Next up on my list of trip reports is our recent journey to Spain in Star Alliance Business Class. Our long haul flights were on new business class products on Brussels and Austrian Airlines.
I mentioned my excitement about booking this trip, which was something a bit different for me; a trip to Europe which I haven’t visited in a while as well as a Star Alliance Business Class redemption, which I haven’t done recently either. I also did a brief preview post of our award trip to Spain soon after returning, but now that I am caught up on other reports, I’m finally getting to this one.
My wife and I were trying to find someplace new to visit in the fall, we ultimately decided on Spain. She had never been before, and my only visit was several years ago, and allowed very little tourist time since I was on business. Neither of us are fluent in Spanish, but we both have some competency, so I was interested to finally visit a place where I could practice using my minimal second language skills. Past trips to Mexico didn’t allow much Spanish practice, since many of the people I encountered wanted to speak English.
Our trip planning often consists of me planning the air travel, and my wife and I combining on hotel and ground arrangements. It is a difficult balance for me finding new and aviation-geeky flight experiences, but not going too far out the way to annoy my wife. She is a great travel companion, and she provides a good dose of sanity to my travel planning. For this trip, I had 3 free nights to use at any Starwood property (up to category 6), so I wanted to maximize this as much as possible. This focused our plans a bit. We settled on southern Spain, with time in Málaga, Granada and Seville. We also spent short layovers in Madrid as well as Zurich and Vienna.
Our outbound journey was on Brussels Airlines from Dulles to Brussels, then we flew to Zurich for a overnight layover. The Brussels flight was desirable for its late departure (my preference for a short redeye flight), and for their new staggered ‘throne’ seating product. Our return was on Austrian Airlines from Vienna to Chicago also in their staggered business class.
We used our free Starwood nights for 2 nights at the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville and one at the Westin Palace in Madrid. We also used some Marriott free nights from the Megabonus promotion for stays in the Spanish AC chain that Marriott has acquired. This covered stays in both Málaga and Granada. We also stayed at the Park Hyatt Zurich and the Le Meridien Vienna on our stops in those cities.
Stay tuned more more from this trip.