How to Use Points and Have Your Family Stay in One Room in Europe

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One of the questions I get on a regular basis is to how use points for hotels in Europe for a family of four.  For those who have never traveled outside the US with a family it often comes as a surprise that this is such a real challenge if you want to avoid having to pay for two rooms.  However, due to room size and strict occupancy limits, it is a real issue that traveling families face.  While some like to utilize apartments and condos to have more room in Europe, many families prefer to earn or use points to stay at traditional hotels.  While I have posted a few tips related to this issue, I haven’t yet done a truly comprehensive post.  So, I asked father of two children, Jason Steele (featured in this Little C’s Traveling Friends post), if he could help research a few possible solutions, and here is what we found.

Using Points For Family Friendly Hotels In Europe

Family travel in Europe is not like it is in the United States. Here, parents can easily find rooms with two queen beds, or with a sofa bed. And even when there is only a single bed, parents are free to have their children camp out on the floor in a sleeping bag (In fact, my daughter prefers that option!).

But in much of Europe, hotels abide by strict occupancy limits on each room. And when you combine that with the fact that most European rooms are far smaller than those in American hotels, families quickly realize that it is a challenge to find accommodations for two adults and two children in a single room. Furthermore, hotels in Europe are less frequently connected with a pass through door, so reserving two adjoining rooms may not even be possible at all locations.

How to find family-friendly hotels using points

But don’t give up hope yet, there are still a few hotel chains that offer accommodations for four people in Europe. I looked at the major chains to find family-friendly properties that can be booked with points, and here is what I found:

First, always search for just two adults. Many of the searches I performed for two adults and two children came back empty, but when I searched for two adults, it returned properties that did have family rooms available.

Next, be very skeptical of the maximum occupancy listed for a room, as I found large rooms with multiple beds that still showed a maximum occupancy of two or three. For the purpose of comparison, I would assume that any room with multiple queen or king beds sleeps four as well as rooms with a bed and a sofa bed. Suites also work well for families, and in my experience, I have never had a problem when sleeping four in a suite using rollaway beds. But in the absence of an accurate web site, it is always smart to confirm this arrangement with specific properties before booking.

And finally, watch out for outrageous fees for cribs and rollaway beds. For example, the Holiday Inn London – Mayfair charges an amazing 35 GBP (~$55 USD) per night for a crib or rollaway!

I looked at most of the major loyalty programs to see what was available for families in popular European cities including London, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, and Barcelona.  Here is what I found:

Starwood:

Starwood’s corporate site returns little when searching for two adults and two children (read this post to learn more about that phenomenon), but results are better when you search the sites of the individual hotels.  According to Starwood’s site, children who are 12 or younger sleep for free in the existing bedding of a room shared with a paying adult. Rollaways, child rollaways and cribs may incur extra charges.

All of the Starwood properties I found at the five cities in Europe only allowed four guests in their suites, which are sometimes quite expensive, and not bookable with points online. You can call or chat with SPG online to find out the exact points or cash + points prices for suites.  Platinum members in Starwood’s SPG program can be upgraded to suites, but it is not confirmed until check in, so that isn’t overly useful for families who need to confirm the space ahead of time.

Even paying with cash, there are a few Starwood properties with accommodations for four such as:

London 

Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow has family rooms with two double beds starting at 120 GBP (~$188 USD).  Two adults and two children can stay in these rooms.

Le Méridien Piccadilly has club rooms with two queen beds from 359 GBP (~$563 USD), but since they are not suites, you could get upgraded or perhaps pay a small up-charge to confirm the rooms in advance.

Sheraton Heathrow Hotel has family rooms with a queen and single bed, which could work if they have a crib or rollaway.

Frankfurt

Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel and Conference Center where a King + 2 single beds sells for EUR 263.00. This is a great property attached to the terminal, but EUR 263.00 (~$350.00 USD) is not inexpensive.

Rome

St. Regis Rome is very clear on their website that children 12 and under are free in the existing bedding of a room shared with a paying adult.  They also state that there is no extra charge for rollaways and cribs, but that not all room types can accommodate rollaways and cribs.  I have read several positive reports of a family of four staying in the Imperial room (largest non-suite room type).  This is a pricy Category 6 SPG hotel, but just as many St. Regis are, this hotel seems to be willing to accommodate families to the best of its ability.

Imperial Room

Imperial Room at St. Regis Rome

 

Hyatt:

This is one of my favorite programs for family travel, as it is one of the few that allows you to reserve suites for a reasonable number of points, usually about 50% more than a standard room. See their award chart. But the maddening thing is that Hyatt’s web site often inaccurately lists the maximum occupancy of its suites. For an example of how their site misrepresents the maximum guest count, the Ambassador Suite at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome includes two bedrooms, each with a king bed, but still lists the maximum guests per room as three!

Paris Hyatt Ambassador Suite

Nevertheless, most suites paid for with points or Diamond upgrade certificates will not be this size, but even the basic king suites will be likely to have either a sofa bed or the floor space to accommodate a rollaway. If you are used to staying in American hotels, this may not sound like a big deal, but it is the limiting factor in many urban European hotels where standard rooms might only have a foot or two between the bed and the walls!

Here are all of the Hyatt properties in the European cities I looked at:

London

Andaz Liverpool Street London is a Cat. 5 property with suites requiring 27,000 points per night, but specifies “no rollaways.” Yet, their “Large King” rooms have rollaways upon request.

Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill is a Cat. 6 property with suites requiring 33,000 points per night. Their standard rooms have cribs and rollaway beds available upon request, yet still list maximum occupancy as three guests.  Like many properties, they do offer a 50% discount on a second connecting room booked for children 12 and under.

Paris

Hôtel du Louvre – Paris is a Cat. 5 property with suites requiring 27,000 points per night.

Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome is a Cat. 6 property with suites requiring 33,000 points per night and lists cribs and rollaway beds available upon request.  Note that the Standard Park Queen rooms only accommodate two people.  You can have a baby in as the third according to many reports, but even a toddler would possibly count as a third person and not be allowed.  You would need a larger (and pricier) Park Deluxe King to have a rollaway and a third person/child.  Diamond members do sometimes receive complimentary upgrades to this larger room.  A Park Suite King would afford even more room, but still lists a max occupancy of 3.

Park Suite King

Park Suite King

Hyatt Paris Madeleine is a Cat. 6 property but is on the short list of Hyatts that do not allow you to redeem points for suite awards.  Their basic king suite has a sofabed and crib available upon request. It actually lists four maximum guests for their suite, so it is good if you can get it, but the policy is you can’t book with 33k points to do it. The other room types list a maximum occupancy of 3.

Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile is a Cat. 5 property with suites requiring 27,000 points per night.

Hyatt Regency Paris – Charles de Gaulle is a Cat. 3 property with suites requiring 18,000 points per night.

Rome

There are no Hyatt properties in Rome at this time.

Frankfurt

Hyatt Regency Mainz is west of the Frankfurt Airport and is a Cat. 3 property with suites requiring 18,000 points per night. Cribs are available upon request.  Their standard rooms list an occupancy limit of two adults and one child.  Their suite lists a maximum occupancy of 3.

Barcelona

There are no Hyatt properties in Barcelona at this time.

Also remember that with Hyatt you can also confirm a suite for four nights for just 6,000 points on top of a paid rate.  That may be a good solution at certain European Hyatt hotels if you aren’t rolling in Hyatt points. 

 

Wyndham:

This turns out to be a great program for families as many of their mid-range and budget properties offer family rooms throughout Europe.

London

Days Hotel London- Waterloo has family rooms for 16,000 points per night. This picture appears to show two twin beds and a sofa/futon bed.

Days Hotel London- Waterloo

Days Inn London Hyde Park has what they call “quad rooms” for 20,000 points. These appear to have two twin beds and a double bed.

Days Hotel Gatwick also has “quad rooms” for only 8,000 points.

Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour is an all suite hotel for 30,000 points. These have separate seating areas with sofa beds.

Paris

TRYP Paris Francois Hotel has a really neat family room with bunk beds!

Wyndham's TRYP Paris Francois Hotel

Rome

There are no Wyndham properties in Rome at this time.

Frankfurt

Sadly, none of the six Wyndham properties within 30 miles of Frankfurt have rooms available with award points that accommodate four guests.

