Help me make a vacation

Old Jun 4, 16, 11:20 am
  #1  
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Smile Help me make a vacation

I have around 30k avios and I wish to travel throughout europe in September 2016. I wish to visit the following cities:-
Amsterdam
Budapest
Florence
London
Paris
Prague
Venice
Vienna

(Berlin & Brussels if unable to finish avios)

This will be a gift to myself for finishing law school
I've tried a lot but I could not find connections to make this entire trip possible. Also I'm travelling during Off-Peak so I have the miles. Usually an award connection costs 4-4.5k.
I would be very grateful if somebody could help me come up with a viable plan that visits most of the cities and at the same time uses up these miles. I don't mind travelling by train or bus if flight isn't possible. Also I'm ready to start the trip from any of these cities and end it anywhere.
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Old Jun 4, 16, 12:00 pm
  #2  
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First, congratulations on your graduation!

I'd start with a little pruning. Choose one Italian destination (Florence over Venice) and one Eastern Europe city (Prague over Budapest).

Do Prague to Berlin via train, via Dresden (itself worth a visit).

Likewise, Paris and Amsterdam pair nicely as there are superb train connectionstation between the two (stopover in Brussels easy).

Reserve the Avios for the segments that will let you avoid spending too much of your precious time in transit.
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Old Jun 4, 16, 12:01 pm
  #3  
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Old Jun 4, 16, 12:38 pm
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A lot of those places will be much, much easier to connect to by train rather than by plane, especially when you consider that your only viable OneWorld options would be AirBerlin or BA (so you can only connect through German airports or London).

No European airline really has a point-to-point network - it's all hub and spoke, and they tend only to have one hub. In addition, Avios are redeemed by segment, so you pay 4k + 4k for AMS-LHR-BRU (plus taxes) even though the cities are only a couple of hours apart by road or rail.

So... how can you make the best use of your Avios? Firstly, you don't say where you're based, but if you're located somewhere where AA has a monopoly on feeder traffic, a redemption could be very cost-effective for your first leg. Secondly, you don't have to fly to London to start your trip. So you could easily fly IAH-LHR-BUD and fly back FLR-LHR-IAH, actually earning (a few) more avios on a paid ticket, rather than using them for those connections.

Knowing your specific dates would also help get better value.

So with that in mind, I'd probably end up with London somewhere in the middle of my trip, so maybe something like

BUD - VIE - PRG on ground transportation
Avios PRG - LHR
LHR over a weekend (it's an expensive city for accommodation and tends to get cheaper on weekends)
LHR-BRU or PAR or AMS on Avios, connecting between these cities by train
Then LGW/LHR to FLR/VCE to finish the trip (7,500 avios for this longer flight), with a return flight back to your point of origin.

But, depending on your available time and funds, Non-NonRev's suggestion to prune a little seems like a sensible one.
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Old Jun 4, 16, 1:41 pm
  #5  
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One other intra-European connecting possibility is AY via Helsinki.
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Old Jun 4, 16, 2:06 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Cymro View Post
A lot of those places will be much, much easier to connect to by train rather than by plane, especially when you consider that your only viable OneWorld options would be AirBerlin or BA (so you can only connect through German airports or London).

No European airline really has a point-to-point network - it's all hub and spoke, and they tend only to have one hub. In addition, Avios are redeemed by segment, so you pay 4k + 4k for AMS-LHR-BRU (plus taxes) even though the cities are only a couple of hours apart by road or rail.

So... how can you make the best use of your Avios? Firstly, you don't say where you're based, but if you're located somewhere where AA has a monopoly on feeder traffic, a redemption could be very cost-effective for your first leg. Secondly, you don't have to fly to London to start your trip. So you could easily fly IAH-LHR-BUD and fly back FLR-LHR-IAH, actually earning (a few) more avios on a paid ticket, rather than using them for those connections.

Knowing your specific dates would also help get better value.

So with that in mind, I'd probably end up with London somewhere in the middle of my trip, so maybe something like

BUD - VIE - PRG on ground transportation
Avios PRG - LHR
LHR over a weekend (it's an expensive city for accommodation and tends to get cheaper on weekends)
LHR-BRU or PAR or AMS on Avios, connecting between these cities by train
Then LGW/LHR to FLR/VCE to finish the trip (7,500 avios for this longer flight), with a return flight back to your point of origin.

But, depending on your available time and funds, Non-NonRev's suggestion to prune a little seems like a sensible one.
Thanks mate I'll keep all that in mind. I'm gonna look into Eurostar timetable. Appreciate the quick reply
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Old Jun 4, 16, 2:11 pm
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Theoretically, yes, but I can't see it working well in terms of time or cash - AY redemption charges can be quite high, and HEL is a little bit out of the way (although I am posting this from there).

On that basis, you could also use Iberia but you'd lose so many avios through extra legs and paying higher charges that it doesn't really bear thinking about.
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:30 pm
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You should also look at the Citynightline website https://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/p...t-travel.shtml

There are some interesting options there although the route network isn't as extensive as it once was.
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Old Jun 4, 16, 3:50 pm
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Perhaps OP can fly to most of the EU cities by using the multi carriers award with AB and BA?

Congratulations anyway!

EDIT: Only valid on two one world carriers or more excluding BA. So if OP wants to do AB and S7 then probably it would work but don't think that's the case for now.
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Old Jun 5, 16, 12:30 am
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Hard to advise without you telling us your starting point.

There are a few other airlines that might help. Curling if you already have a IB account (needs to be 90 days old to transfer you avios over). If you have a UK address, avios.com offers Flybe and Meridiana. And no one has mention Niki who have a lot of flights from VIE including Florence which could be a useful one for you circuit.
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Old Jun 5, 16, 12:58 am
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This is going to be a brain melt if you try and do this on Avios. You're relying on:

1) Always being able to get a direct flight between any city pair.
2) Having enough Avios.
3) Paying for airport transfers in every single city.

Get an Interrail pass!
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Old Jun 5, 16, 1:11 am
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For all of your rail research, you simply must read Seat61.com.
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Old Jun 5, 16, 2:43 am
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Originally Posted by armouredant View Post
For all of your rail research, you simply must read Seat61.com.
^ +1
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Old Jun 5, 16, 4:05 am
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Originally Posted by armouredant View Post
For all of your rail research, you simply must read Seat61.com.
I was about to make exactly the same recommendation.

Train travel for the majority of your trip will be much more convenient, not least because most stations are IN the city rather than on the edge, like airports.

For timetables throughout Europe (not just Germany) Deutsche Bahn is the best:

https://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml
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Old Jun 6, 16, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by Non-NonRev View Post
First, congratulations on your graduation!

I'd start with a little pruning. Choose one Italian destination (Florence over Venice) and one Eastern Europe city (Prague over Budapest).

Do Prague to Berlin via train, via Dresden (itself worth a visit).
I'm sure the OP will get lots of opinions, but I certainly wouldn't choose Florence over Venice. Florence has a great history and Venice is unique; you should not miss either if you've never been there. Those two cities are only about 2 hours apart by train and the ride costs 10 to 20 euro -- check out the train company Italo as they have newer fast trains. Personally, I like to stay in Padova for Venice because it's nice on its own and much cheaper, with easy (but slow) train to Venice.

At the risk of being too contradictory, I would not really put Dresden high on a list personally. Most of the "old" sites are rebuilt versions of things that were destroyed in the war. Not awful by any means, but not top tier either, IMHO.

Have a great trip!
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