Travel Hack: Use hotels.com to book free nights at hotels!

As you may have guessed we are ALWAYS on the lookout for cheaper ways to travel with a family of 5.  Especially now as we need 2 rooms per night in most hotels to accommodate our family.  Hotels have always been a weak travel spot for us to save money.  We try to use peer to peer rentals whenever possible (airbnb.com and VRBO.com) but often when we are arriving or departing from a destination we choose to stay in a hotel near the airport to make the travel process easier.  Hotels.com has a unique loyalty program that you can leverage your way to free hotels stays without having to actually stay in a hotel!

Why airport hotels?

An airport hotel allows us to get organized the night before the flight, the kids get a chance to sleep in a bit longer, and if you plan it right you can find a hotel with the pool to exercise the children to ensure a good night sleep.  This is especially helpful preparing for longer flights both domestically and internationally.  Starting a long trip with tired kids can make travel days feel extremely long and challenging.

What loyalty program to choose?

For a long time we focused on choosing a specific hotel chain (for us it was IHG) and utilizing credit card sign up bonuses to help offset the costs, but over the past 6 months I have changed gears towards a new program that has been going swimmingly!  HOTELS.COM

What makes hotels.com unique is that it is a clearing house for a plethora of hotel chains and boutique hotels, but hotels.com has its OWN loyalty program.

How it works.

You have likely seen their commercials on tv with captain obvious, but the rundown is simple. Stay 10 nights, get one free.  They average the costs of each of the 10 nights and you get that average dollar amount against a new hotel reservation. If your “free night” reservation is more than that average you pay the difference.

But that is not the unique part of this program.  What makes it unique is that YOU are not required to stay in the room to get the credit on the 10 nights of reservations.  You can book someone else, even pay for it with their credit card, but the credit for the stay goes to you.  All that it requires is that you are signed into your account when the booking is made.

How to make Hotels.com work for you!

Think family, think friends, think anyone you know that travels and offer them your “services” to help them with the booking.  I do this for all of my family members and have currently 6 free nights with 61 pending nights (which will garnish me 6 more free nights).  Often I will help someone book their hotel room just via a quick phone call.  I ask for dates and preferred location, I will then scout the offerings and give them suggestions based off reviews or my personal experience, then call them on the phone to get the pertinent details and billing info while I book their room under my account.  Granted my extended family travels a lot, but you would be shocked how quickly you can rack up free nights making bookings for friends and family.

Rack up those free hotels.com nights!

Who doesn’t love some free hotels!

I have found hotels.com’s booking and cancellation policies to be the most user friendly of all the travel portals I use, as they allow lots of flexibility in cancellations and changes.  If you take the short amount of time to help friends and family book hotels you can expect a quick turn around in free hotel stays.

Disclaimer: I am a affiliate for hotels.com, but my opinion and blog post are just that, my opinion.  This is a program that I truly believe can be beneficial to family travelers If you click the hotels.com link it does route you through my affiliate page which helps the Family Frequent Flyer stay afloat, so if you appreciate the travel tips please use any of our booking links to make your reservations!

Australia for 5 – Family travel to Australia – Destination Penrith

Australia is on the destination list for many families.  The culture, the beaches, the wildlife, and the friendly people are a universal draw for families looking to travel.  Our family is lucky enough to travel to Australia every year and enjoy this amazing country.  Family travel to Australia is rewarding with a huge array of possibilities.

How to get there:

We fly into Sydney via Chile as we complete what we call the Triangle of Awesome.  We travel to Chile for work so our travel plans are a bit unique.  Flying into SYD is relatively straight forward although it can be expensive.  We use Google flight tracker to keep up on the cheapest fares.  Find out how to use this great tool in our flight tracker post.
Rental cars can be quite expensive and if you plan to stay longer than a week I would highly recommend a peer to peer car sharing program called Drive My Car. You can save a boatload of money over regular rental rates.

Where to stay:

Depending on your goals and travel plans you have quite a few options for accommodations. We have always spent our time in Penrith as it is near the Penrith Whitewater Center where I train.  In Australia real estate is very expensive creating a vibrant rental market.  You can rent a house or condo by the week in most suburbs from a leasing agency or use AirBnB to find your pad.  We have used both and find its a bit cheaper to rent by the week from a leasing agency.  It can be expensive to find housing; for a 2 bedroom condo with a community pool and wifi we pay $1050AUD per week.  We use Western Sydney Accommodation for our go to as you pay less fees than with AirBnB.

