How I am traveling to Ibiza, Spain for only $181

I love Ibiza.  This beautiful island off the coast of Spain is a magical place where you can lounge on the beach during the day and dance until dawn each night.  And I am going back again this year for a month! You can read about my trip in 2013 here or my trip in 2012 here.  Ibiza Closing Parties 009

Continue reading “How I am traveling to Ibiza, Spain for only $181”

Ibiza 2013: Part 8 – The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

This is the eighth and final post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

People who read this blog know I love lounge access.  It is one of the biggest benefits of flying in premium cabins in my book.  I mean who wouldn’t want comfortable seating, showers, free snacks and cocktails while you wait for your flight?  I had around a 2 hour layover before my flight left from Toronto to Charlotte on US Airways so naturally I wanted to find a lounge.  Star Alliance flights often take a bit of work to get lounge access since by the firm and fast rules, you are only allowed in if your next leg is a transcontinental one unless you are Star Alliance Gold.  Since I am not Star Alliance Gold, I didn’t qualify but oftentimes if you just go up to the attendant and are friendly they can make exceptions which they did in my case.   So my advice is to always give it a shot if you are flying in a premium cabin because I have had pretty good luck!

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

IMG_7061 The lounge was nice and spacious with two different wings of comfortable seating surrounding a buffet style center area.Maple LoungeThere was also a media room with a TV which I thought was a nice touch and gave you somewhere else to wait for your flight.IMG_7062The whole lounge was lined with windows so you could watch the planes coming and going while you waited for your flight to board.IMG_7063I grabbed an apple from the buffet and a Molsen Golden on tap and enjoyed my couple hours before my flight back home via Charlotte.


Another Ibiza trip is in the books and it only gets more and more magical.  DC-10… Amnesia… Bora-Bora… Uffff!  I’m already planning my next one and you should be thinking about it too!  Each time I go, I learn better ways to do things, get to know more people and have an even more amazing time than the last.

If you want to get started now, my top pick is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with the ultra flexible Ultimate Rewards points and its 40,000 point sign on bonus.  If you still need to build up your credit history, check out our top 3 cards to build your credit article.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!


Ibiza 2013: Part 7 – Lufthansa Old First Class Frankfurt to Toronto on an A-340

This is the seventh post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

When you book last minute, you are often at the mercy of what equipment is available in the class you are flying in.  In my case, First Class was available for both leaving and returning, but only one of them had the new First Class configuration.  Coming back from Frankfurt to Toronto was in their old First Class on an Airbus A-340.  Well, my loss is your gain because now you get a review of both the new and the old!  The old Lufthansa First Class is a “Throne” configuration instead of the “Capsule” configuration of the new. This type is actually a bit more comfortable in the seating position and it feels like a big Lay-Z-Boy chair.IMG_7048 It has this strange metal box towards the front part of the seating area that is used when putting the seat into the fully lie flat bed position.IMG_7049Lufthansa gave the first class cabin an amenity kit by Bogner that included lotions, toothbrush and toothpaste, socks and a hairbrush.
IMG_7051 I’m not much of a champagne and wine connoisseur, but I did try some bubbly before takeoff.  When in Rome…..IMG_7052 IMG_7053 I did try their special “Monthly Proposal” which was called Etter Vielle Quitte, Schweiz and made from pear quinces.  It was quite tasty but strong!  Whiskey fans will note that Jack Daniel’s Blue Label is available.IMG_7054 The menu looked quite good but they were surprisingly out of the lamb shank by the time they came to me since I was at the back of the First Class section.IMG_7055 It started out with the usual caviar service to go with my champagne. I skipped the vodka sidecar this time.IMG_7057In an attempt to make up for not having the Lamb Shank main course, they brought me all of the starters which I didn’t complain about. I liked the lobster and artichoke salad the best.
IMG_7058 I don’t normally include bathroom photos, but when there is a window in the bathroom, I think it warrants a shot!IMG_7059 And here is the seat in the fully flat bed position which was comfortable enough to get several hours of sleep on the way to Toronto.IMG_7060I have to say that while the old Lufthansa First Class was certainly comfortable, it really felt a bit dated and the new First Class is really a superior product.  If your schedule allows it, I would arrange my flights around the new First Class to get the best value for your miles.

