Last year when my wife and I took a trip to Belgium and France, my mom and dad graciously agreed to watch the kids for 10 days. As an added incentive I offered to fly my parents anywhere in the world.
My parents have never traveled abroad. My mom has allergies to a random assortment of foods and it makes travel difficult for her. So she has always been reluctant to go overseas. I’ve sort of made it my personal mission to get them abroad and it looks like I have succeeded. My family roots are from Ireland and, in fact, we actually know where our family home used to be. So my mom and dad have decided to go to Ireland for the trip I owe them.
The plan originally was for my family of 4 to join them. A little surprise later (kiddo #3 on the way) that changed the plans to just my mom and dad going alone. The last couple of days, however, my wife and I have been talking about forging ahead and going with the grandparents. We are looking to go the summer of 2017 so the new addition will be a year old by then. The older boys will be 6 and 5 and they travel very well, so long story short we can make it work. Plus, I very much want to go to the former family estate with my dad.
Now the big question is how do we get there? My goal is all 7 in business class but if we had too (and likely we will) my wife and kids and I will fly coach. To get all 7 of us in business class we will need to split us all up. My current thinking to get there is as follows:
Right now (and hopefully in 7 to 8 months when I book this trip) American Airlines is still offering great business class availability to Europe on select routes. Ideally, I would fly them to the UK on AA metal in AA’s new business class product. They could then spend some time exploring the UK before meeting us in Ireland.
Currently AA business class is 100k roundtrip. However, after March 22, 2016 the award redemption will increase to 115k roundtrip. Not a big deal. I will need 230k total miles to get my parents to Ireland. Despite last year’s trip I am still sitting on 200k AA miles so to get the needed miles for them will not be a problem.
Unlike my parents, this will be a bit more complicated. I will be traveling with my wife, 6 year old son, 5 year old son, and our 1 year old son. For this plan to work our best bet is to fly Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus. I want to travel this route for a couple of reasons.
First and foremost, I do not want to fly west coast to Europe in one flight with the kids. I would like to break it up. By breaking up the flight we can have a stopover in BOS, get the kids adjusted incrementally to the time change, and then take a short flight to DUB.
The second reason is that BOS to DUB sits on a sweet spot on the Avios award chart. Granted, it used to be a lot sweater under the old chart but relative to the new award chart it is still a sweet spot. Thanks to this sweet spot the miles needed is still a lot cheaper than other options for 5 business class tickets.
Roundtrip I need 25k avios per passenger for economy or 75k per passenger for business. (Don’t you miss the good old days when it was only a 2x increase from economy to business?).
To get us all there we are looking at 125k miles for economy and 375k miles in business. My first goal is to go business class. I think having beds for the kids to sleep on for the flight will be huge.
Right now I have about 220,000 Avios. I will get another 50k once I finish the minimum spend on the current 100k offer. My wife is due for another credit card churn soon and I will include the 100k offer in her next round of apps as well.
The glaring issue here is that the 375k avios only covers BOS to DUB. PDX to BOS is still not covered. I haven’t decided what to do about that. I may see if I can cover that with Avios as well, or just pay cash. Or I may just scrap this plan and look at other options. That part is TBD.
A part of me thinks I am nuts going to Ireland with this many young kids. However, I think it will be worth it which is why we have decided to just do it.