We have a ton of Delta Skymiles but I'm having a frustrating time trying to figure out how we might be able to use them for flights next fall, when we are taking the RS Best of the Adriatic tour. We're signed up for the tour that starts 10/1 and ends 10/14. We always fly out of O'Hare. We want to fly in to Venice and spend a couple days there prior to the tour. A flight to Venice isn't the problem, but the flights home are. The tour ends in Dubrovnik. We like the idea of renting a car after the tour to spend that day exploring the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, then we'd drive back to Dubrovnik, spend one final night at the tour hotel, and fly home the next day.
Delta's international partners don't have a big presence at the airport in Dubrovnik. I spoke to a Skymiles agent and she said there are no flights on any Delta partner until 3 days after the tour ends, when Air France has a flight to CDG. There we'd have a layover of 18 hours and a direct flight home the next day, or we could reduce the layover at CDG to as low as 11 hours if we were willing to have a 2nd stop in the U.S. before arriving at O'Hare. And then after she told me all that, she said there's no more award availability on the flight from DBV to CDG on 10/17. Even if there were, we don't want that much extra time in Dubrovnik, and those options to get home are too long and cumbersome.
I know we could book a one way flight from Dubrovnik on any airline to get to a city from which we could fly home the next day using Skymiles. I tried seeing how we could get back to Venice from DBV, so that our flights to/from the US are RT, in to and out of Venice, for potentially the lowest number of required Skymiles. However, it's not easy to get from DBV to Venice. An Expedia search showed no direct flights. The fastest option involved a 3+ hour layover in Athens before going to Venice. The shortest total flight duration was over 7 hours. Expedia doesn't show Easy Jet flights, so I searched that option. Easy Jet has no flights to Venice on the day we want to do it. It has a flight on the 13th and one on the 17th, nothing in between.
So, I need to look at other cities. Spending the money on a one-way flight to ???, and having a final one-night hotel stay there, maybe a Delta partner hub city like Amsterdam, seems to be the only way we can use our Skymiles. Easy Jet has a super cheap flight from DBV to AMS on 10/15, but I worry about the risk that the flight might be cancelled. Easy Jet's next flight to AMS from DBV is 3 days later. A cancellation would mean we'd have to pay for an expensive last minute ticket to AMS on another carrier, assuming that option even exists.
I'm starting to conclude that we're not going to be able to make this happen and should just pay for all the flights for this trip in $ and save our Skymiles for next time. I've found a decent open jaw itinerary on Lufthansa for around $1,000 per person.
The frustrating thing is that we came to the same conclusions for our last two trips to Europe. Our Skymiles account keeps on building up because we can never find flights that work for us!
If anyone has used Skymiles to get to and from the US when taking the RS Best of the Adriatic tour, especially if you flew from O'Hare, I'd love to know how you did it.