Last week my wife and I spent a quick long weekend in Lyon, France with a nice little layover in London to boot. It wasn’t the cheapest trip, but it was some much needed R&R away from the little one. I haven’t seen a lot of stuff out there about Lyon, so hopefully this trip report will remedy that. I decided not to do it live because I needed the rest – hopefully it won’t take me too long to finish!
Before we get to the fun stuff, a little bit about how we got there.
Flights: British Airways First Class Boston to Lyon
Back when US Airways switched to Oneworld there was a small window of time when you could book British Airways tickets without fuel surcharges. We took advantage of that opportunity to book two first class tickets from Boston to Lyon for 125,000 US Air miles and $265 each (that includes a $50 phone processing fee for US Airways).
The majority of our miles were earned via the Barclays US Air card sign up bonus and butt in seat miles. The remaining 40,000 or so came from one of those share miles promotions where you could get miles for 1.1 cents a piece, costing us an extra $440 dollars (a deal I no longer thinks works for me, but I was younger and less wise then). So all told our cash outlay for flights was about $485 each – or the cost of a good cash fare to Europe in coach.
I wouldn’t say this was a great deal by any stretch, but we got to fly in British Airways’ first class cabin for a decent price which dovetailed with my goal to travel as comfortably as possible for less. Our original routing was BOS-PHL-LHR-LYS // LYS-LHR-BOS, but after an equipment change I managed to switch us to BOS-LHR-LYS on the outbound. I wrote about how my obsessiveness pulled that off here.
Hotel: Hilton Lyon
I really wanted to book a hotel on points, but the Radisson Blu in Lyon is currently under renovation. So instead, we booked the Hilton Lyon for 100 Euros a night – I figured getting free breakfast (with HHonors Gold) would make up for the slightly distant location. And hey, we ended up getting a ton of exercise. There was also a Crowne Plaza nearby the Hilton, but even though I had IHG points I didn’t want to stay there, believe it or not I have faith that Hilton will treat us well and we were not disappointed. Free breakfast is big for Jess and I needed that to be guaranteed.
Layover: In and out of London in six hours
The final thing we had to consider was our layover in London on the way home. We were arriving in London from Lyon at 7:45 AM and departing at 4:25 PM. I love London and wanted to make a quick trip into the city. You can get to the city from Heathrow via the London Underground or the Heathrow Express. The Underground is a lot cheaper (we would have bought £17 daypasses to ride the Tube all day), but it takes almost an hour to get into the city. I found a deal where we could buy two roundtrip tickets on the Heathrow express for £50 pounds total – that got us into the city in fifteen minutes. In this case time was more important to us than money. We ended up spending another £18 total for Underground daypasses, so £68 total for our little jaunt into London. That works out to £34 to save 1.5 hours of travel time which was worth it to me. We got to see the poppies at the Tower of London, eat at Jess’ favorite vegetarian restaurant, and take a walk through some of our favorite spots.
It was a quick trip, and though it wasn’t cheap, we saved a lot of money thanks to the points and miles we’ve accumulated over the years. Of course, we blew a lot of that on eating…but hey we got to relax and Little M was well taken care of at home with grandma and grandpa – can’t put a price on that!
Other Posts in this Series
British Airways First Class and the Ghost Terminal at Heathrow
The Hilton Lyon, Parc Tete d’Or, and Salon du Chocolat
Keep taking these trips so I can keep living vicariously through you guys.
Jose A says
Great post. My wife and I will be visiting London for the first time this weekend. I would appreciate more info on getting in to the city from LHR on the Heathrow Express at a discount. Checked the site (on my phone) and did not see any discount offered.