Aegean Airlines - Star Alliance Aegean Miles + Bonus Ascend Collection Choice Hotels Italy Star Alliance United Airlines Venice

Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal

a group of gondolas in a body of water with a woman sitting on a dock
Gondolas at San Marco Piazza / St.Mark’s Square.

In April 2022 my wife and I flew to Venice, Italy. It had been 25 months since our last international flight from London to San Francisco a couple of weeks before the pandemic global shutdown. I purchased tickets in mid-February through at $502 each for Basic Economy for a United Airlines itinerary flying Monterey-San Francisco-Munich-Venice with return flights via Frankfurt. International flights to Europe from Monterey are usually over $1,000 and these tickets were priced similarly to flights from SFO. The same itinerary for Monterey-Venice was not available through 

I only needed to pay for seat assignments on the two SFO-Germany-SFO long-haul segments at $57 each person, since I still have Aegean Gold elite status through September 2022 via two generous Miles+Bonus loyalty program extensions since March 2020. United charges $150 to upgrade an international basic economy ticket to include seats and checked bag. Our final ticket price was $558 per person to fly from Monterey to Venice. 

The Venice tickets, after additional elite Tier Miles we will earn from a summer 2022 trip to Greece flying Aegean Airlines, will requalify my wife and I for Aegean Miles+Bonus elite status for next year. The primary advantages to maintaining Star Alliance Gold elite with Aegean Airlines played out extensively on our Venice tickets beginning with the option for each of us to take our carry-on rollerboard suitcases on board the planes, along with one personal bag. Access to airport lounges also played a big role in comfortably managing our United flight delays in San Francisco and Frankfurt.

an airplane wing and mountains
Air Dolomiti over the Austrian Alps

I booked six nights at Hotel Aquarius Venice, Ascend Collection using points, but due to a 9-hour delayed flight arrival in Munich, we ended up staying at NH Hotel Munich Airport for the first night of our trip. Munich Airport was certainly a better option for us than arriving in Venice at midnight to search for our hotel. Lufthansa provided us with a hotel free night voucher, hotel dinner vouchers and the hotel offered a complimentary breakfast buffet and airport shuttle. 

a woman holding a glass of beer
Kelley enjoying Lowenbrau with dinner at NH Hotel Munich Airport.

One aspect of Venice I did not anticipate was the number of stairs we had to walk when crossing the city. I estimated for every hour we walked there were 20 bridges over canals with an average 20 steps each. And any time we crossed the Grand Canal added another 100 stairs to cross one of the four bridges that link the two sides of Venice for pedestrians. My right knee objected to all the stairs around the third day of our stay. I am finally getting over knee pain with liberal use of ice packs for past week after returning to California.

people walking on a bridge
Ponte dell’Accademia is one of four bridges to cross Venice’s Grand Canal.
a water way with buildings and a church
Dusk on Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice.

Hotel Aquarius was the highlight of our stay in Venice. Walks in the day followed by relaxing time in our hotel room with the balcony doors open above San Giacomo dell Orio square provided a sense of experiencing the ebb and flow of daily life for residential Venetians.

a group of people walking in a courtyard
Hotel Aquarius Venice Room 201 balcony view over San Giacomo dell Orio square.

I will post additonal articles on our United Airlines flight issues, Covid testing issues, Hotel Aquarius and Venice walks on Loyalty Traveler in coming days.

Felt great to travel to Europe again.

a group of boats in water
Gondolas at San Marco Piazza / St. Mark’s Square.

Venice Stairways and Canals (April 2022)

Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal

Would pre-trip illness cancel our trip to Venice?

Venice Delayed after Catering Truck Hits United 772 at SFO Gate

Hotel NH München Airport free night from Lufthansa

Imagine Venice without mobile directions

Hotel Aquarius Venice, Choice Hotels Ascend Collection

Hotel Aquarius Venice Art and Space



  • The real beej April 19, 2022

    Welcome back Ric. Looking forward to reading your next installments.

  • Paul April 19, 2022

    Where have you been Ric? Thanks for the Venice review. I’ve always appreciated the insight you provided. Are you going to start posting airfare deals again? I never booked them but found them interesting reading. I’ve been reading your articles since 2009 when you posted about Hyatt status (before everyone else on BoardingArea did) and enjoyed Diamond/Globalist status ever since. Welcome back!

  • nsx at FlyerTalk April 19, 2022

    Twelve years ago my wife and daughter spent 5 days in Venice at the Hilton Molino Stucky. I got them an insane Priceline deal at about $172 per night in the middle of summer. The rooftop pool was a real hit, as was the hotel “shuttle”. I’ve never been to Venice but I enjoyed the photos and stories.

    Welcome back to blogging! We missed you. I hope you made some reservations at Ventana Big Sur before the points cost increased. If so, I’d love to read your review.

  • Jackie S April 19, 2022

    Looking forward to reading more about your Venice trip, especially the hotel report. I had to cancel a trip to Europe exactly 2 years ago that would have ended with several nights in Venice, including staying at the Hyatt Centric Murano on points. Hope to be able to reschedule that trip SOON!

  • […] Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal […]

  • […] Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal […]

  • […] Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal […]

  • Ric Garrido April 22, 2022

    I visited Venice in 1970 when I lived with my family on a U.S. army base in Germany.

    In 2003 I purchased a mistake fare, I think it was either $57 or $157 from JFK to Venice. My trip was scheduled for August 2003, which coincided with the European heat wave of 2003 where tens of thousands died across Europe. I skipped that ticket.

    Kelley liked pedestrian Venice. Next time in Venice I may even get her on a boat.

  • Debbie April 25, 2022

    glad to see you back!

  • […] Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal […]

  • […] Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal […]

  • […] Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal […]

  • […] Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal […]

  • Tanja April 26, 2022

    It is so familliar to me. The flight delay is always a problem for me while traveling.. By the way Venice is one of the first in my list of places for visiting, but still couldn’t go there..

  • […] Stairways across Venice for Star Alliance Gold status renewal […]

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