I actually am doing one more quick article in this series on the lounge in the Toronto airport.  That should be up in a few days.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Ibiza 2013: Part 6 – The Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt

This is the sixth post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

In the points and miles world, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is the stuff of legends.  A whole separate terminal at the airport restricted to just First Class passengers.  And not just any first class passengers: Only Lufthansa First Class passengers.  A place where unicorns roam freely and mermaids serve you drinks out of a conch shell.  Well, maybe I am exaggerating a bit there, but it is awesome.  Let’s start with the building itself which is completely separate from the main terminal.

photo 5You can either enter at the dedicated drop off area on the top floor, or walk over like I did from the main terminal and enter on the bottom level then take the elevator up.  As soon as you get there, someone quickly approaches you, confirms your Lufthansa First Class status and gets your personal concierge for your time in the FCT.  At this time, they will take your checked baggage and lead you through a dedicated metal detector before you enter the terminal. My first stop was the sleeping area for a nap since I arrived right when the terminal opened at 5:30 AM and I was still a bit worn from Ibiza.IMG_7019My flight didn’t leave until 2:15 PM so I had time for a couple of hours nap before my flight left. My next stop was a relaxing soak in the bathtubs they provide in their shower rooms (yes, they have bathtubs in the airport lounge).photo 4They had an assortment of Etro products to choose from to make your soak and / or shower a pampered 3 (1)I was upset to find out that they were out of the signature Lufthansa Rubber Duckies that come when you reserve one of the bathrooms with a tub.  They did have a nice selection of past duckies that my friend Scott would love.IMG_7044I then took a stroll around the terminal and checked out the extensive amenities.  My first stop was the cigar lounge.
IMG_7020There was a nice selection of complimentary stogies.IMG_7043The lounge was very comfortable and had all sort of chairs that you could lounge in depending on your mood.
IMG_7021I started with an excellent Bloody Mary from the attentive bartender.IMG_7026I was a bit hungry at this point so I decided to try their sit down complimentary dining that was available. They had an Oktoberfest special going on.IMG_7024You could also order from a comprehensive menu.IMG_7036I decided to just roam around the buffet and see what looked good.
The freshly shaved pork was particularly yummy.IMG_7034For drinks they had a comprehensive water bar.  Yes this is a whole bar of different types of water from around the world.IMG_7030If you wanted something a little stronger they also had an area devoted to other liquors including a ton of different whiskies.IMG_7031After I ate, I still had a few hours to relax before my flight and have a few beverages.
IMG_7022I have a pretty big sweet tooth so I was happy to see all sorts of candies spread out through the terminal.IMG_7025If you needed to get some work done or check your Facebook, they had private offices available with computers.IMG_7027They had these things called “PowerKiss” that you could get for your phone to wirelessly charge it on any of the tables around the lounge.IMG_7029I found these amazing rocking massage chairs and was in heaven.

IMG_7028Just when I got comfortable in this chair, an attendant came up to me and asked for my passport so he could go get my immigration stamps and he offered me some champagne.  Ummmm, I don’t mind if I do!  He brought back my passport when it was time to board and took me downstairs to the limousine department for my Mercedes ride over to my waiting plane.
IMG_7045I have to admit that the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt surpassed all of my expectations.  This is truly a different way to fly and now that I have experienced it, I want more! 🙂 If this sounds like something you would enjoy (and really who wouldn’t enjoy this) then why not apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred today and get 40,000 points as a sign on bonus?

In our final article, I will review the First Class flight home on Lufthansa that was in their old first class seating.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Ibiza 2013: Part 5 – Back to the White Isle

This is the fifth post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

Even though it was my third trip to Ibiza, I was still filled with butterflies as we landed and I waited for my bags.  And waited… And waited.  But after all the bags had come out, mine was still nowhere to be found!  Since I had a bunch of connections (MIA->CLT->JFK->MUC->IBZ) I had checked my bag all the way through to Ibiza so I wouldn’t have to lug it around through 3 airports.  I didn’t know that if your bags had gotten checked through from a country outside of the EU that there was a completely separate baggage carousel in the Ibiza airport where I would collect my bag.  When I went in that area, it was there. Whew!  My friend was waiting for me at the airport and we had to wait for another friend so we grabbed a beer at the outdoor cafe at the airport (yes there is an outdoor cafe at the airport, Ahhhh Ibiza!) and waited for our third friend to arrive.

