Crete, Greece will be a late-winter 2019 trip for me in my final push to earn Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite status with Star Alliance Gold elite benefits. Aegean Silver elite is a membership status I have had for a couple years since my February 2017 trip from Sofia, Bulgaria to Warsaw gave me 2 Aegean flight segments to go with my 12,000 Tier Points. In October 2017 I flew Nice-Athens-Sofia-Athens-Prague for $130 with 4 Aegean flight segments to qualify for Gold elite, but I failed to reach 24,000 Tier Miles in my membership year that ended in July 2018.
SAS is Best for Frequent Flyer Miles
SAS Scandinavian Airlines is my preferred airline over the past two years for flights to Europe. Not that I love hanging out in Scandinavia. Efficient transportation is one of the most pleasing aspects of Scandinavia travel. Yet, the cost of beer, food and transportation freaks me out about overspending my travel budget. Hotels are the one aspect of Scandinavia I can manage affordably with Choice Privileges hotel points keeping hotel reward rates capped at $80 to $100 per night. Transiting through Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm is affordable to me as long as I keep my visit brief at one or two nights and accept a temporary lifestyle of temperance.
Athens-based Aegean Airlines is the primary reason I prefer flying SAS to Europe. Deep discount economy class tickets on SAS earn 100% flight miles as redeemable miles and elite tier points with Aegean Miles+Bonus. United economy K tickets earn 50% flight miles as Aegean Miles+Bonus Tier Miles and redeemable miles. Lufthansa and Swiss economy K flights earn 0% Aegean Miles.
Last year I ended up 5,000 Tier Miles short of earning 24,000 Tier Points for Miles+Bonus Gold elite. The issue with SAS is they tend to only have two or three sale periods a year for flights to Europe from San Francisco. The most recent sale ended January 14, 2019 with tickets to Oslo or Stockholm priced around $475 round trip.
I now have flights ticketed to Stockholm and Crete, Greece in early March. These flights will earn the 15,000 miles and 4 Aegean flight segments I need to qualify for Aegean Gold elite.
One article I read when trying to decide which island to visit in Greece offered this line,
Why Go? If you can only visit one Greek town, make it Chania. It has everything you could dream of and more, so you won’t miss out on a thing.
Of course, that article left another 9 travel destination options for Greece. Finding a round trip 4-segment ticket on Aegean’s website for Warsaw to Chania CHQ via Athens at $136 round trip sealed the deal.
Anyone have suggestions on dining, drinking and lodging in Chania?