In my previous trip to Cuba, Colombia and Panama, I saved 1055 USD on a trip that could have cost 2029 USD. I did not save much on this trip using Miles & Points (only saved 100+ USD by redeeming 4000 Starpoints for Le Meridien N’Fis), but I actually earned a lot of miles on this trip for a future trip I have planned to South America.
1070 USD: Seattle to Madrid round-trip in British Airways and American Airlines business class (yes! Business class was cheaper than coach!)
110 USD: Madrid to Lisbon round trip on Iberia
94 USD: Madrid to Morocco round trip on Ryanair
Total: 1274 USD
330 USD: Most were non-loyalty program hotels, because I scored a deal, but I stayed at Crowne Plaza Madrid Airport because it was a great points-earning opportunity
Miles & Points Earned
Miles: ~43000 AA Miles
A number of OneWorld airlines were having a deal celebrating five years of trans-Atlantic flight partnership. Hence, they were giving a bonus for transatlantic flights taken on American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair from 22 September 2015 to 31 January 2016 (you do need to register for this promotion to get the bonus). They were giving 2000 bonus miles for discount economy fares, 7000 bonus miles for premium economy or select full-fare economy fares, and 25000 bonus miles for first or business class fares for round trip transatlantic flights.
The round trip from Seattle to Madrid earned me 15662 miles, but with the above bonus, stacked with another premium fare bonus, earned me over 43000 bonus miles. This is actually enough for a round-trip economy ticket to central America, but I plan on using it for a one-way business class ticket to South America (it is not quite enough points, but it gets me 80% of the way). So, my 1000 USD ticket did not just buy me a round trip business class ticket to Europe, but it also paid for a one way business class ticket to South America.
Points: ~7500 points
After clicking through Topcashback, the real rate of my stay at Crowne Plaza Madrid airport is close to 60 USD. But because of the different promotions, I obtained some 7500 IHG points, which is good for either 1 night at a points break hotel, or almost enough for a category 1 IHG hotel.
Costs vs Miles & Points
The fixed costs of this trip was 1600 USD, and I saved over 100 USD using 4000 Starpoints. While I do prefer money in the bank, I also do not have an endless supply of miles and points. So, when the right opportunity presents itself, I do replenish these miles. For the amount I paid, I earned ~43000 AA Miles and ~7500 IHG points, which I think is good value.