IMG_6933You know I am normally all about using miles and points for everything, but Ibiza doesn’t really have any of the big chain hotels.  Everything is small Spanish brands or independent condos, so my friend had found this condo on which is where owners can list their vacation properties for short term rentals.  I really think this is the best way to find somewhere special for a trip to Ibiza.  This place was 4 bedrooms so could have slept 8 and was $2800 for the week.  It was in a great location walking distance from the famous Pacha nightclub and also a beautiful beach.  As soon as I walked in I was taken aback by the incredible view.
Ibiza ApartmentThe apartment was fully equipped with a gorgeous kitchen and everything you would need including wifi.
IMG_6936But I didn’t come to Ibiza to sit in a gorgeous condo (or did I?), I came to hear some great music so after getting settled, we ate dinner, had some drinks and headed to the Solomun + 1 party which was right down the street at Pacha.
IMG_6937Things got a little fuzzy later in the night, but here is Solomun doing what he does best.
IMG_6942A trip to Ibiza isn’t complete without a visit to the legendary Bora Bora in Playa D’en Bossa.  This place reminds me a lot about Nikki Beach in Miami.
IMG_6951The next day our other roommate arrived from New York and things quickly became a whirlwind of parties, food, and music. Here we are at DC-10.
IMG_6955I didn’t end up taking as many photos as I usually do, but that is a good sign because it means I am having too good of a time! This was Carl Cox B2B Loco Dice at the Carl Cox closing party.IMG_6975I ran into my friend David Diego, Mr. Ibiza, at the Jamie Jones Paradise after party at Sirroco.IMG_6984Since I had some Ibiza virgins staying with me, going to check out Cafe Del Mar in Sant Antoni on the other side of the island.  The sunsets here are some of the best in the world!
IMG_6982We went to the Music On closing and luckily a friend had a VIP table so we didn’t have to be down with the masses on the main floor.IMG_7001 IMG_7005IMG_6990This was my favorite party of the week and it got even better when we went to the afterparty at a Cova Santa.IMG_7006I know I missed a bunch of my parties (Enter Closing, Cocoon Heroes), but those are the photos I ended up with.  Like I said, I was having too good of a time.  One last photo: you know you are in Ibiza when there is a club in the airport!  Although the music is a bit suspect, listening to some electronic music while you have a cocktail and wait for your flight isn’t something you can do many places in the world.
IMG_7013After the hectic time in Ibiza I had, I was ready to get pampered, and what better way than a Lufthansa First Class flight home including the legendary Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt! Details in the next article.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!


Ibiza 2013: Part 4 – The Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Munich

This is the fourth post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

I had a pretty tight connection to Ibiza in 1 hour and a half but made it through immigration and customs quickly.  When I saw the huge line to go through immigration though I began to panic.

IMG_6911I luckily saw that the Lufthnsa First Class Lounge was right next to the huge line so I stopped in to see if they could skip me to the front of the line since I was traveling first class.  But when I went inside and asked them they said “No, First Class passengers don’t have to go through that line.  We have a dedicated immigration officer just for our First Class Passengers located right here in the lounge.”  Whaaaaat?IMG_6918So I go up to the window and in 30 seconds I was through immigration and actually had some time to enjoy the lounge before my flight!  The staff then asked me when my flight was and told me when it was time to board to go downstairs to the limousine department where a car would drive me across the tarmac to my plane.  Whaaaaat? 🙂

