American Express Membership Rewards - American Express points for flights to Italy
I'm new to this forum, but it seems it would be a good place to find out the best options for a trip to Italy in June. I have approx 200,000 Amex points. We're a family of 5, and I know this is travelling during peak time, but I was hoping it would get us 2 round trip tickets. Are we better off booking through American Express, or would it be best to go directly thru Alitalia? Alitalia has a route from Newark (EWR) to Venice, and then returning we'd leave from Rome flying back to Newark.
Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Book it through your regular travel agent if you have a good one, and let them tell you how many points to transfer.
I used Amex's Centurion travel agents for my last trip to Maui to see how they operated, and was disappointed.
They weren't "bad", but my regular agent (a buddy) is MUCH better at it than the 3 agents at Amex (that's how many I went through) were.
He's been at it for 20 years, and is far more experienced and knowledgeable about the travel industry than what Amex hires.
Use continential airline reward search online (Alitalia is part of skyteam). We are flying on Alitalia from FCO to SFO this Dec in J :D pay for by MR -> CO;) You can transfer MR to CO when you make the award reservation transaction, so guarantee your seats :)
Search both Continental and Delta. CO will put you on their metal to FCO/MXP and then AZ metal to VCE by default. You can also connect at CDG and fly AF to VCE. Delta has non-stop flights to both VCE and FCO from JFK, and "connecting" to a car service may be easier and less time that the real connection in Europe. And then consider AF and KL as partners, along with NW. Even VS will get you to LHR from which you can connect down to VCE if you want. All of them can get you to Europe and then connect you down to VCE. It is absolutely peak season, and finding seats may ot be easy, but you may be able to find them with some effort. If you want everyone to fly on the same planes - some free and some paid - it may be even harder as some of the more circuitous routings will not be very cost-effective on the paid seats.
You don't mention if you want to fly in J or Y, but right now I see at least one outbound seat in Y JFK-CDG-VCE on AF for June 10th via the CO site. There appears to be a J seat as well, but I'm guessing that is just J intra-Europe, which is a waste of miles. There are not a lot of seats, but there are some, so you might be able to make it work.
I agree with the above sentiment that using the AX travel agents to plan everything isn't particularly a great plan, but I also don't use TAs at all, and don't have a need for them for the most part, especially in places as easy to negotiate as northern Italy.
Thank you all for your comments and advice - I appreciate your replies!