Redemptions: Portugal & Spain

Explained bellow is how we used 51,000 points + $316 for a likely cost of travel worth over $1700.

Redemption: 2 tickets RAK (Marrakesh) > LIS (Lisbon)

Total Cost: 24,000 Member Rewards Points (American Express) transfered to Avios, Iberia + $90.00 Total

Likely Cost: $449

Booked: 3 months in advance

Earned from: 50,000 points bonus from an American Express Premier Gold Rewards card

Opportunity Cost: $0

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Redemption: 2 tickets SCQ (Santiago de Compestela) to BIO (Bilbao)

Total Cost: 5,000 Member Rewards Points (American Express) transfered to Avios, Iberia + $108.00 total

Likely Cost: $575 for the same one hour non-stop flight!!! An alternative would be a one-stop four hour flight for $230, or $124 for a 11 hour train ride

Booked: 3-4 months in advance

Earned from: 50,000 points bonus from an American Express Premier Gold Rewards card

Opportunity Cost: $0

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Redemption: Hotel Maria Cristina, A Luxory Collections Hotel

Total Cost: 20,000 Starwood Preffered Guest Points

Likely Cost: $620.00

Booked: 3 months in advance

Earned from: 30,000 points bonus from an American Express Starwood Preffered Guest card

Opportunity Cost: $8, Del Amo Simon Mall gift card fees that were liquidated via Target prepaid red card – no longer available 😦

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Redemption: 2 tickets BIO (Bilbao) > BCN (Barcelona)

Total Cost:2,700 Member Rewards Points (American Express) transfered to Avios, Iberia + $116.00 total

Likely Cost: $202

Booked: 3 months in advance

Earned from: 50,000 points bonus from an American Express Premier Gold Rewards card

Opportunity Cost: $0

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California -> Europe

Redemption: 2 economy tickets from San Diego -> Europe

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 LAX, LGB, SNA, & SAN, since these airports were easily accessible to us. 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.