Using Points for Hotels in London with a Family

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My family’s plan for next summer is to spend several weeks in Europe, primarily in London and Ireland.  I think we are all ready for an adventure that is a little longer, and a bit different than our normal in-and-out method of travel.  I was so happy to get our flights booked into London in British Airways First Class and out of Dublin in business class on Aer Lingus.  We used British Airways Avios points for all of the flights, and I was pretty happy with how that process worked out.  There are hefty fuel surcharges for flying on British Airways over the ocean, but the charges coming home on Aer Lingus were much more reasonable, and being able to book business class from Dublin – Boston for just 25,000 points per ticket is insane.

Aer Lingus Business Class

Once our dates were set, it was time to book hotels both in London and Dublin.  We are planning to spend some time in Ireland at a cottage rental outside of Dublin for much of the trip, but there will be some point redemption opportunities during our time in those two major cities before heading to our non-hotel accommodations.

I have stayed in points-friendly hotels in London before including Andaz Liverpool (Hyatt), The Mayfair (Club Carlson), and the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel (Starwood).  Hotels in London are often prohibitively expensive, especially for rooms rated for three people or more, so using points was essential to avoid spending a tremendous amount of money out-of-pocket.

The first issue was simply to find rooms for two adults and one child that were available for a reasonable number of points.  This post addresses that issue somewhat, but I quickly narrowed our search to two main programs.  The first was the suites and family rooms you can now book with Club Carlson points.  The second was using a Hyatt Cash + Points reservation with a Hyatt Diamond Confirmed Suite upgrade to secure a suite at a Hyatt for a very reasonable cost.  Both of these options have become available within the last year, so they are valuable newer tools to use in the search for family-friendly points accommodations in London (and beyond).

Booking Family Friendly Club Carlson Properties in London:

I was beyond thrilled when Club Carlson made larger family rooms and suites available on points, and often for a reasonable number of points (as opposed to um, a program that rhymes with Milton that sometimes charges a fortune for non-standard rooms on points).  Two of the options in London to consider if you need a larger room on Club Carlson points are the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London that has a family studio room available for 62,500 points per night (last night free with the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card) and the Plaza on the River London that has a full one-bedroom suite available for 87,500 points per night (again, last night free with the co-branded credit card).

The Plaza on the River option appeared nicer from the photos online, but the Park Plaza Westminister Bridge location allows two adults plus either one child over 12 on the sofa bed or two children under 12 on the sofa bed, and ultimately that was the best option currently available on points for our dates.

Pro Tip: Make sure to put the accurate number of adults/children in the Club Carlson search tool to ensure that all the family room options display. 

Being able to get a room for three people in London for two nights for just 62,500 Club Carlson points + $0 in taxes is a steal, really.  That last award night free benefit of the co-branded credit card is just so valuable if you are able to use it like we do.  You could hop from one hotel to the next in two night intervals and save a ton of points and money thanks to the Club Carlson credit card.

Park Plaza Westminsrer Bridge London

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

Stacking Hyatt Opportunities for an Affordable Suite in London:

Since we have already stayed at the Andaz Liverpool, and didn’t love the base suite there in terms of a family stay, we wanted to try out the Hyatt Regency London – Churchill on this stay.  I kept my fingers tightly crossed when direct messaging with Hyatt on Twitter to see if they had both cash + points availability and suite availability on our preferred dates.  I was thrilled when both were available, so this means for a Diamond confirmed suite upgrade plus 12,500 points + 89.00 GBP per night we get a suite for our family at a great hotel in London.  Diamond status will also give us access to the Regency Club for breakfasts and snacks, so we will save not just on accommodations, but on food costs as well.

The actual selling price for the suite on our dates is literally 800 GBP per night.  For the currency impaired, that is approaching $1,300 USD per night.  Of course we would never pay that amount, but still it is one of those times when you sit back and say “wow”, or perhaps more accurately, “holy $%$#@”, realizing how much lower your out of pocket cost is thanks to points.

Sometimes a suite is really just a luxury in terms of extra space.  In London, it is often the difference between being able to all stay in one room or being required to book two rooms.  The max number of people in the suite at the Churchill property is three, so this would not officially work for families larger than ours.

Hyatt Regency Churchill Suite

Hyatt Regency Churchill Suite

Of course you can use Hyatt Gold Passport points for the points portion of this type of reservation, or you can transfer Ultimate Reward points in at a 1:1 ratio from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Plus® Business Card.  With the Ink Plus currently offering 70,000 points after meeting the $5k minimum spending requirement, you would have enough for the points portion for five nights via cash + points rates at the Hyatt Regency London – Churchill from just one sign-up bonus.  In a very expensive city like London, that is huge.

