Traveling on Credit Card Miles or Points


Thinking of Rome maybe a weekend in Paris or just a exotic cruise in the Caribbean. One of the best benefits a credit card has to offer consumers is the ability to Traveling on Credit Card Miles or Points. Some credit cards offer travelers miles for every dollar spent, while other cards offer cardholders points for every dollar spent. Here is a quick guide to using credit card miles and points to book a fabulous vacation.



Credit card miles are given for every dollar spent. These miles can then be exchanged for airline tickets. It typically takes somewhere between 25,000 to 50,000 miles to get a ticket good for domestic air travel. More miles need to be used for business class, first class or international tickets.
Travel the World on Credit Card Miles and Points
The problem with credit card rewards in the form of miles is that there are not always seats available on flights customers want to take. This forces them to use extra miles to get a seat on the plane. This is why many people are turning to points instead of miles for their credit card rewards.


The great thing about point rewards is that they can be used for many more purchases than simply airline tickets. They can be used to get hotel reservations, airfare, electronics and many more amazing rewards. It makes it really convenient when a traveler can use points to obtain all the components of the travel package with credit card rewards.

Where They Can be Used

Credit card miles and points can be used to get travel arrangements for nearly anywhere in the world. Travelers will need to book ahead of time to ensure they can use points to get to where they wish to go.

A Nice Perk

Because many credit card holders have been switching to the convenient points scheme instead of the traditional airline miles package, the airlines have added an inducement for using one of their rewards cards. Many airlines allow passengers who have their credit card reward program to check a bag for free. This is a real bonus in these sad days of baggage fees.

Earning Extra Miles and Points

For travelers who use their credit cards wisely, they can often pay for their entire vacations just by using rewards. Instead of using debit cards for purchases, travelers should use their credit cards to earn as many travel points or miles as possible. Travelers should check for the best credit card offers for both miles and points awarded. Consumers who do this should be sure to pay off the balance every month to avoid paying any interest or fees.



Day Trip to Avignon, France

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

I recently discovered the wonderful city of Avignon in the region of Provence in the south of France. I was on a Mediterranean cruise and opted for a shore excursion here from the port of Marseilles. I was not disappointed!  Avignon is a medieval city which is surrounded by an ancient stone wall. With a population of close to 100,000, about 12,000 people live inside the walls of the "old town."

Outdoor restaurants in Avignon, FranceThe smell of lavender is in the air as the many of the small shops specialize in items made from this flower which grows abundantly in the surrounding countryside. I particularly enjoyed wandering around the narrow cobblestoned streets as I explored this famous city. Of course I found several boulangeries-pâtisseries, otherwise known as French style bakeries, and savored the taste of fresh French bread as I walked around.

With as university presence in Avignon, the city has many young people, and Avignon is also famous for some specific landmarks. These include the Palace of the Popes, Pont d'Avignon, Place de l'Horloge, and the Little Palace Museum. Avignon is also home to the summer theater festival aptly named Festival d'Avignon.

Palais des Papes Avignon, FrancePalace of the Popes

Also known as the Palais des Papes, this is the largest Gothic palace in the world. Built in the 14th century, a total of seven popes lived here, although later two of them were deemed to not be true Popes. You can tour this famous palace and visit the twenty rooms inside. In the summer an art exhibit takes place in the Great Chapel. The Palais des Papes is one of the most visited monuments in France.

Bridge in Avignon, FrancePont d'Avignon

This beautiful bridge has become a symbol of Avignon and actually has two names, known also as Pont St-Bénézet. Crossing the Rhone River, the Pont d'Avignon was constructed in the 12th century.  A devastating flood in 1668 demolished much of the bridge, leaving only four of the original 22 arches standing.

I loved photographing this awesome bridge from various angles and lighting situations. French children actually memorize a nursery rhyme which was written about this bridge many years ago.

