Condor has lowered their fares again for a “limited time only”. There are some great airfares to various cities in Europe. However, I’d like to highlight an interesting opportunity for anyone considering a trip to Vienna or Krakow. Vienna is the location of one of a limited number of Category 2 Hilton hotels at 10,000 points per night and Krakow has a Hampton Inn for only 5000 points per night in Category 1 which is a real find. Hilton is currently offering a targeted bonus on the purchase of points of up to 50% until September 16. (Mine received the 50%, my mother’s the 40% and my brother’s the 50%). Here’s a breakdown of what a week in Vienna or Krakow would cost with a good airfare and purchased Hilton points.
The hotel in Vienna is the Hilton Garden Inn Vienna South. Unusual for Europe, it has rooms that accommodate 4 adults bookable on points at the standard level. The hotel is not located in the city centre but is accessible by public transport or by free scheduled shuttle to the city centre.
First, it’s always important to check availability on points first. For my example, Sept. 30 to Oct. 7 has an airfare of $679 connecting in Munich each way. On those 6 nights there is a standard room available for 10,000 points per night or a points and money rate of 4000 points + 31 Euro ($45 CAD).
With a 50% bonus, the cost of 60,000 Hilton points is $300 USD. Convert to CAD and add HST and factor in the 2.5% forex fee on most credit cards and I believe it amounts to around $450 CAD. Divide that by 6 nights and you’re paying around $75 CAD per night. Paying the Hilton discount rate for that room would cost 1075 Euro for those 6 nights. Convert to CAD and the bill would be around $1600. You could certainly find a hotel cheaper than that with some searching. For example, the Novotel is $169 per night but $75 would sure be tough to beat at that standard of accommodation. So total cost for the week airfare plus accommodation is $905 per person for 2 travelling.
Another example is the the Hampton Inn in Krakow, a Category 1 hotel at a low 5000 points per night with breakfast included. Similar to the Vienna hotel, it’s outside the city centre but still convenient enough for a tourist trip. Krakow is a great destination for a budget traveller. Airfare on the same dates of Sept. 30 – Oct. 7 is $829 connecting in Munich each way. On those 6 nights there is a standard room available for 5000 points per night or 2000 points + 111 Polish zloty ($37 CAD).
With a 50% bonus, the cost of 30,000 Hilton points is $150 USD. Convert to CAD, add forex and HST and it will come out to about $226 CAD or $38 per night or so. The cost for this hotel on those dates is currently 1667.50 Polish zloty total or $563 CAD. It’s under a $100 per night but still over double what it would cost by doing a points purchase to pay for the stay. The total per person on this trip for airfare plus accommodation comes to $942 each.
The risk in these scenarios is that you buy the points and then all of a sudden points availability on your dates has disappeared. So if you go for it, make sure to get your bookings in place quickly.