The 10 Best Deals in Travel & How to Make Them Even Better!

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It’s a terrific time to be in our hobby!  If you’re new at collecting miles & points, you’ve started at a great time!

That’s because there are lots of excellent deals available right now that can get you Big Travel with Small Money!

Some of these have been around for years, while others are available for a limited time.  And many will get you traveling for free or cheap very quickly!

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Dreaming of Your Next Vacation? You Can Get There Sooner by Making the Most of My Favorite Travel Deals!

Let’s take a look at 10 of the current top deals for travel and how you can make them even better!

My Top 10 Favorite Travel Deals

Link:   Beginner’s Guide to Miles & Points

Link:   Hot Deals

Whether you prefer domestic or international travel, enjoy luxury flights and hotels, or prefer to stay off the beaten path, these deals offer something for everyone!

1.   Buy 1, Get 1 Flights With Southwest 50,000 Point Offers and Companion Pass

Link:   Southwest Companion Pass

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier (Personal)

Link:   Chase Southwest Premier (Business)

Link:   Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

The Southwest Companion Pass is STILL the best deal for domestic travel!

With the Southwest Companion Pass, your partner or friend travels with you for almost free on paid and award tickets for up to 2 years.  It’s like flying 2-for-1!

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Bring a Buddy for Almost Free With the Southwest Companion Pass!

And it’s easy to get the pass because, right now, 2 Southwest cards have a 50,000 point bonus when you complete the minimum spending requirements.

To get the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll have to earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.  So by signing-up for 2 cards and meeting the minimum spending requirements, you’ll be most of the way there!

And it’s relatively easy to earn the rest of the points required!  Check out my post on the best ways to time your spending for the Southwest Companion Pass.

2.   Two Nights at Luxury Hotels With the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

Link:   Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card is an excellent way to get 2 weekend nights at almost ANY Hilton (even their luxury resorts!) very quickly!

You’ll earn 2 weekend night certificates after you spend $2,500 on purchases in the 1st 4 months of opening your account.

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Use Your Hilton HHonors Reserve Weekend Night Certificates at Resorts Like the Grand Wailea in Maui

Check out my series on Hilton’s top-rated hotels where you can use your weekend night certificates!  Some of these hotels cost over $600 per night!

Remember, you’ll earn your certificates shortly after the statement in which you complete the minimum spending closes.  And you’ll have 1 year from the date they’re issued to complete your stay.

3.   Two Nights at Amazing 5-Star Hyatt Hotels

Link:   Chase Hyatt

Link:   My Review of the Chase Hyatt

With the Chase Hyatt card, you’ll earn TWO nights at ANY Hyatt after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

If you’ve had a paid Hyatt stay since May 1, 2015, use this link instead to earn 2 nights plus a $50 statement credit after your 1st purchase

The annual fee of $75 is waived for the 1st year.  And you get a night in any category 1 to 4 Hyatt on your card anniversary.

Emily and I have enjoyed terrific stays at Hyatt hotels like the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Grand Hyatt Macau, Hyatt Regency Maui, and Park Hyatt Vendome Paris.

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Treat Yourself to a Luxury Resort Experience With Your Hyatt Certificates at the Amazing Grand Hyatt Kauai

The Hyatt certificates will be added to your account after you complete the minimum spending and your statement closes.  You’ll have 1 year from the date your certificates are issued to complete a stay.

And they’re valid at any Hyatt, including their all-inclusive resorts!  That’s an incredible deal!

4.   4th Hotel Night Free With Citi Prestige

Update:   Beginning July 23, 2017, the 4th night free perk will refund the average cost of a 4-night stay, NOT including taxes. 

Link:   Citi Prestige Card

Link:   My Review of the Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige has a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  (EXPIRED.)

It also comes with terrific perks, including the 4th night free on paid hotel stays when you book through the Citi Prestige Concierge.

And it can be at any hotel that can be booked through the Citi Travel Concierge.

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Save Big Money on Paid Hotel Stays With the Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Perk!

