To London on a whim

28

Being a career blogger has its perks.  One of my favorite perks is the ability to do my job anywhere.  This gives me the ability to tag along when my wife travels for work, which she often does.  Having oodles of miles at my disposal obviously helps a lot too.

This time, I wasn’t planning to join my wife on her business trip to London.  We had just been to London last month and I figured it would make sense to wait until she returns in the spring when the weather would be better.  As her trip got closer and closer, though, I started to regret the decision.  She would be staying at one of my favorite hotels in the world, the St. Pancras Renaissance London.  What a waste for her to enjoy that hotel without me.

View of the Eurostar from within the St Pancras Renaissance London

Yesterday, my wife’s flight to London was scheduled to leave at 6:25 pm.  So, yesterday morning I checked award prices for her flight.  Maybe if the price was right, I’d go along.

Not surprisingly, cash prices for the flight were insane.  My wife had upgraded to business class, so I’d have to pay a mere $10,256 to join her there.  Of course, I wasn’t planning to do anything like that.

Delta’s mileage award prices were equally insane.  150K round trip for economy or 560,000 miles for business class.  Nope. That’s not going to happen.

Virgin Atlantic, meanwhile, wanted only 95,000 miles round-trip for the same exact business class flight.  Unfortunately, they also wanted $1,321 in taxes and fees.  Yikes.  Again, that’s not going to happen.

Air France offered the best solution (given that I don’t have Korean Air miles).  Air France wanted 127,000 miles and about $283 (most of which is the UK departure tax).  I decided to do it.  I checked first with our pet sitter.  Was she available?  Why yes, she was.  And I called to move an appointment that was scheduled for later in the week.  I was ready.

Booking the flight

After verifying that the award was available, I logged into my Citibank account and transferred 127,000 ThankYou Rewards points to my Air France Flying Blue account.  This only took a couple of minutes but it was long enough to cause a problem.  When I searched again on the Air France website, the outbound leg of the award was no longer available.  Yikes!

Since it was only about 8 hours before departure, I thought it was likely that the Air France website only shows flights further out.  In other words, the award was probably still available, just not through the website.  So I called to see if I could book it over the phone.  After an agonizing half hour wait, I finally got to speak to a real person.  And, within minutes he found the flight and booked it for me for the exact price that I had expected.

Away we go!

London is one of my favorite cities in the world.  And, thanks to the power transferable points, I’m on my way to visit again.  By the time you read this, I may be enjoying afternoon tea at the St. Pancras, or headed out to the theater to see a play…

St. Pancras Renaissance Chambers Club tea service
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