Miles and points have played a tremendous role in the planning process for next summer’s trip to London and Ireland, and I am so grateful that our family has these tools to make otherwise unattainable trips happen.  Up next is our hotel planning process for our time in Ireland, including looking at renting cottages!

Has your family used points to book stays in London and Europe?  Have you been able to secure some suites or family rooms on points similar to what we did?

 

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Comments

  1. My husband and I just got back from London and stayed at the Churchill on points in a standard room. The room was very nice and overlooked the park. Good location, within walking distance to lots to see and places to eat.

    • Points with a crew, exactly. That’s why I’m over-the-moon about the Club Carlson options. Very reasonable compared to what others want for suites.

  2. We stayed at the Churchill on our trip to London last year and it is literally a couple of minutes from Oxford st. I am just a platinum member (via the Hyatt Card) and we got a great Cake/fruits and Champagne welcoming us in the room.
    Also, there a fantastic Indian place (Roti) just steps away from the hotel which was a huge plus point for us!!!

  3. I understand the issue with most hotels in Europe not allowing more than 2 people per room so it is a big deal for families but when I travel to Europe for business I usually prefer to stay in boutique hotels rather than chain hotels. Here are two hotels I highly recommend in London:
    http://www.ampersandhotel.com/
    https://www.firmdalehotels.com/hotels/london/ (Firmdale manages several boutique hotels in London and I only stayed at the Covent Garden one but heard all of them are great)

  4. My husband and I have 200k Club Carlson pts between us. We are wanting to go to London and Paris for 4 nights each and alternate the bookings in each of our names. We prefer not to bring our girls who are 16 and 5 but if we had to since childcare is difficult, are there some properties that would work for the 4 of us? We also have 75k Chase UR points and 246k AA miles. We were wanting to go to Maui too though with some of these points. We fly out of DFW. I’ve even considered flying from Boston to Dublin then taking the ferry to
    Scotland and then heading to London.

    • Sarah, I’d look at the Club Carlson properties if you need to book rooms for four and the family rooms and suites. I’d personally use the UR points for Hyatt/Andaz in Maui.

      • Is Andaz Maui super kid friendly? Want a really awesome kid pool. Kinda thinking about Marriott Maui Ocean Club and doing the buy 7nights and get enough Southwest points to re-qualify for the Companion Pass deal, or doing a Hyatt and doing the diamond challenge. Food is so expensive in Maui that free breakfast would be great!

  5. For the points-poor and not cash-rich with more than two people and not needing suites, London is a great hotwire city if one educates oneself about appropriate zones first.

    • hotwire rules. The only reason points are better is cause you can cancel and rebank. I’ve had many years of great success with hotwire.

  6. I have an active Chase Ink Plus Mastercard, can I apply for the 70,000 Chase Ink Plus Visa using the same TIN as my other card?

    On a side note, my wife and I just returned from 7 days in London. While in need of a refresh, the Sheraton on Park Lane was a good value at 12,000 SPG\night. With the 5th night free promo, it came out to 9,600 per night. The last two night in the Hilton Park Lane thanks to the Citi HH Reserve signup bonus for free weekend nights. Out of pocket cost was $0 but if we had paid cash: 3600 Pounds, or $6,000 for the week….

  7. We stayed at park plaza on the river before they raised the basic redemption to 75k for a studio last yr. Got complementary upgrade to an one bedroom due to gold status. Apartment was very large. Nice to have a kitchen to make food for the little one if need be. There is a small convenience store in the next building. Free pastry and juice by the checkin/ elevator in the morning. A goodie bag for kids upon check in that included drink vouchers. Adults got drink vouchers too, which we used at the bar. Basically, got 4 for 2 nights since both dh and I have their cc (max u can get is 8 for 4 if u and spouse have both personal and bus cc :-). Great experience and would recommend it. I believe all rooms accommodate at least 2 adults and 1 child. It’s a bit more walk to attractions though compared to Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

  8. The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin is delightful, and is a steal at 44,000 points (they even threw in breakfast for me – not sure why). Not sure whether they have family-friendly options.

    • I have to second that! I was just there two weeks ago and loved the large contemporary rooms. I also received breakfast, maybe a gold benefit? Great location too, walk to Dublin Castle and Trinity College.

