Being currently based in northern Greece, my airline of choice to basically go almost anywhere is Aegean. They are the Greek airline and they are really fantastic.
New Qatar Airways Route Has Me Seriously Considering New Loyalty Strategy
Since I fly Aegean, most of my flights end up within the Star Alliance since they are a member of it and my Aegean Gold status gives me some nice perks around the world on Star Alliance airlines. I have held top status with both Skyteam and oneworld in the past and found many things I liked about both. But, without having regular service into my usual airport, I have not had a huge use for those alliances.
New Route Could Change My Strategy
But, a single new Qatar Airways route may change that for me! Most of my international trips that take me out of Europe are between Europe and the US. A lot of that is due to scheduling and such, based on my time and what places I need to go.
Because of the squeeze of time, I typically will fly directly from Thessaloniki to Munich or Frankfurt to catch a Lufthansa or United flight or to Istanbul to fly Turkish. There are a ton of airlines that fly into Athens but I find that the prices and schedule of the flights I can get out of here work much better.
Qatar Airways to Serve Thessaloniki, Greece
However, Qatar Airways has now announced they will start servicing Thessaloniki, the second largest airport in Greece, as of March 27, 2018. They will run 4 flights per week to Thessaloniki aboard their Airbus A320 aircraft.
New Qatar Airways Route Schedule
- Depart at 1:50PM from Thessaloniki and arrive in Doha at 6:40PM
- Depart at 7:40AM from Doha and arrive in Thessaloniki at 12:50PM
- These flights will run on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Why This New Qatar Airways Route is Exciting To Me
This is really intriguing for me because I really do like flying on Qatar and that is actually my new favorite route to the US – from Greece. 🙂 Another reason I am really excited about this is it gives me another way to get to almost anywhere in the world with a single connection. For now, I would use Turkish Airlines for that but would definitely love to do it on Qatar Airways in their business class as well!
Cheap Fares From Greece
When it comes to earning miles and maybe going for oneworld elite status again, this is also good news. It is because Qatar Airways has had some really decent rates in the past out of Athens and will likely have some of the same out of Thessaloniki. If that is the case, I should be able to book some cheap fares out of Thessaloniki to many places around the world and earn a lot of miles to credit to some airline, maybe even to Qatar.
Great Distance for Avios
And, finally, there is one more thing I really like about this new route! Thessaloniki to Doha rings in at 1,955 miles. That means it is just under the 2,000 mile limit with British Airways Avios so I can book that route for only 10,000 Avios one way.
That isn’t bad at all, especially if I want to book award tickets out of Doha to some other place and I don’t want to deal with originating in Europe for the award.
For most people, this new Qatar Airways route is not that exciting. But, for me, it gives me a great reason to evaluate my loyalty strategy for next year and see what new destinations I may be able to put on my schedule as a result!
At the end of the day, there is no way in the world I am giving up my Aegean Gold status – it is really valuable to me and insanely easy to renew (but hard to earn for the first time). In fact, with the new elite year beginning in a couple of weeks, I am on track to requalify by the middle of January.
But, I am definitely excited about how Qatar Airways may help me with other areas of travel. It is amazing what a single route can do to help with that! 🙂
Featured image courtesy of BriYYZ (Flickr: Qatar A320-200 A7-AHH) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
HT: Greek Reporter
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