My buddy works for one of the largest Mercedes Benz dealerships in the United States. We’ve been talking about booking a trip using miles and points, but we couldn’t decide when or where to go. Until last week, that is.
He called me up and said that there was an opportunity to take a tour of the Mercedes Benz factory in Stuttgart, Germany. Then we would drive a brand-new, fully-loaded S550 around Europe for a week, dropping it off in either Paris or Stuttgart. There was also an option to drop it off in Italy, but that would cost us $1,000, while the other 2 options were free.
The only thing better than driving your brand-new Mercedes Benz S550 around Europe… is driving someone else’s S550 around Europe.
- Booking Tickets To Germany So We Can Drive Across Europe in a Mercedes Benz S550
- Booking hotels for Mercedes Benz S550 European Delivery
He asked if I could find us some tickets. Heck yeah, let’s see what I found!
I found a few options using Lufthansa miles earned from the Barclay’s Lufthansa ticket, but I only had enough points for Economy and there was only award space available from LAX to Frankfurt or Munich, Germany (both of which are about 2 hours from Stuttgart). On top of 50,000 miles per person, we would have had to pay $629 each.
So, no luxury travel and we’d have to leave out of Germany since there was no availability out of Paris on the days we wanted to travel.
American Airlines offers “Saver” award space to Europe during the Winter at 20,000 miles per person each way in Economy. American’s website was giving a lot of “award space not available” errors, so I picked a flight through London Heathrow (which should be avoided at all costs because of the cash cost!). It was 40,000 miles round-trip and $700 each.
I also tried searching for Business Class Saver space (50,000 miles each way), but none was available on those dates.
United recently announced a devaluation that takes effect early in 2014, so these were actually the miles I wanted to use the most. It turns out, that United worked out the best… and is another reason to diversify your award miles. You never know which airline/alliance will work best for your specific trip until you start searching for award space.
I was able to book us in First Class from LAX to Philadelphia, then Business Class to Frankfurt. We’ll drive around Europe to get a sample of several different countries, then depart from Paris in First Class through Chicago back to Orange County.
The tickets were 117,500 miles per person and $146. As you can see, the cash price would have been $10,000 each. I don’t know anyone in their right mind who would pay that.
On the same dates of travel, I found flights from LAX to Frankfurt round-trip that would have been $8,700 per person in First Class the whole way, or $6,800 per person in Business Class. Even these amounts are far beyond the realm of what I’d be willing (or even able) to pay for a trip like this.
I was short 120,000 miles to make this trip happen, so I easily transferred 120,000 miles from my Chase Ultimate Rewards account.
We’re going to have an amazing trip… First and Business Class flight experience, tour the Mercedes Benz factory, drive around Europe in a fully-loaded S550, and see several countries, including Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and France. All for about the price it takes to get to Vegas from LA.