You can sweeten this deal by planning a trip where your last night is the most expensive night.  You’ll get a statement credit for the actual cost of your 4th night!

There’s no limit to the number of times you can use this perk.  And you’ll receive points, stay credits, and elite status perks at the hotel, just as you would if you booked directly!

Remember, you can also save on airfare with the Citi Prestige $250 annual airline fee credit or use your Citi ThankYou points at 1.6 cents each toward paid flights on American Airlines through July 23, 2017.  And golfers get 3 (or more) free rounds of golf per year through July 23, 2017!

5.   Starwood 5th Night Free or Hotel & Flight Packages

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:   Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Link:   How to Use Starwood Points

Starwood points are valuable because there are so many things you can do with them!  And when you transfer 20,000 Starwood points to airline partners, you’ll earn a 5,000 mile bonus.

But you’ll often do better by using Starwood points for stays at Starwood hotels, and taking advantage of the 5th night free on award stays in category 3 to 7 hotels!

Here are some of my favorite Starwood hotels in Europe, the US, the Caribbean & Mexico, Asia & Australia, Central & South America, and on US beaches!

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Get Your 5th Night Free on an Award Stay at The Park Lane Hotel, London

And there are other ways to stretch your Starwood points!  Combine Cash & Points for a longer (or nicer!) stay.  Or save points by booking Nights & Flights.

Check out my post on how to get 5 nights and 2 airline tickets to Walt Disney World from 2 Starwood credit cards!

6.   Forget Paying for Short Expensive Domestic Flights (Including West Coast to Hawaii), Use British Airways Avios Points

Link:   Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card – Total of 100,000 Points

The sign-up bonus on the Chase British Airways card was recently increased to a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points after completing the minimum spending ($20,000 total!).

If you’re comfortable spending $20,000 in a year, the sign-up bonus could get you a LOT of Big Travel!

One of the best deals using British Airways Avios points is for flights to Hawaii from the West Coast on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines.

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Dreaming of a Trip to Hawaii? British Airways Avios Points Could Get You There for Less!

You’ll only pay 25,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip coach award ticket with no fuel surcharges.  So the sign-up bonus from the Chase British Airways card could get a family of 4 to Hawaii for nearly free!

Some folks make the most of their British Airways Avios points by using them for short-haul domestic flights on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, or US Airways.  Flights under 650 miles are only 4,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way in coach (this will increase to 7,500 points on February 2, 2016).

So the increased Chase British Airways sign-up bonus could get you lots of 1-way coach award flights!  That’s an incredible value from credit card!

7.   Save 22%+ on Southwest, Disney, & More With Discover and Apple Pay [Expired]

Link:   Discover it® Cash Back

Link:   Discover it® Miles

Link:   Earn $2,000+ Cash Back With Discover and Apple Pay [Expired]

Until December 31, 2015, Discover will add 10% cash back to purchases (up to $10,000 total) made with your Discover card through Apple Pay  – in addition to the regular cash back you’ll earn!

If you’re a new Discover it Cash Back or Discover it Miles cardholder (or previously registered), Discover will match your cash back at the end of 12 billing cycles. The information for the Discover it Miles 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.

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Use Your Discover Card With Apple Pay to Earn LOTS of Cash Back on Purchases Until the End of the Year
This means that you’ll effectively earn 22% cash back (23% with the Discover it Miles card) on purchases at participating stores.  And you can buy gift cards for Southwest and Disney at some of these locations!

That’s a big discount on paid Southwest flights or for a Disney trip!  And an even better deal if you have the Southwest Companion Pass!

Check out my series on other ways to save money on your dream Disney vacation!

8.  Ultra-Luxury First Class Flights to Europe or Discounted Award Flights to Europe & Hawaii Using Singapore Airlines Miles

Link:   Fly Amazing First Class Suite to Europe With Little More Than 1 Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus

Link:  Deals on Award Flights in US (Including Hawaii) Using Starwood Points

Folks planning a trip to Europe or Hawaii could save by using Singapore Airlines miles to book award flights!  (You may already have access to these miles and not know it!  I’ll explain shortly.)

