MILES MOMMA UNITED KINGDOM ADVENTURES – APRIL 2013

Finally the planning has almost come to an end and the adventure is about to begin for our family!  I’ve been working on a month long trip to the United Kingdom for about a year now.  I’m very please that I’ve paid for our entire trip on miles and points and accompolished the goal I set.  A month in Europe for a family of four is not cheap but with miles and points it’s absolutely affordable.  I’ve managed to get us free flights, free hotels, transportation and even cash for spending money.

We fly from California to London to begin our adventure.  I’m super excited about our trip and so our my little ones.  My youngest is three and will turn four a few days before we leave.  My oldest son is eight and will have his ninth birthday in Ireland.  A birthday to remember forever!  He is pumped!  So am I!  It is so cute listening to my youngest try to say “Ireland”.  It comes out super sweet!

We will be visiting England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  We are flying American Airlines, Los Angeles to London non-stop (Economy).  Yes, you read it right, Economy!  I surely have the miles to fly us First Class but I’m much to frugal for that.  It costs 125,000 x 4 = 500,000 miles for Milesaver First Class Roundtrip on American or 100,000 x 4 = 400,000 miles for Milesaver Business Class Roundtrip.  Milesaver Economy is only 60,000 x 4 = 240,000 miles (peak season) Roundtrip or 40,000 x 4 = 160,000 miles (off season) Roundtrip.  I think I’ll opt for another few vacations.  I booked our tickets for Milesaver Economy off season which is a steal of a deal.  I could get 13 domestic tickets instead of flying First Class (500,000 – 160,000/ 25,000).  Now if you are single or just a couple, of course grab those big cushion seats and kick up your feet up.  Nothing wrong with that!  I’ll be doing that someday but not for this Momma right now.  I have too many adventures I want to go on with my family.  To me First Class is just a waste of my miles.  I don’t care about status or elite whatever!  I just want to see the world with my little ones before they are off to fly their own wings!

So I’m writing this post for a couple reasons.  First, I would like to share with you how I am actually paying for this adventure with miles and points.  Second, I’d like to get your input and suggestions if you have traveled to the locations we will be visiting.  I love getting reader suggestions and tips before I go on a trip.  I really appreciated all the tips last year for my Czech Republic trip and our East Coast Adventure.  We went to many places that were suggested by you all and had a fabulous time! Many thanks!

So here how I’m paying for it and how it all breaks down in my mile and point budget!

FLIGHTS

FLIGHT AIRLINE MILES PER PERSON PASSENGERS TOTAL MILES REQ. TOTAL TAXES
LAX – LHR American Airlines 20,000 4 80,000 $208.00
DUB – LAX United Airlines 30,000 4 120,000 $20.00
      TOTAL MILES & MONEY 200,000 $228.00

 

 

 

HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS

COUNTRY CITY/TOWN NIGHTS HOTEL PROGRAM HOTEL NOTES
ENGLAND London 2 HILTON HONORS Hilton London Dockside BOOKED – 1 double, 1 single,
1 sofabed (Family room)
ENGLAND Stratford Upon Avon 3 PRIORITY CLUB Holiday Inn Stratford Upon Avon BOOKED – 2 double beds
WALES Conwy 3 ULTIMATE REWARD POINTS Glan Heulog Guest House BOOKED – Family Room – 1 double,
1 single, 1 child bed
SCOTLAND Edinburgh 4 HILTON HONORS Hilton Dunblane Doubletree  BOOKED – King w/extra bed
SCOTLAND Ayshire 5 STARWOOD Turnberry Resort BOOKED – King w/extra kid bed
IRELAND Galway 3 CLUB CARLSON Radisson Blue Hotel & Spa Galway BOOKED – Family room, extra 20,000
points @ checkout
IRELAND Cork 3 CLUB CARLSON Radisson Blue Hotel & Spa Cork BOOKED – King Bed & Single Bed
IRELAND Dublin 1 CLUB CARLSON Radisson Blue St. Helen’s Hotel BOOKED – 1 King with sofa bed

You can see that we are staying in a variety of different properties from the high end Turnberry Resort in Scotland to the Holiday Inn in Stratford-Upon-Avon, to a nice little B&B in Conwy, North Wales.  So we are going to get to experience it all!  A little luxury, a nice B&B and just a good old-fashion Holiday Inn crash pad!  The kids love those!  I picked these particular properties for location, point redemption value and properties with rooms suited to accommodate families without charging high outrageous points or requiring you to book two adjoining rooms.  I also picked these properties for the central location as a base for day trips to the desired sites we want to see.

