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Miles and points have helped our family travel in ways that I would have never thought possible decades ago. As a family, since our first trip on miles and points (to a family reunion in Reno back in 2014), we’ve been to Disney World, several cross country Amtrak train trips and more. Miles and points have also allowed us to take smaller trips (Without the WHOLE family) – both one on one trips with our kids and trips with just my wife and I

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And now, we’re headed to Europe. My youngest daughter really wanted to go to London, so we have been planning that trip for awhile. Originally, my son wanted to go to Gibraltar, but we convinced him that London would be fine :-). And then my wife said she’d be mad if I took one of the kids to Paris without her, so we decided to make it a 4-person trip and visit London and Paris.

Flights To London and Paris

We had been loosely planning this trip for awhile, but then a few months ago, Virgin Atlantic had awesome award availability on the Delta direct flight from Paris to Cincinnati. This historically has been the only legacy carrier flight to Europe from Cincinnati (though now British Airways does also fly to London), and I’m excited to finally get to try it out. Normally it is hundreds of thousands of miles to book this direct flight so we’ve always connected when heading to Europe.

We booked the following in business class for 60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles (transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards) and $233 per ticket

  • DL229 CDG-CVG, leaving Paris at 12:00pm and arriving Cincinnati at 4:25pm (9 hours 25 minutes)

That set our return trip, but it took awhile to find the right outbound flights. Eventually, we found the flights we were looking for. We paid 57,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles plus $33.60 per ticket for the following outbound itinerary.

  • AA4365 CVG-JFK, leaving Cincinnati at 5:24pm and arriving New York at 7:25pm (2 hours 1 minute)
  • AA104 JFK-LHR, leaving New York at 10:25pm and arriving London at 10:25am (7 hours)

I think the kids are more excited that the Cincinnati to New York leg is in “first” class. I have tried to tell them that domestic first class is really not all that special, but we shall see. I think this might be my first domestic first class flight, since previously when I have booked a business or first class award the domestic legs have either been on separate tickets or only cleared to economy.


We will have 4 nights in London and then 3 nights in Paris. I think we are going to stay at a Holiday Inn Express in London, since that will give us the 4th night free due to us having the IHG credit card.

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We had originally looked at the Holiday Inn Express London – Hammersmith, but they only have “family rooms” (that sleep 4) on 3 of the 4 days we are staying. I’m still monitoring that for availability to open up, but in the meantime, we booked 4 nights at the Holiday Inn Express London – Wandsworth for a total of 66,000 IHG points for 4 nights.

In Paris, our plans are still a bit up in the air, and we should probably figure that out sooner rather than later :-). There just aren’t a ton of great options for lodging for 4 people. I had looked at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile which is a category 4 Hyatt, but they don’t have any award availability on our dates for a standard room (of course – curse you Hyatts playing games with award availability!). They do have an “upgraded” room with Club Access for 21,000 points a night, but that room only sleeps 3. We’d be interested potentially in access to the Regency Club there to cut down on food costs potentially, but I’d prefer not to pay 42,000 points a night for 2 rooms there. Though currently we haven’t found anything better – I’d love to hear suggestions!

We’re open to spending 3 nights in central Paris, but since we have a noon flight, we may end up spending the last night at a CDG airport hotel. We both have IHG free night certificates from the IHG Premier card, so we were looking possibly at using them for 2 rooms at the Holiday Inn Express Paris – CDG Airport.

What to do in London and Paris

Then it’s a matter of what to do. Since neither of my kids have ever been to London or Paris, I’m sure we will mostly do the “touristy” things. I know a trip up to the Warner Brothers / Harry Potter Studio is on the list. My wife and I went to London a few years ago, but there’s still much that we didn’t get to see since I think we were only there for 2 or 3 days.

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I was born in Germany as my dad was in the U.S. Army at the time, so I’ve actually been to Paris (and London), but only as a 1 year old so clearly I don’t remember anything :-). I have been told that I even attended Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. In Paris, I know we have the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and the catacombs on the list, but we also have a bit of room for a few other things if anyone has suggestions!

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The Bottom Line

My wife and I and two of our kids are headed to Europe in a bit. While my wife and I went to London a few years ago, my kids haven’t been there and none of us have been to Paris (at least, not since I was a baby). Miles and points have helped us make this trip at a fraction of the cost that it otherwise would have cost, and we are all excited to go. I will be sure to share some of our adventures here so subscribe and watch this space for further updates.

Any suggestions for our trip to Europe? Leave your ideas and thoughts in the comments below

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