What do do:

Penrith is good sized town nestled between the Blue Mountains and Sydney giving you options to travel in either directions to find a vast array of experiences.  Here is a few we enjoy:

Penrith Whitewater Stadium

For us this is a no brainer as my kayaking career keeps me at the whitewater center daily.  They offer exciting rafting and kayaking trips most days of the week over the summer.  It was the site of the 2000 Olympic Games for canoe slalom and is free to visit and watch the rafters and kayakers navigate the artificial whitewater channel.

Penrith Panthers Rugby

If you find yourself in Australia during rugby season (March-September) then lookup to see if you can watch a rugby game live.  They are super fun to watch and enjoy the spectators.  The games we have seen have always been packed of people and very exciting.  If you get general admission and want to actually get a seat show up a few hours early as it fills fast.  You are quite close to the field which gives you all the more appreciation for the intensity of the game of rugby!

Blue Mountains

Heading into the mountains from Penrith you quickly climb into the Blue Mountains.  In this beautiful mountain range know for steep cliff, eucalyptus forests and waterfalls you can find vistas, hikes, and overlooks everywhere! Specifically we enjoy visiting the 3 Sisters and Wentworth Falls.  There are hikes of various difficulties that your family can enjoy and see the Australian outback.

Featherdale Wildlife Park

My daughters favorite place in all of Australia.  Featherdale Wildlife Park is a koala bear conservatory that is a small wildlife park that has a free range policy with their kangaroos and wallabies.  You can get up close and personal with them which all the kids really enjoy.  You also can get close to koalas, they used to allow you to take a picture nearby to one, but since have changed their policy requiring a fee to take a picture with the koalas.  Its a pretty small park, but has a cool variety of animals including Tasmanian devils, wombats, echidnas, dingos, and kangaroos everywhere plus a huge variety of birds.  Its a bit expensive for the size but the interaction with the critters makes it worth it for us every time we go to Australia we go visit at least once.

Beaches

Beaches are EVERYWHERE and they are all incredible.  You can find any number of them with variety.  The beaches are sandy, clean, fun, and bountiful.  They do a great job of having life guards and often will have a designated swimming zone that is watched by life guards that avoids dangerous rip tides.  Depending on the season, wind, and tide there can be a lot of blue bottle jelly fish that wash up in the surf which can make swimming painful.  When you arrive at the beach an easy way to tell if bluebottles are around is look for them on the beach washed up at the high water mark.  If you see a ton of them swimming could be a bit more exciting as their sting is not dangerous but can be painful for the kids.  Our favorite beach is Dee Why as it has a great parking, beautiful water, good surf for the kids, is less crowded, and a great burrito place just up the street.

Australia is a huge country/continent and there is MUCH more to do than listed above but if you are in or around the Sydney area this should give you an idea of where to start.  If you and your family travel to Australia during the summer, our families favorite TV show called My Kitchen Rules starts in early Feb and we absolutely love it; imagine a US show like Master Chef with Aussie, Frenchy, and Irish judges.

 

Africa for 5 – Family travel to Africa – Destination Durban

If you are looking for sun swept beaches that extend into the horizon South Africa has 1,600 miles of coast with both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.  We stayed on the coast for a week of fun and sun, it was incredible.  Family travel to Africa can be a wonderful experience.

How to get there:

We flew into South Africa via Johannesburg then took a flight from JNB to Durban.  From Durban we rented a car and ended up in a small ocean front town an hour south called Scottsburgh.  The roads were great, but make sure you have coins as there is a toll directly outside of the airport that accepts only coins.  Luckily for us a motorist behind us helped out as we didn’t have any coins at all.  Driving through Durban can have a lot of traffic so if possible plan accordingly to avoid it.

Where to stay:

Our goto site AirBnB got us a nice place called the Pearly Shells that had a kitchen with plenty of room for the family at an affordable rent.  Although it was a bit dated, we enjoyed the stay and felt secure.  It is recommended anywhere in South Africa to lock your valuables in the safe while gone and we always keep our passports on us when we go anywhere.

The vista from our porch at the Pearly Shells Holiday Flats.

What to do:

If you like the ocean this is the place for you.  There were MILES of untouched beach.  It is recommended due to safety concerns not to spend time on desolate beaches so we tended to stay at the beach in town.  Surfing, swimming, tide-pooling, and sunbathing became the afternoon tradition.

