How I Flew for Free: A Family Trip to Paris Using American AAdvantage Miles

Jan 11, 2019

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Eileen Gunn wanted to immerse her daughter in French culture. Where better to do that than in Paris? The whole family packed up and headed to France using American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

The cardholder

Name: Eileen Gunn

Age: 47

Occupation: Editor of FamiliesGo!

Residence: New York

The trip

Route: John F. Kennedy International Airport - New York to Charles de Gaulle - Paris with a connection at Logan International Airport in Boston. We flew directly to New York returning from Paris.

Dates of travel: August 2014

Airline: American

Class of service: Economy

Q: Did you visit a lounge at the airport?

A: Not this time.

Q: Did you travel alone or with someone?

A: I traveled with my husband and daughter. I’d never been to Paris, and our daughter was in a French immersion class at her elementary school. We decided to do this trip partly to expose her to some French in situ.

The card

Q: What card did you use to get a free trip?

A: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Q: How long were you a cardholder at the time of your trip?

A: About 10 years.

Q: How long were you saving for this trip?

A: It takes us about three years to accumulate enough points for three tickets to Europe.

Q: What's your favorite perk of this card?

A: We also get free luggage check on domestic flights and lounge access with the card.

Redemption and booking

Q: Did you take advantage of promotions while earning points for this trip?

A: No.

Q: How did you book?

A: We booked by phone. It’s easier than going online when redeeming points.

Q: How many miles/rewards did this cost?

A: About 140,000 miles.

Q: Did you book in conjunction with a promotion or deal?

A: No.

Q: Any surprises?

A: American Airlines partners with British Airways, but we found out that when redeeming points booking American Airlines flights works best. British Airways tacks on more taxes and fees than American does.

What’s up next?

A: Our goal is enough points for another trip to Europe soon.

Photo via Eileen Gunn.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.