Reader Success Story: European Vacation on Points and Miles

Pam

Our latest reader success story is a 10-day European Vacation on points and miles. Andrew and his wife took their adorable 10-month-old on his first transcontinental vacation—here is Andrew’s story.

 

Getting Started

Hello Pam, it took a while to put this together, but my wife and I wanted to share our experience learning about points & miles from Travel Mom Squad and using that knowledge to book and take an amazing trip to Europe with our son last year. My wife’s co-worker introduced Kathleen to Travel Mom Squad (TMS) in January of 2023. After she watched TMS’ “How to Get Your Next Vacation for Nearly Free” webinar, she convinced me  (Andrew) to watch, and we were hooked.

At the end of summer 2023, we took our 10-month-old son on the trip of a lifetime to some quintessential European cities.

 

Man, woman and young child in front of old building.

This cute family went to Europe on points/miles.

 

Points and Miles for the Win

Kathleen signed up in March of 2023 for a Capital One Venture X card, which offered 75K Capital One Venture Miles after spending $4,000 in 3 months. We used it to pay our taxes. Then, I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) card at the end of April when they had an in-branch-only offer of 90k Ultimate Rewards after spending $6,000 in 3 months.

Finally, in mid-May, Kathleen signed up for the CSP card, which had dropped its offer to 75K Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in 3 months. However, after asking for extra points due to missing the enhanced amount and a referral from Andrew, it came closer to 85K UR points.

By the end of May, we had accumulated over 185,000 Ultimate Rewards and over 200,000 Venture Miles from the sign-up bonuses, referrals, and spending, using only four credit cards.

 

 

 

 

 

Flights to Europe

During this time, Andrew & Kathleen devised several travel ideas before landing on London, Brussels, and Paris based on what they saw with flights and their interests in food and history. After a night of discussing their travel dreams with friends, they went home and asked themselves, “What are we waiting for?”

So at around 9:30 PM, they called Virgin Airlines and Air France to book their flights (two bulkhead Economy tickets with one lap infant, each way). When calling to purchase their tickets, they additionally requested a “Sky Cot” (either a bassinet or seat attached to the wall of the bulkhead seat for children under a certain age and weight based on the carrier) for their son.

 

Small boy on plane with woman and man

Andrew, Kathleen, and their cute little boy are heading to Europe!

 

With Kathleen’s Venture X Card (which includes membership to Priority Pass for the cardholder and two guests), they enjoyed access to the Turkish Airlines Lounge before their flight.
 

Flight Details

They flew nonstop from Miami International Airport (MIA) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) via Virgin Airlines by transferring 46k Capital One Venture Miles  and paying $409 in taxes/fees. The “Sky Cot” ended up working phenomenally for their son, who could sleep soundly on the overnight flight, and gave Andrew and Kathleen peace of mind due to it having a four-point-harness.

Their return flight to MIA was from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) via Air France by transferring 25,500 Cap 1 miles and paying $518.75 in fees. Unfortunately, their “Sky Cot” was more of a bassinet seat with no harness, and because their son was already capable of sitting up and crawling, they ended up only using the “Sky Cot” as a place to put baby items. They instead used a Baby Carrier so that their son could sleep on the way home.

 

Other Transportation Details

Andrew & Kathleen heavily relied on trains to get around cities and from location to location. They took the Eurostar from London to Brussels and a Thalys from Brussels to Paris.

 

Hotels in Europe

Due to information from Travel Mom Squad, Andrew & Kathleen focused mainly on staying in Hyatt hotels. They reviewed options and availability. Further, they emailed each hotel to confirm that they could accommodate two adults & one infant in their rooms and have a crib/Pack ‘N Play available for their son to use.

They ultimately settled on four nights at the brand new Hyatt Regency London Blackfriars by transferring 74k Ultimate Rewards (though they ended up being moved to the Great Scotland Yard Hotel on arrival due to a pipe leak), three nights at the Hotel du Louvre in Paris by transferring Ultimate Rewards, and two nights at the Hyatt Place CDG Airport by transferring 11,500 UR points all to Hyatt.

Additionally, they used their $300 Capital One Venture X annual travel credit and $86.45 to book two nights at the Warwick Brussels Hotel.  This 10-day European Vacation on points and miles was funded almost entirely on earnings through credit card sign-up bonuses!

 

Man and woman and young boy

Visiting Harry Potter in London

 

Thoughts on Hotels

Without a doubt, these hotels were some of the nicest we have ever stayed at, and we did it almost entirely on points and a travel credit. The biggest takeaway was how much nicer the Hyatts were in comfort, style, and service than the non-Hyatts.

We even stopped by the Juliana Hotel Brussels and were blown away by its luxury. The second takeaway is how helpful reserving and using a hotel’s crib/Pack ‘N Play, as opposed to bringing your own, can be for families traveling with little ones.

 

 

Another incredible European stop – Disneyland Paris!

 

Trip Summary

We saved close to $8,000 by using points and miles to take our son on the trip of a lifetime. We got to see plenty of iconic landmarks:

  • London – Tower of London, Harrods, Buckingham Palace, and the Harry Potter Studio Tour
  • Brussels – Manneken/Jeanneken Pis, Neuhaus/Pierre Marcolini/Mary’s Chocolatiers, and Delirium Village
  • Paris – Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Palace of Versailles, and Disneyland Paris

 

Man woman and child in front of city with large tower.

 

We were able to try local cuisines (too many food recs to mention), and experienced true luxury. We are patiently looking forward to our next family trip after the birth of our second son, on points and miles, of course!

 

Bottom Line

I love how this shows that you don’t have to let young children keep you from seeing the world as a family! Great job, Andrew and Kathleen, on the education you plan to show your children. Your Reader Success Story: 10-Day European Vacation on points and miles is phenomenal!

 

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