Topic Wiki

Points Used:

UR: 133K
MR: 40K
SPG: 90K
AA: 148K
UA: 95K
Hyatt: 4 free nights
Marriott: 146K and 2 free nights (still waiting for some points to post and then change cash res. to points)
IHG: ~130K (still haven't decided which hotel in Belgium to stay at)
Melia: 22K
BA: 4.5K
And 1 BRG :)

Desired Locations: (Strikethrough means booked)

Israel
London
Paris
Zurich

Rome (Car rental booked FCO-FLR-PSA-VCE)
Florence
Pisa
Venice
Madrid (RT train booked to Toledo)
Barcelona
Seville
(Car rental booked SVQ-GIB-SVQ)
Gibraltar
Bruges/Ghent (Belgium) (Have to book trains within Belgium and RT to AMS.)
Amsterdam

Days Scheduled in Each Location
In no order in particular...

Rome 3.5
Florence .5
Pisa .5
Venice 4.5 including Shabbos (although others said it can be done in less time)
Israel 12
Amsterdam 2
Paris 4 including Shabbos
Dublin 1.5
London 4 including Shabbos (although others said it can be done in less time)
Zurich 1 (b/c it's the United <24 hour stopover, but I'm sure there's more than 1 day's worth of activities there)
Belgium 1
(Amount of days in the different Spain cities are short and were very calculated based on suggestions, as I wanted to save any "extra" days I had for other countries.)
Madrid 1
Seville .5
Gibraltar 1.5 including Shabbos
Barcelona 1.5
« Last edited by @Yehuda on June 08, 2014, 06:26:36 PM »

Author Topic: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon  (Read 52180 times)

Offline @Yehuda

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@Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« on: January 26, 2014, 07:43:33 PM »
Hey Guys!

After 5 months learning about ccís and collecting miles (and then getting married 2 weeks ago!!!) itís time to book my Israel/Eurotrip for this summer with my wife!!! :D :D Any and all help/advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated. I don't have extensive experience booking award travel, and I definitely don't know the best routes/airlines to go with, so I could really use your help!

Here's what we're working with:
We want to start off in Israel for my cousinís wedding on June 18th (we can leave from EWR/JFK anytime after June 1st). After that, we have no time limit other than trying to finish the trip before the 9 days begin on July 27th. These are the cities we want to see (basically in priority order) and we are completely flexible with dates: (Thoughts on our city choices are also welcome  :) Of course if we're crazy to think we can get to that many places in that amount of time/with just that amount of miles, I'd love to hear it too.)

Major Locations to hit up
England
London (Is that the only place worth visiting? How about Manchester, York, Wales?)
France
Paris (Marseille? Nice? Toulouse?)
Italy
Rome, Venice (Pisa? Milan? Florence?)

Would also like to visit these places
Spain
Madrid, Barcelona
Gibraltar
Netherlands
Amsterdam
Switzerland
Zurich
Belgium
Antwerp (Brussels?)
Greece
Athens

Thoughts on Iceland/Ireland/Scotland/Sweden/Norway/Finland/Denmark?

Hereís what we have to work with (appx combined totals between us):

UR: 80,000
MR: 25,000
SPG: 90,000
AA: 160,000
Lufthansa: 100,000
United: 60,000
Delta: 30,000
Hyatt: 4 nights
Marriott: 70,000
IHG: 80,000

Last 2 points: Her Zaidy awesomely offered to buy us tickets to come visit him in Israel, so we will have cash (not sure how much, I'd assume around $2000) to help towards the flights as well. We would ideally like to fly business/first class over the Atlantic.

Thanks! Can't wait to plan this!!
@Yehuda

Offline philbenjoe

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Re: Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 07:47:02 PM »
if you got to switzerland, italy, or france you should go see the alps...not sure which country would work best for your trip plans, but something worth looking into.
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Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 07:49:19 PM »
if you got to switzerland, italy, or france you should go see the alps...not sure which country would work best for your trip plans, but something worth looking into.

Absolutely. My wife's from Denver so she thinks the Rockies are quite a site (admittedly, they're beautiful) but I think she'll agree the Alps should be on our journey.

