River Cruise & Miles

March 12, 2013
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I am planning a River Cruise trip to Europe this fall. Three persons leaving from Knoxville TN arrive Amsterdam and one week later depart from Zurich. We can switch cities for arrival departure if need be. I have a travel agent handling the cruise portion. Should she also handle the air portion? Most importantly, I have 250,000 United miles. What would be the best way to use them?

    A. Well, you might be in luck with your miles. I did a sample search for your itinerary on United’s MileagePlus section and I found seats available for exactly 250,000 miles in economy class with $71 in taxes and fees. That might seem like a lot of miles and it is, but it would cost you $1220 were you to buy the ticket instead. But were you to only do a round-trip from Nashville to Amsterdam (taking the train perhaps back to Amsterdam from Zurich at the end of your cruise), it would only cost 60,000 miles plus $217 in taxes, a better deal in my estimation. Your travel agent would probably come up with the same ticket price I did, more or less, for the “open jaw” ticket (Nashville-Amsterdam, Zurich-Nashville). Even with the cost of the train ticket to Amsterdam, I’d say spending 60,000 miles plus $217 for a $1200 fare is reasonable. But definitely see what your travel agent can come up with and make the decision from there.