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By 10xReader Ian K
My fiance told me that she would enjoy honeymooning anywhere as long as it was with me. The only requirement was that she wanted a true honeymoon meaning we had to leave right after we got married. So, to keep my new bride happy, I decided I would splurge and try and get business class round-trip tickets somewhere. After searching for all the possible routes I could think of for a month or so, I decided the best destination to meet this goal was Spain.
Our best option to Spain was to use American AAdvantage miles to fly on its partner British Airways from Las Vegas. I had opened a Barclays Aviator Red Card and a CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard when they each had a 60,000-mile sign-up bonus. I had already used some of those miles on a trip to New York which left us a little short of the miles we needed. After looking at all other options I could find, I decided that it was worth buying the extra miles I needed to make up the difference to fly business class to Madrid. It was even worth the outrageous $1,100 taxes/fees you have to pay when flying British Airways.
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I had much better luck finding business class award space for the return flights home since we didn’t have a specific travel date. I managed to find business class award space with Aeroplan on a SWISS flight. I transferred 110,000 Membership Rewards points I had earned with The Platinum Card from American Express and the American Express Business Gold Card.
The cash price for these flights was $16,000 on the day that I booked them, so miles and points were necessary for us to be able to book business class.
On the day of our flight, we made a stop at The Club at LAS — the lounge British Airways uses in Las Vegas — to get some food and decompress after a busy day.
We were very grateful for the lie-flat seats and the service on British Airways was on par with what I expected.
Before the Marriott/Starwood merger, I had already opened the Chase Marriott Premier Business and Chase Marriott Premier cards plus the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from Amex. With the points I earned with these cards, I booked 5 nights — with the fifth night free — at AC Hotel Atocha in Madrid for 100,000 Marriott points. We were greeted with a plate of fruit and cava to celebrate our honeymoon.
After 5 days exploring Madrid — with a day trip to Toledo, we checked out only paying the value added tax (VAT) of 12 Euro. Afterwards, we headed to Zaragoza which was the halfway point between Madrid and Barcelona. We explored the 5th largest city in Spain after dropping our luggage off at the hostel we had book with Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase travel portal. I totally recommend this for day-trips in Spain so you have a place to SIESTA!
We then continued on to Barcelona.
We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel Barcelona for 5 nights using 140,000 Marriott Points — again, making use of Marriott’s fifth-night free benefit. Again, we were greeted with a fruit and sweets plate and a bottle of Cava.
Barcelona was a lot of fun and we enjoyed exploring the city. We did the touristy things like walking La Rambla and visiting La Sagrada Familia. I think one of the highlights of the trip was taking a day trip to the Monastery at Montserrat. My wife and I bought the TOT Montserrat tickets which included a round-trip train ride to the base of the mountain, a ticket to get to the monastery, unlimited access to the funiculars, access to the museum, and lunch, all for only 54 euro. Since two tickets cost more than $100, I put them on my Barclaycard Arrival Plus and was able to erase the cost of the whole day trip.
The Flight Home
As I mentioned earlier, our flight home was on SWISS in business class. The business class lounge in Zurich was very nice and had a nice selection of wine and spirits to enjoy.
When we boarded, we found an amenity kit and bedding waiting at our seats. Again, we had lie-flat seats to make the flight home more comfortable.
The lactose-free meal was surprisingly good.
As nice as the business class was, both my wife and I agreed that ANA economy food was better than both British Airways and SWISS Business class options.
My wife and I had an amazing time in Spain and are already excited at the prospect of going again. It was very easy to get around and the people were friendly and the food and wine were amazing. If you’re into history and architecture, there are plenty of things to do. I even saw a Roman wall and tower that was originally built in 400 AD!
We would not have been able to do this without learning about points and miles from reading 10xTravel. For 10 days in Spain, just counting lodging and flights, our total out of pocket cost was only $1,635. The cash price for that same trip would have been $17,820. Not bad if you ask me!
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