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Trip Report: 1st Class, 5* trip to NFL in London, Scotland & Dublin

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Trip Report: 1st Class, 5* trip to NFL in London, Scotland & Dublin

When the news hit last year that the Colts would be playing the Jags at Wembley stadium in London, as a part of the European series, it sent a lightning rod of excitement through Miles. Sometimes people just need a bit of an excuse to take a trip and Miles knew this could be a BIG excuse to plan a longer trip across the pond.  See my folks have always wanted to take a trip through Scotland and Ireland and this was a great way to fulfill that lifelong dream. Here’s my Trip Report: 1st Class, 5* trip to NFL in London, Scotland & Dublin

We are huge Colts fans and being able to see them play in a foreign country became a great anchor to build the trip around. The icing on the cake was that I was able to tag along for part of it, enjoy the family experience, make sure everything went smoothly AND review some great products myself. Planning a trip and experiencing it with loved ones is the biggest reward for being point obsessed.

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The reviewed highlights of the trip:


My ride over was on British Airways A380 Club World

This flight was actually the return leg of a roundtrip I booked earlier in the year out of Dublin. As luck would have it, my flight was cancelled a few hours before I was due to depart LAX and I used expertflyer to find avail and reroute myself the following day. Since this cancellation was the airlines fault, I was able to stop in LHR instead of going on to Dublin. The reissued ticket was also bumped to full fare business class ( J ) and meant I’d earn 3x EQM. It also meant that I was entitled to compensation because my flight was delayed more than 3 hours. Phew…a lot happened very quickly. Long story short, I experienced my first Club World product and A380 flight, but thought it was a bit too quiet.

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While in London I used points to stay at the London Edition, Marriott Park Lane, and Intercontinental Park Lane.

Then we bought Virgin First Class train tickets to Edinburgh for roughly $100 each.

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We enjoyed our stay at the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian in Edinburgh, Scotland and utilized Citi Prestige’s 4th night free perk.

Edinburgh is a very cool city. The Caledonian could not have a better location and storied history. While the hotel and it’s staff were very nice, we found that the service could have been a bit more polished.

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Our family loves Afternoon Tea, so we tried both the Caledonian’s and The Balmoral’s. The Balmoral is one of the best high teas I’ve ever had.

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We even got to see the Old Course at St Andrew’s which was on the bucket list!

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Then on to the Intercontinental, Dublin.

This is where my trip ended and my parents started a new chapter. We had booked them on a week long tour of Ireland with Marriott Vacation Club points. It was in 5 star hotels, included tours and transport, and all inclusive. A fantastic value of points.

The night before I was scheduled to leave space opened up on Lufthansa’s 747-8 in First Class from Frankfurt to LAX. I already had booked an itinerary home using Singapore Air Krisflyer miles, but this was too good an opportunity to pass up. I switched my flight and nabbed a First Class ticket home for 80k Miles and ~$300. Woot Woot!

DID WE LOVE LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS?  UHHHHHHHHH-YAAAAAAAAAAA

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How did my parents cross the pond you ask? They flew Virgin Upper Class for $5.60 and home on SAS  business class for roughly $30 a ticket. They nabbed these flights transferring Amex points to Delta and Air Canada. They loved it.

Out of pocket these flights would have cost $5k-10k. My folks were able to lie flat, sleep, and relax for less than $40 each. Between the two products that definitively preferred SAS.

Points and Miles bring dreams to reality

There is no way my family could have afforded to do this trip without points and miles.  Alone, my flight home would have cost over $10k, and the hotels in London would have set us back a couple grand too. Instead we had free places to stay and very low surcharges. The entire family also got to fly in premium cabins for insanely cheap prices…


Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


4.8
4.8/5
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based including Hyatt, Southwest, United, IHG, and Marriott.

Welcome Offer

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

*you may find an elevated offer walking into a branch – see below

Annual Fee

$95

Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
    • Some people have seen Chase branches offering the following:
      • 75k Ultimate Rewards After $4k spend in 3 months + 10k Ultimate Rewards after $6k in 6 months 
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x on dining, including eligible delivery services for takeout & dining out
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit via Chase Travel℠
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 2x on all other travel
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel℠ and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver ( primary ), purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 14 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in Chase Travel℠ for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is my favorite
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024
  • $95 Annual Fee

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is exceptional starter card and offers transferrable Ultimate Rewards, and pairs well with other Chase cards.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash® , Ink Business Unlimited® you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

23 Comments

  • Juliana March 10, 2022

    Hi Zachary and team! This trip sounds INCREDIBLE and I want to see if it’s possible for me to duplicate this in any way, I’m just really lost on where to start. You’re such an expert! I would love any recommendations you have on using some of my 142,936 Chase Preferred points in April to fly in business class to London and then to Dublin. We live in San Diego so I realize we’ll likely need to fly out of somewhere else. I don’t even know where to start with points and hotels so I’ll read through your content more to see how I can do that. I quit my job recently to enjoy life and I want to a fun 10 day trip to London and Ireland with my husband. Any recommendations would be amazing. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us! I love your Instagram videos too!

    • Miles March 11, 2022

      Juliana – thanks you so much it was an incredible trip! Aside from the nfl tickets, the biggest pieces to put in place are the flights, especially if you’re flying from the west coast. You have enough points to fly 2 people 1 way in business class, so you may need to do some strategizing on card signups to accumulate more points if you want to do it roundtrip. Using united partners…Singapore Airlines has a great route from Houston Texas to Manchester England. It usually has quite a bit of award space and flies an incredible A350 business class. It rings in at 72k each way. That’d be a great option to investigate, and then you can always take the train into London, etc. Another would be to look at major hub cities and United. You should be able tofind one way biz for 2 people for 120k to 125k total – I’d also search on Aeroplan which is 70k each way in biz per person. Most of these options have reduced fees vs say using Virgin Atlantic which could have award space out of LAX or SFO but you’ll pay nearly $700 in fees.

      • Miles March 11, 2022

        Finally, one great option could be searching on Air France with a layover in either Amsterdam or Paris – you may find fares as low as 55 or 56k each way + a couple hundred bucks. Once you have those lined up I’d look at piecing together the hotels which are far less important in city trips, imo, and you’ll likely find good deals or even buy points to offset cost. Hope this helps!

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  • Dan @ Points With a Crew December 3, 2016

    Sweet. Sounds like I should be rooting for my flights to get canceled all the time 🙂

    • Miles December 3, 2016

      haha seriously! it was like waking up on Christmas morning when I saw J 😉

  • […] trip for Miles to see a Colts game in London.  We did the same thing last year for the […]

  • Lee @ BaldThoughts December 3, 2016

    I’m right there with you. I went last year to the Dolphins vs. Jets game. We flew LAX redeye to Boston, did the Freedom Trail, redeye to Dublin (spent a few days there), and then on to London for the game and some sightseeing. Fun times! Although I did enjoy Ireland far more than England. Glad you and Miles got to go to the game.

    • Miles December 3, 2016

      Lee – sounds like an awesome trip! I’d do it again in a heartbeat

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