How I paid for my European Vacation in Points

master card debit card

Earlier this year, I applied for my first non-airline specific credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. I decided that this card would be the best one for me because it provided me with a great way to earn a lot of points without having to do a lot of travel. With its favorable 60,000 bonus point offer after spending $4,000 within 3 months of approval, I knew I could parlay these miles into free airfare for a trip to Europe.

Image of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card from Chase Bank
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card (Courtesy of Chase Bank)

Once I combined the bonus with my usual spending across the Chase Bonus Categories (5x points earned for chase-ticketed travel, 5x points on Lyft rides, 5x on Peloton machine purchases, 3x points on dining, 3x points on online grocery store purchases, 3x points on certain streaming services, 2x points on non-Chase ticketed travel, and 1x points on everything else) I had enough points for Europe. Thus, I went about booking my airfare for my girlfriend and I to Europe.

To book our airfare, we looked at a few of the airlines that partnered with Chase (British Airways, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airlines) before making our decision to fly with United.

We decided to fly United airlines due to its partnership with Chase and its global airline alliance. Additionally, United doesn’t charge a carrier-imposed surcharge when flying on itself or its partners (in comparison to the international airlines that usually charged a surcharge). When pricing out the point redemptions through the international airlines, the majority of them would add their own fuel surcharges fee to the point redemptions (around $300 to $400 per ticket) that would effectively take away any benefits to using points.

Confirmation of the United Airlines booking showing the total mile price for two adults being 101,400 miles and the total taxes and fees price being $257.54
United Airlines Booking Confirmation (Courtesy of United Airlines)

For 101,400 total points and $257.54 (regulatory fees and taxes) we were able to book all of our flights non-stop. This included our initial leg from Newark Liberty International Airport to London Heathrow Airport (United), our second leg from London City Airport to Zürich Airport (Swiss Air), and our third leg from Zürich Airport to John F. Kennedy International Airport (Swiss Air).

Stay tuned for my write-up on how I was able to book this fare for only 101,400 points for two passengers.

Kyle’s Tip: Make sure to shop around before choosing an airline for your point redemption. I made sure to go through all of the booking steps for each airline until I could get to the final page of the booking process that provided the total cost. By doing this, I was able to make the informed decision to book with United as it did not have these carrier-imposed fuel surcharges.

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