spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Yay! The Paris-Seville ticket saga is OVER!

on October 25, 2018

This particular ticket purchase was a true roller coaster of emotions: from the high of getting a budget-appropriate late afternoon flight booked with Transavia in May, to the low of “unbooking” after they changed our departure time to 7am (ugh), to the 4 months of uncertainty since then as I tracked prices and they kept going up, and up, and up.  Well, I finally slayed this particular travel dragon thanks to a small amount of date flexibility, a museum request visit from my husband, and a shiny new credit card sign-up bonus.

First, tribute must be paid to the original dragon who inspired my slayage.


Steampunk-inspired Maleficent-as-dragon would not settle for price gouging or nonsensical layovers, and I won’t, either!

When we last left off, I was waiting for the Paris-Seville tickets I had in mind (on Vueling), to drop in price.  My Flights to Spain budget was $500.  My original tickets on Transavia (nonstop, departure time 4:50p) came in at $461.  Then I had to get those refunded when the departure time changed to early o’clock, and due to the exchange rate on Euros, I lost about $18 with the refund- poof!  After some savings with the Eurostar tickets, and accounting for the overage on the Newark-Honolulu tickets, I had $588 to spend on Paris-Seville, or $570 taking the poof into account.

By now I was annoyed.  I started wanting more for less.  I wanted to leave even later than late afternoon and squeeze in more Paris time.  After all, we previously lived in Seville and thus didn’t need as much touring time there- 3.5 fewer hours would be fine.  I found the last nonstop flight of the day, departing Paris at 8:20p, also on Vueling.  This flight became the focus of my price-tracking.  When I started, the price was €145pp (approx $167) which includes 1 carry-on and 1 personal item, plus €13 for 1 piece of checked luggage.  This was about $680, over my $570 budget.


I kept price tracking, having had good luck with it for most aspects of this trip, and frankly, since it was invented.  So, I was half mystified and half offended when the price climbed to $173pp, then $181, then $201!  It had stayed at $201 for a week when I decided to go for it on a new credit card, whose sign-up bonus would help defray this cost.  This particular card had been on my radar for a while, because of its general-purpose points (hello, statement credit!).  I hadn’t pulled the trigger on the application because I like to 1) be totally sure about meeting the minimum spend, and 2) have a specific travel purchase in mind first.  I was totally thinking I could keep the cost of these tickets in my budget previously, but now that we were looking at >$200 for a short-distance, one-way flight, or less money but with ludicrous layovers (11 hours in Lisbon? NO), I went ahead and applied.

I got the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.  Among other benefits, it offers 2 points per dollar on dining and travel, 1.5 points per dollar on everything else, an annual $100 Airline Incidental credit (for onboard meals, Wifi, etc, on certain airlines), Global Entry fee reimbursement every 4 years, and a 50k points sign-up bonus for 3k in spend in the first 90 days.  Annual fee: $95.

boa prem rewards.png

Not the most exciting card design.

Long story short, I was able to reach the minimum spend in 2 months, and had the 50,000 points from the bonus, plus 4,800 from the minimum spend, for $548 value as a statement credit.  I’m thinking, OK, about $804 in tickets, minus the $548 point value, leaves me $256 to actually pay out-of-pocket.  Definitely less than $570, good to go.  It was finally time to book!  I clicked on the flights, and….they were now $238 each!!!  Math: 238*4=952, 952-548=404.  So, I was going to have to pay $404 anyway?!  Though it was still less than $570, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth.  I had waited months, tracking prices, and even getting a new card, and was only going to save about $100 off my original budget?

how rude

I decided to take a step back, and asked for my husband’s advice.  He’s not into the minutiae of travel arrangements the way I am, but he appreciates the deals I am able to get.  He responded to my general distress by asking me to review the Paris itinerary so far.  I pulled up the spreadsheet and went through the days, where I had plugged in our see/shop/eat plans.  He asked about the Musée d’Orsay.  I replied that we didn’t really have time, due to the museum closing at 6p on our departure day, and us needing to make our way to the airport several hours before that after seeing the Eiffel Tower.  Plus, it was another art museum, (after going to the Louvre earlier in the visit), which, with even the most cultured kids…was a bit of a hard sell.  He made a sad-puppy face, but said OK.

That got me thinking, and going back to our family travel philosophy: we are going on vacation to learn, to have fun, and to spend time together.  The trip is for all members of the family equally- it’s the difference between “taking the kids to Europe” and “the family going to Europe.”  I find that this attitude prevents entitled behavior efficiently.  Anyway, I was determined to fit in the Musée d’Orsay for DH, because it’s his vacation, too!  I had to consider another night in Paris.  If I could find an early-morning nonstop flight to Seville for the next day, add on a hotel night, make it fit within the original budget, etc…this was a tall order.


But it happened!  Ready for this?  The 7am nonstop Paris (CDG)-Seville (SVQ) departure on Vueling for the next morning was a rock-bottom $139pp!  Math again: 139*4=559, plus approx 15 for 1 checked bag, = $574!!!  After applying the $548 credit from the new credit card, my Out-of-Pocket cost was $26.  Yes, $26.

Next was the hotel.  Since the flight departs so early, I decided against adding on a night at our Paris city-center hotel, and looked at options right in the Charles De Gaulle airport terminal.  After briefly checking about using our SPG (now Marriott) points, our IHG points, our Membership Rewards, etc…and understandably striking out on using points less than 2 months from a major holiday date, I found a nice ibis Styles hotel at CDG for €137, approx $156.  Add that to my $26 from the flights, and I was at $182, $388 less than my budget!  Plus, I got an extra night in Paris, meaning we have time to go to the Musée d’Orsay 🙂

spock win

I love this meme.

So, FINALLY…………..

Spain and France in 2018 or So Help Me
Estimated Actual
Main Transit Costs
Flights to/from US Mainland $ 2,500.00  $2835.00
Flights to Europe $ 30.00  $22.40
Eurostar to France $ 630.00  $218.16
Flights to Spain $ 500.00 $26.14
Flights within Spain $ 420.00  $361.30
Flights to US Mainland $ 200.00  $255.24

$4280 (estimated) minus $3718 (actual) = $562 under my Main Transit Costs budget.

candace heart eyes

I will confidently say I won this round of the travel game.  Next up, more details: long underwear, ice skating tickets, linking airline reservations, and more!

One response to “Yay! The Paris-Seville ticket saga is OVER!

  1. Gina I Valle says:

    love your perseverance!!!!!. Bravo!!!!!!!


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