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Need Ideas on my Turkey,Cairo, Athens/Switzerland Trip

Discussion in 'Award Booking Help' started by bayguy, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    I just booked one-way SFO-IST on Turkish for next summer. I am pretty open on what to do from Istanbul. Kids want to see Pyramids(i know it's hot), Parthenon(Athens), one or two Swiss train trips.

    I wanted to see Cappacodia for a long time, trying to see if i can accommodate in this trip(2 days). Total trip time would be 3 weeks.

    Here is what I have in mind(rough draft):

    IST - 4 DAYS


    CAPPACODIA - CAI - 3 days in Cairo

    CAI - ASWAN - 2/3 DAYS

    ASWAN - CAI - To ATH/Swiss - 3 DAYS

    HEL - SFO, I saw that Finn air has good business class availability to SFO nonstop and hence that routing. I am open to anywhere from Europe with 4 business class seat availability.

    I need some advice/suggestions on what to see, avoid, how to book with best award miles/points(have miles in all programs except UR).
  2. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    Update: I booked my return trip using Aeroplan miles transferred from American Express(VIE-IST-SFO on Turkish). Initially booked using United for 70K each but had the same for 55k using Aero plan.

    I would like some advice on booking a 4-day cruise from Aswan in Egypt. I am also dropping the idea of going to Cappacodia in Turkey.
  3. mec

    mec Silver Member

    I don't have any good suggestions for you, but I have been eyeing up a flight to ORD - IST - VIE through Aeroplan for those same 55k pts. With the really low fees and the high ratings for TRK service that seems like a great way to get in and out of Europe.

    I was planning on starting with a few days in Vienna and working down through Croatia and Montenegro. Then back to Istanbul for a few days there and the return flight.
  4. Craig

    Craig Level 2 Member

    If you only have time for Istanbul and one other location in Turkey, my recommendation would be Cirali. It is right on the Mediterranean and isn't too far a drive from Antalya airport. This would also give you the ability to see Termessos, which to this day is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The ancient ruins of Olympos are right off the beach in Cirali, and the Chimera Flames are fascinating as well.

    While out of the way and a bit touristy, Cappadocia is unbelievably unique. I am a geologist, and the natural environment there is extremely beautiful. The geology (volcanic ash) is what allowed Christians to live in underground cities in the region and in the hillsides undetected. The place is otherworldly. If you do end up there, I highly recommend the Star Cave Hotel. That said, it's not easy to get there and takes a while.

    We also stayed in Selcuk as a jumping off point for Ephesus. This was very neat, but it was packed elbow to asshole with tourists.
  5. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    I updated my plans: I have more time now and transatlantic flights are booked(SFO-IST-VIE-IST-SFO).

    Here's my tentative itinerary: Pl. review/suggest any changes.

    SFO-IST -

    IST - 3 DAYS

    Aswan/Abu Simbel

    Aswan - Luxor Boat Trip - 3nights/4 days

    Luxor - one day(don't know if its required)?

    Cairo - 3 days?

    Cairo -Milan(Duomo, last supper?)

    Florence - Duomo/Pisa

    Milan - Turino - Chur - Zurich(Bernina Express)

    Zurich(one more train or local sightseeing???)

    Train to Prague(Hilton Old Town?)

    Prague - 2 days

    Train to Bratislava - one day

    Return to Vienna by Hydrofoil?

    Vienna - 3 days

    VIE-IST-SFO return.
  6. SanDiego1K

    SanDiego1K Level 2 Member

    I believe I have been everywhere you plan to visit, some more recently than others.

    There's a great deal to see and do in Luxor. You can easily spend an extra day. It has an exceptional world class museum as well as temples and burial places.

    We've just been to Bratislava as in one week ago. I'd skip it. Also, we took Uber door to door from our hotel in Bratislava to our hotel in Vienna. It was roughly 65 euros. I considered the hydrofoil but was told it is not a very scenic stretch of the river.

    I love Vienna. It's one of my favorite cities in Europe. There's lots to see and do there.
  7. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    I will drop Bratislava, it was nothing but crossing one more country on the list :).

