Beth and I just finished up another busy summer with tons of travel to see friends and family but we also managed to escape to Europe for a long vacation in Greece with stops in Munich, Germany and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Despite being a trip halfway across the world we managed to have a luxurious trip on the cheap because we were able to use miles and points.
The main focus of our trip was visiting Peloponnese, Greece which did not disappoint. We did not do your typical Greek itinerary which usually includes an Athens stop and then bouncing around the most popular islands like Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete. Honestly, we can’t say we missed anything about visiting those major tourist spots based on what some of our friends have described. Peloponnese is relatively unknown especially for us Americans but features everything you need for a perfect Greek vacation including crystal clue blue waters, sandy feet, boats, private pools, incredible and cheap food, ancient sites, medieval sites, waterfalls, mountains, incredible hiking through natural wonders, deserted islands, and not to mention few other tourists!
To get to Greece we had a stop in Amsterdam, Netherlands and managed to explore much of the city in two full days. Despite being a city (we are usually not ones for large cities) we really enjoyed wandering the canals in Amsterdam. We only had one full day in Munich, Germany but we managed to make the most of it and Beth even finished her first full beer!
Here is a quick snapshot of how we got around, where we stayed, and why miles and points are so valuable.
- From Home to Amsterdam, Netherlands – We used 144,000 American Express Membership Rewards point transferred to Air France to book Delta Flights for two in business class! Sleeping in lie flat seat and waking up in Europe is truly wonderful.
- Amsterdam, Netherlands to Kalamata, Greece – We paid cash for our nonstop flight on Transavia.
- Kalamata, Greece to Munich, Germany – We paid cash for our nonstop flight on Aegean.
- From Munich, Germany to Home – We used 140,000 United Miles for two in business class! This included flights on an Air Canada 787 in lie flat seats into Toronto before connecting home. We were really impressed with how nice of flight it was and how easy it was to transfer to our fight from Canada to the United States.
We Stayed two nights at the Renaissance using 35,000 Marriott points and 1 Marriott free night certificate. The hotel was in a prime location within just a short walk from the main train station. However, we did have many room issues and the hotel was completely sold out.
Private villa in Stoupa, Greece
In Stoupa, Greece we stayed three nights in private villa overlooking the sea with a private pool for less than $150 a night. The views were spectacular and Stoupa was a great little town with superb food, limited crowds, and gorgeous beaches with a backdrop of the mountains.
Westin, Costa Navarino, Greece
While on the western side of the Peloponnese we stayed five nights at the Westin, Costa Navarino using 140,000 Marriott points and got upgraded to a suite with a private pool as a Marriott Bonvoy Titanium member. This was massive property overlooking a large beach with a perfect location to explore many attractions of the Peloponnese.
Hilton, Munich City, Germany
Our short stay of two nights at the Hilton, Munich City was compliments of using 51,000 Hilton points a Hilton weekend night certificate. This was located right off a train stop from the airport and only a 20 minute walk to many of the major sights in Munich.
Total Value of Miles and Points:
- 510,000 points and miles redeemed.
- Estimated costs of redeemed flights and accommodations $11,700.
- Value of 2.3 cents per point or mile.
While we would never spend even close to $11,700 on a trip, the insane value just shows how powerful miles and points can be. By using miles and points we were able to fly in business class on both transatlantic segments and stay in four and five star hotels. We are generally really frugal people but it does feel great to spoil ourselves especially if we are not paying for the luxurious part. This vacation had it all! With beaches, hiking, historical sites, natural wonders, and amazing food.
Check back later to see detailed posts about our trip!