When you read this, I will be on my summer trip to Europe visiting Prague and Vienna. Although I’ve frequented Vienna multiple times, I’ve never been to Prague and I am always excited to visit new destinations. I will be meeting my family in Prague on their three city tour including Rome, Prague and Vienna. Svetlana is joining me in Vienna for another few days before heading off on her own week-long vacation. It will certainly be an exciting vacation – I am flying Business Class with miles both directions, visiting two really great cities and staying in a suite at my very much anticipated Park Hyatt Vienna that just opened this month. I will be writing a full trip report covering the destination, hotels and activities for my summer trip, of course!
Trip Report Index:
Planning and Overview
Here’s a breakdown of costs and how I paid for my trip with miles and points. Although I am meeting my family there and Svetlana for different parts of the trip and they all traveled using miles as well, I’ll just document my experience and what exactly I paid. I’ve included the estimated price of what the same thing would cost me otherwise.
- Business Class flights from New York for 100,000 United Airlines miles + $100 taxes (estimated cost: $3000)
- Three nights at Hilton Prague Old Town for 16,000 Hilton HHonors points + $75 per night (estimated cost: Three nights*$200 a night = $600)
- Five nights at Park Hyatt Vienna with three suite night award certificates from when the Chase Hyatt credit card used to offer suite awards and two Points and Cash award nights at 12,500 Hyatt Gold Passport points + $150 a night. The $300 charge is paid for with 30,000 Citi ThankYou points. (estimated cost: $400 for a standard room for five nights, $1280 a night for a suite).
- A train ticket from Prague to Vienna for 30 euros or $40.
Overall, I spent 100,000 United Airlines miles, 64,000 Hilton HHonors points, three Hyatt suite night certificates, 25,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points and 30,000 Citi ThankYou points. The monetary costs ended up being $440, which I can redeem 40,000 Barclaycard Arrival miles to cover as each mile redeems at 1.1 cents.
Adding up what all these things would cost me otherwise, it would actually cost me around $6000 if I booked a standard room in Vienna. With the suite being even more expensive, the whole thing would cost over $10,000 if I booked the exact rooms I got.
For my flights, I redeemed United Airlines miles to fly in Business Class. I did book the ticket prior to the United Airlines devaluation earlier this year so US to Europe cost me 100,000 miles round-trip. My flight to Prague was booked on Lufthansa with a connection in Frankfurt. The flight back was on Austrian Airlines non-stop Vienna to New York.
The exact flights I have would currently cost 140,000 miles. This is because Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines are partners and United will charge 70,000 miles each way on its partners in Business Class to Europe. If your flights across the Atlantic are on United Airlines itself, then you only pay 57,500 miles each way for a total of 115,000 miles round-trip.
The other thing I did was add a free one-way flight from Los Angeles to New York earlier in the year without paying any extra miles. I used this as part of a completely different trip. This is something we can do when we have only a simple round-trip or an open jaw. This is because United Airlines allows a stopover and two open jaws. I wrote a full post on how to leverage these rules for a free one-way here: How to Add Free One-Way Trips On United Airlines Awards.
This trip will be my first ever visit to Prague and something I am sincerely looking forward to as I’ve heard excellent things about it. I love Europe in general, but I also love visiting new cities and seeing new destinations. On the agenda are likely to be the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, Old Town Square, Wenceclas Square and, of course, numerous walks enjoying Prague’s unique architecture.
In Prague, we decided to book the Hilton Prague Old Town, where I am a Gold member from holding the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Credit Card. The hotel on average was $200 a night on for our dates and we needed two rooms as four people. The Points and Money rate at this property ran us 16,000 points + $75 a night, which we paid by redeeming Barclaycard Arrival miles. The location is in Old Town, perfectly positioned for walking through Prague’s cobblestone streets that have been there for ages.
I can say with full certainty that I think very highly of Vienna. I have already been there four times, a few of which were for work, and I will never hesitate to go back. My parents, sister and Svetlana have never been there so I know I’ll be revisiting a few of the sites. I am a big fan of castle and Vienna for me is all about the royal residences. On the agenda, we definitely have Schonbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, Imperial Palace and walks around the Historic Center.
Hotel: Park Hyatt Vienna
Most readers of The Miles Professor already know how excited I am about the Park Hyatt Vienna, where I’ll be spending five nights in a $1280 a night suite. My family will be with in Vienna for three nights and Svetlana is joining us after two nights there. As part of our European “Tag-Team” Vacation Plan, Svetlana and I are going to stay in Vienna another two nights after my family leaves.
We redeemed three suite night awards from Chase Hyatt credit cards that we got last year. Currently, the credit card offers only standard rooms, but it can still be great value for those high end Hyatt properties. For the last two nights, we redeemed a Points and Cash Award for 12,500 Hyatt Gold Passport points + $150 a night. We ordered Hyatt gift checks with Citi ThankYou points ($100 = 10,000 points) to pay for the cash portion as well as hotel incidentals. As Svetlana will have Diamond status, we used her Diamond suite upgrades to upgrade to a suite and we will also be enjoying complimentary breakfast and internet during our stay.
I look forward to the trip itself as well as writing about it. I hope everyone else is having a nice week as well and enjoying their summers!