Place de l'Horloge

Known also as Clock Square, this is the heart of Avignon, the main piazza or square or place, as they say in France, where everything happens. The well-known 19th century Opera Theater and city hall dominates the square, and there is of course the famous Clock Tower. There are probably ten or twelve outdoor restaurants and cafes, some of which specialize in home-made ice cream.  When I was there on a weekend in May, some local musicians were setting up to perform and vendors were setting up their tables selling jewelry, soaps and other items.  The atmosphere was lively and fun.

Walls of Avignon, FranceLittle Palace Museum

This 14th century Musée di Petit Palais is in the same square or place as the Palace of the Popes, just opposite from it. Formerly a bishops' and archbishops' palace, the museum was also the papal headquarters during renovation to the Palace of the Popes.

The exterior architecture is a work of art in itself with all its detailed sculptures. You can tour the 19 rooms inside this landmark with its religious paintings, sculptures and frescoes of famous Renaissance artists Botticelli, Carpaccio, Bellini and others.  The entrance fee is six euros for adults and three for students over the age of 12. Children under 12 have free admission to the Musée di Petit Palais.

Festival d'Avignon

I was in Avignon in May so I missed the big summer event which occurs for three weeks every July.  The well-known Festival d'Avignon has been drawing crowds to over 90 percent capacity. For the past 66 years artists and actors have been entertaining visitors with live theatrical performances. Every year approximately 20 different venues, including both outdoor and indoor, are made available for the 35 to 40 different shows being staged. The venues seat anywhere from 50 to 2000 spectators and throughout the festival an average of 300 performances are staged.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Day Trip to Aix-en-Provence

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful city in the south of France and is often described as a miniature Paris without the museums. This city of 150,000 is casual, very artsy and has gorgeous tree-lined avenues. It's no wonder that artists like Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, and Cezanne found inspiration here for their paintings.  I was lucky enough to be able to spend part of a day here in Aix, as it is frequently called, on a recent Mediterranean cruise, and loved every minute of it.

Aix-en-ProvenceLe Cours Mirabeau

This is the main avenue in Aix (pronounced like "ex") and it is very wide and the first thing I noticed was how many trees lined both sides of the street. It was very pretty and I later found out that these trees are Plane trees, similar to what I know as sycamore trees.

On one side of the street were bookstores, art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and outdoor restaurants. On the opposite side are the old mansions dating back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. People were milling about and the atmosphere was wonderful, making me feel like I could walk up and down this street all day.

Rotunda Fountain

Aix is known for its fountains and there are no less than 40 of them in the city. The largest is the Rotunda Fountain found at the beginning of Le Cours Mirabeau, in Place Général de Gaulle. This fountain was built in 1860 and is quite impressive with its three statues representing Agriculture, Justice and Fine Arts.

The fountain is a symbol of the city welcoming visitors here. At the end of the school term it has become a ritual for the university students to take a swim in the fountain

Soaps at market in Aix-en-ProvenceMarkets

In Place de Hotel de Ville, there are the famous markets where you can buy things for a fraction of the cost. Open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the markets offer fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh flowers, clothing, soaps, and a little of everything.  This is a huge market and the prices and selections are very reasonable. When I was here I found a real buy on some authentic French soaps and brought some back for gifts.

Clock tower in Aix-en-ProvenceClock Tower

Every town seems to have a clock tower and Aix is no exception. This 16th century monument is next to the town hall or Hotel de Ville in Place de Hotel de Ville. Formerly a belfry, the huge clock was an addition in the 17th century, and attracts attention for its wooden figures that symbolize the four seasons.

Cezanne statue in Aix-en-ProvencePaul Cezanne

Aix's favorite son, artist Paul Cezanne was born here, lived here, painted here and died here. There is a statue at the center of town in his honor.  His studio still exists here and you can take a 30 minute tour inside. I didn't have a chance to see this, but would be interested to return and check it out.

