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How I Booked a Week in Europe With Points and Miles [Paris and Amsterdam]

Katie Seemann's image
Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

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Countries Visited: 28U.S. States Visited: 29

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
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Michael Y. Park

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Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
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Kellie Jez

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Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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A week in Europe is a vacation that many travelers would be happy to take. A week in Europe using points and miles? Even better.

My husband and I booked a 7-night trip (4 nights in Paris and 3 nights in Amsterdam) in May to celebrate our anniversary. I paid for the hotels and flights using points and miles, which kept my out-of-pocket costs low.

In total, I spent $1,277.10 for round-trip flights (with taxes and fees) for 2 people and nothing for hotels (thanks, Hyatt points) for 1 week in Europe. No, it wasn’t free, but I’ll take that deal every day of the week.

The best part was that these weren’t complicated redemptions. They were straightforward and should be easy to replicate, so I hope you can use my trip as a guide to book your own. Let’s get to the details.

Booking Flights To and From Europe With Miles

There are lots of ways to fly to Europe with points and miles. When I was booking this trip, I knew I wanted to fly in Air France business class, so that’s where I started.

Air France Business Class From New York to Paris

I found a lot of award availability from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) via Air France-KLM Flying Blue, which was great, since Flying Blue miles are so easy to earn.

Hot Tip:

Air France-KLM Flying Blue can have high taxes, but the price in miles is often low, so it’s a program I like to use. I also love that all of the major transferable currencies partner with Flying Blue, so it’s easy to get lots of miles fast.

At the time, flights from the U.S. to Europe were 55,000 miles one-way (the price has since dropped to 50,000 miles). I was able to take advantage of a 25% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards to Flying Blue, so I transferred just 88,000 Amex points to get the 110,000 Flying Blue miles I needed for 2 one-way flights.

The total cost for each flight was 55,000 Flying Blue miles (44,000 Amex points with the transfer bonus) and $207.60 in taxes and fees.

Air France Paris flight cost in points
The cost for 2 one-way business class flights from New York to Paris. Image Credit: Air France

I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve® to pay the taxes and fees to earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent since these were considered other travel purchases. This is usually my go-to card for booking flights, since it has excellent travel protections.

I flew on a 777-300ER, and was very comfortable (even though this wasn’t the new Air France business class).

Katie in Air France business class 777 300
Enjoying Air France business class.
Hot Tip:

Unfortunately, the timing of my positioning flight wasn’t ideal. I arrived at JFK in the morning even though my flight to Paris didn’t leave until that night. I made the best of it by spending my 11-hour layover lounge-hopping. (There are a lot of lounges at JFK airport, so it ended up being a fun day.)

Air France Lounge at JFK
I spent the day lounge hopping while waiting for my flight to Paris.

KLM Premium Comfort From Amsterdam to Chicago

I didn’t have as much luck finding business class flights to get home because I didn’t have much flexibility. My options were daytime flights, so I decided to skip business class and booked KLM Premium Comfort from Amsterdam to Chicago.

I had flown home from Europe last year in American Airlines Premium Economy and found that it was a comfortable way to fly during the day, so I was happy to try out premium economy again.

KLM premium comfort seat in a 777 300
KLM Premium Comfort on a 777-300.

For my flight home from Amsterdam, I again booked through Air France-KLM Flying Blue. The cost of the flight was 30,000 Flying Blue miles plus $232.95. For this redemption, I took advantage of a 25% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Flying Blue, so I only had to transfer 22,000 Citi points per flight to get the needed 30,000 Flying Blue miles.

AMS to ORD cost in miles summary screen
The cost for 2 KLM premium economy flights from Amsterdam to Chicago.

KLM Premium Comfort worked out well for this daytime flight, and the low price made it even better.

Hot Tip:

If you’re having trouble finding award availability in business class or you don’t have enough points for business class, premium economy can be a great alternative. While you won’t have a lie-flat bed, you get more space (including a leg or footrest, a wider seat, and more recline) than in economy. Additional benefits include an amenity kit, upgraded pillow and blanket, and even noise-canceling headphones. Still not sure? Check out a video review of this KLM premium economy flight and my American Airlines premium economy flight on Instagram.

Positioning Flights

Since my flights to and from Europe weren’t from where I live, I needed to book positioning flights.

