In late September, Norwegian asked me to take a weekend trip to Barcelona where I would host their Instagram and share the many uses of their loyalty program, Norwegian Reward. They taught me how to maximize my return using the program. In this post, I’ll be going over every aspect of my $1200 trip and teaching you how Norwegian Reward can be used for significant returns on your next vacation.
A few days ago I posted about Norwegian Reward and what makes the program so special. In this post, I’ll show how I leveraged Norwegian Reward and its partners to earn a return equivalent to $300 (2605 Cashpoints) on a $1200 weekend in Barcelona. This return doesn’t even account for possible credit card earnings.
Norwegian Reward is a unique airline loyalty scheme in the way that it’s essentially a cash back program. On all Norwegian tickets, basic Norwegian Reward members earn 2% CashPoints. 1 CashPoint = 1 Norwegian Krona = approximately $0.1. With a 1% return, a $1 spend produces a return of just around 1 cent. These rewards can easily be stacked with regular credit card earnings, i.e. double or triple points on airfare, so there is no opportunity cost to collecting them.
Booking my tickets to Barcelona
I wanted to fly from London to Barcelona, as opposed to flying from my home town Gothenburg. Although Norwegian serve that route as well, I’d already planned a trip to Fort Lauderdale the week before and saw this as a great opportunity to merge two trips. Looking at flight options, I saw Norwegian had one daily flight from Gatwick, departing at 7:20pm and landing at 10:20pm.
Coincidentally I needed to be at Heathrow for an event the day after I arrived from Fort Lauderdale, which worked out great since I got to stay overnight at the Bloc Hotel at Gatwick and depart the following day to Barcelona. Already in London I started utilizing the multitude of Norwegian Reward offers, which gave me a 12% return on my hotel stay.
Bloc Hotel Gatwick
Price: £240 per night
Norwegian Reward return: 305 CashPoints (approx. $35)
My roundtrip flights to London, including one suitcase and seat selection, earned the typical 2% CashPoints + 5% CashPoints for paying with my Bank Norwegian Credit Card. I also visited the No1 Lounge at Gatwick, which cost £23.60 and earned me an additional 25 Cashpoints.
Flight tickets to Barcelona and No1 Lounge
Price: £76.80 + £23.60
Norwegian Reward return: 163 + 25 CashPoints (approx. $22)
When flying intra-European, I usually choose between Norwegian or SAS Youth Fares. Norwegian offers free onboard wifi and most of their 737-800s have the Boeing Sky Interior, so I generally prefer to fly with them.
After an easy two hour flight down to BCN, we disembarked and proceeded through baggage claim.
While Barcelona sees a lot of gringos, I must come off as the most gringo of them all because taxi drivers love to rip me off every time I visit. To be on the safe side and avoid being charged €10-20 extra in miscellaneous fees, I pre-ordered a car from CarTrawler, another Norwegian Reward partner. The transfer to central Barcelona cost only €35, with a CashPoint return of 5%. Split between a few people, this option easily outweighs the time consuming metro ride into town. If I recall, a taxi would charge around €40 for the same ride.
Transfer from the airport
Price: €35 x 2 for return
Norwegian Reward return: 16 x 2 = 32 Cashpoints (approx. $4)
Booking my hotel in Barcelona
As one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, Barcelona has a plethora of hotels in every price range. I generally prefer design-oriented hotels as opposed to more traditional ones. Having never used RocketMiles before, I knew I could leverage the 300 Cashpoint welcome bonus on my first stay to get a good return on my two nights. I ended up finding a really cool place, The Mirror Hotel, for $410 per night. While that’s not a rate I’d usually pay per night, the 1700 Cashpoints I earned in return made it more reasonable. Earning 850 Cashpoints per night was like getting $100 off. 1700 Cashpoints in itself is enough for a one-way Norwegian ticket from Europe to the US!
I would highly recommend staying at The Mirror if you ever get the chance. The design was incredible (very Scandinavian), though my personal highlight was the breakfast. While the selection was decent, it was the quality and unusual choices that set it apart.
Hotel for two nights
Norwegian Reward return: 1700 Cashpoints (approx. $200)
Booking my activities in Barcelona
Having been in Barcelona once and seen most of the tourist attractions, I was keen to make my second visit about seeing the city from a more unique perspective. After looking at various excursions, I set my eyes on visiting Monserrat, a monastery in the mountains outside the city. I booked the half day tour through GetYourGuide since I knew I could trust them to deliver. It cost €65, which seems a little pricy, but luckily I earned 10% Cashpoints in return. The 60 Cashpoints brought the cost down to under €60, which wasn’t too bad given that a tapas and wine tasting was included.
I’m so grateful I decided to take this tour! The scenery was beyond stunning – some of the nicest I’ve seen in Europe. Our guides were also incredible, picking us up from central Barcelona and telling great stories along the way.
Following Monserrat, we got to visit a wine distillery for the wine and tapas tasting, which was a lot of fun.
That afternoon, I scheduled a bike tour of the city which included wine and tapas as well. For €49, I received 45 Cashpoints. The bikes had motors, which made for a thrilling ride around the city with the knowledgable guide.
I love socializing when I travel, but dislike night clubs and bars with a passion. This turned out to be a fabulous way of meeting really interesting people and bonding over wine in a different setting.
The following day, I decided to go to La Sagrada Familia. A two hour tour with fast track entry cost €25 and I got 24 Cashpoints back. Given how hard it can be to access the stunning building, no less avoid waiting in lines, I thought this was a great value. For anyone visiting Barcelona, this is a must-do.
Since I was already going a little crazy with my touring, I booked a private sailboat in the evening to conclude the trip. It cost €54 and I even got 10% Cashpoints on this since I booked through GetYourGuide. I think the price was fair for what I got – the views from the boat were breathtaking.
It was fun having the boat to ourselves so we could jump in and swim when and wherever we wanted to.
Tours for two full days in Barcelona
Norwegian Reward return: 198 Cashpoints (approx. $22)
To conclude, I hope this post showed you in just how many areas Norwegian Reward can be used. By simply utilizing the partners listed on Norwegian Reward’s website, I managed to earn 2605 Cashpoints during a weekend in Barcelona. This is entirely without accounting for credit card earnings! As I said in my previous post, it really is a no-brainer to sign up. It’s free, has no opportunity cost, and earned me enough Cashpoints in two days for a one way Norwegian ticket to New York or a return trip to Rome!