I had the month of October open for travel, so in July when AA offered a decent fare to Dusseldorf, I jumped on it. Although I visited Cologne just four years ago, it’s been at least a dozen years since I’ve been to Amsterdam or Dusseldorf and all three cities connect easily by rail at reasonable prices.

After purchasing the flights for a 10-day trip, my next concern was the sequence to visit the cities to find affordable hotel rates. It became obvious that rates in Dusseldorf were very high the last few days of this trip, so I opted to start there when rates were more affordable, move to Cologne for the weekend and then on to Amsterdam. My last night on the trip was a cash and points award stay near the Dusseldorf Airport.

In Dusseldorf, I enjoyed touring the shopping district, including the Konigsallee with its luxury shops and a canal. I walked around the Media Harbour area, which has some unusual buildings, as well as along the Rhine which is lined with outdoor cafes and a TV tower. There were some attractive pastry shops and the department stores were just readying their displays for Christmas. There’s no shortage of pubs and cafes, many with outdoor seating.

In Cologne, it’s all about the Cathedral which has impressive stained glass, architecture and organ pipes. There’s an adjoining shopping district in the Altstadt (old town) and a pedestrian walkway along the railway bridge full of love locks.

In Amsterdam, I was challenged with significant rain that curtailed my time for touring. I enjoyed the canals, cheese shops, exterior views of three museums (no time for visits this trip), the flower market and a carnival on Dam Square. There are bicycles everywhere! You really need to pay attention to avoid getting crashed into, particularly when crossing intersections.

Tom911 [Milepoint]

FFP miles earned:
Total 23,316 with 100% EXP bonus
SFO-DUS via ORD on AA (5,582 base miles)
DUS-SFO via ORD on AA (6,076 base miles)

Hotel points spent:
Hyatt (SFO) 8,000 points
Holiday Inn Ratingen (DUS), cash and points award stay (5,000 points plus $70)

Approximate fees:

Airline(s) Routing:
Upgraded SFO-ORD-DUS with a systemwide two days prior and upgraded DUS-ORD-SFO at booking

Month/year of trip:
October 2014

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