Shark Cage Diving KZN

My wife has what I consider a sick perversion to really want to swim with sharks.  She did it once in Australia and we checked out Shark Cage Diving KZN to see if they had any opportunities.  Sure enough they had a group that she, alongside my 11 year old son, could go do some cage diving.
The beach head was a few miles south of town but the entire crew was EXTREMELY welcoming and friendly.  After a safety brief, donning of wetsuits they were off in a boat while the other kids and I went tide-pooling.
Their report was that it was fantastic.  They saw a ton of sharks, got to spend a lot of time in the water and all the guides and staff were super helpful and accommodating.

uShaka Aquarium World

During a rainy day we headed back up to Durban to checkout the uShaka Aquarium World.  Turns out its an aquarium and a waterpark which seems like an interesting combo.  We opted for just the aquarium and started browsing.  We were interested in this aquarium specifically as they are doing a lot of work to help the penguin population in South Africa rebound and continue.  They had a great presentation with the penguins that the kids really liked.  Other than that it was a bit of a let down, there was not a lot to see and the costs of entry seemed like a lot for what you actually got to see.  We also had the singular experience of eating in the park.  It was the first time that I have been unable to eat food that I ordered.  We ordered a round of hamburgers from one of the restaurants and whatever the meat was, or what they put in it, made it inedible.  That was quite surprising to us because before then all the meat we had eaten in South Africa had been notably good!  For us Shaka Aquarium would be a pass in the future or as a recommendations.

 Croc World

Just 1km from our house was Croc World.  After reading about it and seeing their conservation efforts we thought it would be fun to see.  It did not disappoint! They have a TON of crocs just as the name implies.  They have a bunch of presentations including dangerous snakes, croc feeding, baby croc handling, and snake safety.  Each presentation was unique and engaging.  Its a conservatory and we were happy to visit and would go back again!  There is a great restaurant onsite which has an incredible view of the Indian Ocean.  The kids really enjoyed getting to handle the baby croc and found the presentations engaging.  If nothing else we learned which snakes to be sure to avoid in South Africa!  They had a great snake exhibit and one of the largest crocs in captivity that had be relocated from a nearby village after attacking humans.

Destination Family Factor

Family travel to Africa in Durban and the surrounding area have a ton of things to do, and amazing coastlines, and friendly people. Food and shops were accessible, activities were close, and the beach was amazing.

A memorable  week in South Africa.

Travel Hack: there really is a free lunch with Priority Pass!

As we often travel with a family of 5 food costs in the airport can rack up quite quickly!  To try to keep our costs as low as possible we utilize the benefits of lounge access that we get from our premium card; American Express Platinum.  With the Amex Platinum card you can enroll for free in the Priority Pass program.  Priority Pass is a network of lounges across the world of over 1000 lounges and expanding weekly!

One of the newer perks with Priority Pass is that many of the new “lounges” are not actually lounges but restaurants.  Basically you get a $28-$36 dollar credit (depending on the restaurant) to be used towards your bill.  Even better you can sign in for 1 guest which gets you double that amount with out actually paying any money as it classified as a lounge visit..

How to use it

Because we travel as a family of 5, I added my wife as an authorized card holder on my Amex account which allows her own priority pass membership.  So for our family with 2 priority pass memberships we get the restaurant priority pass credit ($28-$36) multiplied by 4! We recently used this to have a pre trip lunch in Sydney, Australia and had a credit of $144AUD to spend.  To make things even better there was a restaurant outside security in Sydney so we used our Priority Pass there for breakfast while we waited for the check in desk to open, then again past security at a restaurant for lunch before boarding.  We saved over $200AUD in that day alone!

A lunch from Better Burgers for FREE!

Where to use it

The list grows weekly and I highly recommend downloading the app on your phone and keeping it up to date, you also can find lounges from their website.
Current restaurants as of this writing:

Domestic

  • PDX
    House Spirits Distillery
    Capers Cafe Le Bar
    Capers Market
  • DEN
    Timberline Steaks and Grille
  • MIA
    Corona Beach House
  • STL (St Louis)
    The Pasta House
    The Pasta House & Schlafly Brew House
  • LEX (Lexington KY)
    Kentucky Ale Taproom
  • MSP (Minneapolis)
    PGA MSP
  • JFK
    Bobby Van’s Steakhouse
  • CLE (Cleveland)
    Bar Symon

International

  • SYD (Sydney Australia)
    Better Burger
    Mach2
    Peroni Bar
    Bistro 2020
    MoVida
    Bar Roma
    Wok on Air
  • BNE (Brisbane Australia)
    Bar Roma
    Graze Grill and Bar
    Corretto Cafe & Bar
  • LGW (London Gatwick
    Grain Store Cafe & Bar
  • SIN (Singapore)
    The Green Market

The list continues to expand so make sure you update your app or check online and enjoy!

Better Burger in SYD

Travel Hack: the power of Google Flight Alerts

In order to keep our travel costs low we have to be forward thinking and planning to ensure we are getting the best prices possible on airline tickets. Knowing when to buy, recent fare changes, and fare trends can help keep the costs to a minimum.  We have utilized Google Flight Alerts to great success as a powerful online flight tracker.

Google Flights Alerts

Enter Google Flight Alerts.  You can easily track potential trips using Google’s powerful tool.

How to use it:

You need to have a google account and make sure you are logged in.

flights.google.com

Start a search for a flight with dates you are interested in and click the track flights tool.

Choose your flights then click the tracking tab near the bottom.

Monitor and buy when you are confident.

Examples

Here is a flight I am tracking from a client who would like to travel to Australia for holiday. As you can see the flight costs are somewhat consistent.  I can track and watch to see if there is a dip in price then use that info to buy and save money

Another example is some flights I have been tracking for another client for a multi stage journey to Madagascar, then Dublin, then USA.  This flight was much more unstable in prices and I was able to buy at what I knew was the best possible price.

You can track almost any type of flight including one way flights like this from Auckland to SFO

I have 40-50 flight alerts at any given time for future trips I would like to go on, trips I am tracking for clients, and dream trips that I could only afford if there is a mistake fare!  Keep in mind Google does not search ALL possible fares. Southwest is one of the major ones that will not show a price so double check your flights against Southwest before you buy.

Have you used Google Flight Alert to score a great deal?

Lounge Review – Strata Lounge in Auckland

Strata Lounge AKL

Up the escalators near the rest of the premium lounges is the Strata Lounge

A few weeks ago we were able to pop into the Strata Lounge in Auckland, New Zealand during a trip from Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia.  We had a quick 2 hour layover but the timing lined up perfectly for breakfast time and we were happy to tuck into a corner of the Strata Lounge for a quick visit.

The size:

We were there pretty early in the morning and it was deserted! There were a handful of other people, but there were plenty of tables with chairs and couches for lounging.  I am sure this club could handle a rather large crowd without feeling cramped as even the space between tables and couches felt particularly spacious which was a welcomed change after 12 hours of row 37 on LA801 (SCL-AKL).

Staff:

Everyone we interacted with were very friendly and the service was attentive.

The food:

Excellent.  There was a marvelous selection of breakfast foods including sausage, pancakes, noodles, roasted tomatoes, hashbrowns, breakfast cereals, toast, smoothies, cheese and meat platters, and more.
We didn’t sample the alcoholic beverages, but the coffee was fantastic, there was a great variety of juices for the kids.  We felt it was in the top 5 of food selections we have ever found in a lounge.

Electricity:

There were electrical outlets at each couch grouping which made a quick recharge quite convenient.

Kid Factor:

They had an enclosed kids room with toddler toys, bean bag chairs, and a TV tuned into the cartoon station.  It was especially convenient as all the walls were glass so you could easily keep and eye on the kiddos while enjoying the comfort and quiet of a nearby couch or table. Its such a huge relief to have a place where the kids can stretch out a bit and move around with out worry about them breaking something.

The “fishbowl” kids room

Access:

We gained access via our Priority Pass from our American Express Platinum card.  Keep in mind that with the Priority Pass through Amex gets the primary cardholder plus 2 guests. As we travel with a family of 5 we require 2 Priority Pass cards which we got by signing up my wife as an authorized user on my Platinum account.

Overall:

Awesome- they received the priority pass lounge of the year in 2017 and we could tell why. They had TV monitors displaying flight departures with average walk time to get there which is always welcomed in a new airport so you don’t leave too early or too late for boarding.  The food was fantastic, it was super clean, people were friendly, and we enjoyed it!

Booking Report – Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia

Santiago to Sydney for a family of 5

As our wanderlust continues to meld with our work/travel/training lifestyle we found ourselves at an impasse last fall.  We love Australia; for us its a perfect continent.  I can work and train at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium (the home of the 2000 Olympic Games) which is a fantastic venue for both work and slalom kayak training.  The wife and kids LOVE the country as we are close to the beach and its a very outdoorsy place similar to our home in Idaho. We also love Chile.  We work there teaching kayaking from Christmas till the end of February.  This year we combined them into what we are calling the “Triangle of Awesome” with the addition of a flight from Santiago to Sydney.
The triangle of awesome

A great way to avoid winter!

