I booked a $3200 round trip business class ticket to Europe for just taxes and fees. How?!

In planning my European trip to London and France for my bike ride with Hotchillee, I had been stalking the Delta website hoping the price for tickets would come down. I then discovered Max Miles Points on Instagram who helped me realize that I could book a trip to Europe with points rather than spending almost 3 thousand dollars on a mixed seat experience (because I am bougie and well I refuse to fly coach on any flights longer than 5 hours). As a result, my obsession with learning all about travel hacking began.

So what did I find?

The total cost of flying business class to London and premium economy from France to Washington was $2800 or $3200 if booked in business roundtrip. But it ended up being cheaper to book business round trip with points. All I had to pay was the taxes and fees (which are usually more expensive when flying to Europe). So how!?

As a result of the pandemic, I saved up lots of points in my Chase and Amex travel portals. So I looked at the dates I was planning on traveling and the airlines. It made sense points wise to transfer to Flying Blue which is both a Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex partner airline.

What is Flying Blue? It is the loyalty travel program of Air France and KLM which are part of the SkyTeam Alliance. SkyTeam Alliance also includes Delta, Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic. Being a member of the SkyTeam Alliance means you can book flights with any of the airlines in the alliance but let's say Virgin or Delta for this example. But instead of doing it directly through their website, you book it through the Flying Blue portal. As a result, you can sometimes find better prices than if you were to book directly with American based companies including Delta, like I did in this instance.

So why didn't I book with Delta since I was searching it this whole time? At the time I was looking, a roundtrip ticket in business would have cost me 240,000 miles, which I did not have. When I looked in the Flying Blue portal as I knew they were members of the SkyTeam Alliance, I found that I could purchase the same route in business class for 102,500 points, which I did have. It actually was a better deal to book in business than a mixed class experience which I found interesting. So, I transferred my points instantaneously to Flying Blue, one of the benefits of the Chase and Amex rewards portals, and was able to book my flight immediately.

Now for those of you are like, Erin I want the breakdown to see if it really was a better deal, here you are.

Option 1: $3200

Option 2 (chase travel portal): 256,000 thanks to the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Option 3: 102,000 + 500 taxes and fees with Transfer Partner

If we calculate the math, I ended up getting a rate of 2.65 cents per point by transferring my points at a 1-1 ratio to Flying Blue. If I booked through the Chase travel portal, it would be 1.25 cents per point. Now even though its not a huge difference like 7 cents per point, it is still better than paying full price, and who likes to pay full price?

It took some research and making sure the dates worked out to coincide with my travel plans as it typically does when you book with points but thanks to this learning experience, I will now pay with miles and points (if I have enough) moving forward.

How do I get enough? Check out the next blog post!

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