You can fly a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 between New York and Frankfurt (including the 15% online booking discount) for:

  • 17,000 Singapore Airlines miles in coach
  • 48,875 Singapore Airlines miles in Business Class
  • 57,375 Singapore Airlines miles in First Class
17,000 miles for a 1-way flight to Europe is an excellent deal!  To compare, United Airlines charges 30,000 miles for a 1-way coach award flight to Europe.

And if you want to splurge, you could spend just 57,375 Singapore Miles for an amazing First Class suite!

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Cross 1 Off the Bucket List and Fly in a Singapore Airlines Suite Between New York and Frankfurt for 57,375 Singapore Airlines Miles

If you’re traveling to Hawaii, consider using Singapore Airlines miles to book United Airlines award flights.  You’ll save 10,000 to 20,000 miles compared to booking with United Airlines miles!

Remember, Singapore Airlines miles are easy to earn!  That’s because they’re a partner of all 4 main transferable points programs – American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest.

And you can now earn Singapore Airlines miles when you fly JetBlue!

9.   Use Fewer American Airlines Miles to See the World by Traveling Off-Season

Link:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

Link:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Link:   Top 5 Cheap Ways to Get to Europe Using Miles & Points

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select 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.

If your travel dates are flexible, you can spend fewer miles with American Airlines’ off-peak award flights.

For example, you’ll normally pay 60,000 miles round-trip for a coach flight between the US and Europe on American Airlines or 1 of their partners, .

But during off-peak times (October 15 to May 15), it only costs 40,000 miles round-trip.

Update:   American Airlines is changing its award chart on March 22, 2016.  Off-peak award prices are changing (most are going up slightly), and travel dates will be different.
The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
Sneak Away for a Romantic Getaway to Paris This Spring for Just 40,000 American Airlines Miles Round-Trip

American Airlines also has off-peak award pricing between the US and:

  • Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay:  March 1 – May 31, August 16 – November 30
  • Caribbean and Mexico:  September 7 – November 14
  • Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela:  January 16 – June 14, September 7 – November 14
  • Hawaii:  January 12 – March 13, August 22 – December 15
  • Japan and South Korea:  October 1 – April 30

If your travel dates line up, this is a terrific way to save some miles!

Remember, if you have certain credit cards, you can save 5,000 to 7,500 American Airlines miles round-trip on domestic (US and Canada) flights with American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards!

Beside earning American Airlines miles from their credit cards, you can transfer Starwood points to American Airlines.  

Transfer 20,000 Starwood points to American Airlines (or any partner airline) and you’ll get a 5,000 mile bonus for a total of 25,000 American Airlines miles.

10.   Monthly Discounts Make It Easier to Get to Europe, the Middle East, & Near Asia With Flying Blue Promo Awards

Link:   Air France / KLM Flying Blue Promo Awards

Each month, Flying Blue (Air France and KLM’s frequent flyer program) offers discounts of 25% to 50% on award flights between certain cities.  (You likely have access to Flying Blue miles, I’ll explain in a moment!)

And often, flights between Europe and several US cities are included!  You’ll still pay taxes and fees, but save on miles!

The 10 Best Deals In Travel How To Make Them Even Better
This Month, Book Flights Between Houston and Europe for 25% Fewer Miles in Coach

Your flights don’t have to end in Amsterdam or Paris (the destinations served directly by KLM and Air France from the North America).  You can connect onward to other cities in Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Near Asia for the same number of miles!

You have to use Flying Blue miles (and not miles from 1 of their SkyTeam partners, like Delta) to book Flying Blue Promo Awards.

But you can transfer your AMEX Membership RewardsCiti ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest points to Flying Blue program to take advantage of these sales.

And keep your eye out for transfer bonuses to make the deal even better!

I’ll post a reminder each month and explain when these sales are an especially good deal.

Bottom Line

There are many great opportunities to make your miles and points stretch even further!

Most are on-going, but a few are for a limited time!  Some of my favorites:

Which of your favorite travel deals would you add to my list?

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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