Surprising My Parents With a Trip to Europe — Reader Success Story

Apr 18, 2018

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Robert, who helped his parents spend a memorable anniversary in Paris. Here’s what he had to say:

My sister and I wanted to organize a special surprise for our parents’ 30th wedding anniversary, and we thought an all expenses paid, luxury trip to Paris would be the perfect way to celebrate!

As long-time readers of The Points Guy, we’ve taken advantage of numerous credit card sign-up bonuses and focused our spending on cards with bonus categories. That has allowed us to build balances with American Airlines and Chase Ultimate Rewards, which we were able to use toward this trip. 

Finding non-stop, business class availability on American Airlines metal can be notoriously difficult, but with flexibility in the schedule we were able to land two seats across the Atlantic for just 57,500 miles per person each way. Even better, my sister and I each have an AAdvantage credit card, so we earned a 10% rebate on the miles we spent.

We then pooled our Ultimate Rewards and booked six nights at the Park Hyatt Paris for 30,000 points per night, which we knew would be a great stay based on your reviews. This hotel costs more than $700 a night, meaning we were able to get more than two cents per point in redemption value. All in all, our parents were surprised and enjoyed a trip that would have been unaffordable if we paid cash. Thank you for helping them enjoy their anniversary in style!

(Photo courtesy Park Hyatt Paris)
(Photo courtesy Park Hyatt Paris)

The AAdvantage program earned its reputation for having scarce low-level award space, but international premium seats seem to have become more plentiful since American Airlines pledged to increase MileSAAver availability last fall. As I write this, I see a wide open award calendar for many transatlantic routes throughout this summer and fall. That includes service on AA metal, which allows you to avoid the fuel surcharges tacked onto British Airways awards. There’s still room for improvement — like removing unnecessary stops from domestic awards — but I’m glad to see the program trending in the right direction.

If you redeem AAdvantage miles regularly, don’t overlook the 10% mileage rebate on the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard and other co-branded cards. Based on my most recent valuations, spending around 68,000 miles annually would earn you a rebate roughly equivalent to the $99 annual fee. However, keep in mind that the benefit is capped at 10,000 miles annually, so you won’t be getting a full 10% back once you redeem more than 100,000 miles in a calendar year.

I’m always moved when people use their rewards to benefit others. Your points and miles can do a lot of good in the world, whether that means assisting a friend in need, donating to support a charitable organization, or simply giving the gift of travel to someone you care about like Robert and his sister did. TPG readers have shown a lot of generosity over the years, not only by supporting causes I believe in, but also by sharing knowledge with one another in the comments on each post and in the TPG Lounge on Facebook. I’m proud to be part of such an awesome community!

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! To thank Robert for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.