Below you will find the point redemptions for these rooms and properties.

NIGHTS LOCATION HOTEL MILES/PER NIGHT NIGHTS REQ. MILES NOTES  
2 London Hilton                 37,374 2                 74,748 Family room – 1 double, 1 single &
1 sofabed
3 Stratford Upon Avon Priority Club                 25,000 3                 75,000 2 double beds  
3 Conwy, Wales B&B/Ultimate Rewards  $             428.00 3                 42,000 Use Chase Sapphire points or
Thank You points
4 Dunblane, Scotland Hilton                 29,750 4               119,000 King room w/extra bed 
5 Ayshire, Scotland Starwood                 12,000 5                 54,000 5th night free option – King bed &
extra child bed
3 Galway, Ireland Club Carlson                 29,750 3                 89,250 (One free bonus night) Family room – extra 20,000 points payable at checkout
3 Cork, Ireland Club Carlson                 38,000 3                 76,000 One free bonus night from having
Club Carlson Visa
1 Dublin, Ireland Club Carlson                 38,000 1                 38,000 Family room  
24 TOTAL                

So you can see there is quite a bit of miles and points being spent here right!  But I didn’t earn this over night, I earn these miles/points consistently each year.  It’s like a savings account that is always there when you need it.  I just wrote about my first quarter app party where I secured a 100,000 more American Airlines miles.  I didn’t wipe my AA account out for this trip.  It’s at 133,000 roughly but I want to always add to it when the right bonus opportunities present themselves.  I also have 30,000 American Airlines miles that should be coming in soon from a Citi checking account bonus offer and that will nicely rebuild the miles I’ve spent and some.  So as you burn, you just continue to earn!  Burn and earn!  Don’t sit on those miles and points, otherwise what in the world is the point!

Okay!  So now if any of you have been to these properties or have some great tips you’d like to share for certain regions/countries we will be visiting, I’m all ears and would greatly appreciate any tips you might offer.  Maybe you discovered a little jem of a town or a great restaurant you’ll never forget, a special tour you went on that was amazing; and suggestions would be wonderful!

I will be of course blogging about our adventures.  If all my devices work properly I’ll be tweeting and uploading pictures to my various social media sites.  Follow me on Twitter or Facebook today if you aren’t already!  I’m also on Instagram and Pinterest if you like these social media outlets.  They are fun for travel pics!

So stay tuned in April for updates from my adventure!  Thanks again for reading!  If I can ever help you with your travel goals, don’t hesitate to email me.  It would be my pleasure!

11 thoughts on “MILES MOMMA UNITED KINGDOM ADVENTURES – APRIL 2013”

  1. What a great trip! I actually have family in N Wales and they own a little coffee/sandwich shop at the entrance to Conwy Castle. It’s called the “Tea Rooms” – check it out if you have a chance! A great little shop with local flavor. Of course, I’m a bit biased 😉

    1. @ J Jones – Thanks I most definitely go there! Be my pleasure! Sounds like place that would be in Rick Steves guidebook which I read religiously! He is my absolute favorite travel writer with the best tips for local spots and budget travel. Thanks so much!

  2. I am traveling with my family of 4 to Paris and Barcelona this summer (in Economy also…), my kids are similar in age as yours also.
    I have a hard time booking hotel rooms with points (I have Hilton, Starwood, Club Carlson, Priority Club) due to occupancy limit. If they have rooms available at all that could accommodate 4, it would cost more than double the points required for a standard room with a double or 2 twin beds, which is more costly than booking two adjoining room. It is especially hard for expensive properties in more desirable central locations and ironically the reason we collect hotel points is to be able to afford staying in these properties, however it doesn’t work well with family travel. Does the hotels you listed charge just the standard points for family room or room with 2 double beds and sofa bed?

