Reader question answered: booking a quick trip to London on points

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“Hi Mike, so I was looking for a quick trip to London from SFO area. The cheapest I could find on points/miles was from United airlines. 52K miles plus about $190 fees.

I also had a shortage of United Miles, I only had 39K left over. So I had two questions:

1. Was this the best move for a quick trip to London? If not, what was better in terms of maximizing points/miles?

2. How can I transfer miles to United? The best I could find was transferring my Marriott points, but it was a 3 to 1 ratio and I really don’t want to lose that much Marriott points.”

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Hello and welcome to another Friday edition of Daily Drop! I’m finally back in Toronto and already regretting leaving the warm weather of East Africa… 🥶

👆️ Me, right now

We’ve got some fun stuff to share today, so I’ll jump straight in:

  • 🙋 Reader question answered: Booking a trip to London with points

  • ✈️ First-class Friday: the all-business-class airline

  • 🖼️ Funny travel meme

🙋 Reader question: How to book a trip to London with miles and points

We have readers reach out all the time with questions about how to book specific trips.

Just so you know, we DO monitor this email, and do our best to address as many of your questions as possible - even ones like this.

Today’s booking question comes from Ahmed, who asked:

“Hi Mike, so I was looking for a quick trip to London from SFO area. The cheapest I could find on points/miles was from United airlines. 52K miles plus about $190 fees.

I also had a shortage of United Miles, I only had 39K left over. So I had two questions:

1. Was this the best move for a quick trip to London? If not, what was better in terms of maximizing points/miles?

2. How can I transfer miles to United? The best I could find was transferring my Marriott points, but it was a 3 to 1 ratio and I really don’t want to lose that much Marriott points.”

Ahmed, Daily Drop reader

I’ll start with the second question first. The answer is: there is no right answer.

Helpful, right?

What I mean is that it’s not wrong to transfer hotel points to airlines (like Marriott to United, for example), but it’s not the most optimal way.

You can transfer points from both Chase and Bilt at a 1:1 ratio, compared to the 3:1 ratio you get when transferring Marriott points.

So if you have a card that earns Chase points (which you mentioned you do), I’d use those to transfer to United when you need to top up your balance.

Now for the main question - is United your best option?

Since SFO is a hub for United, I think this is a great place to start. Right off the bat, I was able to find some round-trips with nonstop flights for only 48,000 miles, also with about $190 in fees.

If you have some flexibility, It should be easy to shave a few thousand miles off the price you found.

Another option that a lot of people don’t know about is Aer Lingus, which has a “sweet spot” award between Dublin and San Francisco for only 16,000 Avios each way.

You’ll pay more in fees since Aer Lingus (and most airlines that use Avios) have fuel surcharges, but if you save tens of thousands of points/miles, it could be worth it.

I know you’re not going to Dublin… I’ll get to that in a sec.

Avios are very easy to come by since you can transfer Chase points, Amex points, Citi ThankYou points, Capital One miles, and Bilt Rewards… So you’ve got options…

FYI, you can transfer Avios freely between British Airways, Qatar Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia - so you only need a way to get your points to one of those airlines to use them on the rest.

When I am traveling to North America from the UK, I always jump over to Ireland first. 99% of the time, you’ll find that the taxes and fees on an award ticket are WAY cheaper. UK, London, and London Airport taxes are so high that it actually makes quite a difference.

For example, look at the difference in prices when traveling to Toronto from London compared to Dublin on Aeroplan, my program of choice.

It’s slightly less convenient, but I’m happy to pay the $10-$15 for a flight from London to Dublin if it means saving hundreds of dollars and some points. Plus, spending a day or two in Dublin is always a pleasure anyway.

So the overall answer to your question is: Yes, 52k points for round-trip flights from the West Coast to London is a good deal. But if you want to dive a little deeper, you can get United flights for slightly less and book with Avios for significantly less.

✈️ First-class Friday: The all-business-class airline is having a sale

You probably never knew that there are airlines out there that only offer business-class seats…

And now that you do know, you’re probably afraid to know how expensive a ticket like that would cost…

But don’t be afraid, my friends. Because La Compagnie, the all-business-class airline, is having a Valentine’s Day sale that could actually save you money on business-class, trans-Atlantic travel.

Until February 14th, you can book round-trip, business class flights for as little as $1,900 total. And while that might sound like a lot, just hear me out.

Here are the routes you can book with this sale:

  • New York to Milan for $1,900 round-trip

  • New York to Paris for $1,900 round-trip

  • New York to Nice for $2,400 round-trip

The best part is the flexibility of the sale. While you only have two weeks to book flights, the sale is valid for flights all the way through December 31st, 2023 - so you have plenty of options for when you travel.

Here are some of the perks you get when flying with this airline:

  • Lounge access in whichever airports you’re flying to/from

  • Lie-flat, business-class seats

  • Meal service, complete with expensive champagne

  • An entire plane of business-class seats with fewer people

So, yeah. Pretty much what you get when flying business with any airline worth anything…

So why fly with them instead of your favorite airline?

For one, these prices are WAY cheaper than flying business class with any North American airline…

For example, flying on Delta to any of these routes will run you well over $3,000, sometimes close to double the price of La Compagnie…

Not everyone has a stash of points and miles to use to book these bucket list trips. I know plenty of people who don’t travel very often and save up every year for one really nice trip.

So if you want to shell out for a luxurious trip across the pond, this could be a great way to fly in style without breaking the bank.

🖼️ Funny travel meme

We’ve all experienced kids who seem like they just want to watch the world burn…

That’s all for this week, folks. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some sleep… for some reason I feel exhausted after flying 30 hours in 4 days… 😴

Would you pay $1,900 for round-trip business class flights to Europe? What is your favorite points and miles “sweet spot?” Let me know by replying to this email or reaching out on social media.

Cheers y’all,

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, The Daily Drop

43.6465° N, 79.4637° W

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