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Plan Ahead! Save Your Credit Card Rewards for These 5 Award Sales – Great Deals to Europe, Hawaii, Japan and More

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Plan Ahead!  Save Your Credit Card Rewards for These 5 Award Sales – Great Deals to Europe, Hawaii, Japan and More

Jason StaufferPlan Ahead!  Save Your Credit Card Rewards for These 5 Award Sales – Great Deals to Europe, Hawaii, Japan and MoreMillion Mile Secrets Team

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We regularly share deals, like great award flight promotions or huge airfare sales, here on the blog.  If you want to be notified of these sales when they happen, subscribe to our newsletter.

One of the issues with limited-time miles & points deals is that if you don’t already have the miles or points in your account, it’s virtually impossible to earn them before the sale expires.  And since lots of promos happen only once, you can’t plan ahead.

But there are a handful of award sales that happen regularly, so you can take steps now to take advantage of them later.  Here are a few I’m saving my mile & points for.  I’ll share them with you below.

I’ve got my eye on the Delta award sale in hopes of using my credit card miles to get somewhere near Rome this fall

Save Your Credit Card Rewards for These 5 Award Sales

It feels great to book expensive flights with miles knowing that it only costs you a fraction of the actual cash price.  And if you want that feeling more often, you can stretch your miles and points further by taking advantage of award sales.

Some of the best deals, like error fares or flash sales, come and go quickly and don’t happen with any regularity.  But there are a handful of award sales that come around on a regular basis.  And even though these sales can be hit or miss, you can at least prepare for the best deals ahead of time.

Here are 5 promotions you can rely on.

1.   Delta Award Sales

Every week Delta has a least one or more award sales.  Occasionally they’ll even have sales for Premium Economy, Business, or First Class seats.  One of the best aspects of these sales is that they always extend to routes that aren’t listed on the official sale page.  Even though the discounts are only supposed to be valid for limited travel dates, I can almost always find deals well beyond the official end date.

Bookmark our page, Delta award sales, and you’ll always find the latest Delta deals.  And if you want tips on how to uncover these hidden Delta sales, check out this guide for tips on how to uncover them.

Here are a few highlights from this past year of Delta sales:

  • 30,000 miles round-trip to Hong Kong
  • 50,000 miles round-trip to Australia
  • 10,000 miles round-trip within the US
  • 22,000 miles round-trip in Basic Economy to Hawaii
  • 128,000 miles round-trip in Business Class to Europe
  • 70,000 miles round-trip in Premium Economy to Japan or South Korea

Many of these prices are 50%+ less than what you would normally pay.

If you’d like to hoard some Delta miles for this sale, you could take advantage of one of these increased limited-time (ending April 3, 2019) Delta card offers:

Or you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points or Marriott points to Delta.

2.   Flying Blue Promo Awards

Every month Flying Blue, the loyalty program for Air France & KLM, has Promo Awards.  The discounts are typically 20% to 50% off select routes including Economy and Business Class awards.

New Flying Blue Promo Awards are released on the 1st of each month and you can book travel up to 3 months in advance.  This is a good award sale to follow if you’re looking for flights to Europe.  Every month certain routes will be discounted and oftentimes the discounts are from a specific city, say Seattle or Montreal to Europe.

Ever since Flying Blue did away with their award chart, prices have been all over the place.  So your best chance of scoring a sweet deal is to be flexible with your dates and destinations.  But in the past, there have been Promo Awards from the US to Europe for as little as 14,000 miles one-way in Economy and 36,000 miles one-way in Business Class, which is a great deal.

Flying Blue Promo Awards are a great way to get to Amsterdam and beyond

If you’re looking to visit a KLM or Air France hub city, like Amsterdam or Paris, you can’t beat some of these prices.  And even if you want to visit somewhere else in Europe you can always fly to the cheapest city and then find an inexpensive flight with one of Europe’s many discount carriers to your final destination.

Flying Blue miles are easy to earn because they transfer from all the major flexible points programs.  Here are the cards with the biggest intro bonuses for each program:

Chase Ultimate Rewards

AMEX Membership Rewards

Capital One

Citi ThankYou

Marriott

3.   Iberia 50% Off Award Sale

Iberia is one of 3 airlines, along with British Airways & Aer Lingus, that uses Avios points.  So you can actually transfer points between all 3 airlines.  There are some quirks you’ll want to be aware of, but this guide can walk you through the process.

Each of the airlines has different sweet spots in their award chart, but Iberia actually has regular award sales for up to 50% off.  There isn’t a set schedule for when they run these sales, but they’ve been reoccurring consistently for 5+ years.  For example, right now there is an Iberia sale for 25% off award flights to Madrid.

In the past, this sale has only applied to Iberia flights.  So you’ll have to look for deals to Spain from:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco (seasonal)

For each sale, you’ll need to read the specific terms because sometimes it is limited only to specific cities.  And Iberia operates a distance-based award chart, so the longer the flight the more points it will cost.  Of course, the opposite is true for shorter flights.

