Budapest, Hungary on Points and Miles



If there is one thing most travelers can agree upon who have visited Budapest, it’s that it is one of their favorite and most underrated European destinations to visit. Budapest is beautifully stunning with its river views, art deco buildings, and funky offerings. And with an abundance of quality points and miles hotels and cheap food and entertainment to choose from, this city should be on your travel radar. Budapest on points and miles is even more enjoyable!

This guest post is from Kendyl from  Enjoy her ideas for visiting Budapest on points and miles!


Getting There

With only one direct flight from the US to Budapest, you’ll have to look at some alternative ways to easily and affordably get to the city. 

One simple option is using the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program for 30,000 one-way economy tickets. You can transfer Citi ThankYou points from your Citi Premier to Turkish Airlines. What’s great about the Turkish Airlines transfer is that the taxes and fees are relatively low, and you can (and should) add a free stopover in Instanbul on any reward flight. 


Screenshot Turkish Airline flights

Turkish Airlines uses a region-to-region award chart. The entire US to Budapest is just 30,000 miles in Economy.


The Citi Premier can sometimes be challenging to be approved for, so alternatively, you can use American Airlines miles earned from either Citi or Barclay co-branded cards for 30,000 point one-way economy redemptions. What’s great about American Airlines is you can find 30,000 redemptions from most mid-sized airports, too.



Budapest is a fantastic city to find higher-end hotels at affordable redemption rates. The number of points you need for places like the Ritz-Carlton or the Intercontinental is not nearly as much as they are in other countries.

On my recent visit I opted to stay at the Intercontinental Budapest. This property’s staterooms feel slightly dated, or maybe it’s just a taste preference. But the hotel is in an excellent location to take the tram and you have some incredible views from your room. 


Castle at night by water

The Intercontential offers from amazing views of the Buda Castle from your hotel room. It’s especially stunning in the evening.


One of the best perks of the IHG Premier card is the 4th night is free when using points. This is basically a 25% discount on the points required.You can find 20,000-point nights (when booking with the 4th night free) with some flexibility at this property. The IHG Rewards Club Premier  also comes with IHG Platinum Elite status and a 30,000-point free night certificate annually. The free night certificate can also cover a night at the Intercontinental.

Another high-end choice is the Ritz-Carlton Budapest. The Marriott property is around 45,000 points a night. You can earn Marriott points with co-branded cards through both Chase and American Express like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant cards. This property is also eligible to use free night certificates and your fifth night is free when using points.


Grey hotel in Budpest

40K/night for a Ritz- Carlton is a steal!


Since Budapest is a pretty affordable city, don’t think you have to use points. Cash rates can be really good, especially for budget brands. One place to consider is the Hilton Garden Inn at less than $100 a night. Don’t forget, if you have a Hilton Aspire Card, you receive automatic Diamond status, which includes upgrades, free breakfast abroad, and 34 points earned per dollar spent at Hilton properties with your card. 


Things To Do

Budapest is a pretty cosmopolitan city with a variety of attractions to choose from. Here are a couple of things you cannot miss when you visit Budapest on points and miles:

Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar

Ruin bars were founded in abandoned buildings and offer fairly affordable drinks in whacky, themed rooms. Szimpla is one of the best, most established ruin bars in Budapest. And, if you’re in town on Sunday morning, the bar turns into a lively farmer’s market. 

Szechenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool

Thermal Baths are a local and tourist favorite. There are many to choose from, and I recommend doing some research to see which one is right for you. Szechenyi is certainly one of the most popular and most photographed. 

Faust Wine Cellar

One of my absolute favorite experiences in Budapest was visiting the Faust Wine Cellar. Deep within the old tunnels of Budapest is a charming wine cellar offering tastings of good Hungarian wines.

Evening River Cruise

You cannot leave Budapest without doing a river cruise. If you can choose one of the evening cruises, it’s stunning to see all the beautiful buildings lit up. And if the views weren’t enough, this one offers bottomless champagne.


Places To Eat

Retro Langos 

Perfect spot for a quick lunch or dinner for less than $5 for a Hungarian classic.

Hungarikum Bisztro

Want to have a truly traditional Hungarian meal? This place is it. Be sure to make a reservation to get yourself a table.

New York Cafe

Beautifully designed interior with overpriced coffees and pastries. But it’s well worth it if you want to pretend your fancy or in a 1920s movie. 

Street Food Karavan Budapest

The fun courtyard filled with funky food trucks serving everything from burritos to sushi. 


Bottom Line

Budapest is a great place to use points and miles. Your points and miles can be stretched to stay in some lavish properties for just a fraction of the cost in other parts of the world. And with beautiful views, good food, and cheap entertainment, it’s a great place to spend a quality vacation at an affordable price.


Two cities separated by river and joined by bridge

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