I decided to take a shower since the I had been flying for hours.IMG_6916They also have some rooms with bathtubs if you would rather have a nice soak to forget all about the stresses of traveling (although First Class is decidedly not stressful). IMG_6917After my shower I wandered around and took a look at the amazing assortment of goodies available for the taking in the lounge.IMG_6910A healthy number of Pretzels (hey, we are in Germany) and a nice assortment of breads and cheeses. IMG_6912They also had some healthier choices such as fresh fruits.IMG_6919Since I have an insane sweet tooth, I was happy to see pastries, all sorts of candies and even candy apples!IMG_6923They even had little glasses of candies spread out all over the lounge (here showcased next to the awesome Bloody Mary they made me).IMG_6913When in Rome……IMG_6920Although I didn’t have time to enjoy it they also had fine dining available.IMG_6922I was still stuffed from all the food on my flight so I just snacked, but it looked like a good assortment of choices.
IMG_6921I took a quick look around and saw the sleeping rooms they have available which comes in handy when you have a long connection or a flight delay and want to work on your jet lag.
IMG_6925When it was time to board, I went downstairs and was whisked into a waiting Mercedes which drove me across the runways directly to my plane. No walking to the gate for this guy!IMG_6926IMG_6928As I flew over the Bavarian Mountains on the way to Ibiza, I reflected on my my First Class flight experience. Flying this way is truly a different way of traveling and I really enjoyed it!IMG_6930The flight from Munich to Ibiza (which FYI doesn’t fly every day of the week) didn’t have a first class cabin so I was in their business class which is just a row of coach seats with the middle seat blocked off so no one is sitting next to you.  They still have upgraded food and free drinks. IMG_6931As the island of Ibiza came into view, I started to get the butterflies in my stomach that only Ibiza can bring, full of not expectations, but possibilities.IMG_6932In my next article I will show you the amazing condo we rented in a great location near Pacha.

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

Ibiza 2013: Part 3 – Lufthansa First Class New York to Munich on an A-330

This is the third post in a series about my 2013 trip to Ibiza for the closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

As I left the lounge I was able to get a glimpse of the Airbus A-330-300 I would be flying on from New York to Munich.

IMG_6881I had actually spent as much time in the lounge as possible so had missed the premium cabin preboarding call but as I went down the jetway, I realized there was a separate entrance at the front of the plane for First Class passengers so I wouldn’t have to wait in line after all.IMG_6882This dedicated entrance whisked me right into the First Class cabin where the flight attendants were waiting for my arrival. I had arranged seat 1K and it looked like it would be comfortable for the 7 hour flight to Munich!IMG_6883They offered me a snack and a drink so I got one of their selection of German beers.  And what a beer it was! No little cans here!IMG_6887As you can see, even though I am 6’2″ there was plenty of room for me to stretch out my legs. There was also a giant video screen(I think it was 17″) for watching TV shows and movies on demand or listening to music.IMG_6888I particularly liked that since Lufthansa is a German airline, they used a turntable for the “Audio” icon in the AVOD system.IMG_6897

They provided an amenity kit, a pair of pajamas and some slippers.

IMG_6889The amenity kit included toothbrush and toothpaste, an eyemask, some socks, some ear covers for the headphones and some facecream to help with the dry air of the cabin.IMG_6893

Shortly after take off they brought me the menu and you could tell right away this was first class due to the caviar service and other choices.IMG_6890They brought me some sort of a salad first which was tastyIMG_6895Then came the caviar service with vodka, the Peppercorn Beef, and the green papaya salad.  Since First Class wasn’t full they gave me an assortment of appetizers to choose from!IMG_6898For my main course I had the Masala Lamb with Curried Cauliflower and Fingerling Potatoes which was perfectly seasoned and cooked.IMG_6900They had a comprehensive wine list and I tried a few glasses including the Spanish LAN a Mano Red as well as some champagne.IMG_6892I finished off with some ice cream, fresh berries, and some coffee with Bailey’s to help me sleep on the way to Munich.IMG_6903They had given me a pair of pajamas and sleeping in jeans isn’t exactly the best way to arrive rested so I changed into the Oh So Stylish PJs. When in Rome….IMG_6902While I was changing, the steward converted my seat into the completely lie flat bed. This is really the way to fly!IMG_6905I was able to get a good 5 hours of sleep on the way to Munich but I did have them wake me up for my omelette for breakfast since I wanted to experience everything first class had to offer.IMG_6907As I opened my window shades (I had 4) I saw the rolling countryside of Germany enveloped in fog.  IMG_6908I only had an hour and twenty minute layover in Munich before my nonstop flight to Ibiza which I thought might be a tight connection.  I didn’t realize that one of the best parts of my first class experience was yet to come! Read about that in my next article 🙂

As always, feel free to comment with any questions and follow me on Facebook or Twitter!

