To Europe and back

For the past two weeks my family and I have been mostly off-line during our European vacation.  While we were away, the big and horrible news was the Malaysian Airlines tragedy.  My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy. 

Regarding points and miles, there were several minor things of note:

About the flights…

While some were making fun of blogger “Vendoming,” my family and I were ironically out Vendoming away.  As I outlined in the post titled “Vacation Notice,” we hopped over to Toronto on a Delta flight, then flew to Europe on Lufthansa 1st class (Toronto to Munich) and onward to Paris in business class. In Paris, we stayed at the Park Hyatt Vendome for 5 nights.  We then took the high speed TGV train to Switzerland, changed trains in Basel and de-trained in Lucerne where we spent 4 nights at the Radisson Blu.  From there we took trains and cable cars to get to Murren in the Swiss Alps where we stayed that the Hotel Bellevue.  We wrapped up the trip with a 3 night stay in Zurich at the Park Hyatt.  Our return flights were: Zurich to Munich business class (Lufthansa), Munich to Toronto 1st class (Lufthansa), Toronto to Detroit (Delta).

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Lufthansa 1st class was very nice.  As expected with an international first class flight, we were offered champagne and caviar, given pajamas and slippers, and our lie-flat seats were prepared with comfortable bedding when we were ready to sleep.  It wasn’t Singapore Suites nice, but still it was very nice.  With Lufthansa, flying international 1st class entitles you to the 1st class lounge in Germany which offers excellent food (order off the menu or grab from the buffet), private bathroom/showers, etc.  And, if Munich is your international gateway, passport control is handled inside the lounge which makes it a really easy non-event.  If you’re lucky, you may get a chauffeured Mercedes ride to your next flight.  This was our ride to the plane that took us to Paris:

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And, upon return to Munich at the end of our trip, a driver was waiting to take us back to the lounge:

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All of these things were really nice and special, but in the end I realized that I probably wouldn’t do it again.  We could have flown a perfectly nice business class product across the Atlantic directly from Detroit, but instead hopped over to Toronto to experience all out in-flight luxury.  The extra hop in each direction was a hassle which required terminal changes and extra border control hoops.  And, I can’t really say that the extra in-air luxury was a big deal.  At least, it wasn’t to me.  If given the option to fly Lufthansa first class through Germany without extra stops, I would do so more for the benefits associated with the first class lounges than for the extra comfort in the air.

For those interested, I’ll follow up soon with some highlights from our adventures in Paris and Switzerland.  For those not interested, I’ll get back to my usual points and miles blogging very soon.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. I am with you on the convenience of a direct flight over the extra in-air luxury. And I look forward to reading about your adventures in Paris and Switzerland – as long as there aren’t too many \Vendome\ pictures! 🙂

  2. So was there anyone else in F with you? I’ll be taking that same flight in a couple of months. 1st time ever for me flying in that mode. I’m rather looking forward to it.

    • On the outbound flight there were three others, two of which also ended up at the Park Hyatt Vendome for their honeymoon (a points/miles gift from the bride’s sister). On the return, we were alone in the cabin (which seats up to 8). I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Enjoy!

  3. Yeah, once you’ve travelled up front a couple times, you realize it’s still just an airplane flight and speed and ease are better than more pampering. Like for most itineraries, I’d choose nonstop coach over connecting premium cabin.

    • Hmmm…. I don’t know. 8 hours in non stop coach or 10 or so hours (including your connection) in premium? I’ll bet you might change your tune once your are 4 hours into that flight.

      Hey but what do I know. I’ve only flown to Europe once. DFW – CDG. That was a long flight and it was in coach. (exit row though) My next one is in F with 2 connections. I’ll be able to compare.

  4. I am curious to hear of the fuel surcharges on your flights…….and also am interested in hotels you would list as “more better” than the Vendome…….

    • Since I used United miles, there were no fuel surcharges, but there was $143 per person in Candadian and German taxes and fees. As far as hotels better than the Vendome, that’s a tough one. The Vendome was fantastic. The Park Hyatt Zurich was fantastic-er, but to me it is a less desirable city to visit.

  5. Glad to have you back. I stayed at the Paris Hyatt Vendome a few months ago. Great breakfast! I’m looking forward to hearing about where you ate and what did in Paris.

  6. “A good alternative to the Sapphire Preferred card’s 7% dividend is the 10% annual bonus earned with the combination of the Freedom card and a Chase checking account”

    Hello Greg, I checked the Chase website for the checking account and the Freedom card…how do you get 10% annual bonus and what is this bonus based upon? I don’t see anything related to this. Thanks in advance for any info you could provide.

    • I can’t find the info either, but the “Chase Exclusives” program still exists. When you have a Freedom card (as principal account holder) you just need to also have a Chase checking account and then you should automatically get the 10% bonus each year.

  7. Greg, please give some more details on LH first class transit MUN-CDG: passport control inside the lounge, ride from plane to the lounge, etc.

    • What exactly do you want to know?
      MUN-CDG: When we arrived in Munich, we walked through the airport until we saw a woman with a sign for first class passengers. She directed us to the 1st class lounge. In the lounge, there is a booth for passport control. We gave the passport-person our passports and they handed them back within a few seconds. Done. Then we were told to go downstairs in the lounge at a certain time for our drive to the plane.
      .
      Upon return to Munich at the end of our trip: Our flight parked, not at a gate. We went down the stairs and there was a chauffeur holding a sign with our name on it. He drove us to the terminal and escorted us to the 1st class lounge. There, we gave passport control our passports and were instructed to get them back when it was time for our flight. They told us a specific time to leave the lounge to walk to our gate (it was about 100 feet away).

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