Girl’s Trip to Amsterdam Using Points

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This last spring I planned a girl’s trip to Amsterdam with two of my daughters and a granddaughter.  We used points for travel there and paid cash for an Airbnb.  It is said that the Dutch are the friendliest people in the world and that was certainly our experience!  All we had to do was look confused, and a kind person from Amsterdam would ask us if they could help us.  We were constantly saying to each other, “These are the nicest people!”

Getting There

We actually flew to London to visit my daughter that lives there first.  Of course, we used miles and traveled in business class. If you want to travel directly to Amsterdam, here are some suggestions:

  • United Airlines from most U.S. cities to Amsterdam is 70,000 miles in business class one way and 60,000 miles in economy class round trip.
  • Delta Airlines from San Francisco was 98,000 miles roundtrip in business class in early April!  That is a great price even if you have to reposition.
  • American Airlines from most U.S. cities is 60,000 round trip in economy class round trip.

If you travel business class be sure and use the airport lounge.  You may have a credit card that gives you airport lounge access too so make sure you take advantage of that perk!

Currency

The currency used in Amsterdam is the Euro.  I usually get euros at a local ATM with my debit card.  Currently, the exchange rate is 1 Euro is worth 1.10 Dollars.

Getting Around in Amsterdam

The train to and from the airport is really simple to use and very inexpensive.  Go here to learn more about using the train.  Of course, Uber and taxis are also available for use too.  We used an Uber several times but we also walked a lot.  Most of the places we went to were very accessible by walking.  One form of transportation that is used everywhere is the bicycle.  EVERYONE bicycles in Amsterdam.  In fact, bicyclists are the most dangerous part of Amsterdam – they stop for no one.  Be sure and look both ways and do not step in front of a bicyclist!

Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles in Amsterdam!

 

Where to Stay

There are many branded hotels in Amsterdam that you could stay with points.  Here are some possibilities:

Hotel Room
Marriott Residency Inn in Amsterdam – 35,000 points a night
Hotel Room in Amsterdam
Hyatt Regency Amsterdam – 20,000 points a night

We could have used points to stay in Amsterdam but four people would have needed two rooms.  When I travel to Europe with more than 2 people, I often stay in AirBnB’s.  That is what we did this time. We stayed at here. The location was great, the place was clean and cute, and the hosts we great! It was interesting to stay during the summer because it was hot and the sun didn’t go down till about 11:00 at night. I was missing a hotel’s air conditioning and blackout curtains!! If you are new to Airbnb you can use this link to save up to $30!

Amsterdam Neighborhoods

Amsterdam is divided into specific neighborhoods.  We stayed in the De Pijp neighborhood and it was perfect for getting away from the hubbub but it also had good places to eat at and was central enough to walk to most of our activities.  I think I would plan to stay in De Pijp or Jordaan and just walk into the other areas.  Here are some of the different neighborhoods and a little bit about them:

  • Canal Ring – As applied by the name, where most of the canals are located.
  • Nieuwmarkt en Lastage – The center of the city that includes the Centraal Station.
  • De Pijp – Very popular with students and foreigners.  Many tiny lanes and good restaurants.
  • Jordaan – A trendy spot for young professionals with great restaurants, beautiful bridges.
  • Museumkwartier – An area where the museums are located including the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum.
  • Red Light District or De Wallen – Need we say more?
  • Plantage and the East – Area of the zoo and botanical gardens and the Jewish Quarter.
  • Westerpark – Adjacent to the centre and part of Amsterdam West
Bicycles and a canal view in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Where to Eat

We had really good food in Amsterdam but, hands down, our favorite thing there were the tarts we bought at Waldo.  We loved them so much that we wanted to return on Sunday after visiting Haarlem and were so sad that it was closed that day. Desperate to get them before we returned, we even emailed the owner to see if they had them anywhere else!  We got a nice reply back but he didn’t volunteer to open the shop for us just so we could get some before we left! I think we would definitely return just for those tarts!  The pecan and lemon were especially delicious!!  A girl’s trip to Amsterdam or any city is all about the food!

