This weekend I have put many hours into travel planning for trips to Norway in September and Greece in October. My situation is I have sufficient miles for a one-way economy class award ticket between Monterey and Europe with American Airlines AAdvantage and United Airlines Mileage Plus. AA takes 20,000 miles and United takes 30,000 miles for one-way award tickets in October. My ultimate destination is Athens, Greece, but I don’t mind working in a couple of other destination cities on the journey.
Award routings I have found from California to Greece would allow an overnight with 20+ hours in Dusseldorf, Berlin, Vienna or Philadelphia. I have stayed in the German cities in the past decade. Vienna and Philadelphia have been a few decades since I have visited those places. Venice has been on my mind to try out Comfort Hotel Diana at 10,000 Choice Privileges points per night and that is an option with good AA.com award availability to or from Venice.
I can find online 20,000 mile AA.com awards aanywhere, but Athens.
Does American Airlines confuse Athens with mythological Atlantis?
Using AA.com, I can find award tickets for 20,000 miles to the Greek islands of Santorinni (JTR), Kos (KGS), Mytilene (MJT) on Lesbos, Rhodes (RHO), Chania on Crete (CHQ), Kerkyra on Corfu (CFU) and Heraklion (HER) on Crete.
SFO-HER is 20,000 miles + $42.60 to fly four segments to Heraklion on Crete, an island of Greece, yet AA.com will not return award flights to or from Athens, Greece.
Iberia flies nonstop between Madrid and Athens. British Airways flies nonstop between London and Athens. Yet, if I search AA.com with Athens as a destination, this response comes up:
There are currently no awards available on AA.com for your requested Origin and Destination. Please modify your request or contact AAdvantage Reservations for award opportunities on all AAdvantage participating airlines.
FlyerTalk has several threads of people trying to use AA.com to redeem miles for flights to Athens. Here is one started last month AA Miles to Greece.
So how do you Expert Flyers get to Athens using AA miles?
Is a telephone and customer service award fee unavoidable?
Reader recommendations for any of these island destinations?
This will be my first trip to Greece and since award availability to the islands is much easier to find online, any reader recommendations about these islands is appreciated. Starwood has some great looking resorts like Mystique on Santorini or Blue Palace on Crete.
Greek islands with AA.com award availability bookable online:
- Santorini (JTR)
- Kos (KGS)
- Mytilene (MJT) on Lesbos
- Rhodes (RHO)
- Chania (CHQ) on Crete
- Heraklion (HER) on Crete
- Kerkyra on Corfu (CFU)
Santorini looks like a fun award ticket with a 22-hour overnight layover in Vienna, Austria.
San Francisco to Santorini, Greece with overnight in Vienna, Austria SFO-PHL-BCN-VIE-JTR for 20,000 miles + 59.00.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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