Traveling from NYC to Rome w entourage... newbie questions

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by gder27, Feb 23, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. gder27

    gder27 New Member

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    Newbie here, came across MP searching airline loyalty programs & credit card rewards... been wading through great info would love to possibly get some tips... we with my 4 grown kids, w/ assorted boyfriend, spouse planning a 2 wk trip to Italy this summer, late July into Aug first time to Europe for 'rents. How many points do we need for Europe? Do we apply for a few cards at 1 time to maximize points? & If we get the card can we use the points in July? Any other suggestions would be great thanks!



    Ciao Everyone,
    Cannot thank you all enough for the great info (is there a way to reply to the whole thread?)
    My kids booked the trip to Rome around a surprise my sister threw in, a Villa in Ischia from 8/3-8/10!! The boyfriends et al will be coming for that week only. We plannd on sightseeing around the Villa, a few days in Rome, Florence, Naples. That's why we are locked into high season.
    Hard number is 6. Each kid is paying for there own ticket but we were trying to wrangle getting them all together. Logistically, that may not work 1 daughter in LA, she has fly cross country, where we will be flying to Rome from NYC.
    Good news is we just got an American Advantage Platimun card 30k bonus miles, & my son just got a Chase Sapphire 50k bonus miles (I agree it is a learning curve with the rewards & this is something we have been planning on doing the trip pushed us into cyberspeed : ) Both daughters have miles accumulated can't we use those to offset the ticket prices?

    American has a special out of NYC to Dublin, my sister (a seasoned traveler) said to take Easy Jet or Ryanair into Rome it's cheaper (?)
     
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  2. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    You would be going during high season so you are talking high points per person even for coach. On Delta (Skyteam) you are looking at around 65k miles per person in coach(Delta). USAirways(Star Alliance) you are looking at 55-60k miles per person (USAirways) That is assuming you can earn the mileage needed AND that there would still be award seating available at the highest point of the travel season. You are talking about taking a trip in ~5 months. If it were just two of you, and you were a fast learner, you could pull it off. My opinion is you may not have enough time to really organize something significant. It's not that it isn't doable, it's just that your window of time is quite small, in my opinion.

    How many people are you talking about booking tickets for? (hard number)
     
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  3. KathInJax

    KathInJax Silver Member

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    By my count, you are trying to plan a trip for 10. I have planned several of these trips over th years. In fact, I have 10 going to Paris, Barcelona and Madrid this summer. We spent about a year accumulating miles and points for the trip. As TravelBear pointed out, you probably do not have enough time to accumulate the points necessary for the trip.

    However, there is one strategy that I can suggest. BOS-DUB on Aer Lingus using British Airways Avios points is 25,000 miles round trip. They do have very good availability, and multiple flights a day, so you have a good chance of getting the seats. You would have to buy tickets to BOS and tickets from DUB as Aer Lingus does not have much award space from DUB. The taxes and fuel surcharges are about $150.

    British Airways is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, American Express and they have their own branded credit card.

    Now, we did this redemption last year with flights to Edinburgh. If you go this route, you would definitely want to overnight in Boston. We had a 3 hour margin of time from when our flight landed in BOS to when our flight left. I was constantly concerned that we would have problems and would lose our tickets.

    I can also tell you that the logistics of this type of redemption is an undertaking. I typically have multiple spreadsheets showing the point redemptions for each person and the expected costs of the trip. For the actual trip, I usually have a bound itinerary that includes every plane ticket, train ticket, hotel reservation and attraction tickets. I usually plan which activities will be done each day. You do not want to show up in a city and realize that the main thing that you want to see is sold out (David statue in Florence sells out early).

    Can you give us an idea of where you want to go?
     
  4. I noted fares on Aer Lingus at Christmas time this past year of $650 RT from Boston to Rome.
    You are going to italy at the hottest tim of the year and Rome almost gets deserted by locals in August. The beach resorts and mountain towns thus get overcrowded.
    You will still have a good time but bear thiese things in mind. Hotels in Rome in August are generally quite cheap as well so choose carefully.
     
  5. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    Just got back from Rome. Had a great time but I would advise going in the winter as the weather isn't that a
    Bad there mostly and the town has few tourist.
    As far as redemptions you most likely don't have enough time to get the points, unless you already have a big stockpile. If you don't have any points you could have each person or every couple do a credit card churn to get quick miles but even then you will have a hard time finding that much reward space this close to August by the time you get the cards, a few weeks, do the required spend, a month or more, and the miles post, another month or more.
    I would advise trying to find cheap flights in coach, NYC or PHL to FCO should be fairly good as summer fares to Europe can be good to buy. Make sure everyone has a frequent flyer account to save the miles for the next trip.
     
  6. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    Take a deeeeep breath and relax. And DON"T do anything rash! Now step back for a day or two. Then look at it again with fresh eyes. Your situation sounds quite doable since it would only be two of you, but you gotta do your homework.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2013
  7. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    1. Don't get that card.

    2. You earn between one and five points/miles per dollar you spend on the card.

    3. You will not earn most of your miles that way (by spending money on the card). You will earn most of your miles getting a big bunch of bonus miles when you apply for the card and meet a certain minimum spending requirement. That can be as much as 50,000 miles right there (for one card).

