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Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, so we figured, where better to talk about as our Destination of the Week than Dublin, Ireland?
TPG spent a fantastic family weekend there in February, so we’ll spare you the details on what he did and recommends, but check out his post on it to get some ideas.
For you first-time visitors, Visit Dublin is a great resource with links that will give you the inside scoop on navigating attractions like Temple Bar, the Book of Kells at Trinity College’s Old Library, and, of course, the amusement park-ish Guinness Factory where you can raise a pint with new friends.
Destination of the Week pieces are not meant to be comprehensive guides to destinations, nor are they endorsements of all the hotels we mention. They are simply roundups of top destinations that we have specifically pinpointed for the opportunity they present to use your miles and points to get to and stay there. As always, we welcome your comments to help enrich the content here, provide opinions and first-hand experiences of these destinations.
Dublin Airport (DUB) is located just 6 miles from the city center, so getting into the heart of Dublin is easy and cheap, even by taxi.
American Airlines has seasonal non-stop service to Chicago O’Hare between April and October; Delta serves Atlanta and New York-JFK nonstop (this is the flight TPG took). United offers direct service to Newark and Washington-Dulles (begins July 8th). US Airways offers year round service to Philadelphia and seasonal service to Charlotte. Aer Lingus, which is not a member of any alliance (but can be redeemed with British Airways and United miles) flies direct New York-JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando.
Award travel to Dublin on American Airlines begins at 20,000 miles each way for their MileSAAver Off-peaks awards, or 30,000 miles for MileSAAver Peak Awards. Delta redemptions start at 60,000 miles round-trip if you can find low-level awards available. United starts at 30,000 miles each way for a one-way Saver Award or 55,000 miles each way for a one-way standard award. US Airways awards start at 35,000 miles round-trip for off-peak dates (Jan. 15 – Feb. 28), or low-level awards are 60,000 miles round-trip. American, United and Aer Lingus award availability can all be searched on Expertflyer.com.
It’s worth mentioning that Dublin is one of two airports in Europe that has U.S. border preclearance facilities so U.S. bound passengers clear customs and immigration before departure, making connections back in the States a lot easier by avoiding long immigration lines here.
Earn points while staying at some of these Dublin hotels…or better yet, use your points to redeem for free nights and spend your money on doing fun things while you’re in Ireland.
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel: This hotel has 150 rooms including 12 suites and is located near Trinity College and Grafton Street—basically in the center of where you want to be. Rooms have LCD flat-panel televisions and the bathrooms have separate bath and rain showers. The hotel’s main restaurant, Verres en Vers features French-style cuisine and there is a rooftop terrace with bar and lounge. Guests have access to the nearby Iveagh Fitness Club and the hotel provides free high-speed internet access. Rates start a 145 EUR a night in March/April. This is a Category 5 hotel and requires 44,000 Gold Points for an award night.
There is also the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s Hotel Dublin which is located outside the city as well as the Radisson Blu Dublin Airport. Both are Category 4 hotel and require 38,000 Gold Points for an award night.
Conrad Dublin: This hotel located across from the National Concert Hall has 192 guest rooms which are contemporary in design and feature the brand’s Conrad Bed. Restaurants include the Alex Restaurant and the causal Alfie’s Bar and Grill. The hotel also has an on-site fitness center and business center. Rates start at 159 EUR a night in March/April or 50,000 Hilton HHonors points since it’s a Category 7 Property.
Hilton Dublin Kilmainham: This hotel is located in a historic Dublin neighborhood which is about a 10-minute drive to the city center. The hotel has 120 modern guest rooms with plasma TV’s and WiFi access, and is home to the LivingWell Fitness Club which features a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, and steam room. The hotel’s restaurant is the Cinnamon Restaurant and Bar. Rooms start at 109 EUR a night in March-April. This is a Category 5 Property meaning 35,000 Hilton HHonors points a night .
Hilton Dublin: Located on the Grand Canal not far from St. Stephen’s Green, this hotel has 189 guest rooms and has an on-site fitness center and Uisce restaurant. The lowest rates we could fine in March/April were 115 EUR a night or 40,000 Hilton HHonors points a night since it’s a Category 6 Property.
If you need to use up some Priority Club points, you can stay at the following: Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport, Crowne Plaza Dublin Northwood, or Crowne Plaza Dublin Blanchardstown. However none of these properties are located in the city center. Free night awards require 25,000 Priority Club points per night.
The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel: Built in 1824, this central hotel has 265 rooms including 19 suites. Rooms have standard amenities like feather beds, marble bathrooms and LCD flatscreen TV’s. The hotel’s main restaurant is the Saddle Room Restaurant featuring an Oyster Bar. This is an on-site fitness room and a brand new Spa that is scheduled to open this summer. Rates start at 199 EUR a night in March-April. This is a Marriott Category 6 property, and requires 30,000 Marriott Rewards Points (25,000 with PointSavers) for a free night redemption.
Westin Dublin: Brian stayed here back in February, so you can read his account of his stay for all the details. Rates in March/April start at 165 EUR. This is an SPG Category 5 property requiring between 12,000-16,000 Starpoints for a free-night redemption.
OTHERS Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Four Seasons Dublin: This luxury hotel is in the upscale suburb of Ballsbridge, but still not too far from the city center and its attractions. The 197 rooms and suites are decorated in an understated Georgian style with soft white linens and simple wooden furnishings, as well as contemporary amenities like multi-line phones, high-speed internet access, satellite TV and DVD/CD players. Bathrooms have deep soaking tubs and separate glassed-in showers. Seasons Restaurant is the main dining option and specializes in beef and seafood, while guests can grab casual tapas at ICE, or a snack from the Café or Lobby Lounge. The hotel’s Bar has an on-staff whiskey sommelier who can recommend from the menu’s 130 labels. The Four Seasons is also home to the city’s only full-service hotel spa. Unfortunately Four Seasons does not have a points program, so there are no point-earning or redeeming options here, but Amex Platinum cardholders can enjoy the card’s Fine Hotels & Resorts perks like a complimentary lunch or dinner once per stay for up to two people per room excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuity. Rates in March start at 155 euros a night.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.