Tarts
Can’t wait to return for more tarts in Amsterdam!

Other places to eat:

Things to Do

There is so much to do in Amsterdam!  We were only there for three days before going to Copenhagen so we had to travel fast and furious to do the most important items on our itinerary.  Sadly, we had to miss some of the museums.  We wanted to go to the Van Gogh Museum but missed the important information about needing to book it ahead of time.  If you go, do that!  Here’s what we did do:

Anne Frank House

This was really one of the main reasons we went and took my granddaughter, Izzy, with us.  I had no idea how emotional the experience would be.  Seeing the small areas Anne and her family were hiding in and the sacrifices of those who hid them were very touching.  This is a must-do activity when visiting Amsterdam!  We did know to get tickets ahead of time for this exhibit, luckily.

Girl reading Anne Frank book
My cute granddaughter, Izzy,  reading more about Anne Frank

Canal Boat Ride

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a ride on the canals!  GetYourGuide has many trips you can book before you get to Amsterdam.  We thoroughly enjoyed our trip on the canals and getting to look at all the unique architecture of the city.

Women on Amsterdam Canal
Enjoying a Canal Ride on our Girl’s Trip to Amsterdam

Free Walking Tour

One of my favorite things to do when I get into any new city is taking a free walking tour.  You just tip the person giving the tour for what you think it is worth.  Usually, I give $10 per person.  This gives me some history of the city and the “lay of the land”.  Often it helps me decide what I want to do next.  Sometimes I take a bicycle tour or segway tour instead of a walking tour, but whichever you choose, a 2-3 hour tour will let you know the city from a local.

Canal in Amsterdam
Canal view in Amsterdam

Foodhallen

We are real foodies.  All of our trips are based on food so of course, we had to head to Foodhallen – a cornucopia of different types of foods.  We all headed in different directions, grabbed our favorite food, and sat down to enjoy it together.  Additionally, outside the food hall, there was a multitude of nice artisan vendors.

Foodhollen in Amsterdam
Foodhollen in Amsterdam

 

Go to Vondelpark

Need a little downtime?  On a busy city trip, a park visit is perfect.  We headed to Vondelpark on foot, got ice cream, laid in the grass, and watched the locals. I think I even fell asleep for a few minutes!  Perfect.

Rijksmuseum

Unfortunately, we lost track of time while at the park and didn’t realize that the museum closed early. We booked it over but only had about an hour to rush through and see the major pieces. It would have been nice to have some more time there. The Rijksmuseum is beautiful and definitely worth a stop on your visit!

rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Dam Square

Visit the city center of Dam Square and check out the National Monument and the Royal Palace.  Our walking tour started here so we got there early to explore the area.

Dam Square in Amsterdam
Busy Dam Square in Amsterdam

Take the Train to Haarlem

We decided to take our last day of our girl’s trip to Amsterdam and head to the cute town of Haarlem via train.  It was easy to ride there and we loved this scenic city of canals and a few windmills.  We took a tour of a windmill, wandered the streets, and had a great lunch.  We had hoped to go to the Corrie ten Boom house (dedicated to the book the Hiding Place) but it was closed on Sundays – broke our hearts! Grotke Market was filled with vendors and the Cathedral Grote Kerk in the center was magnificent!

Haarlem, Netherlands
Haarlem, Netherlands
Church in Haarlem, Netherlands
The majestic Grote Kerk in Haarlem, Netherlands

Other Activities to Do

Bottom Line

Amsterdam is a great place to go for a girl’s trip, family trip, or a couple’s trip.  Doing it with points is even better! Cobblestone streets, canals, bicycles, and the nicest people are all part of what makes it a fantastic place to visit.  I look forward to another visit there to have more tarts at Waldo, go to the Van Gogh museum, and enjoy the very chill and pleasant vibe it offers.

A pinterest graphic on how to plan a girls trip to Amsterdam
Amsterdam Canal View

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