    I want to use my Citi thank you points for the Aswan-Luxor cruise which costs 24000 points per person. Is this a fair return(will save 1000$).

    I also need ideas on better redemption for IST-ASW or ABS, LXR-CAI, CAI- MXP. I am okay to change it to IST-CAI at the start, trying to minimize expenses as Egypt air flights are expensive(for 4). Best I have seen is with aeroplan if I do a open jaw: CAI-ASW-LXR-CAI.
  8. SanDiego1K

    SanDiego1K Level 2 Member

    IST-ASW is readily available using United/UR. I looked at a random day for United availability and found it available every day of the month. It is 25K plus $20 for coach. I just looked at Aeroplan. It charges 20K for the same route. The purchase price is $451 for the same day. (I searched for 2 people. On rereading your post, you are traveling as a group of 4.)
  9. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    Looks like Egypt Air makes only 2 seats available for its flights. I had to book 2 on United and another 2(different schedule on Aeroplan). We have to fly separately but that's the best option as cash prices are insane.
  10. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    Flights are booked, Nile cruise and Abu Simbel are booked(used Citi TY points). Does anyone have a good recommendation for Aswan/Luxor hotels? My Abu Simbel starts at 4 am in the morning and I don't know if Movenpick resort in Aswan is good base for early morning start.
  11. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    I need inputs on some Marriott properties in Milan, Zurich, Prague and Vienna.

    Main question is: Does a Marriott gold gets free breakfast for family(2 adults & 2 kids in 2 rooms) or its for 2 people only or nothing.

    I am booking Marriott properties(all things equal) to get Free breakfast, 4 pm checkout, upgrades(slight chance).

    Pl. share your thoughts.
  12. italdesign

    italdesign Level 2 Member

    I'm not 100% sure, but I would think free breakfast is for 2 people per room, for every room with at least one registered Gold member. When I booked 2 rooms at Hilton, one for me one for mom, they wouldn't give her free breakfast until I proved she is also Gold. So, if at least 2 of you are Gold, put one per room.

    Courtyard Vienna Messe was a good redemption as cat3. These days it's a cat4
  13. smittytabb

    smittytabb Moderator Staff Member

    I've stayed at Boscolo Milano which is an Autograph Collection Marriott property. It's a funky modern design hotel, but has a nice breakfast and is in a perfect location to walk to the Duomo. If you want to see The Last Supper, be sure to book ahead. You can do it online through Viator or other sites.
  14. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    Thank you all for the feedback.

    I booked AC Hotel Milano, Zurich Marriott(will be taking trains), Boscolo Prague, Vienna Marriott, Moxy Airport hotel(early morning flight).

    I could not find Boscolo Milano availability at all, don't know if they opened it yet or not.
  15. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    Update: Boscolo Milan has availability but with 20 Euro/day/room charge. It costs 80000 points + 20 Euro to book and there is availability on Sundays without 20 Euro surcharge.
  16. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    Final update: Boscolo Milan has availability without 20 Euro charge. Except for Zurich Marriott(yet to earn points), hotels for my trip are confirmed.
  17. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    Can anyone recommend a good Aswan hotel? Stay will be one night and we will depart at 3 am next day(Abu Simbel trip). I saw Movenpick but it's on an island and I am not sure about taking a boat at 3:00 am in the morning and the transfer to the cruise boat.
  18. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    Anyone with Egypt experience can chime in?
  19. niehlin2

    niehlin2 Level 2 Member

    Which Nile river cruise are you taking? I am planning one with a day trip to Abu Simbel too. Did you find a hotel in Aswan?
  20. bayguy

    bayguy Level 2 Member

    I got cruise using TY points, It could be: M/S Alyssa, M/S Semiramis, M/S Amwaj, M/S Suntimes or similar boats. I am yet to book the hotel, will do around March first week.

    Egypt now offers e-Visa, I am planning to get it so I avoid the airport hassle(pay using CC hopefully).

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