So with this sale, you can book round-trip off-peak flights from places like Boston, New York, or Chicago to Europe for 17,000 Avios points in Economy or 34,000 Avios in Business Class.

You can transfer points to Iberia from Chase Ultimate Rewards, AMEX Membership Rewards, or Marriott.

You can also earn Avios points with any of these credit cards:

The information for the British Airways Visa Signature Card, Iberia Visa Signature® Card and the 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.

4.   Transfer Bonuses to Flying Blue, Avios, Virgin Atlantic, and Others

Transfer bonuses are in a way, like indirect award sales.  The actual price of the award flight isn’t discounted, but the rate at which you can convert flexible points into airline miles is increased.  The holy grail of award deals is when a transfer bonus and award sale align.  And of course, when award sales happen on a regular basis, it’s more likely to happen.

The transferable rewards programs that most regularly offer transfer bonuses are AMEX Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points.  So those are the flexible rewards to collect if you want to be ready when a good transfer bonus pops up.

Avios points are a great way to book flights to Ireland on Aer Lingus

Marriott will occasionally offer transfer bonuses when converting your hotel points to airline miles, and Capital One just had the first transfer bonus they’ve ever had (100% bonus for transfer to Emirates).  But they both have transfer ratios of less than 1:1 to start with, so it’s less likely to be a killer deal.

Here are 3 of the best airline frequent flyer programs for taking advantage of transfer bonuses:

  • Avios points (British Airways, Aer Lingus, or Iberia) – Great for short-haul awards within the US, Europe, and Japan, great for getting from the West Coast to Hawaii, and excellent deals from the US to Ireland or Spain
  • Flying Blue – Good because you can double up the savings with their monthly Promo Awards
  • Virgin Atlantic – Incredible deals to Japan on partner ANA and you can book Delta awards for much less than what Delta would charge for the same flights

All of these airlines regularly have transfer bonuses that fall between 25% and 30%.  Last year, AMEX Membership Rewards even offered a 40% transfer bonus to British Airways or Iberia from AMEX Membership Rewards.

There isn’t a set schedule for when transfer bonuses happen, but all of those airlines had at least one transfer bonus from either Citi ThankYou or AMEX Membership Rewards last year.  Currently, there is a 25% bonus for AMEX Membership Rewards transfers to Flying Blue (until April 29, 2019).  So subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll let you know when the new Flying Blue Promo awards are live.

5.   American Airlines Economy Web Specials & Reduced Mileage Awards

American Airlines has two ongoing award promotions:

The Reduced Mileage Awards are discounts available on domestic American Airlines Saver award flights to/from a rotating list of 150+ airports.  These discounts are available for cardholders of select American Airlines credit cards.

Depending on which American Airlines credit card you have, and the distance of your flight, you can receive a 2,000 to 7,500 mile discount per round-trip award flight.  While this isn’t as stellar of a deal as some of the other sales, it can be a bit easier to take advantage of because it runs constantly.

Economy Web Specials can be a great way to get to Europe, but the routes are limited

If you’re looking for excellent American Airlines deals then you’ll want to check out their Economy Web Specials.  With these deals, I’ve seen 6,000-mile one-way flights to Europe and 5,000-mile one-way domestic flights.

That said, as amazing as these deals are, they aren’t easy to figure out.  For starters, the deals are only for a small list of specific routes and American Airlines doesn’t publish a list of which routes are eligible.  So there’s no easy to way to know which routes will be on sale and when.

Here are some of the routes that have had Economy Web Special prices in the past and might still have some deals:

  • Chicago to Montego Bay
  • Los Angeles to Barcelona
  • Los Angeles to Honolulu
  • Miami to Aruba
  • Miami to Madrid
  • Phoenix to Honolulu
  • Raleigh/Durham to London
  • St. Louis to Paris

Bottom Line

Awards sales may not be something you can rely on if your travel plans aren’t flexible.  But if you have the patience you can grab amazing deals.

Many of these regular award sales are for airline programs with easy to earn miles, like Flying Blue, Delta, or Iberia.  And this is just another reason why collecting flexible rewards, like AMEX Membership Rewards points or Chase Ultimate Rewards, should be an important part of your credit card strategy.

To be notified about these kinds of deals, subscribe to our newsletter:

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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! :)

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Great post! Thanks! First time I heard of Economy Web Special awards-I guess I don’t usually book award flights for those specific routes but good to know there’s an option. Regarding the AA Reduced Mileage Awards, do those only apply for round trips? Do I get reduced Mileage on one-way award bookings? My last question, which is completely unrelated to AA awards program, is “Virgin Atlantic – Incredible deals to Japan on partner ANA and you can book Delta awards for much less than what Delta would charge for the same flights”. Could you elaborate more on that or if there’s a separate article on that please kindly direct me to it. Thanks so much!

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