Barcelona

TRYP Barcelona Apolo Hotel is another TRYP property that features family rooms with bunk beds.

Hilton

Setting aside the massive devaluation of Hilton points earlier this year, this program is also a poor choice for families. Suites that accommodate four guests can sometimes be booked with points, but doing so requires a massive quantity of points. Nevertheless, here were the best deals that I could find:

London

Hilton London Docklands Riverside is a Cat. 6 hotel, that features a family room. 33,374 points per night are needed for an award, but I found rooms available off season for 109 GBP (~$170 USD). The rooms have one double or two twin beds and a sofa bed.

Hilton Dartford Bridge Hotel has “double double” guest rooms with two queen beds that sleep four. Rooms sell for as little as 79 GBP (~$123 USD) or 30,000 points. There is also a King Hilton Plus room with a sofa bed that sleeps two adults and two children.

Paris

Hilton properties here that have rooms that accommodate four guests start at EUR 365 or 125,000 points, hardly worth considering for most.

Rome

There are no Hilton properties in Rome that have rooms for four guests.

Frankfurt

No Hilton property in Frankfurt accommodates four guests for anything close to a reasonable price.

Barcelona

There are no Hilton properties in Barcelona that have rooms for four guests.

 

Club Carlson:

This is another program that offers a lot of properties in Europe, some with family-friendly accommodations that can be booked with points. In addition to the options below, there were several reasonably priced properties that did not have family-friendly rooms that could be booked with points.  Remember if you have the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature that your last award night is free (even with non-standard rooms), so that makes some of these even better deals!

London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London has studio rooms with sofa beds for four people that require 75,000 points. The views of Big Ben and Parliament are stunning as well!

Park Inn London Watford has business friendly rooms that accommodate 2 adults and 2 children for 42,000 points.

Paris

Park Inn Paris By Radisson Charles de Gaulle Airport also has “business friendly” family rooms with sofa beds from 57,000 points.

Radisson Blu Hotel at Disneyland Paris has family rooms with sofabeds from 75,000 points.

Rome

There are no Club Carlson properties in Rome that accommodate four guests.

Frankfurt

There are no Club Carlson properties in Frankfurt that accommodate four guests.

Barcelona

There are no Club Carlson properties in Barcelona.

 

Marriott:

The Marriott program offers some rooms that sleep four, and often show the room layouts online. Here are a few:

London:

Marriott has dozens of properties in London, here are a few with rooms that sleep four:

London Heathrow Marriott Hotel has rooms with two double beds that sleep four for 30,000 points.

Heathrow/Windsor Marriott Hotel has rooms with two double beds that sleep four for 25,000 points.

London Marriott Hotel Twickenham has rooms with two double beds that sleep four for 30,000 points and is actually in a rugby stadium.

London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square

Paris:

There are 12 Marriott properties in Paris, here are a few that offer family rooms or suites:

Renaissance Paris Le Parc Trocadero Hotel has rooms for 40,000 points, but a family Junior suite with a sofabed that sleeps for requires an additional 180 EUR!

Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel has a junior suite with a king bed and a sofabed for 45,000 points plus 130 EUR, but the maximum occupancy is listed as 3 plus a crib. I would contact the hotel to confirm that 2 kids could share the sofabed.

Marriott’s Village d’lle-de-France has 2 bedroom townhomes for 40,000 points plus 2 upgrade certificates, which are 5,000 points each. 3 bedroom townhouses are available with an additional upgrade certificate

Rome: None of the five Marriott properties in Rome offer rooms that accommodate four.

Frankfurt: Neither of the two Marriott properties in Frankfurt offer rooms that accommodate four.

Barcelona: None of the ten Marriott properties in Barcleona offer rooms that accommodate four.

 

Priority Club (IHG):

IHG’s web site appears to accurately show the maximum number of guests in a room.

London:

Of 71 IHG properties in the London area, 41 have rooms that sleep four, usually with a sofa bed. Here are a few:

Holiday Inn Express London – Heathrow T5 has rooms with sofa beds that sleep four for 20,000 points.

Holiday Inn Express London – City has rooms with sofa beds that sleep four for 35,000 points.

