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Emily: Hi everyone! You know how much I like traveling. Another passion of mine is shopping for locally handmade art and treasures in the places I visit.
To me, art is the absolute best thing to bring back home. It’s so unique, and there’s soul behind it. Of course, I also love bringing back small random gifts for family and friends.
Because the holidays are coming up, I’ve created a few posts on some of my favorite shopping destinations and how to get there on miles & points! And for those who don’t like shopping as much, I’ve also included my other favorite experiences in these cities!
Emily’s Top International Shopping Destinations Index:
Shopping in Porto, Portugal
I love going to Europe for clothes. Because it’s easy to find unique items at good prices!
Portugal is much cheaper than countries like France and Italy, and you can find similar brands. The city of Porto has been experiencing a design and food boom.
Rua de Santa Catarina is the main shopping street in Porto. It’s filled with different shops with great clothes at even better prices! I was there this past May, and had a great time enjoying the city with my friends.
You can find locally-made trinkets, chocolate, and so much more. There are even vintage clothing stores, like Mon Père Vintage on Rua da Conceição.
Money saving tip: Save even more money on shopping and earn valuable rewards by using a cash back or points-earning credit card with no foreign transaction fees, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Discover it® Miles.
Explore Cultural Events in Cities You Visit!
While in Porto, we took a kizomba dance class offered by local dance instructors at Afro-Latin Connection. I’ve written about kizomba before, and what an amazing, beautiful dance it is! The class was mostly in Portuguese, but the instructors regularly translated the content into English to help us understand.
Enjoy Port Wine and Explore the Streets at Night
Walking around Porto at night was gorgeous experience. The lights reflecting off the water gave the city such a warm, romantic vibe.
Porto is famous for its port wine. It’s a slightly sweet red dessert wine. It has a higher alcohol content than other wines.
There are many wine tastings you can try! The Romans arrived in Porto in the 2nd century BC, grew grape vines and made wine on the banks of the Douro River. Port wine came into existence in the 17th century. To me, it’s fascinating to be in a place with so much history!
And, a small bottle of locally-made wine you can’t get in the US would make a thoughtful and special gift. Just be sure to put it in your checked luggage! 😉
You Can Do It Too!
It can be easy to get to Portugal with American Airlines miles or United Airlines miles. I spent 30,000 American Airlines miles and $5 in taxes for a one-way ticket to Lisbon, Portugal, from Austin, Texas. To put that number into perspective, most credit cards offer a 40,000 to 50,000 mile bonus just for signing-up and completing a minimum spending requirement!
Try an Airbnb for a More Local Experience
It was $80 per night, split between the 4 of us. So we only paid $20 per person per night!
Airbnb is the way to go for families and larger groups, in my opinion. You’ll get more of an authentic feel of the area you’re visiting and more amenities for the price. And if you use my Airbnb referral link, you can get $20 off your next rental!
Get There With the Right Card Bonus!
If you don’t have enough miles, consider signing-up for a credit card to help earn the miles:
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 American Airlines miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 American Airlines miles after making $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – Current sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after making $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account
|One-Way Coach Ticket From Austin to Lisbon, Portugal||Airbnb in the Center of Porto|
|Retail Cost||$450 to $600||$80 per night|
|Our Cash Cost||$5 in taxes||$80 per night, or $20 per person|
|Miles & Points Used||30,000 American Airlines Miles||N/A|
|Source of Miles & Points||- Citi American Airlines Platinum Select|
Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles
- Citi American Airlines Executive
Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles
|Alternatives||- American Airlines|
- 22,500 miles one-way between November 1 and December 14, and January 10 and March 14) + ~$5 in taxes
- United Airlines
- 30,000 miles one-way + ~$5 in taxes
|- Use Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles to erase $100+ travel purchases, like Airbnb
- Use my Airbnb referral code for $20 off!
|Additional Information||- You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines at a ratio of 1:1|
- You can transfer Starwood points to American Airlines at a ratio of 1:1 (and get 5,000 bonus miles for every 20,000 points you transfer)
|- Here’s how to choose a good and safe Airbnb
- Here are tips on how to negotiate a better Airbnb price!
Porto, Portugal, makes a fantastic trip to experience Europe at a cheaper price. I loved taking a dance class, trying port wine, and shopping for gifts for friends and family back home!