    4. Delta does have a 60,000 mile "fare" to Europe, but it's hard to find that at any time and probably impossible during the summer. The real cost on Delta is likely to be much higher.

    5. In addition to cards that earn miles directly with an airline (like the Delta card you're not getting), there are bank cards that earn points with the bank program that can be transferred into airline miles at a bunch of different airlines. The benefit of these programs is that 1) you don't have to know when you collect the points what airline you will eventually use them on and 2) there are usually several different cards that you can apply for that generate points into the same program, so you can collect a larger balance that way.

    6. If I were your parents (and if I am, you're in trouble when I get home!) and you told me about this, I'd probably want the points for myself.

    7. Go to Frugal Travel Guy or The Points Guy and look for a link labelled "Start Here".

    8. Once you have the points, if you have trouble using them to get the tickets you want, there are consultants that you can pay $100 or $150 dollars to who will help you do that.
     
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  8. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    For a group of 10 in Rome over the summer I'd highly recommend looking at VRBO and apartment options rather than hotels. You'll likely save a LOT of money.
     
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  9. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Some cards offer "category bonuses" meaning that you get more points per dollar you spend at certain kinds of stores. The best are probably the Chase Ultimate Reward Ink cards, which offer 5 points per dollar spent at Office Supply stores (which can include gift cards for other stores). Most of the Chase Ultimate Reward cards offer double points on some or all travel-related expenses (gas, tickets, hotels) and restaurants. Some of the Amex gold cards offer triple miles at supermarkets. There are lots of other category bonuses as well.

    I think the best "families" of cards are the Amex Membership Rewards family (many Amex cards not directly associated with a particular airline or hotel earn points in this program) and the Chase Ultimate Rewards family. Both programs have multiple cards (each with bonuses) that you can get over time. Ultimate Rewards has at least four (Sapphire, Freedom, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus).

    Some direct-to-airline-miles cards also come in families. Many have both personal and business cards. Some have several different personal cards.
     
  10. pseudomiriam

    pseudomiriam Active Member

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    thanks a lot for the help, i'm gonna try my best with this!
    hey, why do you think nomadic matt suggests delta skymiles if it apparently sucks?? lol
     
  11. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Let's take a step back. Before applying for any credit card, you should look at your credit reports and find out what your credit score is. You then need to look at the number of "pulls" you have and what your financial situation will be in the near future (will you be financing a car or buying a house?). Only then can you decide if you are in a good enough place to start applying for credit cards.

    You also need to remember that it normally takes a week or two to receive the card once you have been approved. Then you need to meet the minimum spend. Once you have met the spend requirement you will, for the most part, need to wait for the billing cycle to complete before you will see the points in your FF account. As you can see, even IF you make the minimum spend in the first month, it could take 45-60 days before you see any points. One other thing, make sure you understand how the various banks treat pulls and how many cards you can apply for during any set period of time.

    Key is to make a firm plan on how to get the points before you do any applying for credit cards. Know how many points it takes to get where you are going and what airline you HOPE to go on. Also, some airlines have one way awards whereas others do not. So you might be able to go one way on one airline and back on the other. But again, this takes planning before you start applying. Getting FF miles is a marathon, not a sprint.
     
  12. gder27

    gder27 New Member

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    End of July beginning of August. The Villa on Ischia is booked for 8/3-8/10, the week before we spend 3-4 days Rome, 2 days Florence, a day in Naples, aside from Villa everything else is changeable.

    Hard number is 6. Each of my kids is paying for there own ticket but we were trying to wrangle getting them all together. Logistically, that may not work 1 daughter in LA, she has fly cross country, where we will be flying to Rome from NYC.
    Good news is we just got an American Advantage Platimun card 30k bonus miles, & my son just got a Chase Sapphire 50k bonus miles (I agree it is a learning curve with the rewards & this is something we have been planning on doing the trip pushed us into cyberspeed : ) All daughters have miles accumulated, we use those to offset the ticket prices? (My oldest is a world traveler, she's been on a reality TV show traveling to 12 countries in 66 days per season)

    American has a special out of NYC to Dublin, my sister (a seasoned traveler) said to take Easy Jet or Ryanair into Rome it's cheaper (?)
     
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  13. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    The points can take awhile. I would jump on the NYC or BOS to Dublin or Shannon deals and use a discount carrier the rest of the way or maybe apply for a BA card for the. 50k Avios and use that to get across Europe.
     
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  14. KathInJax

    KathInJax Silver Member

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    I am a little confused, it sounds like you have already booked flights.

    If not, it would be helpful to list out the miles that each person has in the various programs and the starting location for each person.
     
  15. gder27

    gder27 New Member

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    Nope no tickets purchased to date/ our miles; United daughter E 40k, Delta daughter C 20k, son 50k Chase Sapphire bonus, we have 40k AA. Nothing to write home about, but we are literally just out of the gate, so thinking not too shabby. My daughter came up w dates 7/29-8/13 reasoning mid week would be cheaper, but playing around on booking/airline/etc about the same $$ if we went on Sat to Sat, which would be easier giving us a whole week to explore Florence & Rome before we head to Ischia

    thanks
     

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