Paris:

Eight of the 19 IHG properties in the Paris area have rooms that sleep four, usually with sofa beds, including:

InterContinental Paris – Le Grand has rooms with sofa beds for 50,000 points.

Holiday Inn Paris – Elysées has rooms with sofa beds for 35,000 points.

Rome:

Four of the six IHG properties in Rome have rooms that sleep four and can be booked with points, including:

Crowne Plaza Rome – St. Peter’s has rooms with sofa beds for 30,000 points.

Holiday Inn Rome – Eur Parco Dei Medici has rooms with sofa beds for 25,000 points.

Frankfurt:

Three of the eight IHG properties in the Frankfurt area have rooms that sleep four and can be booked with points:

Crowne Plaza Wiesbaden for 20,000 points, but rollaways cost an outrageous EUR 30 per night!

Holiday Inn Express Frankfurt Airport has rooms with sofa beds for 15,000 points.

Holiday Inn Frankfurt-City South Conference Center for 25,000 points, but have a crazy EUR 20 rollaway charge.

Barcelona:

Three of the five IHG properties in the Barcelona area have rooms that sleep four and can be booked with points:

Holiday Inn Express Barcelona – City 22  has rooms with sofa beds for 20,000 points.

Holiday Inn Express Barcelona – Molins De Rei has rooms with sofa beds for 15,000 points.

Holiday Inn Express Barcelona – Sant Cugat has rooms with sofa beds for 10,000 points.

Other notes: Accor has numerous of properties across Europe, and their web site lists the maximum occupancy of each room. In addition, many of their properties offer the second room at half price. LeClub Accor is a fixed value point system where 2,000 Accor points converts to $60 USD when making an award reservation, so you just search by price to find what you need.

The Choice Privileges program also has many affordable properties across Europe, but account holders need to have points available to search award bookings. Furthermore, their properties in Europe appear to be considerably more upscale than the budget accommodations commonly associated with Choice properties in the United States.

If you end up needing two rooms, do inquire with the hotel about the possibility of the second room being half off.  I have seen such programs available at some properties with Hyatt, Starwood, Hilton, and others.  I have also read many success stories of families being offered the option to pay a reasonable fee to upgrade to a room large enough to hold two children when they contact the property directly.  Bottom line, don’t just assume a hotel room in Europe will be able to house your family of four.  Do your homework and work with the hotel directly.  If you want to stay in a room with your three or more children, I would say that will be very hard to impossible in most European hotels.  You would be better off in most cases with two rooms or looking at apartment style accommodations.

If you have traveled abroad with your family, I’d love to hear how you worked out your hotel room situation!

 

Disclaimer: I do receive commission if you are approved for some of the credit cards mentioned in this post.  As always, your support is very much appreciated.

 

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Comments

  1. Perfect timing – I am taking the family to Rome in Jan. Our family is 3 though, I know your focus was on 4 but what would a family of 3 go under (child is 5). See any issue with booking as 2 adults?

  2. My family (5 of us) stayed at the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport last year as a cash and points stay. I called to ask them if they wanted me to secure another room because we had 5 people and the rep looked at my account, noted that I was Gold and said they would just upgrade me to the family room instead. It was quite spacious (for Europe) and perfectly adequate. Obviously, not guaranteed but I agree that it may be best to call the hotel directly, especially with status. Thanks for the write-up, I will definitely be using it!

  3. Please don’t be so quick to dismiss Hilton when traveling with kids. We have traveled all over Europe (at least twice a year) with my daughter since she was 2 yrs old and never had a problem with the 3 of us in a room in any Hilton. As MP mentioned, first search for a room for 2 adults. Then look at the room details – it will sometimes note that the room can accommodate a child. If not, look under hotel policies and this will also frequently mention their policy on children. Then you can note that you are traveling with a child in the reservation comments. Last resort, email the hotel – only one hotel in London did not accommodate us in advance, but they upgraded us when we arrived due to Gold status.
    It is annoying that searching for 2 adults and 1 child does not yield the same results as adding a child later after booking. But it is worth the effort.