    1. @pan – I totally hear you about these issues you’ve described. They were my same challenges. I found the best and most favorable results dealing directly with the hotels and not with the loyalty program. Starwood is by far the most helpful as they call the properties and really work on your behalf to help get the room set up appropriate for your family at the standard points redemption. I would make the reservation and then email the hotel to have them set up the room with an extra bed brought in or cot. Or in some cases have a sofa bed in the room with two other beds or a king. The Hilton London Docklands is awesome because the points are low for a huge family room. No other Hilton London property can beat their setup and points value for families. Anyway, my suggestions is to deal directly with the hotels after your standard reservation is booked. They can then back changes and document it in your reservation. I found most all hotels very accommodating.

      1. Good idea, I will contact the hotel to find out more. I have almost given up using points for this trip.
        I was thinking they would just ask me to book 2 rooms or a premium room/Suite that would coast 3x the points, the easy way out for them. Do you have status with the hotels to get the special accommodation for no extra cost?
        You have in your notes for Club Carlson Galway, Ireland “Family room – extra 20,000 points payable at checkout”, is the additional 20,000 points for the upgrade to Family room?

        1. @pan – I do have Hilton Honors Gold status & Club Carlson Gold but I don’t know that this affect their decision to accommodate me for no charge. Radisson Blu Galway is giving me a family room for an extra charge of 20,000 points but Radisson Blu Cork is accommodating me for no extra points. Different hotels and different managers I guess. Doesn’t hurt to try and work directly with the hotels. I found good results this way and always do this because it’s better than working with the loyalty brand when making bookings for a family room or set up.

  3. Thanks Miles Momma, that was informative and looks like a great trip!
    I am the only churner/point &mile earner in my family as well, and I was hoping you could share a few of your methods/ideas of how you earn miles/points ( besides those from bonuses) ?
    Thanks!

    1. @Squallo – I also maximize every checking account mile bonus offer and cash offers as well that I come across. You can see that many of these offers are listed now on the Miles Momma site. Secondly, I secure the right credit cards (i.e. Ink Bold, AMEX Surpass, Ink Cash, and many other options) and use these to purchase prepaid cards or visa gift cards at stores with category bonuses. They I pay my bills, groceries, etc. with these; earning 5x or 6x for everything. I also buy prepaid and visa gift cards in bulk and funnel them through a product like American Express Bluebird or American Express Target Prepaid. I am in the process of writing a post regarding this topic, so stay tuned for more. Feel free to email me directly for more specific help @ info@milesmomma.com

  4. Hi MM – I only just found your blog and saw this trip which caught me eye. I grew up in North Wales on Anglesey just across the water from Conway. It’s a beautiful part of the world but the weather can be a bit grey. Make sure to take an umbrella! And then as an adult I spent a big chunk of my life living and working in Canary Wharf, so I am also very familiar with the Hilton there (which is in a really good location just off the main CW area). So this trip would be like a homecoming trip for me 🙂 Curious as to how you are getting to Ireland? The ferry from Holyhead is a lot of fun for the kids.
    Also for some trivia Dunblane was very sadly the location of one of the UK’s largest mass shootings when a whacko killed several kids and teachers at a local school. This lead to significant gun change control in the UK with the banning of handguns. Andy Murray the tennis star and current US Open Champion was a pupil and at the school at the time.

    1. @MilesAbound – So awesome! Glad you found me! I’m so pumped about this trip! I think our family is going to just love the UK and I’m especially excited about North Wales. It’s looks beautiful. I don’t mind fog or rain, never gets in my way. Just gives it character and mystic! I did also read about the Dunbland massacre. Won’t mention that part of history to the kiddos. We are going to fly Ryan Air from Glasgow Prestwick. The ferry looked fun as well, but the flight is just so short and Glasgow is only about 45 minutes from the Turnberry Resort so and easy transport option. Never flown Ryan Air but figure it can’t be bad only for an hour even if it’s totally budget. If you don’t mind, I might contact and ask a few questions about booking trains in advance or just wait. Just to figure if I’ll save by booking in advance. So far, my research shows a mixed result. Was just going to book long trains and leave the short ones for the train station.

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