How to Book the Best Itinerary is part of the Still The Best Trip Report.
I have been traveling on points since 2012 (see Angle Flat Lufthansa: My First Points Flight Review). I have consistently put together one insane itinerary after another (see The $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World & 25,000 Mile RTW Trip Including Iraq Booked!). Yet, somehow, I have failed to convince friends and family that all trips are possible if the points, not price, are right.
I now write these posts so I can celebrate my greatness. However, just in case someone else is reading, here is how I put together this stellar itinerary.
- San Juan to Tenerife: This was an easy booking. I transferred points from Amex to my Iberia Avios account with a 30% bonus. I searched SJU-TCI (see Not My Fault: Tenerife Airport, North Or South?).
- Tenerif to Cabo Verde: There were no convenient price/points options here. I used my Capital One Venture X to find the cheapest, most direct deal (see Can You Tell Me How to Get to Cabo Verde?).
- Cabo Verde to Nice, France: This was another easy booking. I again took advantage of the 30% bonus by transferring points from my Amex to British Avios account.
- Corsica to Paris, France: I wasn’t too upset about paying $227 to go to Corsica, but there was no way I was going to pay $459 to go from Corica to Paris. Luckily, I found availability on Air France using my FlyingBlue account. Once again, I will be flying coach on Air France (Flying Blu, Literally Depressed: DTW-CDG Air France in Coach).
- Paris, France to Pristina, Kosovo: The cheapest option was to use LifeMiles which are as abundant in the world as Avios. The search was simple: CDG-PRN.
- Pristina, Kosovo to Bodrum, Turkey: This is a great example of how having multiple points currencies pay off. Turkish Airlines is part of Star Alliance. Hypothetically, I could book this flight using United miles, LifeMiles or Aeroplan miles. In this case, the best, cheapest option was to transfer Citi ThankYou point to my Turkish Miles & Smiles account. At 11,300 points, this was by far the best way to get to the Turkish Riviera.
- Bodrum, Turkey to Bahrain by way of Kuwait City: There is a nonstop flight from Bodrum to Bahrain. Since I needed to add another country to my list (see 126 Countries Left, If I Go), I am taking the scenic route to Bahrain, stopping in Kuwait City for 8 hours. This time, the best deal was on Aeroplan. Instead of paying $2,025, I paid 20k points and $80.
- Bahrain to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: To get to my final stop, Riyadh, I used Aeroplan points once again. 15k points and $91 is far better than $958.
- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to San Juan, Puerto Rico: The best way to find long-haul points flights is to search the longest segment first then tack on the shorter segments. Typically, when I search X to Puerto Rico, I never find availability. Luck was on my side this time as I typed in RUH-SJU and found an impeccable deal of 80k AA miles and $90 on one itinerary (see AA Business Riyadh to San Juan Business: Big Deal, Small Deal, No Deal?).
257,100 points and $1,162.08 versus $26,733. You decide.