Getting there: $22
Redemption: 2 economy tickets from San Diego -> Rome, Italy
Total Cost: 40,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles + $22 (taxes&fees). This was before they recently devalued their award chart, new cost would be 45,000 AA miles)
Booked: 5 months in advance
Earned from: 1 Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card w/ 50,000 Bonus miles after spending $3000.
Spend was accomplished by: Citi Checking Account Funding (unfortunately no longer available)
Opportunity Cost (cost of acquiring miles or points): $0
Notes: We searched for American Airlines off-peak Miles SAAver awards from 4 nearby airports: LAX, LGB, SNA, & SAN. Even when searching 5 months in advance, availability was limited because OFF-PEAK awards redemptions cost 1/3 fewer Miles than PEAK season. Fortunately We found SAN(San Diego) to Italy in late April. Lastly, at the time we were searching, availability was much great for travel during PEAK season.
18 hrs of travel time is made a lot less inconvenient when we get to spend 5 of those hours enjoying free wine, snacks and pozole thanks to the complimentary AdmiralClub lounge access that came with Siobhan’s Citi Prestige card (link on why you may want it) Though it does come with its draw backs, like wine making the wife a bit emotional.
From Airport to Airbnb: $18
Upon arrival we took advantage of the free airport wifi. This is where the GOOGLE MAPS APP shines! After a basic search for transit directions, we DOWNLOADED & SAVED the city of Rome. Doing so allowed the app’s featured blue dot or “current location” to move with us within the borders of the downloaded map, even without a data or wifi connection!
Note: In Italy to purchase a train ticket at a kiosk your card MUST have a 4 digit PIN, which makes Debit cards fine. However we would rather earn miles & points on all our purchases. Fortunately we have the Barclays Arrival Plus, one of only two US credit cards that offer Chip plus a 4 digit PIN instead of the standard Chip with Signature.
Three nights Airbnb in Rome. We used wedding gift money we received from Richard’s Nina Aurora & Nino Paulino as well as Siobhan’s Aunt Maureen & Uncle Dennis. Hola/ Hello, Gracias/ thank you, & we love you 🙂