One Day in Europe: How (and Why) I Spent 345,000 Factors for 36 Hours in Rome with Two Mates


Being a varsity swimmer, my schedule is kind of inflexible.

For six months of the 12 months, my teammates and I do not exit for greater than 36 hours within the pool. Whereas meaning my journeys are extraordinarily restricted, it additionally means I can rack up a ton of factors from welcome bonus and day by day bills and swap them out within the spring and summer time earlier than the swim season resumes.

Associated: How I earned 21,672 factors shopping for a brand new pc

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On account of my restricted journey schedule, I attempt to do all the pieces after I can hit the street. With that in thoughts, I not too long ago used 345,000 factors and miles to fly with two mates to Rome for an extended weekend. That was a number of factors for a brief weekend, however the reminiscences have been priceless. Even higher, it helped me redeem factors I had on canceled journey accounts throughout the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Let’s take a better have a look at our journey, how I booked it, and what I’d do in a different way subsequent time.

Plan the journey

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I used to be handing in my homework on a Sunday night and I had 165,000 Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles burning a gap in my journey piggy financial institution from a canceled journey.

For these of you who journey regularly, you understand how harmful it may be for a factors pool to take a seat idle with none journey booked. They’re open to devaluation at any time – and a few currencies are topic to expiration for those who do not earn and redeem miles usually sufficient.

Associated: The way to forestall your factors and miles from expiring

I additionally had a number of parameters in thoughts to e-book a visit.

First, I wanted award availability for 3 enterprise class tickets together with stretch seats that have been leaving after my final lesson on Friday afternoon. Moreover, I wanted the flights to value as much as 55,000 Flying Blue miles (or much less) every on the outbound flight and needed to fly to a metropolis I had by no means been to earlier than. The return flight may very well be financial system class, which supplies us a little bit of flexibility.

With this technique, I used to be capable of discover a brand new metropolis and arrive in Europe absolutely rested for a full day of exploring earlier than the flight house on Sunday. Plus, it could make good use of my dormant Flying Blue miles.

I evaluated a number of locations for about an hour and eventually got here throughout award tickets to Rome that value precisely 55,000 Flying Blue miles per individual. It match all my different parameters completely and so as to add icing on the cake there was a direct return flight with reward house for 3. Not dangerous for reserving a number of days upfront.

Associated: Planning a visit to Italy? Here is how one can get there in factors and miles

Reserving flights and inns

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I ended up reserving the final three award tickets out there on the flight for 55,000 Flying Blue Miles every plus taxes and reasonable charges.

Then I discovered United Economic system reward house on a direct flight to Washington Dulles Worldwide Airport (IAD) and booked my mates in financial system class for 30,000 Avianca LifeMiles every. I transferred the 60,000 miles from American Categorical Membership Rewards and so they have been all prepared. Though not essentially the most luxurious expertise, it acquired them house shortly and in time for sophistication the subsequent day.

I’d have joined them on this flight too, however I’m an aviation fanatic. And simply on the time of our journey, Lufthansa has reactivated a part of its A340-600 fleet after the airplane was quickly withdrawn throughout the pandemic. I knew I needed to fly it, particularly because it’s an ageing plane that may very well be retired from service as soon as new plane enter the fleet.

So I ditched my mates and spent 63,000 LifeMiles for a enterprise class flight on the A340. My itinerary took me from Rome to Boston by way of Munich, then I booked a final minute South West flight for 16,500 Fast Rewards Factors within the Washington DC space.

Associated: Here is why you want a wholesome provide of Avianca LifeMiles

E book a lodge in Rome

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Be a Marriott Titanium Elite Member throughout the keep, it made extra sense to remain on the Marriott for free breakfasta room improve and different advantages.

Eager to splurge with my mates, I selected the Saint Regis Rome.

I did this for a number of causes. It was strolling distance to all of Rome’s iconic websites, I knew I might get the breakfast perks (three swimmers eat their weight in meals), and the worth was affordable for the nights I booked .

I spent 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy Factors for the evening we stayed, however your value might range contemplating Marriott has since eliminated the reward tables. Later this 12 months the bottom value I see at this property is 74,500 factors per evening when reserving throughout Marriott Marvel Week Sale.

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I already had the factors in my account, so there was no have to switch from Amex Membership Rewards or Chase the Final Rewards.

I additionally regarded on the money charges however wasn’t too fascinated by what they have been providing as I knew I could not afford it on a pupil finances. For reference, an evening on the property prices $740 on a random date in November.

If you wish to enhance your Marriott Bonvoy stability, contemplate making use of for the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Categorical® Card which presents 125,000 bonus factors after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. Plus, you may get pleasure from Gold Elite standing so long as your card is open and in good standing.

Associated: 7 Methods to Maximize Marriott Bonvoy Reward Evening Redemptions

The journey

The journey could not have been smoother.

We boarded our magnificent KLM A330 certain for Amsterdam Worldwide Airport Schiphol (AMS), had a very good meal and slept slightly earlier than arriving in Europe. With a surprisingly simple connection to Amsterdam, we arrived in Rome simply earlier than lunch.

Our solely collective remorse is just not having deliberate something upfront. Sadly, all the primary points of interest have lengthy been bought out, so we have been unable to enter the Colosseum or go to the Pantheon.

As an alternative, we made do with a number of refueling stops at gelato stands as we walked round city. Subsequent time we are going to plan additional away from the beginning to have the ability to see town correctly, however the ice helped ease our disappointment.

The best way again was as simple as getting there. I used to be capable of benefit from the Lufthansa A340-600 and compensate for sleep whereas my mates have been flying house on an earlier flight. Not at the same time as a lot as a delay acquired us all house to our beds and prepared for morning swim observe on Monday.

Associated: Watch us fly KLM 2 other ways: enterprise class vs. financial system class

Was it price it?

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So was burning 345,000 factors in 36 hours price it? Completely.

I used to be capable of deal with my mates to an incredible weekend in a metropolis none of us had ever visited earlier than. They have been capable of expertise enterprise class for the primary time, and we have now unbelievable reminiscences of it. And whereas I can not suggest burning that many factors each weekend, I’d do it once more in a heartbeat.