My husband and I are taking our two children to the U.K. for two weeks in July. We’ll spend the first half of our trip in London, York, and the English Lake District before heading to Loch Lomond, Inverness, and Edinburgh in Scotland for the second half of our trip. We haven’t been anywhere with just for the four of us for quite a while, so I’m looking forward to it. I want to emphasize that we didn’t pay for our entire trip with rewards — and not even close. We just paid for part of it with points and miles, and we covered the rest in cash.
Breaking Down the Trip With Points and Miles
The main reason we chose to go back to the U.K. is that we found really good pricing on flights through Finnair.com. While our actual flights are on British Airways, the total cost for our four flights worked out to $1,870.90. That’s a little over $450 per person, which is a spectacular deal for round-trip flights into London and home from Edinburgh — even though it’s in economy.
We plan to spend the first three nights of our trip in London at the Georgian House Hotel in one of its “Wizard Rooms.” We’re paying cash for this part because we had trouble finding award availability and a room that sleeps four during the chosen dates. While in London, we plan to see the Phantom of the Opera and do some basic sightseeing. I also cashed in some Citi ThankYou points for entry into the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey for the four of us. For one of our full days in the city, I booked a day trip of Leed’s Castle, Canterbury, Dover, and Greenwich through Chase Ultimate Rewards for approximately 32,000 points for the four.
Once we leave London, we plan to pick up our rental car and head to Hever Castle (the childhood home of Anne Boleyn) before spending the night in York. I cashed in a free Hilton weekend night from my Hilton Aspire card for one night at the Hilton York.
The morning after our stay in York, we plan to head to the Lake District in our rental car. I have an Airbnb booked for three nights, and we have no plans during that time. I paid for our Airbnb mostly in cash, although I did use around $400 in travel credit I’ve accrued over the last six months with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.
Once we leave the English Lake District, we are heading to Loch Lomond for two more nights, then on to Inverness for three nights. We plan to do our own sightseeing during this time with stops in Glencoe, Inveraray, Stirling Castle, and more. We don’t have any concrete plans during this time — more of a list of things we want to see in the area with our rental car.
Finally, we plan to spend our final two nights in Edinburgh at the Kimpton Charlotte Square. This hotel costs 55,000 IHG Rewards points per night, and it is expertly located right next to Old Town.
The Bottom Line
I’m very excited for this trip since my kids haven’t been to England yet. Scotland has also been on our list for a while now, so it’s nice to wrap it all into one itinerary we can enjoy toward the end of my children’s summer break. I may not have paid for everything with rewards, but I certainly saved some money with points and miles. And that is usually my goal anyway — using rewards to stretch my travel budget as far as it can go.
Do you have any big summer travel plans? Which part of your itinerary did you cover with rewards?
[Featured Image: Shutterstock]
Source: frugal travel guy