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Okay technically *I* am not going to Europe, but my parents are, with my miles. Originally a trip to Scotland was going to be a surprise trip for my dad but my mom decided she had to tell him :-).
This was one of the 6 vacations that I have been in the middle of planning, and it’s good to have finally gotten this booked.
Award availability to Edinburgh Scotland was pretty hard to find and it took me quite awhile of searching, even with pretty flexible dates, to find a combination that would work. Here’s what we ended up with
Outbound flights to Europe
The tricky part for us was that I wanted to do business class flights. I was hoping for that to be a surprise, but after we returned from our lie flat seats to Peru, my mom asked and so I had to tell her :-). There was plenty of economy award availability but business class was tougher.
For the outbound legs, I ended up with CLE-IAD-DUB-EDI with the overwater (IAD-DUB) leg on Aer Lingus. That did make the outbound leg cost 70,000 United miles per person instead of 57,500 United miles if I had been able to find availability on United itself. But after months of search, I finally decided it was worth it to just pull the trigger. I had a bunch of United miles from a previous credit card signup and transferred the rest from Chase Ultimate Rewards
Now we just have to hope that their Aer Lingus flight to Dublin isn’t canceled like mine was!!!
Returning home from Europe
On the way home, I booked DUB-EWR-CLE. Both of these flights are on United Airlines so I could have booked it with 57,500 United miles. I didn’t have any United miles left and wanted to save my Chase miles, so instead I used 55,000 Aeroplan miles transferred from American Express points. Aeroplan does charge a lot of fuel surcharges on many airlines, but United is not one of those. With taxes, it was $62.30 CAD (about ~$46 USD).
Dublin is one of the cheapest airports to fly back to the US from.
PLUS, there is a US customs preclearance facility in Dublin so when they arrive in Newark they won’t have to go through immigration again.
I couldn’t book the outbound leg with Aeroplan miles because Aer Lingus is not a Star Alliance member – they just have a relationship with United specifically
(SEE ALSO: Can you name the 27 Star Alliance airlines?)
All that’s left
All that’s left to do now is book flights from Edinburgh to Dublin. I am hopeful that should be pretty easy to do with Avios on Aer Lingus. And since this is not to/from North America, it should only cost 4500 Avios per person still!