For those of you soccer fanatics like myself, the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer will be one of the most exciting events in recent history with the games taking place in soccer-crazed Brazil. Flights are one of the biggest costs associated with planning a trip to the World Cup, but it doesn’t have to be. I did a recent search from San Diego to Sao Paulo on American Airlines, and found some pretty solid availability throughout June. There is great availability from many other cities such as: Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York and other major cities.

Availability in Economy from JFK-Sao Paulo

Availability in Economy from JFK-Sao Paulo

There is great availability in most of the cities listed, here we have many options from New York in economy and in business class.

Direct flights in business from JFK-Sao Paulo for only 50k each way!

Direct flights in business from JFK-Sao Paulo for only 50k each way!

Definitely a great deal if you applied for the Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard and received the 100,000 point bonus for spending $10,000 in 3 months. You’ll have more than enough for a roundtrip ticket to Brazil this summer in business class!Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 11.21.32 AM

 

How to get around Brazil:

Getting to Brazil is only half the battle. Sao Paulo is hosting some really great games, the World Cup schedule can be found here: 2014 FIFA World Cup Matches. Some of the games there include: Uruguay vs. England, Brazil vs. Croatia, and Netherlands vs. Chile, as well as Round of 16 and Semifinal matches. However, if you’re a big USA fan like me, you’ll want to catch our home country in action against one of the toughest groups in the tournament. If you’re looking to see the USA play Germany in Recife on June 26th, you don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to fly there.

Brazil’s native airline, TAM, is a partner in the oneworld Alliance and can be booked with British Airways’ distance-based chart. A flight from Sao Paulo to Recife will cost 10,000 Avios each way.

One option would be the 11:55 PM flight on the 25th

One option would be the 11:55 PM flight on the 25th or another option would be the 6:40 AM flight on the 26th

Manaus is also hosting two fantastic matches: England vs. Italy and USA vs. Portugal. TAM also has direct flights to Manaus that can be booked with British Airways Avios.

Direct flight from Sao Paulo to Manaus

Direct flight from Sao Paulo to Manaus

I recommend booking a return trip to either Brasilia, Sao Paulo, or Rio de Janeiro and then booking a return through AA to the United States. Rio and Brasilia have limited availability coming back to the US with Sao Paulo having the most availability. So check out your options and plan accordingly. Most hotels will be booked, so hostels, Airbnb, or finding friends to travel with can make this trip more affordable. If you’re only interested in going to Brazil for a week or you don’t have much time to take off from work, visiting the World Cup can still become a reality thanks to points.

Plenty of business class still available on the return trip from Sao Paulo. Economy options also available.

Plenty of business class still available on the return trip from Sao Paulo. Economy options also available.

Points can be transferred from your Chase Ultimate Rewards account with a 1:1 ratio to the British Airways Avios program. Or, sign up for the British Airways Visa Credit Card to earn 50,000 points when you spend $2,000 within 3 months of account opening. Learn more about booking British Airways award tickets and how to search for availability online. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be earned with the Chase Ink Business Cards and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. The Chase Ink Cards have a special increased 60,000 point sign up offer that will only last a few more days until June 1st. So act fast!

For miscellaneous travel expenses, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® can be used to offset many travel expenses while you’re planning your trip to Brazil, including: hotels, car rentals, flights, trains, and more with a statement credit. The card also earns you 2x for every dollar spent and you get $440 for signing up and meeting the spending threshold. Being a no foreign transaction fee card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is great for overseas purchases, especially when you’ll be traveling in Brazil and you’ll have the chip+pin technology to help avoid any frauds or card theft scams.

Tickets:

If you don’t yet have tickets to any of the matches in Brazil, there are ways to still acquire some. I’ve noticed people starting to sell on Craigslist in cities throughout the US and there will be tickets listed on Craigslist in Brazil. Be wary of scammers, however, this can be a great place to acquire tickets. People noted that they were able to buy tickets on Craigslist in South Africa during the World Cup there in 2010. In Brazil, I would be a lot more cautious of people trying to steal money or scam you. Another option is to buy at the stadium before the game. People also had great success doing this during the 2010 World Cup where people bought too many tickets and were force to sell under face value when the demand wasn’t high enough. There will be more Americans traveling to the World Cup this year, so buying last second tickets to a USA game may be difficult.

Search FIFA’s website to find out about ticket cancellations, resales, or final ticket sales to grab some last second tickets before heading out to Brazil. Make sure to read up on the policies and make sure you will be able to get into the stadium with second-hand tickets.

I hope this article was helpful for any of my fellow soccer fanatics, and if you are planning on visiting the World Cup this summer or you’ve been to a World Cup in the past, please comment below with any tips, advice, or itineraries for your trip or past trips for fellow readers to see!

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