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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Here’s a look at what’s new and exciting in 2018!
If you’re new to the miles & points hobby, these 10 deals are a fantastic way to get Big Travel with Small Money. For example, you can get the 4th night free on paid hotel stays. Or pay fewer miles to fly to Hawaii from the West Coast!
Here are the best travel deals for 2018!
Best Travel Deals 2018
Link: Hot Deals
Before signing-up for any credit card deals, it’s important to consider your travel goals to decide which miles & points are best to collect for your trip!
1. Friend or Loved One Flies With You for (Almost) Free With Southwest Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass has always been (and still is!) my favorite travel deal.
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 only have to pay taxes and fees for your companion’s flight!
To qualify for the Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year.
Right now, it’s possible to earn 110,000 Southwest points by signing up for 2 of the Chase Southwest cards (1 personal and 1 small business) and meeting the minimum spending requirements!
Just be sure to avoid these 3 common mistakes when trying to earn the Companion Pass.
Keep in mind, if you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards) in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for any of the Chase Southwest cards.
2. 4th Hotel Night Free Perk With Citi Prestige
Link: Citi Prestige® Card
Team members Keith and Harlan have each received more than $2,800 in statement credits during the time they’ve had the Citi Prestige!
You can make this deal even better by stacking it with other discounts. And it’s a great option for folks who book business travel and get reimbursed by an employer.
There’s no limit to the number of times you can use this perk. And if you book through the Citi Prestige concierge (NOT online), 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!
3. Get Big Travel With Starwood Points
Or you can stretch your points for hotel stays with perks like:
- 5th night free on award stays at category 3 to 7 hotels
- Cash + Points
- Nights & Flights, like a 5-night hotel stay and 2 airline tickets to Disney!
Starwood hotels include:
- Design Hotels
- Four Points
- Le Meridien
- St Regis
- The Luxury Collection
- Tribute Portfolio
Here are some of my favorite Starwood hotels in Europe, the US, the Caribbean & Mexico, Asia & Australia, and Central & South America. And check out these 7 example week-long vacations you can book using Cash & Points.
You can stretch your Starwood points by booking a Nights & Flights package, which gets you one of these options:
- 5 nights at a Starwood Category 3 hotel and 50,000 airline miles for 60,000 Starwood points
- 5 nights at a Starwood Category 4 hotel and 50,000 airline miles for 70,000 Starwood points
Don’t forget, you can also transfer Starwood points to Marriott points at a 1:3 ratio. Then, book award nights at Marriott hotel brands!
Note: American Express only allows folks to get the sign-up bonus ONCE per person, per lifetime on ALL their cards.
4. Fly to Brussels for Cheap and Then Explore Europe
This deal is less attractive since Etihad revised their award chart for partner award flights in early 2017. But, for example, you can still get a round-trip award flight from New York (JFK) to Brussels for:
- 54,000 Etihad miles in coach
- 88,000 Etihad miles in Business Class
- 60,000 United Airlines miles in coach
- 115,000 United Airlines miles in Business Class (on United Airlines)
- 140,000 United Airlines miles in Business Class (on partner airlines)
Even if your final destination is not Brussels, you can use this award flight as a springboard to explore other parts of Europe!
5. $300 Travel Credit With the Chase Sapphire Reserve
Link: Chase Sapphire Reserve
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (my favorite kind of points!) after spending $4,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening.
Along with a great sign-up bonus, the card comes with a $300 annual credit for travel purchases every cardmember year.
The credit starts working as soon as you get the card and covers purchases like:
- Hotels & Motels (including Airbnb)
- Car rental agencies
- Cruise lines
- Travel agencies
- Discount travel sites
- Passenger trains
- Taxis (including Uber and Lyft)
- Toll bridges & highways
- Parking lots & garages
You do NOT have to spend $300 in one transaction to use the travel credit. You will be reimbursed for all travel purchases until you’ve reached $300.
6. Avoid Blackout Dates & Get Points Back for Flights With the AMEX Business Platinum
You’ll get 35% points back for ANY Business or First Class ticket you purchase using Pay With Points. And you’ll get a 35% rebate for coach tickets booked with Pay With Points on your selected airline. You can read my post about why I chose Southwest!
Using Pay With Points gives folks a flexible option to book flights without blackout dates. And you can take advantage of the current card offer to get at least ~$1,400 in airfare!
Plus, you’ll earn airline miles on your paid flight because it’s essentially the same as paying with cash!
7. Save Miles With Short-Haul Alaska Airlines Award Flights
For example, a one-way flight between San Francisco and Portland costs 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles.
