Our itinerary includes first class seats between Las Vegas and Philadelphia, and the Envoy class between Philadelphia and Paris. Had we had to pay cash for the tickets, they would have cost over $5,500 each. Our cost? 55,000 USAirways miles + $190 in taxes and fees each!
How did we do this? We each signed up for the USAirways credit card last year and received 40,000 bonus miles after first use of the card. The balance came from our participation in last fall’s Grand Slam promotion (I won’t bore you with the details of that promotion now, but will give you all the information you need, should the promotion return this fall).
Can you do this, too? Absolutely! Off-peak travel from the US to Europe on USAirways is valid from January 16 to February 28, 2013. Round-trip economy class ticket costs 35,000 (30,000 if you have the USAirways credit card) miles; Envoy class 60,000 (55,000 with the card) miles. Don’t worry about not having the award space once you have enough miles. These award spaces tend to open right about now (11 months in advance), or within a month of your travel dates. If you have to wait until within 21 days of travel, a $75 per ticket close-in fee will be charged. In the grand scheme of things, if you can get your award seats, that is not too high a price to pay, in my opinion.
If you are interested in getting the USAirways card (issued by Barclays), here is the best offer available (most credit cards have different application links with different sign-up incentives). Again, I don’t get any commission if you decide to use the link to apply for the card. Key highlights include:
- 40,000 bonus miles after first use
- Waived $89 annual fee for the first year
10,000 bonus miles on your one-year account-opening anniversary
- 10,000 bonus miles on every account-opening anniversary (updated: 4/5/12 to minimize confusion)
Let me know if you have any questions.