To Sicily for the Weekend: Introduction

I have some friends spending the summer in Sicily, and they invited me to visit. Aside from visiting family in Germany I’ve never actually “visited” anyone in Europe, so figured I’d take advantage of the opportunity. Given that I was going over Memorial Day weekend and booking fairly last minute my best option was Lufthansa first class, so for 125,000 US Airways miles I booked the following:

5/21 LH477 Vancouver to Munich departing 6:45PM arriving 2:00PM (+1 day)
5/22 LH1682 Munich to Budapest departing 5:10PM arriving 6:20PM
5/28 LH452 Munich to Los Angeles departing 3:55PM arriving 7:15PM
5/29 AC553 Los Angeles to Vancouver departing 12:15PM arriving 2:56PM

While US Airways does technically block Lufthansa first class redemptions I haven’t had too much trouble finding agents willing to book it. As you can see the trip was into Budapest and out of Catania. That’s because I had never been to Budapest before, so figured I might as well visit both cities while I was at it.

View from Hilton Budapest

Then I redeemed AviancaTaca Lifemiles for a business class ticket between Budapest and Catania:

5/24 LH1685 Budapest to Munich departing 6:50AM arriving 8:10AM
5/24 LH1964 Munich to Catania departing 9:25AM arriving 11:35AM

And then I redeemed some British Airways Avios for travel on Air Berlin between Catania and Munich:

05/27 AB8887 Catania to Munich departing 9:10PM arriving 11:20PM

That’s because there’s very limited Star Alliance service between Catania and Munich, so I would’ve had to fly out early in the day on the 27th to fly Air Dolomiti between Catania and Munich.

So anyway, in the end my itinerary looked as follows:


Since I was originating and terminating in Vancouver I booked tickets on Alaska between Seattle and Vancouver using British Airways Avios.

In Budapest I decided to book the Hilton, which was 30,000 HHonors points per night, which was also my first stay as an HHonors Diamond member.

While the trip wasn’t the best use of miles, the purpose of the trip wasn’t to maximize miles but to visit friends, and this trip accomplished that. I had to book literally a day before departure to find availability, but that’s the beauty of miles — you can travel on a whim. And in the end I got Lufthansa’s new first class in both directions so I’d consider it a success, as I’ve now flown the new first class on every type of Lufthansa aircraft.

Lufthansa’s new first class

Anyway, I’m way behind on trip reports so I’ll focus on what I consider to be the highlights of the trip in terms of lounges, flights, and hotels, so I can hopefully get caught up fairly soon. I’m aiming for one installment per day, for what it’s worth.

Thanks for reading!

Filed Under: Awards, Hilton
  1. ^ No idea what this says (the German blog trackback) but love that it includes the term “LH Fan-Boy”.

  2. Ive all but given up on using usair miles on lh f. Sounds like Ben’s travel award service will be seeing some revenue in the neae term.

  3. I got married in Sicily over memorial day weekend! Wish I would have known you’d be in the neighborhood!

  4. Little bit off topic, but an Asiana 777 just crashed in SFO. Scary that plane lost its tail and almost cartwheeled Hope you are safe my friend !

  5. July 6th, 2013 at 3:01 pm
    ffi said,
    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    have you started moderating comments?
    I would never “thunk” it of you.

  6. @ ffi — I don’t moderate comments, but when you leave a comment from a new IP it has to be manually approved.

  7. Can you elaborate more on the US-> LH F booking? Is it just simply that the agents don’t know it is not supposed to be booked?

  8. @ NYBanker — It’s the same thing it has always been, whereby it can be booked with a manual sell. Some agents still have no problem doing them.

  9. Actually, I got booked into Lufthansa first class, using United miles, on accident in a way. I had originally booked Asiana, and missed my first class flight by reading the time incorrectly. I got on skype and called United,explaining that I had missed my flight, and they apologized and told me the only flight available at first class was Luftansa, the next day. This was in June 2013. There were three of us in FC, two men and me. The flight attendants actually indicated that I could have two first class seats: one for eating at, and one for sleeping. That was the most amazing flight I have ever had in FC.

    I don’t know if the following information that I told to the agent had any influence: I was moving out of South Korea, as in my last day, and exhausted. I had to be in Dublin in four days for my M.A. in Ed Tech program, and I had never flown in FC before, and would they please find me another FC flight, pretty please. Oh, and my birthday was coming up in August.

    At the very least it was the most amazing flight. I slept only for about 2 hours since I was so enthralled with the experience of it all.

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