A few days ago, I explained to you why, in some cases, it could be interesting to turn a blind eye to the famous airline overcharges. It’s time today to shed some light on this First Class trip to Europe.
A trip to Europe in First Class
If you’ve been following milesopedia since the beginning, you probably know my passion for air travel, especially those paid with miles and in premium cabins (business, first class).
As part of a 4-day trip to Europe, I had the simple choice of booking my flight in economy class on Air France KLM (about $900) using travel points accumulated on my cards BMO World Elite MasterCard or Scotiabank Gold American Express Card.
Or looking for awards with my miles, although I faced two main obstacles: the dates were particularly busy… and the infamous airline surcharges. There was availability on Swiss (it would have saved me a few hundred dollars…), but I wanted something else this time (especially since I’m going on a trip next month in business class on this airline).
So I chose to dip into my mileage accounts… and treat myself! Here is how I did it.
One-way flight with British Airways Executive Club
In order to reach my destination – Amsterdam – with my British Airways Executive Club air miles, I absolutely must make a stopover in London.
I had the choice between flying business class from Montreal… or doing a multi-destination route via New-York in order to fly First Class. Guess what… I chose the most complicated route… and the longest.
British Airways Executive Club has difficulty in offering you routes beyond one stopover. In addition, unlike Aeroplan, which charges one amount between different zones, British Airways Executive Club charges by flight segment. So it’s in your best interest to optimize your search.
To do this, you will have to look at the availability by flight segment… and get out your calculator!
Here are all the possible search combinations between the airports of Montreal (YUL), London (LHR), New York (JFK) and Amsterdam (AMS).
- Combination 1: YUL-JFK + JFK-LHR + LHR-AMS
- Combination 2: YUL-JFK-LHR + LHR-AMS
- Combination 3: YUL-JFK + JFK-LHR-AMS
Here is an example of a fare taking only the JFK-LHR portion (the first class flight I was interested in).
As you can see above, this flight alone costs $579 in taxes!
But by choosing a different combination, in this case 2, I saved a few hundred dollars over the course of my journey.
By adding the Montreal-New York flight, I increased my cost in miles (which is normal since British Airways Executive Club charges per segment)… but my cost in dollars decreased significantly!
Then I just had to make another reservation for London-Amsterdam:
It’s a very short flight that costs only 4000 avios miles and $27!
This trip with 2 short flights in economy and the longest flight (7h) in First Class will have cost 79 500 avios miles and 474$.
Knowing that I had taken advantage of the American Express Membership Rewards points to Avios miles transfer promotion at the beginning of the year (+25%), this trip only cost me 63,600 American Express Membership Rewards points. Most of these Membership Rewards points were earned with my American Express Gold Small Business Card, which gave me 40,000 points for free (card available to everyone…).
Return flight with Aeroplan
For the return trip, I had initially booked a ticket with Flying Blue miles on KLM in economy class.
But, 14 days before departure, Lufthansa has opened its first class availability between Munich and Montreal… It was too tempting to pass up this opportunity!
Especially since Lufthansa will soon withdraw its first class on flights to Montreal.
Audrey having recently obtained 75,000 Membership Rewards points with a Platinum Card subscriptionShe decided to give them to me for my birthday so that I could finance this trip which cost 70,000 Aeroplan miles (First Class fare between Europe 1 and North America).
And as I love to travel, I also chose to multiply the connections… for the pleasure of testing new devices!
Here is my itinerary:
Yes, the overloads are high there too. But the product offered by Lufthansa is really worth the cost as you will see in future articles.
The actual cost of these trips
So I spent:
- 70,000 aeroplan miles
- 79,500 air miles
Miles are earned primarily through subscriptions to various credit cards. As for the $800 spent, it will be covered by the travel points on my Scotiabank Gold American Express card!
And let’s face it: I could never have afforded these trips without the miles… as did the other passengers traveling with me in First Class.
Here is the astronomical cost of these First Class tickets:
No, you’re not hallucinating. In real life, these tickets cost $19,275, which I could never have put towards this travel experience!
For an enthusiast like me, miles have a real power here, that of making me travel in exceptional conditions that I would never have been able to afford otherwise. But as you can see, if you want to have an “experience of a lifetime”, miles can help you achieve that dream!
I will share these various experiences with you soon with many pictures!