Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chase Ink CDW Benefits - A money saver in Ireland

One of the great money-saving features of most credit cards is the availability of Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance for rental cars through your card.  By paying for the rental with a card that offers CDW coverage and waiving the coverage sold by the rental agency, you can save a considerable amount of money.

However, through some odd quirk of international law, Ireland is one of an elite group of countries (along with Israel and Jamaica) that most credit card CDW policies specifically exclude, e.g.: http://usa.visa.com/personal/cards/benefits/bft_dmg_waiver_personal.html#anchor_10
This fact creates great confusion and angst to folks renting cars in Ireland, that is only exacerbated by Irish driving conditions.  An example can be found on in this Flyertalk thread.

However, some (but not all) World Mastercard cards do offer CDW coverage in Ireland!  This includes the Chase Ink Bold card that I happen to carry.  By contacting Chase and Mastercard, I obtained a letter of coverage that enabled me to waive the CDW coverage offered by Avis.  This saved me at least $150.  Thank you Chase!

If you're interested in the card, sign-up links can be found on the pages of three of my favorite bloggers:  Gary Leff, Ben Schlappig, and The Frequent Miler.

Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt, County Wicklow, Ireland

Mrs. Pointsninja and I just returned from a week-long trip to Ireland.  Travel to Ireland presents a number of challenges that I'll address in the coming days.  The first is that the major hotel chains have relatively few hotels in Ireland, and almost none out in the countryside where we were.  An exception to this was the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt in County Wicklow.

I booked our rooms through Amex's Fine Hotels & Resorts program.  The rate for a Standard Suite (Garden View) was 260 Euro.  The rate included breakfast, a space-available upgrade, and an 85 Euro hotel credit.  The FHR rate was not much more than the Best Available Rate and considerably less than the Breakfast Inclusive rate.  Considering the 85E credit, booking through FHR was a no-brainer.  In the end our bill, including dinner, came out to around $425 for the night.

Early check-in was not a benefit, but when we arrived after an early flight into Dublin, the hotel had our room ready.  That was an especially welcome touch.  We were upgraded to a Mountain View Suite (1 level upgrade).
I was quite pleased with the view, and, as you can see, the suites have a walk-out balcony (with room for a couple of lounge chairs).

The Mountain View Suites are good sized, with 1 1/2 baths and a (huge) walk-in closet.  Guest bath:
 Master bath:

Walk-in closet:
The bedroom was also large and featured bedside controls for the lights and curtains:

The spacious living room area had a couch, desk, and television:

Overall my impression of the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt was favorable.  We were only there for a night, but the hotel would make a good base for exploring County Wicklow.  It's a bit far out to make excursions into Dublin very practical, though.  The hotel also has extensive grounds and sits adjacent to Powerscourt House and Gardens.  Guests can borrow bicycles from the concierge to explore the grounds, including the quite lovely River Walk:
The hotel also features the Gordon Ramsay restaurant where we had dinner.  Frankly, I was a bit underwhelmed.  The food was quite good and the service was excellent, but it wasn't the best meal I had in Ireland.  Breakfast is served in the restaurant and was also quite good.  This is a hotel that I would definitely return to.