So when I was looking to book one of my, Europe-to-Europe Star Alliance reward bookings, I found a way to fly from Manchester, UK to Istanbul, Turkey all on wide-body aircraft, all on Asian Airlines, all with reward space. So let the fun begin!
If you do not know my MO on booking rewards in Europe, I want to get the most out of my 25K UNITED miles. I love the 24 hour “max connection time” rule… this allows for a nice day in a city. (note that when staying in one region you are not allowed a stop over aka more then 24 hours) This has been a very nice way to see some parts of Europe that might not justify an all out trip. In the past one of my favorite and most bang for the miles itinerary was this.
FRA-MXP (Milan) on Lufthansa
Overnight in Milan
MXP-LIS (Lisbon) on Lufthansa Italia (ending operation in October)
Overnight in Lisbon
LIS-PDL (Ponta Delgada, The Azores) on TAP
This was the technical end of the out bound. We were diverted to TER Lajes Airport, also in the Azores.. We ended up getting to PDL with a delay of 3 hours.
The return also had an extra "stop" as well…
PDL-LIS-OPO (Porto, Portugal) on TAP
Overnight in Porto
OPO-FRA on Lufthansa.
Little off topic but if you have not been to the Azores, they are a wonderful place to go, send me an email at email@example.com and I can provide some tips and nice places to stay.
This reward was only 20K miles at the time (now would be 25K) and the taxes were only $103.34 USD. This was in 2009..
So on this latest search I also wanted to hit some places on the way to and from Istanbul. I was thinking it would be cool to go to Turkey for Thanksgiving, so I knew my ending location. IST.
I knew that Singapore fly’s from Manchester to Munich, so I was pleased to find reward space on that flight. Ok I like Munich so it will be nice to spend a day and have a beer or two ;).. Oh what’s this ?!?!?! Air China from Munich to Athens? Really!?!? Ok there is reward space. I could see the Acropolis again. Now Athens to Istanbul, I was thinking Turkish or Aegean would get me there, but no, Singapore airlines has a flight a few days a week.. NICE! It took me some time to get the days and times to work out. Not very happy that I did not have much time in Athens because of the flight times and that 24 hour rule..
Now for the return.. When building this I found a TAP flight from Budapest to Prague. Well that will work! IST-BUD-PRG… So Turkish from Istanbul to Budapest, TAP (Portugal) from Budapest to Prague, then Lufthansa to Frankfurt, then bmi to Manchester.
So I was somewhat happy with this, If it was just me and for the sure joy of flying this way it would be a cool Itinerary but my friend who is going with me has not been any of these places and I should look more for the best time in city vers cool airlines to take. So with that in mind this is what I built and got from UNITED for 25K miles and $154.00 USD.
MAN-MUC on SQ
MUC-PRG on LH
PRG-IST on TK
IST-BUD on TK
BUD-FRA on LH
FRA-MAN on BD
Over all it is a very nice little trip. It is also looking like more and more airlines are doing these within Europe feeder flights then a long haul. I know LAN (non-star) has a Frankfurt to Madrid flight as well.
These flights are not only cool for reward bookings but can be a good deal to purchase. When looking around the MAN-MUC round trip flight on SQ $130-150 USD about when you can find on LH, but the times might not work for everyone and you can not mix and match with other flights, for example taking SQ one way and LH the other. The TAP BUD-PRG round trip was pricing under 100 Euro.
What odd non-traditional flights like this do you know of? I wish more US based airlines would do this as well! I know UNITED last year had a London – Brussels flight mostly not to loose their LHR slots.