I found the French people to be very friendly and I was surprised that some of them even spoke English. Aix is a great place to visit, as a day trip from the port of Marseilles. I highly recommend this lovely city in Provence.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Day Trip from Nice – Exploring the French Village of Eze

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Just a 20 minute drive from the seaside resort city of Nice is the medieval village of Eze (pronounced like says without the s). Perched 400 feet above sea level, Eze presents an excellent view of the French Riviera in the south of France.

I was intrigued hearing about this ancient town described in most travel guidebooks as very picturesque and a “must-see.” Truly after experiencing the village of Eze first-hand I can definitely agree with these comments.

in Eze Village Eze, FranceGetting There

The village is completely pedestrianised so once you park, there is a moderate amount of uphill walking required. From the parking lot there are steep steps and curving uphill narrow paths to reach the hilltop village, which takes about 20 or 25 minutes, and there is no access for wheelchairs, scooters or strollers.

Gardens in Eze, Eze, FranceOnce there the views are totally worth the climb and I loved exploring the ancient structures along the way up. There were tiny boutiques and art shops, flower shops, soap and perfume shops, restaurants and small hotels, all built out of stone and adorned with colorful flowers.

Gardens in Eze, France (1)The area was very captivating and I was really glad that I had decided on coming here. The village of Eze is not that big, with a population somewhere near 3000, so a few hours to half a day is plenty of time to enjoy the experience. On an interesting side note, the famous philosopher Nietzsche lived here in the latter part of the 19th century.

Perfume Factory

Below the old village of Eze is a perfume factory, Fragonard, which is one of Europe’s major perfume manufacturers. Here   you can take a guided tour at no charge to see and learn about the making of French perfume. This perfumery has been in existence since 1926. Open daily from 8:30 to 6:30 except between the hours of 12 and 2 during the winter months of November to January. Of course there is a gift shop/boutique associated with the perfumery where you can purchase perfumes as well as quite a few other items such as jewelry and embroidered linens.

Exotic Garden

One of the more interesting places here is the Exotic Garden or Garden Exotique. Built on the site of ruins of an ancient castle, the garden features the best views from Eze and has numerous varieties of plants, many of which are cacti and different succulents. Adorned with statues throughout the garden is worth the six euro entrance fee while you are here.

Steps to Eze Village Eze, FranceRestaurants

Eze village has quite a few restaurants and I chose Le Nid d’ aigle for a light lunch of Nicoise salad and French bread while I was there. It was great to sit outside under the trees and also have a wonderful view. The prices were reasonable and the staff friendly and they spoke enough English to make me feel very welcome.

One of the other restaurants that looked appealing to me was La Gascogne where pizza is popular and the prices are good. There are about 20 restaurants and cafés here and many are connected to the small hotels.

I would absolutely recommend coming here for a few hours. It is well worth the trip.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Popular Things To Do in Paris

Paris, the city of romance and culture, is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. It invokes the kind of old-world charm that is rare in most other parts of the world. Quaint cobblestone streets, grand Gothic cathedrals and beautiful parks are among the sites vacationers picture when they think of Paris. Grab a hotel or apartment in Paris for indeed, you could spend an entire summer exploring everything that Paris has to offer. But there are a few places you absolutely can't miss while you are there no matter how long of a stay.



Collage of ParisParis is the center of the art world. If you love art, Paris will be your personal heaven. Many of the best museums in the world are within its city limits. The Louvre is clearly the most popular of all the art museums in the city. Get there on a busy summer day and you may be waiting a while just to get into the building. But before you do, make sure to take a good look at I.M. Pei's glass pyramid, a structure that still evokes strong emotions among the citizens of Paris years after its creation. It seems as if half of them are inspired by it, the other half revolted by it. Whatever you do, do not get into a serious conversation about it! And one more piece of advice: don't spend all of your time staring at the “Mona Lisa.” The Lourve has too good of a collection to focus on just one piece of art.