Offline philbenjoe

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 07:53:46 PM »
ive been to vail and the swiss alps and theyre BOTH worth seeing. they are not fully the same...hard to explain. i wouldnt travel from the us special to go there but if your on that side of the world i would definitely go to the alps.
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Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 08:08:17 PM »
ive been to vail and the swiss alps and theyre BOTH worth seeing. they are not fully the same...hard to explain. i wouldnt travel from the us special to go there but if your on that side of the world i would definitely go to the alps.

Been to the Vail in the summer - was still beautiful, but yeah I hear that and we want to see 'em!

Offline ayman

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 08:12:04 PM »
Mazel tov!
and welcome back. Was wondering where you had disappeared to.
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Offline ual902

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 08:52:32 PM »
Mazel Tov,

Fly into ZRH then take a train to  grindelwald probably one of the most scenic parts of the alps and its a cute village, then take  train to Venice> Florence> Rome > amafi coast.

Offline ushdadude

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2014, 08:56:21 PM »
Mazel Tov,

Fly into ZRH then take a train to  grindelwald probably one of the most scenic parts of the alps and its a cute village, then take  train to Venice> Florence> Rome > amafi coast.

+1
there used to be a kosher hotel in grindelwald
If you see something that is 50% off but don't need it, walk away and save yourself 100%

Offline ushdadude

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2014, 09:00:34 PM »
It's very easy to spend a lot of time in each city in Europe. Each has tons of history. That being said, it is also easy to spend only a day or two hitting up all the major spots.
If you see something that is 50% off but don't need it, walk away and save yourself 100%

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2014, 10:09:48 PM »
UR: 80,000
MR: 25,000
SPG: 90,000
AA: 160,000
Lufthansa: 100,000
United: 60,000
Delta: 30,000
Hyatt: 4 nights
Marriott: 70,000
IHG: 80,000

Last 2 points: Her Zaidy awesomely offered to buy us tickets to come visit him in Israel, so we will have cash (not sure how much, I'd assume around $2000) to help towards the flights as well. We would ideally like to fly business/first class over the Atlantic.

Thanks! Can't wait to plan this!!
@Yehuda
Also you do have sometime to build up those point bank accounts! ;)


Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2014, 10:17:59 PM »
Mazel tov!
and welcome back. Was wondering where you had disappeared to.

Ha thanks! Yeah once wedding things got serious, I kinda left the forums. Glad to be back

Mazel Tov,

Fly into ZRH then take a train to  grindelwald probably one of the most scenic parts of the alps and its a cute village, then take  train to Venice> Florence> Rome > amafi coast.
+1
there used to be a kosher hotel in grindelwald

Thanks! That sounds like a great section of the journey! So you're thinking to go from TLV-ZRH?

It's very easy to spend a lot of time in each city in Europe. Each has tons of history. That being said, it is also easy to spend only a day or two hitting up all the major spots.

True. We're aiming for the major spots :)

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2014, 10:19:39 PM »
Also you do have sometime to build up those point bank accounts! ;)

Ha yeah except I'm running out of cards to open. Plus, I know it's really late, but I wanted to see if there are any ways to use the UA before they devalue.

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2014, 11:39:04 PM »
Experienced award ticket bookers, now is your time to shine!  Lets hear concrete suggestions!

Plan (in my opinion)  Check out the possible ways to get to Israel.  Go for the wedding, visit Zeidy, and daven enjoy the Holy land. 
Note who can get you home from Europe. 
Mentally set aside the points you need to achieve those goals. Figure out how to hop around Europe most efficiently and how much it will cost.
Then book the going and probably even the coming home.  Then work out the rest.

I propose checking for availability on UA, from NY to TLV.  UR points transfer there. MR or SPG may also. (You can set up to book a UA ticket and hold it until you have the points transferred (but it costs))
Check out Flying Blue for tickets within Europe.  MR points transfer there.
Lufthansa also flies within Europe and may have partners that fly from Europe to back to NY.
I don't know which airlines partner with AA, but BA, an AA partner has several that fly to Europe and Israel.

Good luck, mazal tov and have a successful trip.

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2014, 11:39:48 PM »
+1
there used to be a kosher hotel in grindelwald
Wasn't he a famous evil wizard? :P
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Offline ushdadude

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 07:20:16 AM »

True. We're aiming for the major spots :)

Almost every major city has a double decker tour bus. I know it's nerdy and really touristy, but it is the fastest way to see all the major spots. Afterwards you can go back (or just hop off) to whichever you want to see in more detail.
If you see something that is 50% off but don't need it, walk away and save yourself 100%