Reader Success Story: Spring Break EuroTrip


Our latest reader success story: Spring Break EuroTrip, comes from Elise. We love hearing from our readers about how they use credit card points and miles to create lasting memories with their families.


Getting Started with Credit Card Points and Miles

I’d been lurking in the travel communities for a while, but I had difficulty starting the points and miles journey. My reluctant husband finally agreed to let me jump in about a year ago, which is where our journey began. I didn’t have a set plan, destination in mind, or clear strategy, but I knew I wanted to get my family of 6 to travel more, with less stress about how we were going to finance it. 

One thing I did early on in my journey was subscribe to a service that sends cheap airfare and miles deals (Thrifty Traveler). One random summer day, I was texted a “mistake fare” of $238 RT to Paris out of JFK on American Airlines. We had been to Paris with the kids a couple of years prior, and I loved it, but I didn’t think it would realistically happen again any time soon.

I realized that this fare would not last long, so after checking to see if our Spring Break dates matched up with the deal (spoiler alert: they did!) and a quick consult with my husband, I quickly booked the 6 of us on a whim and even purchased a ticket for my mom (bringing an extra adult is necessary with our crazy crew!). I even texted my brothers, who also got in on the deal, so we had a group of 10 of us all going to Paris for Spring Break! A true family affair. For under $1,700, I paid for 7 people to fly RT to Paris!


Getting Credit Cards for Lodging and Positioning Flights

After the initial excitement for my steal of a deal wore off, my husband’s biggest fear was how much this was going to cost, so I was bound & determined to get our lodging for nearly free. I already had a Delta Platinum Amex card opened. My next card was the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and I referred my mom & husband, followed by a couple of Inks, which made this whole thing happen! 







Positioning Flight

We flew Delta for 19K miles per person RT to position from our home airport to JFK (one perk of the Delta Platinum card is getting 15% off point deals). My husband used his Delta companion pass (again, from his Delta Platinum card) to get one kid for free. I followed Pam’s advice and decided to fly in the night before (good thing, too – our initial flight was canceled; luckily, we were rebooked the same day). 

We still managed to fly into New York that night and stayed at the Hyatt Place New York – Midtown South for 17K points, which was great for the free breakfast and super central location. We even managed some sightseeing, as our flight didn’t depart from JFK until 10 PM the next night. 


Overnight Stay in Helsinki

On the way to Paris, our flight out of JFK was operated by Finnair, one of America’s Oneworld Alliance partners. We ended up having a stopover in Helsinki, which was all part of this grand adventure.

We explored Helsinki for the evening and stayed at the unique Marriott: Hotel Katajanokka – a former prison-turned boutique hotel! My fellow inmates—err—kids got a kick out of the old prison cells. If you ever want to get your kids to behave, threaten the isolation cell – yikes!! We ended up booking 3 rooms for the 7 of us at 22K Bonvoy points per room. My husband has Titanium status with Marriott from work travel, and we have had the Marriott Boundless card for years, so we had some points accrued.


My son enjoyed the old prison cells!


On To Paris

Next stop: Bonjour, Paris! We transferred 90K Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt, yet again, for a wonderful stay at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile. We stayed there for two nights in two rooms: one Standard Suite and one King Club Suite for the 7 of us.

Somehow, we managed to upgrade our second room to club access with an Eiffel Tower view! I’m still not sure how that worked for us—we have zero status with Hyatt; I guess we just lucked out! We were truly treated like VIPs. Our kids were given welcome gifts with all sorts of Parisian activities, we had amazing views, and our football team of children LOVED all the free food! Our only regret was not staying longer, but since we had visited Paris just a couple of years prior, we hit our favorite spots, including Montmartre, Luxembourg Gardens, and Versailles, and then moved on to London via Eurostar. 


Boy eating breakfast with tower and city in background.

The club lounge offers unbelievable views of Paris!


London on Credit Card Points

It WAS a jolly holiday in London, where we stayed at the Hyatt Regency London Blackfriars. Again, those Chase Ultimate Rewards came in clutch! For 3 nights, we booked one room on points and one with points and cash (99 GBP per night) for a total of 120K points.

We also had club access there, and the breakfast included was a lovely English breakfast. The evening snacks weren’t quite as robust as the Hyatt Regency in Paris, but they were plated and still lovely.

We also really enjoyed the central location of this property and walked almost everywhere. We loved Frozen the Musical, in the West End, the Tower of London, and the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios tour, to name just a few of our highlights. So many fun activities on our reader success story: Spring Break Eurotrip!


People eating dinner under a dome

The whole crew enjoyed dinner under a dome overlooking the Thames!


Disneyland Paris

After a packed few days of sightseeing in London, we returned to France, where we stayed near Disneyland Paris. We decided to stay at Dream Castle Hotel for a few reasons: I could book a room on the Chase portal with points for a family room that slept 8(!), it had a free shuttle to the Disney parks, and it included breakfast.

For 3 nights, I used approximately 80K Chase Ultimate Reward points. I felt that was a great value! It even had a nice little pool and indoor playground for the kids. We enjoyed our last few days living our best lives at the Disney parks and had a smooth trip back home.


Family near amusement park

Disneyland Paris with the gang was one of our childrens’ best stops!

Bottom Line

We can’t wait for our next grand adventure, South Africa, all thanks to points & miles. Thank you SO much, Travel Mom Squad!

Thanks, Elise, for sharing your Reader Success Story: Spring Break EuroTrip – it is amazing that such a large group could travel for pennies on the dollar to Europe. What a great experience you had together! We can’t wait to hear about your next adventure in South Africa!

Family near palace

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a Travel Mom Squad advertiser, but we always show the best public offer even when we don’t earn a commission. Terms Apply. 

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