If you’re a fan of the blog, then you’ve likely been following our planning for next year’s UK & Ireland trip, including how we saved $6,500+ on our business class flights using Citi & Chase points on Singapore Airlines, and how we saved ~$600 on our hotels in Manchester & Liverpool using Starwood points.
The next item up for us to book was going to be the hotel for the bulk of our stay, in Dublin. The hubby wanted to stay right in the heart of the city centre, where (in his own words) “we could try a new pub every night and eat all the things.” And I mean..who could argue with that logic?
As we’d recently earned 100,000 new Chase Ultimate Rewards points for meeting the minimum spending requirements for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, we were happily sitting atop roughly 114k UR points, and given the improved redemption rate for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, we knew we could turn those points into $1,700+ of free travel through the Chase travel portal.
The only real question was whether that would be the best use of our points. In the past, we’ve frequently transferred UR points over to Hyatt, because of the great value of the Hyatt loyalty program. Unfortunately, Hyatt doesn’t have any hotels in Dublin, and so this time that wasn’t an option.
Another option was paying outright with our Citi ThankYou Prestige card, and using the 4th-night free benefit to get a reimbursement for the cost of the 4th night. However, with this method you don’t get the reimbursement until after you complete your stay, and we’re not sure right now whether it’s worth it to keep our Citi card for another year, given the steep $450 annual fee.
So that had us back to booking via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. From here, I just needed to research what hotel was best for us. After looking at reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and several other sites, I had narrowed it down to either The Morgan or The Fitzwilliam. Both hotels were five-star properties with overwhelmingly positive reviews, but a slightly lower price and the fact that it’s allegedly Beyonce-approved pushed us towards ultimately deciding on the Fitzwilliam.
One thing I really like about booking through the Chase portal is that, unlike is often the case with award nights booked directly with the hotel chains, you can usually book any available room through the portal and not just the lowest-category room.
As such, we reviewed the Fitzwilliam’s offerings and opted to upgrade from the “Executive Double” room to the “Signature Room” for just 3,000 additional points total; I mean, after all, it is our vacation — worth a little splurge. And in my experience, you’re also much more likely to be upgraded from a higher starting point room than if you book the bottom of the barrel.
Taking a look at this room category through the hotel’s website, we would have had to pay €1146, or roughly 1,257 USD across our entire stay. But using the Chase portal, we were able to secure our stay for four nights in a Signature room for just 80,910 UR points. That’s even slightly better than the stated redemption rate of 1.5 cents per point; closer to 1.6 in fact.
If you’re keeping track, that means that the total value of our trip to date is $9,598.44, and we’ve only had to pay $941 of that ourselves, meaning 91% of this trip so far is ABSOLUTELY FREE to us.
Next step: positioning flights, trains, and ferries to get us from city to city along the way!
Header image courtesy of The Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin, a member of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts group.