  9. I have a family of 4. When we stayed in London, we booked the Holiday Inn Mayfair, which is right next to Green Park. Great location, and we could do 4 to a room. We used cash + points, so the stay was very affordable. If you don’t need a luxury suite, then this is a good option for a family of 4. Don’t the the Holiday Inn name scare you, as they are much nicer in Europe

    • ToodC, love that location for a family of four! Walked by it to the Club Carlson property many times and it really is in a great spot.

  10. We stayed at the Sheraton Park lane in London this spring. Great location – right across from Green Park, easy walk to Horse Guards on Parade and Buckingham Palace. The metro is just up the street from the hotel. Very low cost for SPG rewards. About a block away are plenty of pubs and a couple of markets for grabbing a quick breakfast or lunch.

  11. We stayed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge with out 16 year old. It was great as he had his space (the sofa bed) and we had ours, separated by the bathroom.

  12. We are a family of 4 (4 and 6 yrs old) and stayed at the Churchill without any problems. We used a Suite upgrade and had a great time there. Every employee was super friendly and helpful. Suite was nice, breakfast was very good and the location is very nice. One thing we did and found a good deal was to take the 2 day pass for the Big Red Bus. Not only the audio tour is really good but we used it as our primary method of transportation in London. Have fun!

    • Angel, good to know! The website said 3, but glad they didn’t have an issue with two younger kids in the suite. 😉

  13. Spent 8 nights at the May Fair London (the best!) and 6 nights at Radisson Blu’s in Dublin this past mid-September as bases for each country. In Dublin stay at the Radisson Blue Royal. Great hotel with a great location close to most all attractions. Using each country’s bus services for day trips, we got out to Oxford and Canterbury and then Galway and Belfast in Ireland. Each of the rides are between 2 and 2 1/2 hours in duration and are very convenient. Enjoy!!!!

  14. We are taking this EXACT (well almost) trip in 2 weeks. Leaving out of Logan to Dublin on Aer Lingus in business booked with Avios then onto London. Staying in a Suite at the Churchill – Used a diamond upgrade – unfortunately no cash and points availability on the days we are there. We are three adults and a 15 month old and we were given the OK to stay in a suite. I made sure to contact the hotel beforehand and they gave me no problems.

    In Dublin we decided to use Virtuoso booking and got a deal on 2 rooms at The Merrion Hotel. No points redemption on this stay (tsk tsk). Shamefully I have not applied for the Club Carlson CC and have no status with any chain in the center of the city.

    Super excited – and crazy nervous about traveling abroad for the first time with our 15 month old son – but will use as many tips and tricks as possible.

  15. Stayed with our family of 8 for four nights in London last June. Stayed in Park Plaza Westminster Bridge for two night in two family rooms, then 2 more nights in Park Plaza County Court, right across the street, total of 250,000 points for 8 people in two rooms for four nights. Neither hotel is anything amazing (good but not amazing) and 8 people does not leave a lot of room for anything else, but we spent most of our time out exploring anyway, so it worked great for us and the location is amazing, with the London Eye only a block away and the theatre, parliament and shopping districts in walking distance.

  16. Hi MP, trying to book a similar trip for my family of four next summer from Boston. Seem to be able to get out ok but getting home space in scarce in any class we have 170k UR points to transfer to avios but I don’t want to transfer unless the availability is there. Any suggestions?

    • Kelly, we got home fine, but did have to split as there was only two biz class seats on each flight that would work okay and non in coach. If you can fly 2/2 that may be an option.

  17. Trying to take two of my boys ages 19 and 17 and husband to London for a long weekend, they just want to see a Manchester United game. Do 2 queen beds exist at any hotels in London?

    • Karen, two doubles I’ve heard of, but I sadly can’t think of a place in London that meets that criteria at least in terms of a standard room. Maybe there is one by the airport, but that would be unusual in the city. Your other issue may be that in general four adults in one room won’t necessarily work at some places in London. If you can live with two double beds the Holiday Inn Mayfair is my first thought.

  18. We stayed at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge on Club Carlson points last spring and would recommend it highly. Convenient location, and our 5yo daughter is still raving about how she had a room (sofa-bed in the living room) all to herself. Your mileage may vary on this one, but we stayed two nights on my card and two nights on a separate reservation on my husband’s, and the staff was gracious about letting us just stay in the same room for the entire stay.

  19. I’m getting ready to book a club carlson stay in Nice, France using Points + Cash. It’s to bad about the foreign transaction fee!! Did you use your card to buy anything in London?

    • You don’t have to use your Club Carlson card to pay for the stay – you still get the Gold benefits. You can use any card that has no foreign txn fee, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred.

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