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 Orbitz.com 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 United.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Venice Stairways and Canals (April 2022)