“Why Spending More on a Hotel Stay Isn’t Always Better”

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London is a popular vacation destination for lots of folks.  And with so many hotels to choose from, it can be hard to figure out the best use of your hotel points.

So I asked Million Mile Secrets team member Meghan to explain how and why she decided to stay at the Staybridge Suites London – Vauxhall during her recent trip to Europe instead of another, more well-known hotel, like the InterContinental London Park LaneHyatt Regency London – The Churchill, or The London Edition.

Meghan:   I’ll share my thought process for picking the best hotel for my family during our latest trip to London.
Why Spending More On A Hotel Stay Isnt Always Better
We Found London to Be a Wonderful Spot for Families, With a Seemingly Endless Number of Parks and Playgrounds Throughout the City

I hope this helps you find a great hotel during their next getaway!

Choosing the Right Hotel

A few months ago, my family and I spent a couple of weeks in Europe.  At the end of our trip, we flew from Nice to London to spend our final 3 days.

Because we only had a short time, I wanted to be as close to the action as possible.  This meant I wasn’t going to try to save points (or cash!) by staying outside the city.  At least not on this trip!

I had a stash of Marriott, Starwood, and IHG points.  So I looked for rooms at those chains.

1.   Use a Hotel Award Search Tool

I used Hotel Hustle for my search to see which hotels had rooms for our dates.  Because I made the booking just ~1.5 weeks in advance, I was surprised to have lots of options on such short notice!

I usually stay away from booking paid stays through 3rd-party sites, like Orbitz or Expedia.  Because when you book through discount sites like these, you don’t get stay credits or points, and you might not have your elite status recognized!  And because I wanted to use hotel points instead of cash, I didn’t consider an Airbnb this time around.

2.   Compare Each Hotel’s Perks

In deciding between hotels, I considered factors like location, room size, and any additional benefits the hotel might offer.  Perks like a larger room and free breakfast can make the world of difference when you’re traveling with children!

Many of the fancier Marriott and Starwood hotels looked fantastic, but the rooms weren’t very big.  And they cost more points than I wanted to spend.

The final 2 contenders were the InterContinental London Park Lane and the Staybridge Suites London – Vauxhall.

Why Spending More On A Hotel Stay Isnt Always Better
The Staybridge Suites London – Vauxhall Is ~1 Mile From Big Ben, and Just a Few Blocks off the River Thames!

I know what you’re thinking…aren’t those are completely DIFFERENT types of hotels?

Yes, you’re right!

I had my heart set on staying at the InterContinental London Park Lane after reading fantastic reviews.  But once I started my search, I realized that the Staybridge Suites London – Vauxhall was also in a convenient location.  And it cost fewer points, too!  Here’s how to use Google Maps to plan your hotel stay.

A night at the Staybridge Suites London – Vauxhall costs 40,000 IHG points.  And when we booked our stay in September 2017, rooms were going for ~$235+ per night.  So we saved over $700 on our 3-night stay using points! 

Plus, the Staybridge Suites offered larger rooms AND free hot breakfast.  Both of these are important to me, especially since our ~2-year-old daughter still sleeps in a crib.

I can tell you from experience that the notoriously tiny hotel rooms in Europe seem even TINIER with a baby! 😉

Consider the Hotel’s Proximity to Public Transportation

Another fantastic thing about the Staybridge Suites London – Vauxhall is its closeness to the River Thames, the metro, and the train.

One morning, we caught a ferry just a few blocks from the hotel, and enjoyed our “cruise” past the London Eye down to London Bridge.

Why Spending More On A Hotel Stay Isnt Always Better
Sure, the Ferry Down the River Thames Is Public Transportation, but It’s Kinda Like a Sightseeing Cruise Too 😉

Having the metro and train nearby also made it easy to navigate to and from the airport.  Plus, we didn’t have to haul our bags very far or pay for a taxi!

So next time you’re on the hunt for the perfect hotel (regardless of where you are!), don’t discount the lesser-known spots.  Because you might just find a gem that fits your needs perfectly!

Bottom Line

Take the time to do your research when looking for the perfect hotel.  Because depending on your travel style and goals, the most popular hotels in the area might NOT make the most sense for you.

Tips you can use to find a great hotel include:

  • Use a site like Hotel Hustle, to see which hotels have award or paid nights for your dates
  • Consider the size of the hotel rooms (especially if you’re traveling with kids!) and any additional perks, like free breakfast
  • Map hotels out on Google Maps to get a visual of their proximity to local attractions
  • Determine how easy it is to access public transportation in the area (which can save you lots of money!)

How do you go about finding the perfect hotel for your vacation?

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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