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Emily: I love to travel, and my mom does, too!
When I was growing up in Ohio, we could only afford road trips to local amusement parks. But collecting miles and points has opened up a whole new world of travel neither of us thought possible!
She and I decided to go to London and Paris for a mother-daughter getaway. We flew Business Class and stayed in 5-star hotels. I paid for this trip for a fraction of the retail cost by using airline miles and hotel points.
I’ve never traveled so long with my mom before, and at the end of the trip, I felt like I had a new best friend! Without the miles & points hobby, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience the joy of traveling with my mom.
In this series, I’ll show you how you can get to Europe, too!
I Found My New Best Friend Traveling to London Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Introduction and Planning
- Part 2 – Flights to London
- Part 3 – British Airways Galleries Club Lounge Review
- Part 4 – Where to Stay in London – Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel Overview
- Part 5 – Where to Stay in London – Intercontinental London Park Lane Hotel Room Overview
- Part 6 – Where to Eat Around Mayfair
- Part 7 – Where to Eat in London
- Part 8 – What to Do in London Part 1 – Big Bus Tour
- Part 9 – What to Do in London Part 2 – Mall, Museum, and Buckingham Palace
- Part 10 – What to Do in London Part 3 – Phantom of the Opera and London at Night
- Part 11 – What to Do in London Part 4 – Day Trip to Olney
- Part 12 – Return Business Class Flight to US
- Part 13 – Blog Giveaway
Intercontinental London Park Lane Room Overview
I wanted to give my mom a 5-star experience for her first visit to London. So I used my credit card rewards to stay for free at the Intercontinental London Park Lane.
The room was very spacious and luxurious! We were thrilled at staying at such a gorgeous hotel in London. The views from our hotel room were so pretty!
We were in London celebrating my mom’s birthday. I wanted to treat her to something really special. So I was very happy the hotel was so nice!
I emailed the hotel about her birthday ahead of time, and they had a nice surprise waiting when we arrived!
In the corner, there was a chair and table for reading and relaxing.
There was a desk to do my blog work.
The bathroom was spacious, with large mirrors all around.
You Can Do It, Too!
|One Round-Trip Business Class Ticket from Austin to London||One round trip ticket from Traverse City, MI to Austin, Texas for Mom||Intercontinental London Park Lane|
|Retail Cost||~$3,700||~$360||$370 per night|
|Our Cash Cost||~$900||$11.20 in taxes & fees||$70 per night|
|Miles & Points Used||125,000 British Airways Avios points||20,000 Delta miles||50,000 IHG Points per night
- Chase IHG anniversary free night
|Source of Miles & Points||- British Airways Visa Signature® Card|
Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 British Airways Avios points
|Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express|
- Current sign-up bonus of 30,000 Delta miles
|Chase IHG Card
- Current sign-up bonus of 80,000 points
|Alternatives||- American Airlines|
- 45,000 miles round-trip between November 1 and December 14, and January 10 and March 14) + ~$5 in taxes
- United Airlines
- 30,000 miles one-way + ~$5 in taxes
|- American Airlines|
- 25,000 miles round-trip + ~$5 in taxes
|- Stay at Hyatt on points or free night certificates!
- Chase Hyatt
Current sign-up bonus of 2 free nights at any Hyatt
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
Current sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points
|Additional Information||- You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways at a ratio of 1:1|
- You can transfer Starwood points to American Airlines at a ratio of 1:1
|- You can transfer Starwood points to American Airlines at a ratio of 1:1||- You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt and IHG at a ratio of 1:1|
The regular non-refundable rate is $370 US dollars, or ~300 British pounds per night. The refundable rate is $470 per night.
You can earn 80,000 IHG points by signing up for the Chase IHG card and spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.
If you are short the points you need for your hotel stay, you can always buy IHG points. They currently cost 1.15 cents each. But if you use the IHG Points + Cash trick, you can get them for 0.7 cents each!
Note: If you aren’t particular about your hotel, you might be able to stay for much less at a participating IHG PointBreaks hotel. With PointBreaks, you’ll pay only 5,000 IHG points (~$35) per night at the select list of IHG hotels.
Participating hotels are listed on the IHG website, and change every few months. There are usually a few around the London area.
If you don’t want to stay at an IHG hotel, there are plenty of other points hotels in London.
I stayed at the Hyatt Regency London – Churchill 4 years ago and it was fantastic! And staying for free is easy, because there are so many ways to earn free stays with Hyatt!
Chase offers lots of cards that earn Hyatt points. For example, you can apply for:
- Chase Hyatt – current sign-up bonus of 2 free nights at any Hyatt
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – current sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – current sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which transfer to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio)
Note: Remember Chase’s strict application rules for some of their credit cards. If you’ve opened 5+ credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months, it’s HIGHLY unlikely Chase will approve you for their Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
3. Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, & Starwood
Marriott and Starwood have merged! You can link your accounts, and transfer points between your Marriott and Starwood accounts at a 3:1 ratio. And Marriott and Ritz-Carlton essentially have the same rewards program, just with different branding . So if you collect Marriott or Starwood points, you’ll have lots of options in London!
It costs between 7,500 and 70,000 Marriott points to stay at a Marriott or Ritz-Carlton hotel. And Starwood hotels charge between 3,000 Starwood points (2,000 points on weekends) and 35,000 Starwood points for a free night.
You could stay at The London EDITION, a 5-star Ritz-Carlton hotel, for 50,000 Marriott points (or convert 17,000 Starwood points into Marriott points). Or you could stay at the Aloft London Excel for 10,000 Starwood points (or convert 30,000 Marriott points to Starwood points).
Hilton has lots of hotels to choose from in London! You can stay at the incredible Waldorf Hilton, London for 60,000 Hilton points per night. Or you can stay at the more affordable Hampton by Hilton London Croydon for 20,000 Hilton points per night.
My mom and I loved staying at the Intercontinental London Park Lane! Buckingham Palace and several museums and sights were only about a 15 minute walk away.
It costs 60,000 IHG points for a free night at The Intercontinental Park Lane. But I used the Points + Cash option to pay 50,000 points and $70 per night (plus my Chase IHG anniversary free night). That’s not bad for a room that sells for $370!