Chase Credit Cards Helped Get Us an Unforgettable Long Weekend Birthday Trip to Ireland Worth $3,400+

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Chase Credit Cards Helped Get Us an Unforgettable Long Weekend Birthday Trip to Ireland Worth $3,400+

JasminChase Credit Cards Helped Get Us an Unforgettable Long Weekend Birthday Trip to Ireland Worth $3,400+Million Mile Secrets Team

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Last fall I booked an amazing trip to Dublin, Ireland, with my daughter to celebrate her 13th birthday.  Dublin was incredible, as was our day trip to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher.

We enjoyed non-stop flights on Aer Lingus, and experienced 2 different (and lovely) hotels – including an incredible suite upgrade – all without spending a fortune.

All told, we got over $3,400 worth of flights and hotels by redeeming miles and points from the best travel credit cards (mostly Chase credit cards) for our adventure.

But it’s not the savings that made this trip so special.  Getting to spend one-on-one time with my daughter and making memories we’ll never forget was priceless.

Best Birthday Gift Ever! Celebrating Turning 13 by Visiting Ireland Is Something My Daughter Won’t Soon Forget

I’ll share how I booked the trip, and how you can do the same!

Miles and Points Mostly From Chase Credit Cards Got Us to Ireland

Read our post on the best Chase credit cards

1.   We Saved a Ton of Points by Booking This Award Flight Sweet Spot

One of the cheapest ways to get to Europe from North America, particularly the East Coast, is by redeeming British Airways Avios points for flights on their partner, Aer Lingus.  (You can redeem Aer Lingus Avios points too.)

Because British Airways and Aer Lingus have a distance-based award chart, flights from cities like New York, Boston, and Toronto to Dublin only cost 26,000 points round-trip per person in coach.  That’s steal compared to other programs like United Airlines, which charges 60,000 United Airlines miles for the same route.

I had enough British Airways Avios points in my account (earned from the British Airways Visa Signature® Card) to book my daughter and myself 2 round-trip tickets between Toronto and Dublin.  Taxes and fees were reasonable at just over $100 per person round-trip.

Instead of Paying $2,000+ for Our Flights Between Toronto and Dublin, We Redeemed 26,000 British Airways Avios Points Each

Had we paid cash for these flights, we’d have been out of pocket ~$1,056 each.  So by redeeming British Airways Avios points we got flights worth over $1,900 ($1,056 fare X 2 – $200 taxes).

The great thing about British Airways is they’re a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, AMEX Membership Rewards, and Marriott.  So if you need to to top-off your account balance, it’s easy (and instant) to move points from cards like:

2.   An Incredible Suite Upgrade at the InterContinental Dublin

I redeemed an uncapped free night certificate from the Chase IHG card (no longer available), plus an additional 50,000 IHG points at the InterContinental Dublin for a 2-night stay.  While you can still get a free night certificate with the new IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, it’s only valid at hotels that cost 40,000 IHG points per night or less.

IHG is also a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, so if I’d needed a few extra points I could have easily transferred them from my Chase Sapphire Preferred.

When I made the reservation, I mentioned it was my daughter’s 13th birthday celebration and asked if there was anything they could do to make her stay extra special.  Wow, did the InterContinental Dublin ever deliver!

They upgraded us to an absolutely gorgeous junior suite, and left my daughter birthday goodies and treats along with a card.

The Folks at the InterContinental Positively Spoiled Us With a Lovely Junior Suite and Treats for My Daughter’s Birthday

Having automatic Platinum elite status from the Chase IHG card (which also comes with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card) probably didn’t hurt.  Junior suites around that time of year usually cost ~$537 per night, so we got a 2-night stay worth ~$1,074 by using points, a free night certificate, and asking nicely for an upgrade.

3.   Old School Charm at the Radisson Blu St. Helens

OK, so I didn’t use points from Chase credit cards to book the Radisson Blu St. Helens, but I certainly could have.  You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for hotels through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, including properties that aren’t transfer partners.

I ended up redeeming some Radisson points I had withering away in my account for 2 nights at this hotel (100,000 Radisson points total).  But if I’d wanted to book with Chase points, I would have paid just under 18,000 Ultimate Rewards points per night.

Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Book Hotels Like Radisson Can Make Sense If You Don’t Collect That Chain’s Points

For our dates, rooms at the Radisson Blu St. Helens were going for ~$222 per night, so we got a room worth ~$444 for 2 nights total.

Not quite as fabulous a redemption as the InterContinental Dublin, but the hotel was lovely and charming nonetheless.  It’s built around an 18th-century estate ~7 miles outside of the city center, with gorgeous gardens on a sprawling property.

Bottom Line

Instead of buying my daughter “stuff” for her 13th birthday, I took her on a 4-night trip to Ireland to celebrate this milestone.  We had an incredible time, and paid pennies on the dollar thanks to miles and points earned from top Chase credit cards.

In total, we got:

  • Nearly $2,000 worth of round-trip flights between Toronto and Dublin on Aer Lingus by redeeming 52,000 British Airways Avios points (a Chase transfer partner)
  • Over $1,000 in value at the InterContinental Dublin for 2 nights thanks to IHG points (also a Chase transfer partner), where they upgraded us to a junior suite on account of my daughter’s birthday
  • ~$450 in hotel nights at the charming Radisson Blu St. Helens.  I used Radisson points, but if you don’t collect them, it’s super easy to redeem Chase points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for a stay here

You could easily take a similar trip by using points earned from Chase credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve.  And make memories for a lifetime!

Have you ever surprised a loved one with a birthday trip?  I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Thinking of getting the Aer Lingus c/c… or should I get the British Airways c/c? Does it matter since both have avios?
and
Is flying out of Boston better than New York to Dublin? It would be my connecting since I’m flying out of MIA.

Author

Hi Marlene – British Airways Avios points are a lot more flexible because they’re a member of the oneworld alliance (Aer Lingus is not) – you’ve got more options to redeem them including for flights on American Airlines.

Avios points prices are based on flight distance and are priced out per segment, so adding a connecting flight between Miami and Boston or New York will cost you a lot more points. Aer Lingus flies non-stop between Miami and Dublin, so that would be the cheapest way (32,500 Avios points round-trip in coach off-peak).

Hope that helps!

Can you share your process and experience in booking the Aer Lingus trip via BA? I am looking to do the exact same thing. You have to call in to book right? Are they good to deal with?

Author

Hi Maek – Sure thing! It was pretty easy:

1 – Search for low-level award availability on the United Airlines website (they’re partners with Aer Lingus and that’s the easiest way to find flights – don’t pay attention to the pricing because you’ll book with British Airways Avios points)

2 – Note the dates and flight numbers, then call British Airways at 800-452-1201 – I called in the early evening, and there wasn’t much of a hold time

3 – Tell the agent the flights you’d like to book. If you’ve already got the Avios points in your account, it should only take a few minutes to confirm it. If you need to transfer, Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers should be nearly instant so you can do it while you’re on the phone.

4 – You’ll have to provide all your travel details ie: names, dates of birth, passport etc, so have that ready. And a credit card number for the taxes/fees.

5 – At the end of the booking you’ll get your PNR (reservation #) and shortly after an email confirming your flights.

Calling to book with BA was simple. All told, maybe 20 minutes on the phone total.

Good luck and let us know what you end up booking! Have a wonderful time in Dublin!

So we haven’t traveled Internationally in quite a few years and our passports have expired. We need to get them renewed! I wasn’t aware that we needed to have that done before we could book the flights! What do they all ask about your passport?

Author

Hi Maek – If I recall they just asked for passport number to fill out the advance passenger information stuff while we were on the phone. I don’t think it’s required so long as you have a valid passport before you travel (ie you can always fill it in later). If anyone has a different experience please chime in!

Thanks so much for all the tips, we just booked our flights last night. 26,000 points per person plus $120 taxes roundtrip from Chicago! Now trying to come up with an itinerary for the 7 days!

Just note that before you transfer points, make sure you confirm the space with BA. united often (I would say usually) shows phantom space on aer Lingus. There are usually only two business class seats available, however, United will show considerably more.

Author

Hi Farnorthtrader – Very good point – definitely confirm with BA before you transfer (can do it right there on the phone before you pull the trigger).