This article is the first in a series on my month long trip to Ibiza for the closing parties and Amsterdam for the Amsterdam Dance Event.
- How I am going to the Ibiza closing parties and Amsterdam Dance Event in business class for $239
- Ibiza Here I come!
- Arrival in Ibiza – SIM cards, hotels and my first night of clubbing
- Ibiza Closing Parties: Luciano & Friends, Hot Natured, Marco Carola Music On
- Ibiza Closing Parties: Vagabundos at Pacha, Circo Loco at DC-10, Cocoon Heroes Closing at Amnesia
- Ibiza Closing Parties: Ovum Closing at Space, Cafe Del Mar, and r:piar:r Closing at Privilege
- Ibiza Closing Parties: Space Closing Party and Circo Loco Closing Party
It started simply enough, with a Facebook message four days ago from my best friend Andres:
“dude lets go to the ibiza closing parties!!! ….wat u think about that?? and after that u can come for the Amsterdam dance event in october here in netherlands….awakenings festivals and more!!! like wmc but in amsterdam!!”
The reason I love points and miles is because 1) I love to travel and 2) It gives you flexibility to plan last minute vacations that would otherwise be priced out of reach. While I spend a ton of time on this site discussing ways to accumulate massive amounts of points (such as the Easy Quarter Million, my 189,000+ point Sears shopping Spree, and 100,000 Club Carlson Points Bonanza), the main reason I do this is to spend the points on free travel! My Ultimate Rewards balance had gotten to well over 500,000 points due in part to the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign up bonus of 50,000 (now 40,000) and the Chase Ink Bold sign up bonus of 50,000. This meant I could plan a trip without making too big of a dent in my war chest. In addition, since points tend to devalue over time, it is a good idea to use them before the programs nerf the rewards.
My first stop was the great Frequent Flyer Redemption Options of the Wandering Aramean . This page allows you to input city pairs and find out which programs require the fewest miles. When I entered MIA to IBZ, I saw totals of 80,000 to 215,000 for business class.
Another of the reasons I love the frequent flyer game is it allows you to travel in style in business class instead of cramped in coach for long flights. As a general rule, I try to fly anything over 3 hours in business class if possible. While JAL had the best rate at 80,000 (for Oneworld partner flights), there wasn’t much availability on the dates I needed. And ANA had the same 80,000 rate and had good availability, but they charge high fuel surcharges for European carrier redemptions. Since the award availability was there on Star Alliance (which ANA is part of), I looked to United Airlines which is also part of Star Alliance. Even better, they are an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, and don’t charge any fuel surcharges. Score!
An additional benefit of United is they offer one free stopover and two open jaws on roundtrip tickets. If this sounds like Greek to you, you are not alone! But what that means is you can stop along your route once for as long as you like, then continue to your final destination (a “stopover”). An open jaw means you could land in one city and take off in another (example, fly to London, then take the chunnel over to Paris, then fly back home from there). In my case, I wanted to go to both Ibiza and Amsterdam, so the free stopover would work perfectly! Amsterdam would be my final destination and Ibiza would be my stopover since it is “sort of” on the way in a normal routing. I actually booked the whole thing through Barcelona instead because Ibiza wasn’t showing availability and will pick up a cheap $100 flight from Barcelona to Ibiza. And I could do this whole trip for 100,000 MileagePlus miles in business class!
I’m going to do a separate article about how to book stopovers on United, but the end results of my work was:
So for 100,000 miles and $239, I would be booked! You can see that this business class flight would have cost $12,918 if I had paid cash for it!(not that I would ever pay that much) That gives me a cash/point value of 12 cents per mile! Awesome! I had to call in to get them to change the last flight to a flight an hour later that had business class availability. For some reason, it wasn’t showing up online when I booked the whole itinerary, but it showed up when I tried to book a one way flight from EWR to FLL on those dates.
But as you can see, I only had 1026 miles in my United account. Ultimate Rewards to the rescue! I logged onto my Chase Ink Bold account, and transferred 99,000 points over to United Mileageplus that were available more or less immediately.
I was then able to book the whole thing. I did have to pay $75 more than I could have since I was booking less than 21 days from the date of departure(included in the $239). I used my Amex Business Gold Rewards card to get 3X Membership Rewards points on airfare, so I will be 717 miles closer to my next trip!
There are really too many big names to list that will be both in Ibiza and Amsterdam, such as Ricardo Villalobos, Loco Dice, Luciano, Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler and many more. But if you want the full list check out this link for Ibiza and this link for Amsterdam.
And as always I will blog and post pics and videos of the trip for your reading pleasure. Well, that’s it for now, off to plan some hotels!