by Australia for dinner on my way to Paris.
I’m making light of this because why would someone EVER want to stop by Australia for dinner on their way to Paris? But what about dropping by Brussels for a great German meal on the way to France? If you keep your time in Brussels short enough, it doesn’t count as a “stop-over”, so you could stop in Prague for some dinner (and a cultural experience of Absinth) and spend a week in Switzerland, all on your way back. This is the flexibility miles and points give you.
(What would that look like? Click this:)
Lucky stopped for a visit in Europe on his way to North Asia. It didn’t cost extra because the legs counted as part of his North Asian trip. And his trip itself cost him $1,700 to fly in business class.
US Airways “extended” their 100% bonus miles through the end of February, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much because US Airways has these sales all the time. In fact, I think they take an infomercial approach to their mile sales. “But wait, THERE’S MORE, call in the next 30 minutes and…” They are creating a sense of urgency at a price point they are comfortable with.
And if you read this far and wondered what I meant when I said I’m over-simplifying things, here’s the quick and dirty. It is difficult (but possible) to do an award trip to Australia through Europe (and I think it is a little easier through Asia, but not something you can easily accomplish in ten minutes). You’ll need flexibility and patience to book things like this, and you’ll need to do your homework. More on homework later.
Until then, Au Revoir and Hoo Roo, I’m apparently off to Eurostralia?