travel budget travel planning

Amsterdam, Krakow, Copenhagen, Zurich and 2020 travel

a bridge with lights on it
O.T. 976 – Stefan Reiss Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7

Yesterday I purchased six airline tickets in 30 minutes, spending $1,055 and 25,000 miles for trips to Amsterdam, Krakow, Poland and Copenhagen. These are all places I frequent regularly. No reason to mess with a good thing. Amsterdam Light Show is a visual winter treat on the canals. Might even take a canal boat ride for the light show this year and get out of town before the city explodes on Dec 31. Light themes continue in Krakow over New Year’s where light shows substitute for fireworks.

a water with boats and buildings in the background
Light a Wish – Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #7

30 minutes may seem fast to ticket a multi-city trip, but the condensed window of airline ticket buying hyperactivity was based on several hours of research. One aspect of multi-city airline ticket purchases I apprehensively fear when in the heat of the moment is knowing any one of the multiple flight deals I need to complete the itinerary can disappear at any moment.  Losing ticket availability messes up a good travel plan. That has happened to me several times over the years. That is one reason why I line up all the travel pieces and then make rapid ticket purchases while keeping my fingers crossed I secure all the airline tickets to fulfill my trip requirements. A change in flight availability typically requires more spend than anticipated for airline tickets.

On my final flight deal purchase the ticket price increased 20% from what it had been the hour before. Fortunately that only meant paying $72 for Ryanair when it had been $60 the hour before. What really would have sucked is if the $427 Stockholm to LAX to Copenhagen Scandinavian Airlines ticket I purchased had jumped to $800 after I spent 25,000 Aegean miles + 10.80 EUR to buy 2 Los Angeles-Monterey award tickets for United flights. The smarter move would have been to buy long-haul tickets before buying award tickets. Once I bought the award tickets I locked myself into Los Angeles LAX as my routing. This time everything worked out fine.

Surprising to me was finding the two main ticket components of my two trips to Europe unexpectedly offered deep discounts when I happened to check open-jaw tickets:

  • Frankfurt to Amsterdam to Krakow $131 open jaw on KLM. Most options were $200+.
  • Stockholm to Los Angeles to Copenhagen $427 open jaw on SAS.

Price range for Copenhagen or Stockholm to California.

$427   SAS  Stockholm ARN – Los Angeles LAX nonstop; Los Angeles – Copenhagen nonstop open jaw ticket

$470   SAS  Copenhagen CPH – Los Angeles LAX round trip

$508   SAS  Stockholm ARN – Los Angeles LAX round trip

$826   SAS  Stockholm ARN – San Francisco SFO round trip (United ticket priced at $542)

$852   SAS  Copenhagen CPH – San Francisco SFO round trip (United ticket priced at $547)

Besides price, the main reason I prefer SAS Scandinavian flights is my primary frequent flyer program is Aegean Airlines, where I hold Aegean Miles+Bonus Star Alliance Gold elite status. SAS Scandinavian Airlines deep discount economy flights earn 100% elite miles and award miles with Aegean Airlines. United Airlines and Air Canada earn 50% flight miles and elite miles. Lufthansa and Swiss deep discount booking codes do not earn Aegean Tier or award miles.

Requalification for Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite only takes 24,000 Tier Miles – equivalent to 2 SAS round trip flights between California and Scandinavia. Aegean Miles + Bonus Star Alliance Gold elite benefits include United Club lounge access at USA airports and priority boarding when flying United Airlines.

Spending $854 on two SAS tickets earns back nearly all the miles I redeemed for two LAX-MRY short-haul award tickets.

Next summer’s date is now set for a flight to Copenhagen to kick off another global warmingly hot vacation in Europe.

Summer 2020 looks to be my year for the alps after picking up a $55 per night weekend stay at Zurich Marriott with breakfast in the annual Greater Omaha-Lincoln Marriott Business Council Children’s Miracle Network fundraiser auction last week. $95 winning auction bid + $15 shipping and handling fee for $110 total. Room rates are $400 per night for the equivalent stay package through the Marriott website.

a screenshot of a website


1 Comment

  • Bobo September 24, 2019

    Hey Ric, your email server is rejecting all my emails. Could you drop me a line?
    Nice work on the flights.

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