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Dream Vacation to Italy with Miles and Points

Posted on Mar 26, 2012 by in International, Travel | 4 comments

Lake Como, Italy

Itinerary:  Las Vegas, NV to ITALY
Length:  10 Days
Cost: $1,000 per person, all inclusive*
Miles Redeemed: 40,000 AA Miles per person
Pts Earned:  1,000 (valued at $15)

Last February, Mr. Travelbypoints fulfilled a travel dream he’s been harboring since he took a winter term course in Florentine Architecture his junior year of college.   Using miles, points and little bit of travel bargain savvy, we managed to piece together a 10- day whirlwind tour of Italy for two people for a true out of pocket total cost of a little less than $2,000, all inclusive of flights, 4/5 star hotels, decadent food (first trip to Italy, after all), admission tickets, ground transportation,  souvenirs, taxes and fees.   To put this in perspective, even with the benefit of a competitively priced travel package (ala Travelzoo Top 20), a comparable trip could easily run you $8,000-10,000 for two when all is said and done.    Did I mention that this trip was also our delayed honeymoon?  For 10 glorious days we would eat, drink and play carefree tourist through the top sights of Florence, Siena, Venice, Rome, Milan and Lake Como.

How did we do it? Miles and Points!

Mr. Travelbypoints signed up for two credit cards (one covered the flights, the other covered the two nights in what is arguably one of the nicest and most expensive hotels in all of Europe),  parlayed 4 cheap domestic hotel night stays into 2 free nights abroad (stayed two nights at a  Holiday Inn, got one night at an Intercontinental anywhere in the world), and took advantage of some unbelievable online promotions for the remaining hotel nights and train tickets within Italy.

Here’s a summary of our spoils:

Hotel Description Online Rate   We Paid  
Berchielli Hotel, Florence 4 Star, Heart of Florence just steps from Ponte Vecchio, 5 nights, including deluxe daily breakfast and wi-fi $250/nt $45/nt (online travel promo)
Intercontinental De La Ville, Rome 5 Star, Heart of Rome, located at top of Spanish Steps, 2 nights $450/nt free* (points)
Park Hyatt, Milan 5 Star, Heart of Milan, steps from Duomo, 2 nights $900/nt free* (points)

 

Transportation    Description Online Rate   We Paid  
Flights Roundtrip from Las Vegas, NV to Milan, Italy $1000 pp free* (miles)
High-speed Train Milan to Florence, Florence to Venice (r/t), Florence to Rome, Rome to Milan $1500 for 2 $300 (super saver fares)

 

With the nitty gritty trip planning/budgeting details out of the way, what’s left?  Trip reports about the six amazing cities we visited in Italy.  First stop – Florence.

* Total Cost Breakdown for Two People      $2,000 
Air:     $100
Train & Ground/Water Transportation:     $500
Hotel (incl. credit card annual fee):     $300
Food & Gelato:     $750
Activities/Incidentals/Gifts:     $350