We got a heavy dose of photos from Europe in our recent Travel Photo Contest – no surprise, given the surplus of amazing historical and natural sites that span the Old World. Now, as we’ve done with others, it’s up to us to give you some ideas as to how to get there. Since flying to Europe tends to be almost the same process, I figured we’d wrap all of these into one post.
Getting to Europe on Frequent Flyer Miles or Points
American Airlines, true to form, represents the best bargain when it comes to using FF miles to get to Europe – as little as 40k when the time is right. Thus, one option to consider would be landing 50k AA miles with the Citi AAdvantage card.
The other one that I’m just not going to let slip by is the Chase SapphireSM Preferred Card – probably the best option for flexibility in bargain travel. Essentially the 50k Ultimate Reward points you get after meeting their spending requirement is like getting a $625 gift certificate that you can use towards whatever flight you’d like. You have to do some digging to get flights to Europe for $625, but www.kayak.com/buzz will help.
Now, you simply need to decide which of these beauties you’d like to pursue:
- Village-hopping in Cinque Terra
- Trafalgar Square and the of Wonders of London.
- A Misty Morning in St. Gilgen, Austria
- Paris for Cheapskate Lovers
Village-hopping in Cinque Terra
Cinque Terra consists of five romantic Mediterranean seaside villages – all of which are picture-perfect and ripe for visiting. I happen to believe that Genoa would make an excellent “home-base” from which to launch a series of visits. It just so happens that Marriott has a property there, which can be had for as little as 10k Marriott Points per night. Trafalgar Square and the Wonders of London
We’ve raved about the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express in post after post, and their portfolio of European hotels you can pin down for as little as 4,000 Starwood Points is one of the main reasons why. Sheraton has a hotel near the Heathrow Airport where you could stay for as many as 7 nights with the 30k Starwood Points you’ll lock down once you meet the $5,000 spending minimum and get the 10k + 15k bonuses.
A Misty Morning in St. Gilgen, Austria
I’m going out on a limb here and I’m going to actually suggest that you pay for lodging in Austria. I know, how dare I, but in my mind this is a place where you want to embed yourself in the culture – something you can’t quite do in the sterility of a hotel room. Here’s a link to a quaint little farmhouse in a secluded location, but still within reach of the rail station. I’m always a fan of checking HomeAway Vacation Rentals for some of these “homier” options.
Paris for Cheapskate Lovers
Ahh, Paris… it’s for lovers… rich lovers who don’t mind paying up for hotel rooms. As a general rule, you won’t find “cheap” and/or “free” in Parí. There is a Marriott Property on the outskirts of town that you could get with a healthy chunk of your Marriott Reward points, but we’re going to suggest lodging that comes with a complimentary tour guide: www.couchsurfing.org. If that’s not cool with you, how does a home exchange sound? Parisians are avid travelers and maybe you could pull off a swap if you list your home on www.exchangezones.com.
Whatever you’re daydreaming of, do it before life passes you by.
Thanks for going from wanderlusting to wandering with us.