The flights to Chile are covered from work and based off the way we fly it costs the same to fly home from Chile as it does from Australia.  So getting down and back was covered, we just needed to figure out how to get from Santiago to Sydney.  A few quick searches yielded one way plane tickets in excess of $1200 per person which is WAY out of our budget.

 So we moved onto points-

Latam is the main flight provider with LA801 which goes from Santiago (SCL) to Auckland (AKL) then onto Sydney (SYD).  Checking on milage charts it would be a spendy flight with Latam miles (169k per person) as they only book roundtrip tickets.   Moving on to American Airlines we checked but availability was impossible to find.  Then we tried British Airway Avios- and we had a winner!  They had bookable flights with an interesting twist.  The AKL-SYD redemption charts for business class (with lie flat seats on an Boeing 787-9) for 10k miles MORE than the coach fare.  We did not quite have enough miles to book the whole family in business (plus we don’t want to spoil the children anymore than they already are) so we split the family into 2 groups (My wife with 2 kids and myself with 1 child) and booked the group of 2 in business for the ALK-SYD leg and the rest in coach. So our itinerary looked like this
SCL-AKL 12 hours flight time – whole family in coach
AKL-SYD 4 hours flight time – 2 in business and 3 in coach
The plan was for my wife and I to sit in business and leave the kids in coach. We were worried they wouldn’t allow it as some carriers do not allow parents to split cabin from their kids if the kids are under 15, but not only was the flight staff ok with it, one of the flight attendant let us know she would keep a special eye on the kids and let us know if we were needed.  Keep in mind this is the 1st time we have split cabins with our kids and only just now feel comfortable enough with their travel skills to leave them in a cabin by themselves. To further eleviate the split we sat in the last row of business class and put them in the first row of coach.  Our kids have each traveled over 75,000 miles over the last 2 years so we decided they were ok in a separate cabin.

When we told our youngest he was in a different cabin, he went to the wrong one! (kidding, he did get a great tour after the flight and was able to meet our captain)

Total Costs:

Using our British Avios (which we transferred in from our Amex Membership rewards) the total costs were:
40k Avios for the coach tickets (3)
50k Avios for the coach/business tickets (2)
Total Avios spent: 220k
Total cost in taxes fees etc: $275 USD
The tickets we found on the same date would of costs just over $6000 so we got a value of just about .03 cents per point which is a redemption we were happy with.

A beautiful landing on Latam LA801 in Auckland!

How I saved $200 AND got 2 week free car rental!

How I used AAVacations.com for a free car rental!

Recently I began the process of price shopping for an upcoming trip to Europe for some kayak racing.  Typically I can find flights from my home airport to most places in Europe for around $1200-1600 USD depending on the dates.  During my travels I have to rent a car as public transport is quite challenging with a 12 foot kayak to lug about.  Barcelona typically has some of the cheapest per day rental cars in Europe and luckily BCN was my destination for this trip.

After the initial salvo of searches I found a few flights on my preferred airline (American) and others (United and Delta) all at the $1450 range which I was happy with as I had little flexibility on the dates or timing of the trip.  Before I finalized my booking I made a quick stop at AAvacations.com to see if I could save some extra money on my rental car by combining them.

Using the exact same dates on the exact same flights I was able to find my same itinerary on American Airlines which included a rental car from Avis for $1240!  Not only did I save over $200 I also got a free car rental!  I wanted to see if this was something specific to my dates and city pairs so I tried a few other searches and was able to find more flights combos that get a free car rental.

These all have the following dates: April 14-May 1
BOI-BCN
AAVactations – $1288.94 with car
AA.com flight only – $1420
Kayak.com rental car – $128 with GoldCar (which requires $1000 deposit to rent without additional insurance payments)

SFO-MXP

AAVacations – $1174.30 with car
AA.com flight only – $646
Kayak.com rental car – $231

ATL-LHR

AAVacations – $1087 with car
Google Flights – $810 on both AA and Delta
Kayak.com Rental Car – $408 with Europcar

Washington DC-FRA

AAVacations – $1256 with car
Google Flights – $1448 (there were cheaper flights but on discount carriers (WOW and Iceland Air) which I can’t fly because of my oversized luggage.
Kayak.com Rental Car – $444 with Thrifty (which requires you to purchase additional insurance)
On the average it seems save money depending on where you fly, it only takes a few minutes, and you can save quite a bit of money and get a free car rental!
Want more? Follow us on Twitter or Facebook and keep up to date on the latest and greatest!

