My Mom had never been anywhere out of the United Station besides Mexico so I thought it prudent to treat Mom to a little European vacation in 2018. Originally, I wanted to wait until 2019 as Ross and I are getting married this year and already going on a pretty long honeymoon. However, I decided 2018 and beyond would be all about "experiences" rather than things. Things you can loose - experiences you can't. Therefore, I thought it would be a great time to take her and we decided on Thanksgiving week since neither of us really care for turkey. I knew Italy (i.e., Rome) had to be included so I thought why not fly into Rome (FCO) and fly back home from London (LHR). All 3 of us have been watching The Crown and I thought it would be fun to show my Mom around London.
I began my search, as I usually do, for flights into Rome and what they would cost dollar wise as this is usually a good indicator (but not always the case) for finding "business saver" flights. This task was difficult as one-way tickets are routinely way more expensive than round-trip. This is due to the fact that one-way tickets throw off airline data statistics and mess up their entire algorithm for pricing and routing their airplanes. However, reward flights are an exception to this rule (as of now, at least). Therefore, I decided to forgo my usual way of finding reward tickets and just went straight to the reward redemption's themselves.
Since I currently have in my credit card portfolio an American Express Business Gold card, Citi Prestige card, and Chase Sapphire Reserve, I had some pretty hefty transfer muscle. Now the key to booking reward redemptions is to always go for the business saver option. Usually, you will find Economy, Premium Economy, then Business and/or First and a Business and/or First Saver. Saver's are hard to find and are not always available on popular routes. However, I was able to find a business saver flight through Air France directly and their Flying Blue mileage program for a one way ticket from Los Angeles (LAX) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) in business on their Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft with their recently renovated business class seat. This ticket valued in at > $8,000 but I simply transferred 62,500 miles from my Chase Ultimate Rewards Program into my Flying Blue account and spent $202 in taxes and V'oila (well times 3) - 3 business class one way seats to Rome. One heck of an experience for a fraction of what that business class ticket would have cost.