Of course, Paris has a lot more than just art. It is pretty much a given that you will visit the Eiffel Tower at some point during your visit, the most popular tourist destination in the city and perhaps its most quintessential landmark. The panoramic views from the top of the tower will be the best in the entire city. But even if you are too scared to make it all the way to the top, at least go to the first floor and mail out some postcards at the post office to all of your friends and family to make them jealous of the fact that you are in Paris and they are not!

Of course, this only scratches the surface of what you can do in this magical city. So take a Paris apartment and explore the rest the city of lights has to offer,  La Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie, the Arc de Triomphe and the Parc de la Villete are just some of the many things to visit on your vacation. Your sightseeing is limited only by your time and your imagination. For more information Get Your Guide to Paris Tours



Gare de l’Est Train Station- Paris

Gare de l"est is one of six SNCF train stations found in Paris. Gare de l'Est is not far from Gare du Nord, another in the string of stations. Both stations are in the 10th arrondissement of the city. Gare de l'Est is set up to serve trains departing for and arriving from areas east of the city.

Gare de l"est was built in 1847, in the Belle Epoque design so familiar in the city. The "newer" west wing was completed in 1854 and was made to help alleviate growing crowds heading into the Strassbourg region of France and Germany. As a point of fact, Gare de l'Est was built by Compagnie du Chemin de Fer de Paris à Strasbourg (the Paris-Strasbourg Railway Company) and originally was to be called the "Strasbourg Platform."

Gare de l’Est, Train Station, Paris, FranceFrance's TGV along with City Night Line and Lyria train lines operate out of the station and serve Germany, Eastern France, Austria and the German speaking region of Switzerland.

Daily shuttle service to Paris's international Charles de Gaulle airport depart from the Gare de l'Est premises every 7 to 15 minutes each day. The operating hours of the station are approximately 5 am to midnight each day.

Within the station are several newsstands that carry books and periodicals in English, French and German to accommodate the mix of languages and travelers.

Paid parking around the terminal is available and the address should you be driving to the station is Place du 11 novembre 1918 75010 Paris. Valet baggage service and luggage check is available at the consignment stand within Gare de l'Est. Luggage lockers are on the left-side of the building and are for use between 6:30 am to 11:15 pm. Luggage left overnight is disposed of.

Three small restaurants that serve a variety of fast food and sandwiches serve the three main tracks of Gare de l"est. Beer and wine is served along with food should you desire.

Gare de l'Est is a WiFi hotspot, allowing you to check email and surf the web while waiting for your train. Telephone stands are available within the terminal should you be traveling without a cell phone.



Gare du Nord Train Station, Paris

Train travel is much more prevalent and popular throughout Europe than the United States. In major European cities such as Paris, train stations are busy and bustling, transporting people over the continent. Gare du Nord, in the northern section of the Paris, serves thousands of travelers each day with departures and arrivals, restaurants, shops and pubs.

The original Gare du Nord was completed in 1846. By 1864 Gare du Nord had to be rebuilt three times to expand and accommodate the growing number of travelers. The name "Gare du Nord" is based less on its location within the city and more based on where the majority of the trains depart and arrive. Gare du Nord serves the Benelux countries, Scandinavia and Northern Germany.

Gare du Nord, Train Station, Paris, FranceLocated at 18 Rue Dunkerque in Paris, Gare du Nord is open between 5 am to 1 am daily. The Regional Express Railway (RER) B line departs for Charles de Gaulle airport every 7 to 15 minutes each day, guaranteeing connections between the two travel mediums.

Eurostar, TGV and Thalys railways serve the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Northern Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden out of Gare du Nord.

Within the station is free WiFi – a sure sign of the changing times. Pay telephones, toilets and lockers are available throughout the station. Visitors have access to a regional tourism office open between 9 am to 8 pm. Currency exchange is done through a Thomas Cook kiosk where up to date rates are available. Newsstands stick current magazines and newspapers in a variety of languages to accommodate the variety of travelers coming through the station.

