Amsterdam, Dublin, Marrakesh

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3x the FREE for 3x the fun. With United, Le Méridien, and then a Wyndham.

This picture is of Amsterdam, which was the last stop on our two-week itinerary. We loved the canal mansions and gardens, the boathouses, and the Van Gogh and other brilliant art museums, and we were deeply moved by our visit to the Anne Frank house.

First stop on this eclectic itinerary, requested by my fourth niece, to celebrate her high school graduation? Dublin! And we loved it. The highlights for us there were visiting Trinity College, watching an outdoor theater production there on a summer evening, and of course the Book of Kells, and the library itself. We were very glad that our lodging (Cassidys) was a very good hotel, and within easy walking distance to Trinity. (We found and reserved Cassidys at booking.com.) We also got quite a kick out of the Literary Pub Crawl, and immensely liked the dreamy day trip to Kilkenny, its castle, and the ravishing countryside outside of Dublin.

imageWe were lucky to have such bright skies when we went to Kilkenny castle.

Our first flights were on Aer Lingus to Ireland (plus the modest taxes of course, maybe around $60), and back on United itself, whose miles we used, from Amsterdam, using 60,000 United miles each. Current bonuses, depending upon the individual card, range from 30,000 to 50,000 miles. https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/products/chase/default.aspx

From Dublin, we took Ryanair to Marrakech. That flight was excellent, too, and we did well to pay for heavy and extra luggage in advance (cheaper then) in case we shopped till we dropped, because I certainly did! Even with the baggage fees included, we only paid about $125 per person for that flight. https://www.ryanair.com/gb/en/

The (separate) post for Marrakesh (which was totally enchanting!) is currently under construction, but we did love the Le Méridien N’Fis Hotel where we stayed for free using Starwood points (see my tripadvisor review)- and at quite a value, only a Category 1 (probably because there is SO much hotel competition in Marrakesh, and occupancy rates are not quite where they should be). With the current offer on the Starwood Preferred Guests American Express credit card, you can earn a 25,000 bonus, plus the points from your $3,000 minimum spending requirement.This would give you 10 free luxurious nights in Morocco! (Their spa and scrubs are superb!) https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/site/card/starwood-preferred-guest/25330

imageThis arch I spotted over a doorway made me crave a piece of wedding cake! 

From Marrakech we flew Ryanair again to Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands, where we arrived after 11:00 pm and were warmly greeted by our driver for a private taxi service which I highly recommend: http://www.taxieindhoven.com (owned by Mr. Danny Kastelijn). I had reserved the chauffeur and car in advance, to take us to Amsterdam, our next and last stop. We were phoned first to confirm our arrival, gauge our exit time from customs, and then picked up immediately, in a new Mercedes SUV, with cold drinks awaiting us, and we had a smooth and comfortable hour and twenty minute ride (for which we paid less than 50 euros each, a steal) to our hotel.

Here is a little more lodging advice: stay in the Ramada Apollo Centre Amsterdam Hotel by Wyndham for free like we did (and see my review on tripadvisor, accessed from my reviews post page), and get your bonus miles using this link: https://www.wyndhamrewards.com/trec/consumer/special.action?partner=barclay&variant=

From Amsterdam we flew back to the U.S. on United.

Nice trip, right? Fly free, stay free. Have fun. Plan now.

Travel Cutie

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