How to use your points and miles for a UK beach staycation
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For years and years, summer holidays for us Brits have meant flocking in our droves to the shores of Spain, Greece and pretty much anywhere else with some guaranteed sunshine. This year, thanks to COVID-19, we’re having to think outside the box a bit and stay a little closer to home.
Now that England has reopened for domestic tourism as of 4 July, we’re allowed to travel to the pretty awesome beaches that we have right on our doorstep. That said, we scoured the nation to find some of the best beach hotels available to book on points to save your summer holiday.
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The loyalty programme for Marriott is the recently rebranded Marriott Bonvoy programme. For U.K. travellers, one of the best ways to earn points, other than staying in Marriott properties, is through The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card. The card currently comes with a welcome bonus of 20,000 Bonvoy points after you spend £3,000 in the first six months. There’s a £75 annual fee, and you’ll earn 6 points per pound spent with Marriott.
Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel
Marriott’s Highcliff property in Bournemouth sits atop the cliff and has stairs and a lift leading from across the street straight down to seven miles of beautiful golden sands. Bournemouth is a firm favourite of the many resorts on the South Coast thanks to having sandy rather than stone beaches.
Guests can take in the stunning views of the English Channel from its private lawns as well as from the slightly more expensive sea-view rooms.
The property is a Category 5 within the Bonvoy programme, meaning you can expect to pay 30,000 points per night on off-peak dates, 35,000 points per night on standard dates and 40,000 points per night on peak dates. Alternatively, cash rates are around £112 per night in August.
The loyalty programme for Hilton is Hilton Honors and is also a transfer partner Membership Rewards earned from the Platinum Card by American Express. By transferring Amex points to Hilton, you’ll get 2 Hilton Honors points for every 1 Membership Reward point transferred.
Hilton Brighton Metropole
Right on Brighton’s seafront is the Hilton Brighton Metropole. It boasts views straight over the English Channel and a breakfast buffet fit for a king.
It’s a relatively traditional hotel by design but some of the rather dated-looking rooms have recently been modernised and look the part.
The lowest cash rates in July and August start as low as just £72 per night. In terms of points redemptions, Hilton no longer publishes an award chart. Based on our searches, you’re looking at as few as 28,000 points per night in July and 27,000 points per night in August.
Hampton by Hilton Blackpool
Perhaps the most-famous seaside resort in the North of England, it wouldn’t be right if Blackpool didn’t feature on our list of beach hotels in the U.K.
Hilton’s Hampton brand is on the lower-end of the budget, but still offers a perfectly fresh and modern place to rest your head after a full-on day at the Pleasure Beach, which is only a five-minute walk away.
We’re seeing room rates in July and August for 30,000 points per night. If you’d rather pay cash, room rates drop as low as £67 per night in July at the start of the month, and in August, you can get weeknight stays from as low as £79 per night.
Unfortunately, transferring points to Hyatt’s World Of Hyatt programme from Amex isn’t possible. But, there are still some great properties available if you’ve racked up a stack of points in other ways like by staying at Hyatt properties.
The Nare Hotel, Truro
The five-starred Nare Hotel is a quintessentially British country house and spa on the Cornish coast, just metres away from the idyllic Carne Beach. Its inside pool and hot spa are a great added extra for if and when the Great British summer weather rains off a visit to the beach.
As a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World programme, it’s a Category 7 property with Hyatt, meaning you can expect to pay between 30,000 and 39,000 points per night. Room rates for July and August start at £232 per night.
Greywalls Hotel, Muirfield, Scotland
At the other end of the U.K. is the beautiful Greywalls Hotel at Muirfield in Scotland. Not only is the property a short walk away from the secluded sandy Gullane beach, but the world-famous Muirfield championship golf course is right on its doorstep.
There are reward nights available throughout July and August, and rates range from 30,000 points per night to 39,000 points per night. Cash prices start at around £310 per night over the course of the summer. Note that Scotland isn’t expected to open for tourism until 15 July.
You don’t have to travel abroad to have a memorable and relaxing beach holiday — not taking into consideration the weather, of course. We have a wide selection of beach hotels available to book on points this summer in the U.K. — be it a budget stay in Blackpool or a country hotel and spa in Cornwall. Keep in mind that for some of these properties, the cash rates are so low that you wouldn’t get the best value out of your points by using them for an award stay. So be sure to do the maths to make sure you’re getting the best value for your points.
Featured image courtesy The Nare Hotel