Go to Ibiza next season with the 50,000 Mile Lufthansa Mastercard!

Edit: July 1, 2014: As promised the Lufthansa Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® has dropped their bonus back to 20,000 miles with the first purchase.  We will let you know if they bring back the bigger bonus in the future.  Congratulations to everyone who got in on it!

you liked TravelWithMiles on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter?  Make sure to do it today so you don’t miss any of our great deals to travel the world!

Back in June we wrote about the Lufthansa 50K bonus for their Mastercard but they had decreased it to 35K back in August.  Now the 50K offer is back and ready for use and is enough for a coach ticket to Ibiza next summer.

If you are like me and already have a ton of Chase, Citibank, and Amex cards, then having a Barclays card to also nice to round out your card portfolio. 🙂 Before I get into how you can use it to get to Ibiza, here are a couple of the highlights about this card.

  • Earn 20,000 award miles with your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 in
    purchases within the first 90 days after account opening
  • With 50,000 award miles you can redeem for a round-trip award
    flight to Hawaii, Europe or the Caribbean!
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 award mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Cardholders receive a companion ticket annually after each account anniversary
  • No foreign transactions fees on purchases made outside the U.S. This makes it perfect to use once you get to Ibiza!
  • $79 Annual Fee. Please see Terms and Conditions for complete details

If the $5000 spending requirement scares you, then check out my article on How to Spend Money Without Spending Money and How to get Miles by Paying your Rent.  I’ve done a bit more research on this card and the best way to use the miles is surprisingly to not use them for Lufthansa flights! This is because they charge really high surcharges on many of the airlines including their own flights.  This makes the fees when you use the miles even more than just paying cash for a ticket which makes no sense at all.

But if you redeem the miles for US Airways flights (which you should be able to do until the merger with American is completed and they leave Star Alliance) there are no fuel surcharges.  This means you will only have to pay $5 and 50,000 miles for the whole ticket from North America to Europe!  I just checked and there are low level coach award seats available for the Ibiza closing parties next year! You can go from Miami to Madrid from September 30-October 8 and catch most of the great closing parties like I did this year. If you want to go somewhere else check out this award chart to see how far your miles can get you.

Lufthansa Award Chart

There are other good options with this chart as well such as Hawaii to New Zealand for only 40K round trip.  If you bought a cheap ticket to Hawaii that they have been running lately, you could turn one vacation into two by adding on New Zealand to your Hawaii trip with the miles you get from this card!

Click here for more information on this card. Click here, get this card, go to Ibiza!

If all of this sounds too complicated and you would rather have a card that gives you a $400 worth of points that you can spend on any travel expenses, then check out our review of the Barclays Arrival Card.

As always if you have any questions add a comment below and I will answer it for you.

Ibiza 2013: Part 1 – How I went to the 2013 Ibiza Closing Parties in First Class for $218.

Lufthansa PlaneThis is the first post in a series on my 2013 trip to the Ibiza Closing parties. Part of the free plane tickets were funded by the 40,000 point sign up bonus of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I redeemed 135,000 points for First Class flights from Miami to Ibiza on Lufthansa.

I love last minute travel.  One minute you have no plans and the next you are flying across the world to have an amazing time.  This was one of those times!

As many of you know, last year I went to the Ibiza closing parties for the first time and while I only paid $239 and flew business class, this year I wanted to do even better!  I had some friends who were going to the closing parties and had rented a bad ass condo and had invited me to stay with them.  So I just needed to get a plane ticket out there and some tickets or guestlists to the parties and I would be all set!

