Progress In Planning: We’re Heading To Germany For Oktoberfest

GermanyMapI rarely re-visit countries that I’ve already been to but there is one place that I’ve been wanting to head back to for quite some time.

I went to Germany with one of my brother’s years back after finding a great fare. We paid $267 round trip to fly from Newark to Cologne. I was off of work and Kim wasn’t (she didn’t even want to go to Germany) so I went with my brother for a week. We visited Munich and Cologne and had a great time. We ate at a different beer hall every night and I hoped to return some day to get to experience Oktoberfest.

While looking over my work schedule last year the dates of Oktoberfest worked for me but Kim wasn’t off so I’d have to wait for another time. Also, I couldn’t leave her at home for a week with Lucas being only 9 months old.

I decided to look into the possibility of heading to Oktoberfest this year and things seemed to fall perfectly into place.

We’re leaving for Germany after returning less than two weeks ago from our trip to the Balkans. We actually had a long layover in Frankfurt on the way home so we went out to walk around the city for a few hours. So this will technically be Kim and Lucas’ second visit to Germany and my third!

When I’ve told people that we were going to Germany for Oktoberfest, there is one questions I usually get: Is Lucas going? Many are surprised when I say yes but the thing is: 1-Lucas is part of the team and goes (pretty much) everywhere with us 2- Oktoberfest can be a family friendly event and even has a family day!

During my first trip to Germany, the deal that I had found was a round trip to Cologne so we had to decide whether or not to visit Berlin or Munich too. Munich was our choice but for this trip Kim, Lucas and I will start off with a visit to Berlin and then fly to Munich for the main event!

My brother can’t make it to Berlin but he will be meeting us in Munich for Oktoberfest. We’ll also (most likely) explore a little of Munich again and revisit some of the beer halls that we loved eating and drinking at a few years back.

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Trip Planning:

The Flights: I was surprised by the amount of award availability we found for flights to Germany from New York. I assumed that due to Oktoberfest most flights would not be available, especially when only booking about 6 weeks in advance.  All of our flights (international and domestic) will be with OneWorld partner Air Berlin.

I booked our international flights with American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

We will be flying in Economy Class from:

  • New York (JFK) to Berlin, Germany (TXL) on a direct flight
  • Munich (MUC) to New York (JFK) with one connection

The cost for this itinerary for Kim and I is 120,000 AAdvantage miles + tax and fees of $241.90. (That’s the amount we paid for both of us.) I paid the taxes with a Citi AA card that I was approved for earlier in the year. One of the perks that came with it was a $150 statement credit for booking with AA. This brought my out of pocket cost down to $91.90.

Traveling with a lap baby isn’t free when it comes to international travel. Flying in premium cabins is very expensive (check out what we paid for our flight to the Balkans) but when flying in economy it isn’t too bad. Adding Lucas to our booking cost about 10% of the value of our ticket. So his lap baby ticket cost $100.40. I paid for Lucas’s ticket using a gift card that I bought with my American Express Platinum card’s $200 airline fee credit benefit. I used a $100 gift card and charged the remaining $0.40!

I booked our domestic flight (within Germany) using British Airways Avios.

We will be flying in Economy Class from:

  • Berlin (TXL) to Munich (MUC

The cost of this itinerary for Kim and I is 9,000 BA Avios + tax & fees of $77.68.

Traveling with a lap baby should be free on a domestic flight but British Airways thinks differently. I had a very hard time adding Lucas to our flight within Germany. After many calls to British Airways, I got a variety of conflicting information about adding a lap baby. In the end BA said they are charging me 10%- 450 Avios miles to add him even though lap babies fly for free with Air Berlin.

Lodging/ Hotels: During our visit we’ll be staying in 3 hotels. I would’ve liked to have kept it to one hotel per city but it made more sense splitting our stay in Berlin. We’ll be staying in 2 Club Carlson properties in Berlin and a Starwood property in Munich.

Due to Club Carlson’s Bonus Award Nights (for credit card holders), using Gold Points to book 3 nights would not be a great value. The Bonus Awards Nights perk makes your last night free when booking 2 or more nights with Gold Points so we decided to pay for one night and book the last 2 using points.

Here is where we’ll be staying:

Berlin:

  • Art’Otel Berlin Mitte by Park Plaza– cost: €91 with a corporate code (original price was €139) I booked my stay through TopCashBack which was offering 8% cashback which is a nice, additional savings.
  • Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin– cost: 44,000 Gold Points, 2nd night free. If we wanted to pay to stay here, the cost would be € 249 per night.

Munich:

  • Four Points by Sheraton Munich Central– cost: 11,500 Starpoints per night for 4 nights. I left this booking up to my brother since we were away on our trip to the Balkans. We have to figure out a way to pay him back (in Starpoints) for our share of the stay. The hotel is in an incredible location for attending Oktoberfest which is “just steps from our front door” according to the hotel.

We’re really looking forward to heading to Germany. We’ll be leaving tomorrow. Seeing Berlin and experiencing Oktoberfest should be an amazing time.

Keep checking back for more about our trip in future posts!

(If you join TopCashBack with the link above I will earn a small bonus)

4 thoughts on “Progress In Planning: We’re Heading To Germany For Oktoberfest

  1. I’m also visiting Berlin and Munich in the next couple of weeks. Berlin to watch a friend run the marathon, then on to Munich for 5 days of Oktoberfest! Enjoy!!

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