Six Weeks Through France and Italy, all via points

Six Weeks Through France and Italy, all via points
Ridiculous views in Sardinia from our SLH spot, Cascioni Eco Retreat

My wife and I had the chance to take a six week trip through Europe September-mid October. While a six week trip could be insanely expensive, we were able to make it work via the magic of points - a combination of Amex and Chase points from cards such as the Amex Platinum, Chase Ink Unlimited, and more gave us an amazing, hopefully-more-than-once in a lifetime trip that we will remember forever.  Check out what we did, get inspired, find out lessons we learned, and see how you can do this yourself!

Our trip started in Paris, went down to Hyères and the amazing Isle de Porquerolles, up through Provence, then a short flight over to Corsica, down across the strait to Sardinia, another short flight to Florence, a quick hi-speed train to Rome, and then one more up to Milan, before heading home, tan, tired, and happy.

Sunrise off the Hyères peninsula, on the Le Hameau Des Pesquiers (Hilton) beach

Along the way, we experienced amazing landscapes, mouth-watering food, famous art, welcoming locals, and of course, multiple sumptuous, brilliant hotels. 

Just part of the pastries and deserts table at the Park Hyatt Milan breakfast spread, the best of our trip

We started the trip, flying from NYC to Paris via Air France Premium Economy, for 30,000 Air France miles + $150 in fees per ticket.  These were transferred from Amex to Air France/KLM, with a 25% transfer bonus, which happens at least once a year, but often, several times.  This meant the tickets were only 24,000 miles + $150 - a great deal for a premium economy flight to Europe.

We had Sky Priority check-in due to the Premium Economy tickets, but didn’t need to check anything on this initial flight.  Later, of course, this would become necessary due to all the wine, vinegar, and other foods we bought.  Priority boarding was a great help though, as the line was HUMONGOUS.  

The premium economy seats Air France uses are often the shell-style seats, where you slide forward rather than recline.  Few people like these seats, and we definitely did not love them for sleeping, either.  I had been hoping that we’d get the new seats, which I heard were on the JFK-CDG routes, but unfortunately not.  We lost any advantage of the no-recline-but-slid-forward seats because we were in row 1 of premium economy.  That said, we didn’t have a bulkhead in front of us, but about 10 feet of space - legroom for days and days, the absolute best thing about the seats.

Unending legroom on Air France Premium Economy first row seats

The flight was uneventful, with great service, decent food, and all the aforementioned legroom.  We arrived in Paris on time, tired, but to be expected on an flight to Europe in a non-business cabin.  We decided to economize ever so slightly and grabbed a Roissybus to Opéra in Paris, but looking back, probably should have just taken a taxi.  

This, of course, is where the trip really gets going, as we were headed to the Park Hyatt Paris, one of the most famous hotels in the Hyatt network and in the world.  We had heard mixed reviews lately, but wanted to see for ourselves.  Coming Next!  Park Hyatt Paris - worth the hype, or overrated?