I have oodles of Chase Ultimate Rewards points that I got from my Chase Ink Bold card (40,000 point sign up bonus) and my Chase Sapphire Preferred card (50,000 point sign up bonus) so I was free to use any of the three alliances.  I checked Oneworld since Iberia flies right into Ibiza, but there was no availability.  I then used the same steps that I explained to you guys in my article on How to Check Star Alliance Availability on and I saw a couple of business class seats but not a whole lot of routing that would make sense.  I don’t mind hopping around airports a bit as long as I fly in business or first class and have lounge access during any long layovers. I always try to fly business or first class to get the maximum value from my miles.  Here is the chart for using one way travel using United miles on Star Alliance carriers such as Lufthansa. For round trip travel it would be 60K miles for Economy class, 100K for Business class, and 135K for First Class.

United Europe AwardUnited has an interactive planner you can access here or you can access the full award chart here if you want to check other destinations.  What I did see available when I checked was some Lufthansa First Class seats!

Lufthansa First Class is one of those things I have been wanting to fly forever and the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is the stuff of legends in the travel and points world.  I found a routing that I thought would work and then I called in to try and book it since it wouldn’t let me book it online due to the complexity of the routing.  When I got the representative on the phone though, one of the segments was showing phantom availability, which happens with Lufthansa sometimes when the actual seats become mismatched from the seats showing on The representative was awesome though and she checked several alternate routings and found out a great solution that had availability.

Before I get to that, a couple of things about getting to Ibiza using Star Alliance carriers.  Since Ibiza is a small, seasonal island, there aren’t any direct flights from the US.  You typically have to fly to Madrid or Barcelona and then take a small plane from there.  But there aren’t any Star Alliance carriers that fly from Madrid or Barcelona to Ibiza!  What I found out though are there are some limited flights from Munich to Ibiza on Lufthansa on certain days.  By booking my outbound flight through Munich, I was able to take this non stop flight and save buying the flight from Madrid to Ibiza.  Getting back I wasn’t so lucky and the only thing that was available was Madrid to Frankfurt and then back across the Atlantic through Toronto.  So I would need to buy a one way flight from Ibiza to Madrid to catch my award ticket home.

So when all was said and done this is what I came up with for a total of 135,000 United miles and $218 ($118 + $75 last minute booking fee + $25 Phone booking fee).  Keep in mind that this was all booked the day before I was scheduled to leave!


You will see that I booked this using an Open Jaw (called this because I fly into Ibiza and out of Madrid) and I flew out of Miami and back into Fort Lauderdale.  I had to do this so I could tack on a Free One Way flight to Los Angeles as I discussed in this article.  A trip around Valentine’s day to the Surfing Championships in Huntington Beach sounded like fun!

So there I was, booked again to travel to the White Isle for some of the best parties in the world.  And I was able to go First Class for the first time as well!  Wait until I write about that, it was incredible!

First Class on Lufthansa. Yes, this is my seat / bed on the plane!

Leaving Ibiza and Rotterdam’s Windmills

This article is the eighth in a series on my month long trip to Ibiza for the closing parties and Amsterdam for the Amsterdam Dance Event.

  1. How I am going to the Ibiza closing parties and Amsterdam Dance Event in business class for $239
  2. Ibiza Here I come!
  3. Arrival in Ibiza – SIM cards, hotels and my first night of clubbing
  4. Ibiza Closing Parties: Luciano & Friends, Hot Natured, Marco Carola Music On
  5. Ibiza Closing Parties: Vagabundos at Pacha, Circo Loco at DC-10, Cocoon Heroes Closing at Amnesia
  6. Ibiza Closing Parties: Ovum Closing at Space, Cafe Del Mar, and r:piar:r Closing at Privilege
  7. Ibiza Closing Parties: Space Closing Party and Circo Loco Closing Party
  8. Leaving Ibiza and Rotterdam’s Windmills.

Missing flights has become sort of an epidemic with me, but there is usually a night of fun responsible.  This was no exception.  Crazy Belgians and crazy times.  I knew I had missed my puddle jumper flight on Air Europa (where I was going to credit the flights to Delta since they are part of the SkyTeam alliance), but I headed to the airport anyhow because I had found if you are in person, they sometimes will make accommodations they wouldn’t over the phone.