There are four restaurants serving small meals and fast food as well as beer and wine throughout the Gare du Nord premises. Use the baggage consignment office to check large bags for a half-day or longer. Remember to keep your stub to retrieve your bags.

Taxi stands are outside entrances to the station, with valet flagging and parking near by. Sight-seeing in locales such as the Monmarte and Sacre-Couer are just outside the station. Gare du Nord is in Paris's 10th arrondissement, the subsections of the city.



The Gare Saint-Lazare, Train Station, Paris

The Gare Saint-Lazare is one of the six largest train stations in Paris, France. It is the second busiest train station in Paris and serves long distance routes towards Normandy as well as regional trains to the western suburbs of Paris. It transits over 400,000 travelers a day. The first station at Saint-Lazare was 150 meters northwest of its current location and was called Embarcadere des Batignolles. The station opened on August 24, 1837 and was opened by the wife of Louis-Phillipe of France, Marie-Amelie. The Gare Saint-Lazare train stations is located near the following metro stations: Saint-Lazare, Europe, and Havre-Caumartin (also known as Saint Augustin).

Gare Saint –Lazare Train Station Paris, FranceYou can reach numerous travel destinations from the Gare Saint-Lazare, making it convenient for locals and tourists alike. There are plenty of bars and restauarants located around the Gare Saint-Lazare, which is, once again, advantageous to both locals and tourists. Some restuaruants include Brasserie Mollard, Le Garnier, Brasserie Printemps, Le Madeleine C, Bistro de Deux Theatres, Casa Del Estelle and Cafe Terminus, all of which boast a 7.8 dining rating or higher. Restaurants such of these offer a fine dining experience as well as bars that are perfect for an evening cocktail.

The SNCF Intercités train services that operate out of the Gare Saint-Lazare train station include the following:

Gare Saint-Lazare – Vernon – Rouen-Rive-Droite – Le Havre
Gare Saint-Lazare – Évreux-Normandie – Lisieux – Caen – Cherbourg
Gare Saint Lazare – Évreux-Normandie – Lisieux – Trouville-Deauville
Gare Saint Lazare – Rouen-Rive-Droite – Dieppe

The suburban lines that operate out of the Gare Saint-Lazare train station include the following:

Saint-Lazare – Conflans – Gisors
Saint-Lazare – Ermont-Eaubonne
Saint-Lazare – Conflans – Mantes-la-Jolie
Saint-Lazare – Poissy – Mantes-la-Jolie – Vernon
Saint-Lazare – Cergy-le-Haut
Saint-Lazare – Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche
Saint-Lazare – Versailles-Rive-Droite

The Gare Saint-Lazare is the most historic train station in Paris. Some of the reason for this is because the Gare Saint-Lazare features a hotel, the Hotel Concorde St Lazare (also known as the Terminus), as part of the railway building. From the Gare Saint-Lazare train station, you can take a trip around Europe through Amsterdam, London, Vienna and Rome. The Gare Saint-Lazare is an architectural wonder that has inspired many 19th and 20th century artists. When you're planning a trip to Paris, France, or Europe in general, you should travel on the Gare Saint-Lazare railway because it is a historic monument and tourist destination in itself.



The Gare d’Austerlitz, Parisian Transportation With Flair

Gare'd Austerlitz, Train Station Paris FranceThe Gare d'Austerlitz train station is tucked neatly into the fabric of Paris, an internationally famous city. Its history is rich and ranks among the most prominent tourist attractions. Gare d'Austerlitz plays an important role in Paris commuter transportation. If arriving or leaving Paris by train, or just staying in a Paris apartments, take the time to enjoy this historical train station.

The History of Gare d'Austerlitz
On April 26, 1931, Gare d'Austerlitz station was opened with the section known today as Paris Metro Line 10. It was located between Gare d' Orleans and Place d'Italie and for a time was the northern terminus until an extension, Place Mazas was completed. Its name derives from the Battle of Austerlitz, the name of the local district. The Battle of Austerlitz is historically a major turning point in the Napoleonic Wars.

