Visiting the Seven Wonders of the World using miles & points: The Taj Mahal, India
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Editors note: This is a new series showing you how to experience the seven wonders of the world using miles and points. As only one of the original seven wonders of the world from the second century is still standing (the Pyramids of Giza), we are using the list of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Built in 1634, the Taj Mahal is an ivory coloured marble mausoleum in the Indian city of Agra, south of Delhi. Commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan some twelve years earlier, it was designed to house the tomb of the emperor’s wife and now also houses the emperor himself.
The cost of construction of this magnificent building in today’s terms is around £730 million and required approximately 20,000 workers to complete. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and recognised as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.
The best times to visit are from November to February each year when the heat is more bearable and it is less likely to rain. The Taj Mahal opens six days a week (it is closed on Fridays) from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. In practical terms, this is usually around 6am to 7pm.
If you fancy a different perspective, it is also open for five nights each full moon from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., with the exception of the month of Ramadan.
Entry costs 1,100 rupees for foreign adult tourists (approximately £11), with children under 15 free. Tickets can be purchased online in advance, or at the entry gates on the day.
If you’ve ever wanted to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World here is how to visit the Taj Mahal using miles and points.
How to get there
The Taj Mahal is located 140 miles south of Delhi Airport (DEL), around a three-hour drive. Fortunately, there are excellent train services available and you can travel from the centre of Delhi to the Taj Mahal in under one hour making it an easy day trip.
Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) is well serviced with direct flights from the United Kingdom. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Air India all operate non-stop services from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).
To fly with British Airways you will need to redeem the following, one way, per person:
- 16,250 Avios off-peak / 25,000 Avios peak + £150 in fees, taxes and surcharges in World Traveller economy
- 32,000 Avios off-peak / 50,000 Avios peak + £327.56 in fees, taxes and surcharges in World Traveller Plus premium economy
- 62,500 Avios off-peak / 75,000 Avios peak + £405.56 in fees, taxes and surcharges in Club World business class
To fly with Virgin Atlantic, you will need to redeem the following, one way, per person:
- 10,000 Virgin Points off-peak / 20,000 Virgin Points peak + £190 in fees, taxes and surcharges in Economy
- 17,500 Virgin Points off-peak / 27,500 Virgin Points peak + £327.56 in fees, taxes and surcharges in Premium
- 37,500 Virgin Points off-peak / 47,500 Virgin Points peak + £405.56 in fees, taxes and surcharges in Upper Class
To fly with Air India you could redeem various Star Alliance miles. If you were to use Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles, for example, you would need 27,500 miles one way in economy, or 54,500 miles in business class as a Saver redemption.
If you are happy to connect flying between the United Kingdom and India there are plenty of options with the likes of Air France, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Finnair, KLM, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, SriLankan, Thai Airways, and Turkish Airlines all operating services to Delhi (DEL).
Where to stay
If you wish to stay near the Taj Mahal, perhaps to beat the crowds and enjoy the spectacular sunrise, there are a limited number of points and miles hotel options within a short drive:
- The ITC Mughal, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Agra is a five-star member of the Marriott Bonvoy programme. Cash rates start from £35 per room, per night in low season, or 20,000 Bonvoy points on a standard night as a Category 3 property.
- The Courtyard by Marriott Agra is a five-star member of the Marriott Bonvoy programme. Cash rates start from £43 per room, per night in the low season. Alternatively, you could choose to redeem 12,500 Bonvoy points on a standard night as a Category 2 property.
- The DoubleTree by Hilton Agra is a four-star member of the Hilton Honors programme. Cash rates start from £37 per room, per night in low season, or 10,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
- The Holiday Inn Agra Mg Road is a four-star member of IHG Rewards. Cash rates start from £28 per room, per night in the low season. Alternatively, you could redeem 13,000 IHG Rewards points per night.
The Taj Mahal is a fairly easy day trip from Delhi. As a city with a population of more than 18 million people, there is a huge range of points and miles hotel options, from a Holiday Inn right up to a JW Marriott.
Featured image by Kenny McCartney / Gettys
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