Booking Thanksgiving Flights for 80% Off (You Can Do It, Too)

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

Barring any unforeseen phenomena, I’m headed to Oklahoma City for Thanksgiving.  And I’m getting there at an 80% discount.

Miles & points are exceptional tools to travel to far-flung bucket list destinations and ride in rich-people cabins that come with free alcohol, beds for seats, and pajama outfits.  But they’re also a life saver when you’re booking remarkably expensive holiday travel to meet up with friends and family.

Here’s how I easily saved $360 on my Thanksgiving flights!

Autumn Is a Stunning Season for Travel.  Also, Pricey

A Thanksgiving Miracle With Iberia Avios Points

Iberia has a distance-based award chart.  That means the number of points you’ll pay depends on the length of your flight.  For example, with Iberia, a round-trip coach award flight within the US on partner American Airlines costs:

  • 11,000 Iberia Avios points for flights under 600 miles
  • 12,000 Iberia Avios points for flights between 601 and 1,000 miles
  • 17,000 Iberia Avios points for flights between 1,001 and 2,000 miles
  • 23,000 Iberia Avios points for flights between 2,001 and 4,000 miles

The distance of my route is 1,973 miles, so I needed 17,000 miles for this trip.

You Can Use Great Circle Mapper to See How Long Your Route Will Be

How I Earned the Points

About 4 months ago, I joined a bunch of other miles & points enthusiasts and “bought” 90,000 Iberia Avios points for $270.  That’s a price of just 0.3 cents per point!  If you signed-up for our newsletter, you saw the deal, too (and hopefully jumped on it!).

But even if I hadn’t taken advantage of this deal, there are plenty of other ways to earn Iberia Avios points.  As a matter of fact, they’re some of the easiest to earn.  For example, you could open:

The information for the Iberia Visa Signature® Card,  British Airways Visa Signature® Card, and Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets.  The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

ALL 3 cards come with up to 100,000 points after meeting tiered spending requirements.  And you can transfer points between these accounts at a 1:1 ratio.  So if you earned the 100,000 point welcome bonus from the Chase British Airways Card, you could transfer those points to Iberia.

You can also transfer points from multiple flexible points programs to earn Iberia points:

So you can open the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and earn its 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting minimum spending requirements and transfer them straight to Iberia.  You’d be able to take 3 trips like mine just from that card’s bonus alone!

How I Used the Points

Using Iberia Avios points is easy enough, though there are some quirks.

THE most important thing to remember is that you can only book round-trip flights if you’re staying domestic.  Searching for one-way flights will always fail.

For example, if you’re flying from Chicago to Los Angeles, you MUST book a round-trip.  But if you’re flying from Chicago to Madrid, you can book a one-way.

Here’s the process!

Step 1.   Log Into the Iberia Website and Enter Your Information

Sign into your Iberia account and input your travel details.  Before you click the search button, make sure you’ve checked the “Pay With Avios” box.

Click the Pay With Avios Box

Step 2.   Select Flights

Choose the flights that best fit your schedule.  If your flight has connections, you’ll often be able to select different cabins for each flight.  So you can choose Business Class for the long segment if you like.  But you’ll have to pay more points.

Choose the Flight and Cabin That Works Best

Step 3.   Checkout

After you’ve selected both flights, you’ll click a button at the bottom of the page that calculates how many miles and how much cash you owe.  In my case, 17,000 Iberia Avios points and ~$30 in fees.

17,000 Miles for a Round-Trip Flight Is Cheaper Than Just About Any Other Airline.  I’m LOVING Iberia!

How Much Did I Save?

I searched for flights from all my local airports, and found the cheapest to be $442.  That means using 17,000 points saved me $412.

I received a value of ~2.42 cents per point ($442 price of ticket – $30 in fees = $412 / 17,000 points).  Not bad for points I bought for ~0.3 cents each.  I essentially got 8 times the value for my money (2.42 cents / 0.3 cents)!

Thanksgiving Flights Are NOT Cheap.  Unless You’re a Miles & Points Enthusiast

Factoring in the price of the miles and the taxes & fees, I saved ~80% on these tickets (17,000 miles for ticket X 0.3 cents each = $51 ticket price + $30 in taxes = $81 final ticket cost / $442 cash price of the ticket).

Bottom Line

Holiday travel prices are ridiculous.  I’m not much concerned, though, since I keep up on the latest travel tricks and use my miles & points instead of cash.

I used Iberia Avios points to save $360 on my Thanksgiving flights.  You can do it too if you sign-up for our newsletter and learn our easy travel tips!

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Join the Discussion!

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments