We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Looking for an escape in Europe this winter?
The Flight Deal reports a terrific sale from 4 US cities to Thessaloniki, Greece, for just $586 round-trip in coach!
Flights are on United Airlines and Star Alliance members like Aegean Airlines and Lufthansa. But you must book by today, January 12, 2016!
How to Book It
Link: ITA Matrix
Link: Google Flights
Here’s how to use Google Flights to find sale dates.
If you book a ticket with an online travel agency like Orbitz or Expedia, you may be eligible for a refund within a short time of booking your ticket. Check out my post on cancellation policies for airlines and online travel agencies for more details!
Note: You can cancel a United Airlines booking within 24 hours and get a full refund.
What’s the Deal?
Link: The Flight Deal
For ~$586 round-trip in coach, fly to Thessaloniki (Greece’s 2nd largest city) from:
- New York (Newark)
- Washington, DC (Dulles)
Travel dates are from now through April 2016. But you must book today, January 12, 2016, to get in on the deal!
There are lots of seats available! I found plenty of flights between Washington, DC, and Thessaloniki in March 2016 (perfect for winter / spring break!).
Note: This is a deeply-discounted coach fare (K class), so be careful where you credit the miles! It won’t earn 100% mileage on all Star Alliance airlines (but it will if you credit the flight to United Airlines).
If you enjoy nightlife, culture, and food, Thessaloniki is worth considering. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, with 3,000-year-old Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman ruins and relics.
And Lonely Planet ranked Thessaloniki as 1 of the world’s best “party cities.” Probably due in part to the large (80,000+ students) university there. 🙂
Average temperatures from now through April range between 43 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit. So it’s not a tropical vacation by any means this time of year! But it’s mild enough to explore and enjoy all the city has to offer.
What If You’re Not in an Included City?
You can cheaply get to Boston, Chicago, New York, or Washington, DC, by using points (like British Airways Avios points) to get there.
British Airways Avios points are great for short-haul flights. Because it only costs 4,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way in coach for flights less than 650 miles (until February 3, 2016), and 7,500 British Airways Avios points for flights up to 1,149 miles.
Folks with the Southwest Companion Pass could fly to these cities very cheaply. That’s because with the Companion Pass, your companion flies with you for almost free on both paid and award tickets.
Or you could try to find a cheap paid ticket from your home airport to 1 of the sale cities. But run the numbers to see what makes sense for you!
Which Card to Use?
Remember to pay with a card that will earn you bonus points for your ticket:
- Premier Rewards Gold Card From American Express – 3X American Express Membership Rewards points when booking directly with airlines
- The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN – 3X American Express Membership Rewards points for booking directly with airlines when you choose this as your 3X category (otherwise 2X points)
- Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card – 2X United Airlines miles per $1 spent when you book through United Airlines
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel
- Citi Prestige – 3X Citi ThankYou points on airfare
- Citi ThankYou Premier Card – 3X Citi ThankYou points on travel
Get Free Hotel Nights With These Cards
If you book a cheap flight, remember there are lots of ways to get cheap or free hotel rooms with points from credit card bonuses and spending!
If you’re booking a paid stay, check out discount sites like Orbitz, Expedia, or TravelPony for deals. But remember you won’t get stay credits or points (and might not have your elite status recognized).
Visit ancient ruins and enjoy the culture and nightlife in Thessaloniki, Greece, for just ~$586 round-trip in coach. That’s a great fare!
You must book by today, January 12, 2016, to get in on the deal. Travel dates are through April 2016 on United Airlines and Star Alliance partners like Lufthansa and Aegean Airlines.
This is an amazing opportunity for an adventure slightly off the beaten path. Let me know if you book a flight!