When I got there, I got the bad news that they only have one flight a day to Barcelona and they could get me on the flight the next day but I would have to buy a ticket for 300€!  Note to self: if you like to miss flights then when you book make sure there is more than one flight a day so you can catch a later flight!  I checked around with other airlines but they either were sold out, or wouldn’t get me to Barcelona in time to catch my connection to Amsterdam via Zurich.  Also since my puddle jumper flight was booked outside of the award ticket with United, I was gonna have to pay a $75 change fee to change my ticket.  It is always good to think outside the box and I looked at a bunch of different variations to try to get off Ibiza but since it was the end of the season, all the flights were packed to mainland Spain.  Since my end destination was Amsterdam (and was planned to be a grueling IBZ-BCN-ZRH-AMS trek) I looked and found a seat on Vueling Airlines on a non stop flight the next day for $238.  I called United and asked about dropping the leg from BCN to AMS on my award ticket and they said they could do it.  I would still have to pay a $75 rebooking fee, but since I would be skipping Barcelona and Zurich, my taxes for the award ticket would go down almost $90. Score!  That took a little of the bite out of making that decision so my night of fun in Ibiza would only cost me an extra $200 or so.

So I get back to my hotel and tell them I need to stay another night and they inform me that the hotel is shutting down for the season that day and so that wouldn’t be possible.  They did refer me onto another hotel close by that was able to accommodate me. I decided to stay in that night to prevent a repeat and left the next day without incident.

Arrival into The Netherlands was uneventful and my first order of business after clearing customs was to get a SIM card for my iPhone.  I had read online that there is an “Airport Telecom Shop” that sells a variety of SIM cards.  It turns out that that is only halfway true.  The small telecom shop does sell SIM cards with voice, data and texts for the iPhone but only on Ortel Mobile which isn’t the best for pricing, but it isn’t the worst either. There was another electronics shop in the terminal that did have more SIM cards but they didn’t have the SIM cutter necessary to fit it into an iPhone 4S.  I probably should invest in a compact SIM cutter to take with me on trips since this isn’t the first time I have had this problem.

My friend Andres is doing a semester abroad in Rotterdam which is about 30 mins by train from Amsterdam so I then had to attempt to use their automated train ticket kiosks.

I quickly tried both my Schwab international debit card and my Chase Sapphire Preferred with no luck.  I then remembered that some parts of Europe now require “Chip” based cards that have a chip embedded into the card itself.  I actually have one of these cards, the Chase British Airways card, but left it at home! I had read that you could get around this problem by going to the ticket counter, but when I got there they informed me that not only could they not accept a card without a chip, but also they were going to charge me an extra €0.5 for using the counter and paying cash! Ugh!  So you will either need a bunch of Euro coins (which is hard since you just arrived in the country) or a chip card to buy train tickets without paying the surcharge. That hurdle out of the way, I headed to Rotterdam in a quick journey and then transferred to the metro to my friends station.  He met me there and we walked to his apartment, in a somewhat dodgy student housing area.

Over the next week, we took things pretty easy hanging out with his friends from college that took me back to my friends at Vanderbilt.  A far cry from Ibiza, the bars we frequented had some of the worst music I have ever heard. They actually played Gangnam Style on several occasions and I caught Andres jamming a time or two.

But I had a great time and we made some good memories.

I went to a street market right near his apartment one day and was impressed with the variety and pricing of all the goodies.

On one of the last days before we went to Amsterdam, I decided to do something culturally significant and saw some of the largest windmills in the world in Schiedam.  While not as well known as the ones in Kinderdijk, they were still quite impressive to me.

Andres and I then went to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at the Museumpark Metro stop which has a great modern art wing with a nice collection of surrealistic works.

Andres and I even sneaked into this giant tower where I am sure we weren’t supposed to be and got some amazing shots over the city of Rotterdam.

You can see the tower we were in on top of the building behind me, wow!

Rotterdam is a beautiful city even if it is overshadowed by its big brother, Amsterdam.

After getting our cultural fix, it was time to leave for Amsterdam for more great music at the Amsterdam Dance Event!  In my next post I will talk about the fun we had trying to get good hotel rates there and some of the tips and tricks I used along the way.