To get from my home airport, John Glenn Columbus International (CMH), to JFK, I booked a flight for $139 on American Airlines. I used AA trip credit that I had and paid for the remainder using my Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® to earn 4 American AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on American Airlines purchases.

American Airlines E170175 first class
My upgrade cleared, so I flew in first class on an E175 from Columbus, Ohio, to New York City.

For my return, I found a cheap $59 flight on American Airlines that I booked with leftover AA trip credits. This was actually a Basic Economy fare, which I don’t usually book, but it was so cheap I couldn’t resist.

Even though Basic Economy didn’t allow me to choose a seat and didn’t come with a good boarding group, I still got those perks thanks to my American Airlines Platinum Pro status.

Booking Hotels in Europe With Points

I earned Globalist status in 2023, so I knew I wanted to focus on Hyatt properties for this trip to Europe. I paid a total of 223,000 Hyatt points plus a Category 1-7 free night certificate for 7 nights. The cash cost of my stay would have been $6,893!

While that’s certainly a lot of points, I wanted a luxury experience, so I was happy to put those points to good use.

Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme

Park Hyatt Paris Vendome front entrance
Park Hyatt Paris.

Before booking my trip to Europe, I knew I wanted to stay at Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme. This luxury hotel was high on my Hyatt wish list, and I wanted to stay there while I still had Hyatt Globalist status.

I was able to find 3 consecutive nights at standard pricing in May, so I booked my trip around those dates. I ended up paying 165,000 Hyatt points for 4 nights (3 standard and 1 peak).

The cash cost of my stay would have been $4,647. That means I got a value of 2.8 cents per point. Considering we value Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, I was really happy with this redemption.

I transferred all of those points to Hyatt from my Chase Ultimate Rewards account. Hyatt is my favorite Chase transfer partner. I end up transferring about 99% of my Chase points to Hyatt for luxury hotels like this one.

I wasn’t able to score a suite upgrade, but my room was really nice, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Park Hyatt Paris king deluxe room
Deluxe King room at Park Hyatt Paris.

One of the best benefits of Globalist status is free breakfast, and the breakfast at the Park Hyatt Paris was excellent. There was a buffet, or you could order from a small menu. I usually don’t like buffets, but this one was fantastic. The food was delicious, and the buffet wasn’t so big that it was overwhelming.

Breakfast buffet at Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
Breakfast buffet at Park Hyatt Paris.
Hot Tip:

Park Hyatt Paris is a category 8 hotel that costs 35,000 to 45,000 points per night. If you’d prefer not to splurge quite that much, there are other Hyatt hotels in Paris. For less expensive options, check out Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile (Category 4), Hyatt Paris Madeleine (Category 7), or Hôtel du Louvre (Category 7).

Andaz Amsterdam

After deciding on Amsterdam as our second destination for this trip, I debated between booking the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam and Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht. While the Hyatt Regency was cheaper, the Andaz was in a much better location. I ended up booking the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, and I am so glad I did.

Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht canal
Andaz Amsterdam faces the Prinsengracht canal.

I paid 58,000 World of Hyatt points plus a Category 1-7 free night certificate (in place of a 29,000-point night) for 3 nights. The cash cost would have been $2,246, resulting in a cents-per-point value of 2.58.

I originally applied a Suite Upgrade Award to this stay but had to remove it to use a Category 1-7 free night certificate. I absolutely loved my room, so I was happy I took off the Suite Upgrade Award, since standard suites look out onto the hotel’s atrium and I ended up in a room with a canal view.

Andaz Amsterdam atrium
The atrium at Andaz Amsterdam.

Every inch of this hotel was designed in a bold, whimsical style that just made me smile. From the stroopwafels in the lobby to the giant spoon-fish mural in my room, this hotel was quirky and fun in all the right ways.

Andaz Amsterdam guestroom
My room at Andaz Amsterdam
Hot Tip:

Short on points? There are lots of ways to earn Hyatt points, including using Hyatt credit cards or cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards (Chase points can be transferred 1:1 to Hyatt). Some of our favorite credit cards include The World of Hyatt Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

Final Thoughts

It’s absolutely possible to book a fantastic week in Europe using points and miles. I used Hyatt points for 4 nights in Paris and 3 nights in Amsterdam, and I used Flying Blue miles to book Air France business class and KLM premium economy flights.

The key to this trip was having lots of transferable points (I used Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points) so I could book travel from multiple programs once I found award availability.

The information regarding the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Katie Seemann's image

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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