spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

An Adventure in American AAdvantage and Avios

…ay ay ay ūüôā¬† My mission: get the 4 of us from Seville (SVQ) to Barcelona (BCN) using less than $420, preferably on nonstop flights, preferably later in the day. Seemed easy at first: Iberia MUST have a nonstop flight between these popular Spanish destinations, right? And I could totally use my Avios on Iberia flights, so that would be a cinch, right? You would think so…

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Paris to Seville UNbooked! And Newark-Honolulu finally booked!

Why would I UNbook something when the cancellation/change fees are crazytown?¬† Trust me, all will be explained.¬† I had all my price alerts set and had been manually checking prices as well…and it paid off!¬† I used my trusty¬†Alaska Companion Fare to make some travel magic…and I was able to stay (sort of) on budget.¬† Here’s how I did it… Read the rest of this entry »

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Bits & Pieces: Southwest Hawaii news, IHG and SPG card changes

Holy cannoli, things have been crazy lately.¬† My trip planning took a bit of a back seat, though I did manage to book some tickets from Paris to Seville on Transavia, which is a European low-cost carrier affiliated with Air France/KLM.¬† More on that in another post- especially as they’ve already made an unfavorable schedule change…I refused the change via email and they said they’ll be contacting me (during THEIR business hours, in the Netherlands) to discuss the alternatives.¬† Anyway…on to the good stuff! Read the rest of this entry »

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Confession: I just bought 4 tickets…with cash

I KNOW!¬† It’s so rare for me to pay for anything but taxes when using miles/points, or pay for 1 or 2 fares and use miles/points/companion fare for the rest.¬† But this time it made a lot of sense.¬† I still have some tickets to buy for the European trip, but I’ll discuss some nice updates from Chase Ultimate Rewards¬†that may just help me out with those. Read the rest of this entry »

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Consulate and Embassy- what’s the difference?

I recently had cause to consider the title question, and realized that I couldn’t quite answer it.¬† It was on my mind as I renewed DD’s passport and needed to browse the travel.state.gov website for the appropriate forms.¬† It popped up again when my parents sent me a box of some childhood documents, including my original application for Naturalization, which had some government addresses on it.¬† Do you know the difference between a consulate and an embassy?¬† Let’s find out! Read the rest of this entry »

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Award travel success- transatlantic flights

I plugged our voyage  into the Great Circle Mapper, an excellent site to determine flight miles between destinations, potentially very useful in the near future (see Flights to Spain and Flights within Spain further down).  This is what came back!

europe trip route map

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Award travel success so far, European hotels

Yeaaaaaaaaaaah buddy! We currently have 4 of 7 hotel nights needed covered with points, with 2 of the remaining 3 hopefully covered by certificates later this year.  I shall now regale you with my recent adventures in hotel booking.

Um, have you ever noticed that European hotels (even American chains) rarely sleep more than 2 people?¬† I’ve had quite a time¬†setting up 4-person rooms in London, Paris,¬†and Barcelona.¬† We are lucky to be able to stay with family or friends in our other 3 stops (North Carolina, Seville, and New Jersey).¬† My chart:

Location # of nights needed # of nights booked on points # of nights paying OOP % nights covered
North Carolina  3-4  3-4 sister points  0  100%
London 1
Paris 3
Seville 3  3 friend points  0  100%
Barcelona 3
New Jersey 2  2 daughter points  0  100%

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Some lighting, some watching, some planning


Lighting: I hope everyone had a Happy Hanukkah if your family celebrates the Festival of Lights.¬† This year, my son was finally old enough to remember the candle-lighting prayer from one night to the next.¬† He previously would just hum along with big sister and dad, but now he knew the words and sang more confidently.¬† This bodes well for the future, since my husband’s family tradition is that the youngest family member leads the singing, and my little guy will have to step up to the musical plate once¬†DD leaves for college.¬† I received¬†some fun Disney-themed gifts for Hanukkah this year, including this trading pin jigsaw puzzle and Mickey sanduche-caliente maker.

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Travel deal FROM Honolulu! And DLP details :)

If ever¬†I planned to fly in a westerly direction, I would totally take advantage of this deal from AirAsia.¬† Fly to Osaka from Honolulu for¬†$129 one-way!¬† Here is just a sample of their fare deals, full chart at this AirAsia link.¬† As you can see, there are many other destinations available at reasonable prices.¬† Though it says “All-In Fare,” there are are some additional fees for transaction is US Dollars.¬† But the fare is so low that it won’t detract much from your¬†savings.¬† Book by this Sunday, September 17th.

airasia honolulu

I took Japanese in college, and if I was in the position to take advantage of these kids of short-term deals, I would definitely jump on this one!


As far as my personal planning for trips I can go on, I’m waiting to be able to book hotels in Paris, Barcelona, and Seville over the holiday season.¬† I check every few weeks, and the calendars still don’t go out that far.¬† I’m wanting to use some rewards points, and the availability is understandably limited.¬† If I were just paying out-of-pocket, I might not reserve so far in advance,¬†but they only release a certain amount of rewards-eligible rooms for that week of/after Christmas.

Since I’m in a holding pattern on hotels,¬†I’m currently working on making the itinerary for Disneyland Paris.¬†¬†We’re only spending the one day there, so I’ve looked at the attractions descriptions and maps for both Parks, and made a chart that highlights our must-do rides and such.¬† I am spending all of our time on stuff that is different¬† or unavailable in¬†the US Parks.¬† Here’s a sneak peek:

dlp details

Looking at this list makes me so, so happy.

candace heart eyes

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Hey, I’m learnin’ here: Disneyland Paris

In a unique position here: planning my first trip to a Disney Park!¬† One specific Disney Park, to be exact:¬†Disneyland Paris.¬† My sister went once, but that was in the Dark Ages when it was called Euro Disney¬†Resort.¬† Of course I will take any info she can provide, but I’m essentially starting from scratch.¬† Here’s what I know about Disneyland Paris: Read the rest of this entry »