I’d like to continue with the idea of getting us “Average Joes” to exotic destinations on a budget using a combination of techniques.
You may remember that Joe always wanted to play golf in Ireland and/or Scotland, but just could not swing it. Using a few card signups (three) and moving a few points around, we made that dream happen for $575 out of pocket including four rounds of golf total in both countries.
My next task is getting Joe’s wife Claire to Italy on the cheap. My restrictions are credit card sign-ups that don’t require big minimum spends. We now know Joe and Claire’s credit scores will support making Claire’s dream come true.
Joe and Claire live in Albany and could easily drive to New York / JFK to take a flight to Europe, but for reasons you’ll soon see, I want them to depart from Boston and fly on their new British Airways miles to Dublin at 50,000 miles round trip each. From New York a coach ticket is 80K round trip. We only get 50K per sign up with first purchase. Let’s have them leave from Boston (driving time is about the same) so they don’t need to generate more BA miles. Cost and spend is our main issue here.
The flight from Boston arrives early so they have the whole day to explore the city or countryside. The buses run readily into Dublin. For hotel I chose the Hilton Airport hotel at 55 euro or about $70. The next morning they can catch an early flight to Rome Ciampino for $67 each way if they don’t check bags. The hotel I chose in Rome is the Holiday Inn Express Rome San Giovanni which is easily accessible by bus or subway. Located halfway between the airport and downtown Rome it offers complimentary breakfast and has a rate of 25K priority club points per night or 20K and $40 US per night. With each Joe and Claire applying for the 60K no annual fee first year and no minimum spend required card they can pick up four nights in Rome for free or six nights for $240. I think four nights is plenty, but that is up to them.
The flight back to Dublin is the same $67 and hotel (if needed) is the same $70 with shuttle service to the airport included.
Here is our cost breakdown:
$95 each annual fee for the British Airways Visa Signature Card® card + $160 in taxes per ticket (thanks Lucky for the breakdown).
$135 round trip on Ryanair from Dublin to Rome each.
Four nights in Rome for Free at the Holiday Inn Express San Giovanni (breakfast included) (thanks to the Priority Club Visa)
One or two nights at the Hilton Dublin Airport $140 for two.
Total cost for for a week in Dublin and Rome for two is about $920 plus taxis, trains, buses, food, and entertainment.
Some of you may want to chip in and revise or improve this opportunity for other readers. Please feel free to do so. I just want Joe and Claire to see that dreams can come true and we can see the world at prices we can afford.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49