My wife and I decided to do a Europe backpacking trip in June. I booked the flight in December. I had just gotten 200k AA miles through 2 AA cards and Fidelity Bonus 50k. It was hard finding available dates in the summer. BA was available but the fuel surcharges were very high. I searched on ba.com and found a flight to Rome through Dusseldorf. The return flight was BER-LAX. We were able to connect starting at ORY airport. The flight schedule was perfect but I was skeptical about Airberlin. After doing some research, it seemed like a very mediocre business product, but since it matched our schedule I called AA and booked it over the phone. The two cost for two business class tickets was about $200! Sounded a lot more reasonable compared to $1000+ for BA.
We decided to tour Italy and make our way north. We also wanted to go to Paris, so we booked an easyjet flight for only $75 per person from Venice to Paris. We visited the following cities in this order: Dusseldorf, Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice, Paris, and Berlin. We used SPG points and Hyatt points to stay at each hotel besides Rome, Cinque Terre, and Florence. We used airbnb.com for Rome and Florence and priceline for cinque terre. We lucked out at found some nice local apartments for about $100 a night through airbnb. Priceline also had $100 rooms in cinque terre, which had a real nice view but not the nicest b&b. The highlight of our hotel stays were defenitly the Europe & Regina in Venice and the Park Hyatt in Paris. We stayed 2 and 3 nights respectively. The Park Hyatt Paris had the most amazing breakfast in my life thanks to my Diamond status. Stay tuned for more..