Using AwardAce to Check for Our Options
If you're flying to Disneyland Paris, you're going to want to fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). CDG is just a ten-minute train ride from Disneyland Paris, making it the best airport of all the Disney destinations.
Booking with points always starts at AwardAce for me. AwardAce provides a quick overview of the landscape for award bookings between two locations. Besides giving you an outline of how many points each booking will cost, it tells you which major point programs transfer to the individual airline programs, as well as providing guides for booking each award. If you want to see this in action, head over to the AwardAce redemption search, enter in two airports, and scroll down - it's pretty simple.
Searching between Chicago (ORD) and Paris (CDG), AwardAce suggests both Iberia Plus and Executive Club (British Airways) as the cheapest options, starting at 32,500 and 34,000 points roundtrip each. Notably, these redemptions are noted as carrying hefty ($$$) surcharges.
I did find some availability (by searching on the British Airways website) in early March that would cost 34,000 Avios (the British Airways currency), but the surcharges come out to $415.12 per person! This is especially hefty as it is routine to see flights between the US and Paris for under $500. The next two options that jump out at me are American Airlines and Asia Miles, both starting at 45,000 points.
Evaluating Option 1: American Airlines for Disneyland Paris flights
If there's a downside to AwardAce, it's that it doesn't immediately distinguish "peak" and "off-peak" prices. As you might expect, "off-peak" prices are lower, but at less desirable times to travel. I visited to American website and did a search for AAdvantage bookings. Off-peak availability on my route isn't too hard to come by, outside spring and summer.
If you can get those rates (the above pictures shows one-way rates), you'll be at 45,000 AAdvantage miles per person, roundtrip. At peak, it's 60,000. As of November 2017, we're seeing the following signup bonus offers on personal credit cards that can get us AAdvantage miles:
- Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard (60,000 miles)
- AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard (60,000 miles)
- Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (25,000 Starpoints worth 30,000 AAdvantage Miles)
A two-adult household thus has the opportunity for 300,000 AAdvantage miles from these bonuses alone. Remember, if you need advice or explanation on earning a credit card signup bonus, we've got you covered!
Evaluating Option 2: Asia Miles for Disneyland Paris flights
To use Asia Miles for the same American flights, you'll need to fill out an online request form (not quite the same as directly booking online). Assuming you can get availability at 45,000 miles per person, you have a variety of options for getting 90,000 Asia Miles.
The top signup bonuses for this option (as of November 2017) are:
- Citi Thank You Premier Mastercard (50,000 ThankYou points)
- SPG American Express (25,000 Starpoints worth 30,000 Asia Miles)
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold (25,000 Membership Rewards points)
Unfortunately, I can't say exactly what the surcharges would be (since I can't book these online), but AwardAce puts them at "$" out of a max "$$$," and American surcharges don't tend to be high.
Evaluating Option 3: Korean Air Skypass for Disneyland Paris flights
A final option worth checking out is Korean SKYPASS, which offers bookings for 50,000 miles per person roundtrip. SKYPASS is a transfer partner of Chase, which has great signup bonuses on the
Unfortunately, SKYPASS does not allow me to book this route online, so I can't confirm what the surcharges on AirFrance and Delta (the direct routes) would look like.
A lot goes into choosing which of these options to pursue. SKYPASS is appealing for a few reasons. First, the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred are great cards that everyone should consider, and they can easily be downgraded to some awesome free cards as well. They're also good cards to get early on since they are covered by Chase's 5/24 rule. But the SKYPASS surcharges might make this a bad option.
The direct American redemption (using AAdvantage Miles) is a good option unless you need a peak redemption, as you'll quickly exhaust your options for earning miles. And, like Asia Miles, an AAdvantage redemption might not be a great use of Starpoints.
All that said, these are great ways to get your family to Disneyland Paris with almost no cash cost!