  4. We’re a family of four who stayed in Rome last year at the Crowne Plaza Rome – St. Peter’s, we were able to use points and cash and were able to get a room with two real beds for the four of us. We’re traveling to northern Italy this fall, we were hoping to stay in Venice for a few nights but that wasn’t cost-effective so we’re staying in Padua and then Milan instead. Another option when we couldn’t find any chains was to look at hotels.com. They can have hotels that are non-chains that have rooms for four, and it’s not the greatest reward program, but they do give you one free night for every ten nights. There is also more availability in Europe for families of three rather than four, so just put in three in the search engine and you should have more options. Don’t rule out a Best Western either; as an American-based chain there also more likely to have rooms for families.

    When we reserved Paris we had to get two rooms for four of us, but luckily we had enough points and were only staying two nights that we were able to.

  5. Great article! Bookmarked. We’re attending a wedding next year near Watford and I’m hoping to use CC points when the window opens up.

    One possible correction: I don’t think the Hyatt Paris Madeleine allows suite redemptions with points. I considered it at the Vendôme, but they let me have our 3yo in a Park Queen with existing bedding (after writing in). And their “suite” is just a large room.

  6. Great post and topic!

    Just back from the Hyatt London Churchill and the Paris Etoile. The London Churchill’s basic rooms will sleep 3 if you don’t mind sharing a king bed (we called it a “Camp Mom sleepover” with me and the two kids). The Paris Etoile’s basic rooms are broom closet sized…no way you’d squeeze more than two in there!

    Club Carlson is GREAT for families overseas. Check the “Business Class” rooms at 1.5x. They will usually sleep families even if they don’t list as a family room. Had a great stay in Belfast at the Radisson Blu.

  7. The Radisson Blu Rome will allow you to book 2 adults and 2 kids but the only room showing when I looked back there is the Presidential Suite for 500 Euro. If you book with 2 adults and 1 child though it opens up more rooms. We booked a room there in January and paid I think 70k points for a junior suite. This hotel is average but interesting. The location next to the train station is great though.

    When I book rooms I typically will search with 1 adult. That way I see everything that is available. If I know the hotel I can pick the room with the king bed and sofa or whatever I think will work. Europe may likely give you grief on the rate at times if they know you are checking in with kids but in the US it is rare unless it’s a high end large city or resort.

  8. You mention some hotel rooms offer 50% off for adjoining rooms booked for the kids. Is that 50% off a cash rate or 50% off of a points booking?

    thanks for the article. It was very informative.

  9. After spending most of the last decade traveling to Europe on business trips and occasionally bringing along my family in the past 5 years, I must emphasize that you need to read the room descriptions. The standard for a “double” room is typically 2 twin beds or if you’re very lucky, 2 full-sized beds. The US standard of 2 queen beds is not very common. I have been mostly a Hilton and Marriott guy, with occasionally stays in Starwood, IHG, Hyatt (love the pool at the Grand in Istanbul!), or local properties. Of the big chains, with Hilton it is hard to find double rooms that are not 2 twin beds. I find that Marriotts are more likely to have double rooms with 2 full-size or 2 queen beds. Room occupancy is typically listed as 3, however, this usually means 3 adults (but you absolutely must contact the hotel to confirm if it is acceptable for 2 adults/2 children – or insist that the reservation agent do it for you when booking). When traveling with my family, I typically research my target hotel first by searching rooms for only 2 adults. Then I call the chain’s reservation line to do the actual booking, clearly stating my requirements and having the agent make the appropriate notes in the reservation. Often I will follow up with the hotel’s concierge/front desk to make sure that they know we are 2 adults/2 kids so there are no surprises. For me, Marriott points are very valuable in Europe because I can usually find what I want – and get good value for my points. For example, my family of 4 stayed a week in a double room at the Marriott London County Hall on points – great location right across the Thames next to the London Eye and those rooms usually go for at least 250GBP/night. The 2 beds were queen or large full-size and with gold status I was upgraded to a corner room which was a bit more spacious.
    You can find some good values in local properties/chains that target families. For example, Premier Inn in the UK (www.premierinn.com – nothing fancy, but kinda like a Hampton Inn or Hilton Garden Inn). Also, it can be a great cultural experience to travel like Europeans and stay in a home or apartment (with the added benefit of a kitchen and usually a washer – very handy when your kids are messy eaters). I have had good success booking rentals through http://www.homelidays.co.uk.

