Back in July, I came across some fantastic award availability in business class heading to Europe. For only 115,000 miles and $167.56, I scored a round trip with stops in Budapest, Istanbul, and Naples.
My trip covered 12,771 miles in total, giving me approximately 40 hours sitting in the front of the plane.
- Norfolk to Chicago, with a Stop in the Polaris Lounge
- Chicago to Brussels
- THE LOFT and My Flight with Brussels Airlines
- Exploring Budapest
- Budapest Airport and Business Class on Turkish Airlines
- A Night in Istanbul
- The Turkish Airlines Lounge and My Flight to Naples
- A Weekend in Italy
- Lufthansa’s European Business Class
- Lufthansa’s Munich and Frankfurt Business Class Lounges
- Frankfurt to Chicago
- A Surprise Visit with the Queen of the Skies
Earning the Miles
Contrary to what you may have been told, you don’t need to even fly to accumulate miles, as you can earn hundreds of thousands by simply applying for awards credit cards such as the ones offered by Chase. Then pay all your monthly expenses with the card, and pay the balance in full each month. That whole process is detailed in my post right here.
I racked up the miles for this trip simply by paying my bills, dining, and some of my auto loan with a couple Chase cards for about twelve months.
Award Flight Booking
After playing with United’s award booking for an hour or two, I finally had all my flights figured out. With award flights, although you can fly on almost any day, it’s almost always better to book a saver ticket, which will cost you a much smaller sum of miles. Typically, you’ll find the best availability during the middle of the week or on a Saturday.
Unfortunately, for some reason, I wasn’t able to book the trip online, possibly because my trip was nine segments and the booking engine couldn’t handle it. Nonetheless, I transferred the necessary points from my Chase Ultimate Rewards account and booked my ticket over the phone with United.
I confirmed eight of the nine flights in first and business class, with the final flight from Chicago to Norfolk confirmed in economy, and waitlisted for first class until about a week before my departure.
With the trip retailing for approximately $11,000 when I priced it out back in July, I got a fantastic deal, with each point being worth around 9.4 cents.
As always, feel free to post any travel questions in the comments.
The map above and all the distances were calculated through Great Circle Mapper.