It’s also possible to book a one-way flight with a stopover for the same cost as a regular one-way flight, as long as the stopover doesn’t bump you into a higher distance tier. And you can find good deals on longer distance award flights, too!
|Distance Flown||Old Price of Award Ticket||New Price of Award Ticket|
|Less than 700 miles (intra state)||7,500 Alaska Airlines miles||5,000 Alaska Airlines miles|
|Less than 700 miles||12,500 Alaska Airlines miles||5,000 Alaska Airlines miles|
|701 to 1,400 miles||12,500 Alaska Airlines miles||7,500 Alaska Airlines miles|
|1,401 to 2,100 miles||12,500 Alaska Airlines miles||10,000 Alaska Airlines miles|
|More than 2,100 miles||12,500 Alaska Airlines miles||12,500 Alaska Airlines miles|
If you need help finding the flight distance between any 2 cities, check out my post about how to quickly find flight distance & duration with Great Circle Mapper!
If you’re looking for more ways to earn Alaska Airlines miles, you could consider the personal or business version of the Bank of America Alaska Airlines card. With both cards, you’ll earn 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles after completing minimum spending requirements.
Or, transfer Starwood points at a 1:1 ratio to your Alaska Airlines account from cards like the personal or business AMEX Starwood card.
Remember, if you transfer 20,000 Starwood points, you get a 5,000 mile bonus for a total of 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles.
Before you redeem Alaska Airlines miles, read my post about great ways to use Alaska miles!
8. Fly to Hawaii for Less Using Singapore Airlines Miles
Alaska Airlines added Singapore Airlines to their list of valuable airline partners a few months ago. And redeeming Singapore Airlines miles for flights on Alaska Airlines can save you TONS of miles on award flights to Hawaii!
This is an especially great deal, because earning Singapore Airlines miles is extremely easy. Singapore Airlines is a transfer partner of all 4 major flexible points programs:
Flying from the West Coast to Hawaii only costs 12,000 Singapore Airlines miles. That’s cheaper than using British Airways Avios points!
If you’re traveling to Hawaii from anywhere else, consider using Singapore Airlines miles to book United Airlines award flights. You’ll save 10,000 to 20,000 miles compared to booking directly with United Airlines miles!
Round-trip award flights from the US to Hawaii cost:
- 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles in coach
- 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles in Business Class
Booking directly through United Airlines would cost you:
- 45,000 United Airlines Airlines miles in coach
- 80,000 United Airlines miles in Business Class
Note: You’ll have to call Singapore Airlines at 800-742-3333 to book this way.
9. Discounted Award Flights to Europe Using Singapore Airlines Miles
You can save miles on award flights to Europe by using Singapore Airlines miles to book award flights.
Singapore Airlines miles are easy to earn because they’re a partner of all 4 transferable points programs:
Singapore Airlines low-level one-way award flights between New York and Frankfurt cost:
- 22,500 Singapore Airlines miles in coach
- 65,000 Singapore Airlines miles in Business Class
- 76,000 Singapore Airlines miles in First Class suites
Singapore Airlines removed the previous 15% online booking discount. But you’ll no longer pay fuel surcharges!
10. Round-Trip Flights to Ireland for 26,000 Points!
It’s easier than you might think to find the miles & points you need for an Aer Lingus flight from the US to Ireland, because you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Aer Lingus. Plus, because Aer Lingus is an airline partner with British Airways, you can redeem British Airways Avios points for an Aer Lingus award flight to Dublin, too.
And British Airways is a transfer partner of 3 of the 4 major flexible points programs:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 ratio)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 ratio, but it’s easier to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points directly to Aer Lingus)
- Starwood Preferred Guest (1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer)
Aer Lingus uses a distance based award chart. You can book round-trip award flights to Dublin from these US cities for 26,000 British Airways Avios points in coach during the off-season:
- New York (JFK)
- Philadelphia (starting March 2018)
- Washington, DC
Off-peak times include almost 8 months out of the year. And during peak travel times, you’ll pay 40,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip flight. This is still a great travel deal because United Airlines charges 60,000 miles for a similar award flight.
You can read my step-by-step guide to finding available Aer Lingus award seats and booking these flights. And be sure to check out Million Mile Secrets contributor Lyn’s Aer Lingus flight review here!
There are lots of excellent travel deals for folks looking to get Big Travel with Small Money in 2018!
Some of the best deals include:
- Southwest Companion Pass
- $300 annual travel credit with the Chase Sapphire Reserve
- AMEX Business Platinum Pay With Points perk
Let me know about your favorite travel deal in the comments!