My husband and I decided to use our United MileagePlus miles for a quick trip to Europe. Booking online was a breeze – we even had a choice of flights – and the connections were not too crazy. We were also able to easily book an open jaw, flying into Barcelona and out of Porto. We always try to book open-jaw tickets so we don’t have to backtrack. The flights were in coach. I was unhappy with UA telling me that I could not request a special meal and then notice special meals being given to other passengers on the plane.
We used IHG Rewards points for our stay in Barcelona at the Holiday Inn Express and were quite pleased. Holiday Inn Express breakfasts in Europe are generally more substantial than those offered in the U.S., and we particularly liked the location of this hotel. It is off the tourist trail, so we were able to enjoy a typical Barcelona neighborhood with several restaurants within walking distance, but still be well positioned for transit.
After we “Gaudi’d” out in Barcelona, we took a night train to Granada to enjoy a stay in a cave in Sacromonte (the gypsy area), a night and a day visit to the Alhambra and excellent flamenco in an intimate setting. Granada is known for its free tapas when you order a drink – really cannot beat that!
From Granada, we went to Cordoba by bus (amazing city with an amazing church built within a mosque known as the Mezquita), then lively and wonderful Madrid by train where we discovered that we both really like Spanish vermouth.
From Madrid, we took another night train to Lisbon, Portugal. After some very enjoyable day trips and enjoying walking all over the city, we made our way via train to Porto. Porto was a “must do” destination for me as a port wine lover. We wound down our trip on a high note at the incredible Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros guest house in the lovely Douro Valley.
FFP miles spent:
Hotel points spent:
60,000 IHG Rewards
Airline(s) / Routing:
SFO-YYZ-BCN on Air Canada; OPO-FRA on Lufthansa; FRA-SFO on UA
Type of award(s):
Holiday Inn Express Barcelona – City 22 and many more
Month/year of trip: