As Nicole and I were waiting in line to enter St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on our recent 2-week tour of Italy, we struck up a conversation with the couple behind us in line. Judging from their thickly-accented English, we could tell they weren’t native speakers and asked where they were from. They told us they were from Poland.
We’re always intrigued to meet people and talk travel. At every opportunity we tell people to come to Idaho (in the summer), and we ask people about their home and what fun things there are to do. People are naturally unappreciative of their local surroundings, but this couple had some interesting ideas and it left us nudging Poland a little higher on the bucket list.
Naturally, I did what we do as WorldWanderlusters, setting out how to visit Poland with minimal expense. I already know that my best bet for air travel to Europe is on American Airlines – 40,000 if I work it right and travel between Oct 15 and May 15. And having just recently enjoyed a flight on OneWorld partner, Air Berlin, I’d be hoping to do my long-route travel on one of their planes, if for no other reason than for the delicious chocolate hearts they pass out on arrival.
The next step was to determine where I could stay inexpensively. Eastern Europe isn’t bad when it comes to expenses, but any big city will have its pricey places. I used a lot of Starwood hotels on our recent trip to Italy and I loved the extremely helpful staff and great locations. It just so happens that there are two Starwood properties in Warsaw, one of which was super exciting.
The Warsaw Westin is a brand-new hotel which is unapologetically modern, perfectly located, and ridiculously nice. It gets even better when I tell you that despite its posh appearance, it’s a Category 3 hotel, burning only 7k points/night.
We’ve talked before about Starwood’s generous “Book 4, get 1 free” promotion. That’s how you can get a total of 5 nights for spending 28k Starwood Points.
How do you get those 28k points? I’m glad you asked. As part of a 4-card “App-o-rama,” (applying for multiple cards at a time to minimize credit impacts and maximize travel point accumulation) I recently applied and got approved for the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. I’ll get 10k points right away, and 15k more when I spend $5k within the first 6 months (something everyday expenses together with Christmas will easily allow). So together with the points I get from meeting the spending and the bonuses, I’ll add a total of 30k SPG points to my account.
What is there to do around Warsaw?
There is no shortage of history in Warsaw, despite the fact that it was razed to the ground by the Nazis midway through the 20th Century. It was central stage for much of both Western and Eastern cultural history.
- To get a sense for what Warsaw was, visitors can see the reconstructed Old Town – replete with interesting architecture and countless WWII sites.
- As the birthplace of Chopin, there is an abundance of musical performances and tributes to the great composer.
- Beautiful parks and gardens include Saxon Park and Royal Baths Park.
- The Wilanow Palace Museum is full of history.
- The Copernicus Science Center offers a place to marvel at the wonders of the universe.
As if these weren’t enough, there are also many activities that lay just outside the city. Five days is enough time to check out all the sites.
If you like the idea, but Warsaw isn’t your thing, take a look at these other great posts about how to use Starwood Preferred Guest points:
Thanks for wanderlusting with us!