  10. Ok, I’ll be the first to say it. I have traveled to europe several times with my family of 4 using hotel points. If the room will accommodate 4 people, ill book it that way. If it will only accommodate 2, then ill book that. I am not super sneaky when checking in, I just don’t bring the kids to the check in counter(I never do that anyway. Do you think this is shady or cheating? I feel like this is common amongst family travelers but not talked about. Does anyone else do this? Has it ever backfired on you?

    P.S. All Priceline reservations are only guaranteed for 2 people and I’ve use them extensively too.

  11. Good article. With 5 kids, this was a constraint to our ability to travel over the years, ameliorated only recently as now only two are still of an age to travel with us. In the US, we usually opt for Residence Inn and its ilk. In Europe, or where there are no affordable suite-hotels, we choose big hotel chains because they are less likely to notice the group coming and going. Jim, I don’t think it’s shady or cheating – seriously, when we had 3 kids under 5 – what are we gonna do – put them in their own room on another floor or down the hall? I also never got the impression that the big hotels care anyway – the room limitations are government regulations; the staff doesn’t care.

  12. @David – Great question, but I haven’t gotten around to researching China yet.

    @Jim – Never did the sneak thing, as I think it would send the wrong message to my kids. Also, a lot of these lobbies in Europe are very small, so it might not work. I am sure some do it, but it would be a lot easier in an American style motor lodge with multiple entrances. I have smuggled my bicycle into proprieties though!

    @PW – Your challenges dwarf ours. I shutter to think about trying grabbing a taxi or renting a car that seats 7. Even a 3 kids won’t fit with parents and driver in most taxis. I guess you must have to split up often.

    @David – Club Carlson offers the business rooms at 50% more pts, the Hyatt deal in London appears to be cash, but Hyatt suite awards are usually about 50% more pts. Plus you get the extra amenities of the suite.

  13. @Jim – I booked 6 nights at a Hilton in the SoCal area for next spring break. Standard room was for 4 but we are a family of 5. Redemptions when searching for 5 people were ridiculous so we are doing the sneak trick. I don’t feel bad though as the one being snuck in is 1 year old. I would feel different if when all 3 of my kids are older. Not a bit of guilt here.

  14. I am looking at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham UK, and there is a “Regency suite King” that shows as available when I search for cash rates, but when I check the box to include HGP points redemptions, the suite goes away. Does this usually mean that the suite is not available with points, or do I have to call in to redeem for a suite with points? Also, if the suites are not available with points, does it mean I can’t use a diamond suite upgrade? Thanks!

  15. For the hyatts, it appears that you can sometimes get an exemption from the hotel for having 2 +2. Thanks for doing this, I am planning a Europe/Asia trip exactly with this configuration and it’s been frustrating trying to do this.

  16. Thanks to everyone who has shared their personal experience with some properties. Honestly, as everyone has said you just have to contact the properties directly to be sure. Start with the website, but don’t rely on it 100%.

    Those who want to sneak kiddos in, you get no judgement from me, but I think the biggest downside (other than potentially being uncomfortable in the room) is the stress that comes from the “what if”. I don’t want any extra stress on vacations, so that would be the biggest deterrent to me. I know tons of families do go that route though, but I would be a tad more hesitant in places like Europe and Asia. I only have one kid so haven’t had to do that myself.

    The 50% discounts are on paid second rooms – would be great if they did it on points. 😉

    Tim, you are right about that property and I updated accordingly.

  17. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to unload nearly all of my Hilton points prior to the devaluation. So I booked two rooms for 300k points at the London Hilton Trafalgar.

  18. I find the club Carlson properties to be very good for families if both husband and wife have the credit card. In this case, You get 2 free bonus nights on top of the nights redeemed from points, making it less painful to spend the extra points to get the extra room. Our family of 3 just redeemed 75k total for 2 nights in a bus. Room at the radisson ambassador Paris. The room was really a mini suite with real king bed and sofa bed, with view of eiffel tower. Best 75k pts ever spent! As for London, plaza on the river is a great option too. 100k can get you a large studio with kitchen (bed + sofa bed) for 4 room nights (with cc) even without any upgrade. They have complimentary pastries/oj by the elevator in the morning, which supplemented our own healthy breakfast nicely. They also gave out free drink coupons for adults n kids. I would definitely stay there again, even though it’s not a palace type hotel.