Lounge Review – The Club PHX

Recently during a trip across the US we had the opportunity to explore the airport in Phoenix (PHX) as we ended up with a much larger layover than originally expected.  Since we typically we spend our time in the Admirals Club in PHX (as a benifit from the Citi AAdvantage Executive Card) we decided to explore a new lounge to post a review for those with out Admirals access.  We chose The Club at PHX.

If you find yourself in PHX with a Priority Pass you should head over to the end of terminal 4 and The Club at PHX.

Head over to terminal 4!

Size:  There are two connected room areas with seating around tables as well as couches and chairs.  One room has great windows with views of the tarmac and runways.  The other room has no windows and subdued lighting.  I would image this lounge could fill up pretty quick! We spent time from about 10am-1pm and during the lunch hour it got to about 75% capacity.

Food:

The food offerings were basic for the breakfast hours (the began to swap out for lunch around 11am) with toast, cereal, and fruit.  Once the lunch came out there were more options with 2 types of pasta, hummus, pita bread, ect

IMG 1629 (1)
IMG 1629 (1)
Aperture: 2.2Camera: iPhone SEIso: 200Orientation: 1
« 1 of 8 »

Staff:

We did not have much interaction with the staff but the front desk staff was friendly as we came in and the service during our stay was on par with most of the better lounges.  There were attentive to clear away dishes and kept the food well stocked.

Comfort:

Most of the seating was tables and chairs, in the smaller room there were a few couches, but I could see those filling up quite quickly.

Electrical Access:

Sparse- we had to move a few times to be able to have access to an electrical outlet, of which there was only 1 working plug.

Kids Space:

N/A there was no dedicated kids space, but in the smaller room in the corners there was a few areas of open space you could let the kiddos spread out between wingback chairs.  Especially if you had toddlers or babies you could lay out toddler town between the chairs.

Overall it was a solid club, but to be honest if I was in PHX I would likely go to an Admirals Club instead.  But if you only have access to Priority Pass lounges (via Amex Platinum or Chase Reserve) then its a great option.

Delta #100503A Error Workaround

The Delta #100503a workaround

So you finally saved the miles and found the perfect award booking with Delta Airlines.  You are most of the way through the booking process and BAM you get an error code #100503A from Delta saying the award space is no longer available.  You go back and search for the same itinerary and it still shows available online but you can not get the booking to go through.

You are now in the Delta #100503A error zone!  I recently found myself in the zone trying to book a one way from my home airport (BOI) to Barcelona (BCN).  I found great award space in Delta One (their first class offering) that was connecting through Paris, France (CDG).  In the booking process our flights were all on Delta planes (not a codeshare with another airline) except the last flight.  The CDG-BCN flight was on a code share with Air France.  I tried everything I could think of to get the transaction to go through.  I used different web browsers, different computers, different IP addresses, everything I could think of and finally gave up.

Next, I decided to try to book from BOI-CDG figuring that the codeshare portion of my journey was causing the problems with the actual booking.  Then I planned to purchase a cheap one way flight from CDG to BCN (which was around $60 per ticket).  With my new routing that was only on Delta planes I had no problem getting the booking to go through.  It costs 70k in Delta miles and around $7 in taxes per passenger.

However, before I went ahead and booked the separate ticket from CDG-BCN I had an idea.

First, I found the original itinerary that I wanted from BOI-BCN for 70k miles and around $56 in taxes per passenger.

Then because Delta allows free changes and cancellations within 24 hours of booking I contacted Delta on my new favorite platform; twitter.  I tweeted @delta in a direct message, told them I had mistakenly booked to CDG and wanted to fly instead to BCN.  I sent along the flight numbers and itinerary that I had looked up for 70k miles.

Within about 5 minutes I was contacted back by the social media team telling me that they could accommodate my change without problem and all I needed to do was pay the difference in taxes.  The social media team member then asked a contact number to call me to confirm my credit card info.  A minute later I head a pleasant conversation with a very helpful woman who made the change and got me booked on the itinerary I wanted from the beginning!

Ideally it would be easier to book a codeshare award with Delta but there is a work around that took me all of about 10 minutes to get done!

This blog post is based from my personal experience, your experience could be different. I am not guaranteeing any success with this method but it worked for me!  This is the second time for us that the Delta twitter team has saved the day! Checkout our other article on getting better award routing after a schedule change.

Find the Family Frequent Flyer on twitter!