Gare d'Austerlitz is so popular because of the unique features incorporated into its elegant design and the traverse of its lines. A view of the Gare d'Austerlitz clearly shows the Parisian penchant for beauty without compromising functionality. Structures in Paris fit into a perfect weave of architecture in traditional design that adds an air of elegance to fill the needs of Parisiennes and world travelers.

What Makes Gare d'Austerlitz So Unique?
From the moment travelers arrive at Gare d'Austerlitz, they are treated to a smooth transition to their chosen destination. The station serves Line 5 and forms the eastern terminus of Line 10, located in the 5th and 13th arrondissements. Line 5 Station opens to the outdoor area. This is strategically entered beneath the roof of Gare d'Austerlitz's main line. Travelers appreciate this exit from the station where they cross the dark green waters of the River Seine. Then, Line 5 traverses into a prominent descent and curve known as "le toboggan" ("the slide").

Traditional Beauty, Modern Enhancements
Gare d'Austerlitz accommodates needs of travelers seeking to view Paris and all of its attractive sights. Gare d'Austerlitz, in cooperation with France's national railway system the SNCF, offers high speed rail trains like the ultra-modern TGV Reseau train which carries an impressive 100 million passengers a year as well as traditional express trains that reach Gare Montparnasse, Gare de Lyon, Gare du Nord, Gare St. Lazare, Gare de Bercy and Gare de este. In addition, underground connections and subways serve local commuters as well as travelers to and from hotels and apartments in Paris the year round. Gare d'Austerlitz opens at 5 AM and remains open until midnight. Commuters enjoy the bistros and upscale brasseries as well as restaurants replete with international cuisine.


Paris To Versailles, Must Do Day Trip

A jaunt from Paris to Versailles can be the crowning jewel of any European vacation. Full of rich history and culture, and within an hour of travel time from Paris, Versailles is sure to create many pleasant vacation memories.

Versailles is approximately twelve miles west of Paris and holds distinction as the former residence of French royalty and the epicenter of French government. The Palace of Versailles is now a French landmark that attracts millions of tourists each year. It is renowned for breathtaking gardens and hand manicured shrubbery – 250 acres of lush greenery to be exact. One could spend a whole day getting lost in the grandeur of the gardens surrounding Versailles palace. The ornate architecture and elegant decor within the place have continued to inspire designers both inside and outside of France for many centuries.

Garden of Versailles, FranceThe palace is as dazzling as it sounds and is the largest palace built by the French monarchy

Getting there: Hop on the Paris metro to Pont de Sevres, which is at the end of metro line nine. A quick transfer to bus 171 from there will get you to Versailles in no time. Once in the city, Versailles palace is a short walk and other sites of note are also within walking distance.

Inside the palace: First stop is the hall of mirrors. This is the largest room in the palace and houses seventeen mirror arches facing an additional seventeen windows that overlook the palace park. Words cannot describe the feeling of walking down the hallway knowing that a total of 357 mirrors were used to decorate it. This grand hallway was the setting for many royal gatherings and celebrations.

Next stop is the Queen’s Grand Apartment. And the name says it all. This extravagant living space was a source of refuge for the queen when distance was needed between her and the king. It is symmetrical to the King’s Grand Apartment. The Queen Marie-Thérèse was known to have occupied this residence on a frequent basis.

The last stop is the Museum of French History. Per the wish of Louis-Philippe, the museum was dedicated to all the glories of France. It is a landmark of French national culture and many souvenirs of the past are embedded in the halls and galleries of the museum.

Once outside of vicinity of the palace, don’t forget to stop at the small shops and cafes along the street for some authentic French cuisine, pastries and shopping.

Returning to Paris: The Gare Montparnasse metro stop will return you to the city of lights with a total travel time of about 40 minutes.

Take note that Versailles’s Palace is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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