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Last year, I shared my Top 10 Deals in Travel with y’all. And while some of those terrific deals are still available, it’s time for a 2016 update!
If you’re new to the miles and points hobby, these 10 deals are an excellent way to get started on your way to Big Travel with Small Money.
Before you start signing-up for credit cards, it’s important to consider your travel goals to decide which miles & points are best to collect for your trip!
Let’s look at current top 10 best travel deals and how you can use them to get Big Travel with Small Money quickly!
My Top 10 Favorite Travel Deals
Link: Hot Deals
Whether you’re new to miles & points or a hobby veteran, prefer domestic or international travel, or just want to get the most bang for your buck, these deals offer something for everybody!
1. Buy 1, Get 1 Flights With Southwest 50,000 Point Offers and Companion Pass
Link: Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass is still my favorite deal for domestic travel. With the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member can travel with you for almost free on paid and award tickets…for up to 2 years!
You’ll qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass when you earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year. By signing-up for 2 cards and meeting the minimum spending requirements, you’ll be most of the way there!
And it’s not as hard as you think 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.
Just be sure to avoid these 3 common mistakes!
2. Two Nights at Luxury Hotels With the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
You’ll earn 2 weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 on purchases in the first 4 months of opening your account.
Hilton hotels include Conrad, Canopy, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2Suites, Homewood Suites, Tru, and Waldorf Astoria brand hotels.
Check out my series on Hilton’s top-rated hotels for ideas on how to use your weekend night certificates! Depending on where you use them, you could save $1,000+!
3. Two Nights at Amazing 5-Star Hyatt Hotels
Link: Chase Hyatt
Here’s another opportunity to live like a king (or queen) for 2 nights with ONE credit card sign-up bonus!
Plus, you’ll earn 5,000 bonus Hyatt points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the same timeframe.
There’s a $75 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year. Many folks keep this card year after year, because you get a night in any category 1 to 4 Hyatt on your card anniversary.
You should see your Hyatt certificates in your account after you complete the minimum spending and your statement closes. And you’ll have a year from the date the certificates were issued to complete your stay.
Use the certificates at any Hyatt, including their all-inclusive resorts! It’s a fantastic deal!
4. 4th Hotel Night Free & Other Perks 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
Some folks balk at the Citi Prestige $450 annual fee, but if you know how to make the most of this card’s perks, you can get incredible value – worth well more than the annual fee!
You can make this deal even better by stacking it with other discounts. And by planning stays where your last night is the most expensive night, because you get a statement credit for the actual cost of your fourth 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 (or international partners) 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
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. So for instance, 20,000 Starwood points becomes 25,000 American Airlines miles!
Check out my updated post on how to get 5 nights & 2 airline tickets to Disney with 2 Starwood cards!
6. Short Expensive Domestic Flights (Including West Coast to Hawaii), Use British Airways Avios Points
But you’ll have to spend $15,000 in a year to earn the full bonus. That said, it’s worth 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.
It costs only 25,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip coach award ticket with no fuel surcharges.
So the current sign-up bonus from the Chase British Airways card could get you 3 round-trip award tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii!
Flights under 1,150 miles are only 7,500 British Airways Avios points one-way in coach. That’s a better deal than using points from major US airlines.
So the Chase British Airways sign-up bonus could get you 10 one-way short-haul coach award flights on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines in the US! That’s an excellent deal from one credit card!
7. 3 Free Nights at ANY Wyndham Hotel (Including All-Inclusive Resorts)
You’ll earn 30,000 Wyndham points after your first purchase. And you’ll earn an additional 15,000 Wyndham points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of opening your account.
Wyndham runs its loyalty program a little differently. All hotels cost 15,000 Wyndham points per night – from the cheapest Super 8 and Travelodge motels to their high-end Wyndham Grand and Wyndham Viva locations.
So it makes the most sense to use the 45,000 point sign-up bonus for their priciest resorts, because their budget hotels are typically inexpensive and better as paid stays.
Wyndham hotels include:
- Baymont Inn and Suites
- Days Inn
- Hawthorn Suites
- Howard Johnson
- Knights Inn
- Super 8
- Wyndham Garden
- Wyndham Grand
Remember, Barclaycard will typically only approve folks for 1 or 2 cards each year. So choose carefully!
8. Ultra-Luxury First Class Flights to Europe or Discounted Award Flights to Europe & Hawaii Using Singapore Airlines Miles
Most folks can easily earn Singapore Airlines miles, because they’re a partner of all 4 transferable points programs (American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest).
And you can earn Singapore Airlines miles when you fly JetBlue!
For example, 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 one-way flight to Europe is an excellent deal! To compare, United Airlines charges 30,000 miles for a one-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!
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!
9. Use Fewer American Airlines Miles to See the World by Traveling Off-Season
American Airlines recently changed their award chart, but you can still get good deals on off-peak season travel to many destinations! If your travel dates are flexible, you can save miles.
For example, you’ll normally pay 60,000 miles round-trip for a coach flight between the US and Europe on American Airlines or one of their partners, .
But during off-peak times (January 10 – March 14, and November 1 – December 14), it only costs 45,000 miles round-trip.
Note: Off-peak award pricing is only valid on American Airlines flights and not partner flights (except to Europe).
American Airlines also has off-peak award pricing between the US and:
- Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America: September 7 – November 14, April 27 – May 20
- China & Hong Kong: To China/Hong Kong: January 1 – April 30, July 1 – September 30, October 11 – November 30
From China/Hong Kong: February 1 – May 31, September 1 – 19, October 2 – December 31
- Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Manaus (Brazil): January 16 – June 14, September 7 – November 14
- Hawaii: To Hawaii: December 29 – March 12, August 11 – November 18, November 24 – December 10
From Hawaii: January 7 – March 19, August 18 – November 27, December 3 – December 25
- Japan: To Japan: January 1 – April 30, July 1 – November 30
From Japan: January 16 – April 19, May 2 – 31, September 1 – December 31
- Korea: To Korea: January 1 – April 30, July 1 – November 30
From Korea: January 16 – May 31, September 1 – December 31
If your travel dates line up, this is a terrific way to save 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!
Note: You’ll save 1,000 to 2,000 American Airlines miles round-trip on flights 500 miles or less.
Besides 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 with a 1:1 transfer ratio) 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
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 sometimes, flights between Europe and several US cities are included! You’ll still pay taxes and fees, but save on miles!
Flying Blue Promo Awards have been hit-and-miss lately, but it’s worth checking back every month to see if you can get a deal.
What’s even better about these awards is 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 must use Flying Blue miles (and not miles from one of their SkyTeam partners, like Delta) to book Flying Blue Promo Awards.
And keep your eye out for transfer bonuses to make the deal even sweeter!
I’ll remind y’all when the monthly awards are an especially good deal.
There are so many great deals available to help you stretch your miles & points and get Big Travel with Small Money!
Many of these deals have been around for a while, some deals come and go, and a few are for a limited time! Some of my favorites:
- Southwest 50,000 point cards + Southwest Companion Pass
- Chase British Airways total of 75,000 point bonus (cheap short-haul flights, West Coast flights to Hawaii)
- Citi Prestige 4th night free and amazing card perks
Did I miss your favorite travel deal? What would you add to my list?