As a member of the frequent flyer community, I’m always amazed at how much the community gives back to each other. I’ve had the great fortune to be able to give away some fun things like trips on the last Star Alliance and Oneworld Mega Dos and even got to take TPG reader Daniel to front row seats at this past Tuesday’s Conde Nast Traveler Visionaries event at Lincoln Center (full review coming shortly). However, a couple of months ago the tables were turned on me and a super generous blog reader offered to give me a show-stopping prize that he had won but wouldn’t be able to use: 4 nights at the luxurious Four Seasons Terre Blanche in Provence, France, which includes several meals and even a wine tasting. Transportation wasn’t included, but that’s not a big deal since I have a couple frequent flyer miles laying around and even some Hertz points that are burning a hole in my pocket.
I’ve been to France a number of times, but always to Paris and the surrounding areas. My main goal is to relax and hit up the spa at the resort, but what else should I be doing while in Provence? Should I day trip to Cannes? Visit a lavender field or an olive oil press? Maybe I should make a day trip to Avignon and the Pont du Gard? I’ll have a rental car, so I don’t mind getting out and exploring, but as always appreciate the sage advice of my readers.
I also decided to spend my last night in Monte Carlo since I’ve never been. I used 21,500 Starpoints to book an award night in an executive room at Le Meridien Beach Plaza in Monte Carlo, which looks really nice. Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about Monte Carlo and all I can think to do is bring my tuxedo and gamble a la James Bond.
I transferred 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from my recent Ink Plus sign-up bonus to United and paid $27.80 to book a Swiss Business Class award from Miami to Zurich to Nice (the flight was selling for $6,595, so I think it’s a pretty decent redemption, even though I would never pay that much out of pocket). I’ve never flown Swiss, so I look forward to reviewing a new product. Once in Nice, I redeemed 2,800 Hertz points for 5 days of standard car rental. I’m half tempted to drop the car off in Monaco and take the helicopter from Monte Carlo to Nice airport, which is apparently a gorgeous 7 minute ride and not horribly priced at about 100 Euros. Anyone have any experiences with them? I still kick myself for never taking advantage of the helicopter service in NYC when you used to be able to zip to the airport in less than 20 minutes for about $150.
I used 84,000 Avios and $362 to fly Nice-London City then I transfer to Heathrow for the flight to Miami in British Airways First Class. I have 3 hours to transit from London City to Heathrow, but figure it won’t be too much of an issue since I’m in First and will be able to speed through check-in and security at Heathrow. If not, I’ll just stay an extra night in London, which isn’t the worst thing in the world! Has anyone ever done a London City to Heathrow transfer? Should I take the bus or tube to the Heathrow Express?
Thanks in advance for the tips and thanks a million to TPG reader Andrew for making this happen!