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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We’re going to Hawaii, err – London & Paris

United Airlines is having a pretty amazing New Year sale on their flights. So amazing in fact, that Ashley and I changed our February vacation plans this year. Each February we take a vacation about the time Ashley finishes her year end closing work in finance. The last couple of years we had gone to Hawaii, and this year was to be the same.

In fact, we already had both our flight and our hotel room booked. We were flying from Los Angeles to Kona, Hawaii and staying at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort on the big Island of Hawaii. All free of course, book with frequent flyer miles and Hilton HHonors points.

Then I received the email on the United Airlines New Year’s sale. It seemed like there were some great fares to Europe, so I went to United’s website and found that round trips for a direct flight to London were going for right around $600. These are the same flights that when we looked last year, were impossible to get under $1500. Then looking at doing a multi-leg trip between London (4 days) and Paris (5 days) only increased the price by $40. An upgradeable far was only an additional $40. That meant a business class trip for the both of us (using United’s system-wide upgrades) could be had for right around $1300 – a great deal.

If you are making, recently made, or plan to make a vacation trip soon – I would highly recommend checking out the fares, they are pretty unbeatable. The actual fare for the London leg of the trip is only $175 with an equal amount being airport taxes. The taxes on the Paris flight home t

While it was initially a tough decision, our opinion was shifted by the face that we were not getting a “great” deal on our trip to Hawaii. Pretty much everything was on points – nothing that was discounted. That made a big difference in our reasoning.

So, on a quick shift – we booked our flight leaving Los Angeles on February 22nd for London, and returning from Paris on Sunday, March 2nd. Luckily, the points transfers from Hilton will work for the Paris Hilton Arc de Triomphe, and there was enough of a balance to get three additional nights at the Trafalgar Hilton in London.

Both of us have not been to London or Paris since 1996 (me) or 1997 (Ashley) – we are really looking forward to trip. Most spectacularly, neither of us had the opportunity to visit the beaches of Normandy from the World War II invasion – we are eagerly anticipating that!

The only concern – neither of us speak a lick of French. While we were both their last time we were traveling with a group of folks with at least one person that knew the language (very convenient for country hopping). Looks like we’ll need to visit and pick up an audio book for learning some basics.

Although, I am sure our pocketbooks will hurt a little after the trip as long as the British Pound and Euro keep moving up against the dollar. However, with most of the high-cost expenses being covered – it should not be too badly.

Finally, for our transportation between London and Paris we’ll be taking the “chunnel” – the Eurostar train that goes underneath the English Channel in about 2 hours. It looks to cost less than $100 each, and is quite a bit more efficient that flying between those two cities.