How to Get to Paris on Credit Card Points

Disclaimer: none of these are paid advertisements. This is simply my personal approach (of many) to making this trip possible.

For some of you, I can feel the internal buzzkill or letdown that you experienced when reading the title once you saw the word “…Credit” for getting a trip for free* by using this method.

If you figuratively raised your hand and said, “Yes, Chris, that’s me…..”, then not to worry! Because credit cards are not something to be feared (insert blog post link here). As I’ve said before, many of our predispositions on credit – and finances in general – are due to the views and habits unknowingly (or knowingly) handed to us from our parents. So that’s why we enjoy shedding some objective light on each of these finance genes so we can navigate our way through the finance matrix.

Now for the rest of you who may already wield the great power and great responsibility of credit, let’s get started.

Me, my lady, and some rosé with a pretty cool tower-sunset backdrop




 

First, we need to define a couple of details around the trip so that you can plan accordingly and get the same great deal.

Trip Details

Origin: ATL

Destination: CDG (Charles de Gaulle, Paris)

Trip Duration: 4 days (3 nights)

Number of hotels: 1

Don’t worry, the points redemption rates are very consistent regardless of your origin airport (assuming you can make it to one of the major U.S. airports and you’re not flying out of Glendive, Montana)

Flight by Points

  1. Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card
  2. Meet minimum spend to get 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points
  3. Create FlyingBlue Account, then check for RT (round-trip) routes
  4. Once you’ve found your ideal route, transfer the necessary points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to your FlyingBlue account and book it!

 

Hotel(s) by Points

  1. Apply for American Express SPG credit card (create SPG account if new to the program)
  2. Meet minimum spend to get 35,000 Starwood points
  3. Check for hotels in Paris at spg.com and select “Pay with Points”
  4. Once you find the hotel you like for 9,000 points per night or less, book it!

Voila! The only thing you have left to do is learn a little basic French and whet your appetite for some stellar wine, wondrous architecture, and an exceptional experience.

Bon voyage, friends.

 

-Chris

 

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6 comments

  1. Hey Chris,
    Do you cancel these credit cards after redeeming those initial sign up bonus points? I’ve heard some people do that, sign up and then cancel before using it too much.

    1. Hey Lizzie – Typically, I always call the customer service (number on back of the credit card) to let them know I am considering cancelling the card. Rather than cancel, they will often times either:
      a) offer a bonus (points, waived annual fee, etc.) for keeping the card, or
      b) offer to downgrade to a no-annual fee card

      If possible, I usually try to avoid cancelling since that can lower (slightly) my credit score due to a decreased available credit line. If a) or b) are not possible but the card does not have an annual fee, I just tuck it away in a desk drawer and use it 1x each year on something small to keep it active.

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