  19. @Valerie – I just looked up the Plaza on the River in London. Wow! A great hotel for families. I know where I am going to spend my 100k Club Carlson points. Thank you for the tip!

  20. Hi, we have traveled to Europe with a family of 4. If you are in London, I found the Holiday Inn Mayfair to be a great option, as the rooms can handle 2 adults and 2 kids. Also, the location is great (very central, right next to the Green Park tube station). We booked using $ and points, which was a great option. We went to Barcelona last year, and we booked joining rooms using SPG points, which were only 3k per room, except for the Saturday night stay, where it was 4k per room (that’s 20k total for 2 rooms for 3 nights – great deal!) Club Carlson also has many options.

  21. I’m currently trying to find a place to stay in Paris in March. Has anyone booked any of the Radisson Blu’s in Paris with 2 adults + 2 kids in a standard room? If not, I think AirBNB will be my best plan B.

    • Temo, I haven’t heard of that, but with four in Paris you will be very limited in terms of standard hotel rooms. If you aren’t tied to Club Carlson I can check a few other options.

  22. Here’s another example of where a hotel may have larger rooms that do not appear on their web site: In Bristol, England, the Marriott Royale is the grand hotel located right in the middle of town, near the waterfront. The Marriott web site only shows rooms with one bed. But the hotel has some very spacious rooms, including rooms with two queen beds. You can book the room with points, and sometimes the hotel is available at 20,000 points a night, even though it’s a category 5 (25,000 points a night). Of course, Marriott, like Starwood, lets you book 5 nights for the price of four. That’s five nights for as little as 80,000 pts. To me, Bristol is to England what Portland, Oregon is to the USA: a fun, bicycle-friendly mid-size city. Plus, from Bristol you can easily day-trip to the Cathedral village of Wells and the smart destination city of Bath. It’s a great base camp to see the best of jolly ol’ England.

  23. I am going through this dance with the Andaz in London right now. We have 2 free nights through a Hyatt credit card, plus enough points for another 3 nights — this is a dream vacation we’ve been saving up for for at least a year. It wasn’t until going to book on their website that I’ve discovered the +1 problem (our darling kindergartener). I was planning to book a king, then either have her in the bed with us or sleeping bag it, but of course the site won’t let me book it that way… and their international reservations rep says the only option for 2 adults/1 child is the 2-twin bed room (no rollaway allowed–how that=3 person occupancy makes no sense to me!). I’m back to trying to deal with the hotel directly to see if they can help. I don’t want to get turned away at the door by not listing our child on the reservation, but I’m starting to wonder if that is the only solution!

    • CK, reaching out to the hotel directly is a good idea. Sometimes you can negotiate an upgrade to a room that will work for free or a small price, depending on many factors, including elite status, price of the next room category, occupancy levels, etc. Good luck and keep us posted!

  24. Thank you SOOOO much for this post! My husband and I went to Spain last month on US Airways using our miles, and we flew first class coming home. We had to pay taxes to carry our almost-two-year-old on our laps, and the taxes in first class were $600 for her. After we paid that, I wanted to at least get mileage credit for her. She already has a frequent flyer account. So I called US Airways this morning and (as usual) the service rep didn’t know how to handle this. I sat on hold for 45 minutes before I hung up. I’m going to call them back and see if I can get the credit for my child. We paid the money. She should get the miles.

    • Margaret, glad you liked the post! I have heard stories of folks getting miles on lap infant fares, but I think it is a bit of a happy glitch when that happens as opposed to standard operating procedure. Certainly worth a shot, but it may well not work out.

  25. My family of 4 is going to Rome next year. I found the Le Meriden Visconti has only availability for a king room on point. the Hotel’s website says the following:
    FAMILY PLAN POLICY
    Children 12 and under sleep free in existing room bedding.

    I have a 4 and 8 year old. Does that mean I’m able to book the king room? I’m so confused about policies in Europe.

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