By: Luke Sims
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Bonjour Travel Junkies,
I studied French in high school, but I never imagined I would be strolling down the Champs-Élysées, with a full Movember mustache, in the City of Love – all for next to nothing!
Maximizing our PTO before Thanksgiving, my wife and I took a much-needed escape to Paris.
I wish I could say those two years of French came in handy, but really we were just a couple of Yankees lost in a beautiful city – and we loved every minute of it.
I want to share with you how we minimized our travel costs. Because with a little hard work and some help from the 10xTravel team, Paris is a whole lot closer than you think!
Flight: NYC to Paris
- Points Used: 75,000 Delta SkyMiles
- Cost Out of Pocket: $11.20
- Cost Without Points: $5,323.80
With our trip being so short, our first priority was finding flights to Paris that would allow us to maximize our time.
I had been planning on taking advantage of American Airlines off-peak award prices to Europe, which can be as low as 22,500 round-trip, but their flight options just weren’t working for our tight schedule and they didn’t exactly have great availability because of the close proximity to Thanksgiving.
However, I had been working hard to build a nice stash of points with a variety of frequent flyer programs, which gave me a chance to find the exact flight we wanted.
Delta SkyMiles often get a bad rep in the travel community (because they don’t have award charts and devalue without notice), but boy was I was pumped to stumble across this non-stop red-eye flight that would let us sleep through the night and touch down in Paris at 8:00am local time.
I only had a few SkyMiles in the bank, but I was able to transfer over 65,000 American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio to fill what I needed. Thanks to the sign-up bonus from the American Express Platinum card I opened earlier in the year, I had plenty of Membership Rewards to spare.
That exact flight was going for $2,661 per seat. I’ll take that value of SkyMiles any day!
Accommodations: Airbnb in Paris
- Points Used: 32,200 Capital One Venture Miles
- Cost out of Pocket: $0
- Cost without Points: $322.00
After some research and recommendations, it was obvious that an Airbnb was going to be our best home-base.
Not only are Airbnb’s extremely affordable in Paris, but we loved being able to choose the exact location that would allow us to walk everywhere – and truly live/feel the Parisian lifestyle.
(entrance to the courtyard of our Airbnb)
Hands-down one of my favorite travel credit cards, the Capital One Venture Card allows you to use your points to erase any purchase that codes as “travel” made with the card in the previous 90 days.
So, I used my Capital One Venture Card to book our Airbnb and any other travel related costs throughout our trip. Not only was I able to completely wipe away our Airbnb cost, but I had enough points left over to cover all of our train rides as well.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés was the perfect neighborhood for home-base, we were within walking distance of EVERYTHING. Here are a few pictures to inspire your next adventure…
(Montmartre was the only place we needed to train instead of walk – highly recommend)
Flight: Paris to Detroit
- Points Used: 95,000 AAdvantage Miles
- Cost out of Pocket: $160.92
- Cost Without Points: $1,756.00
For our flight home, we were actually going home-home for Thanksgiving (Toledo, Ohio). Although this flight was a bit trickier to figure out, we were happy to find a pretty quick route to the Midwest.
I had been storing up AAdvantage points, mainly through thanks to the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card. I still wasn’t able to take advantage of American’s off-peak rates (because the day before Thanksgiving is never going to be cheap), but I was willing to swallow the 95,000 miles price-tag because it was important for us to be home for the long weekend.
A week hasn’t gone by since our trip that one of us doesn’t say, “I miss Paris”.
You have NO EXCUSE, make “midnight in Paris” a reality this year. Or take that trip you’ve been dying to go on. Wherever it is you want to go, there’s a way to get there for a fraction of the price – and we’re here to help you make it happen!