Emirates is Relaunching NYC to Athens Flights June 1, 2021, which could coincide with Greece reopening to visitors from outside the EU. No firm date has been set yet for Greece to reopen to Americans or other non-EU citizens who are not among from countries that Greece permits (such as Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the UK). That said, Greece's tourism industry accounts for over a quarter of its jobs and about 18% of GDP, so the country is highly motivated to welcome tourists back in summer 2021. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was the first European leader to broach the topic of a common European vaccine certificate.
In a Bloomberg interview on 2/15, Mitsotakis urged fellow European governments to establish a common vaccination certificate to encourage visitors to Europe in summer 2021. Vaccinated travelers would be able to avoid the current 7-day quarantine for all arrivals, as well as, presumably, the pre-travel COVID-19 test within the 72 hours prior to arrival in Greece that is currently required.
The Emirates route is a ~9 hour flight to Athens and nearly 11 hour flight from Athens to Newark with the following schedule:
- Depart EWR 23:55, Arrive ATH 16:05 the next day (EK210)
- Depart ATH 17:35, Arrive EWR 21:20 (EK209)
Unlike many East Coast to Europe routes, flying to Athens provides a bit more time to sleep. Unfortunately, however, the 777-300ER that operates the route typically has angled flat seating in Emirates Business Class. Our recommendation is to redeem for Emirates First Class awards with Skywards miles.
Emirates First Class Suites with Classic Reward pricing comes to 67,500 Skywards miles each way. Taxes on the outbound EWR-ATH are $59, and on the return come to $106. Given that the roundtrip price is ~$7000, redemption value is over 5 cents per Emirates Skywards mile, a respectable if not spectacular redemption.
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