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INSIDER SECRET: If you live near gateway cities like New York, Boston, or Chicago, you can get some unbelievably fantastic Business Class deals to Europe. I’ll show you!
If you’re new to the miles and points hobby, these 10 deals are a fantastic way to travel to amazing places and save a bunch of cash.
Here are the best travel deals for 2019.
Best Travel Deals 2019
Whether you’re new to miles and points or a seasoned veteran, prefer coach or business class, or just want to save money, there are so many ways to get you where you want to go.
Before signing up for any credit card deals, it’s important to consider your travel goals so you can pick the best miles and points to collect for your trip. Here are some great ideas to get you started this year.
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) one of the best travel deals out there.
With the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member can travel with you almost for free on paid and award tickets for up to two years. You’ll only have to pay taxes and fees for your companion’s flight (usually less than $12 for a domestic round-trip flight).
To get the Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 qualifying Southwest points in a calendar year — and the points earned from credit card sign-up bonuses count toward that requirement.
Right now, you can earn 80,000 Southwest points when you open the new Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card and meet the minimum spending requirements. And you can earn the additional points needed by flying Southwest, spending on your Southwest credit card or opening a Southwest personal credit card, as well.
Keep in mind, the Southwest cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, so if you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for any of the Chase Southwest cards.
For everything you want/need to know about this deal, read our Southwest Companion Pass FAQ page!
2. Take An Extra Flight with United Airlines Excursionist Perk
The United Airlines Excursionist Perk is a great way to travel more without spending more miles. The Excursionist Perk allows you to book a free one-way flight when you are booking a round-trip or multi-city trip with miles (not cash) on United.
For example, if you’re visiting Europe, you could fly from:
- Chicago to Paris
- Paris to Rome
- Rome to Chicago
You would only be charged for the flights from Chicago to Paris and Rome to Chicago. The flight from Paris to Rome is your Excursionist Perk and won’t cost you any additional miles.
This is a great way to stretch your miles further on your next trip.
3. Amex Hilton Aspire for Top-Tier Status, Airline Credit, and More
The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express is one of the best credit cards out there for anyone who stays at Hilton hotels. It’s so good that it might even be a reason to start staying at Hilton hotels if you don’t already.
Right now, you can get a welcome bonus of 150,000 Hilton Honors points when you open the card and spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. But the benefits don’t stop there.
Cardholders will also automatically be upgraded to top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status, which includes things like complimentary breakfast, a 100% bonus on points earned when staying at Hilton hotels and more.
Cardholders will also receive a complimentary weekend-night certificate each year, Priority Pass Select airline lounge membership, $250 annual airline fee credit, and a $250 Hilton Resort credit. To find out more about these benefits, read our full review of the Hilton Aspire.
4. Business Class to Madrid for the Price of Coach with Iberia
Redeeming Iberia Avios points is one of my favorite ways to get to Europe because the prices in business class are less than what some airlines charge for coach. You can use your Iberia miles for business class and get some great value. My favorite option is to redeem 34,000 Iberia Avios to fly from Chicago to Madrid in business class one-way. Flights from Boston and New York cost the same. Most airlines, including United, Delta, and American, usually charge 30,000 miles just for coach.
Even when you consider that you might have to drive a bit further or book an extra flight to fly from Chicago, New York or Boston, it still can be a great deal.
You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio or from Marriott at a 3:1 ratio. If you already have British Airways Avios or Aer Lingus Avios, you can also transfer those to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio, too.
5. $300 Travel Credit With the Chase Sapphire Reserve
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (one of my favorite types) after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.
Along with a great sign-up bonus, the card comes with a $300 annual credit for travel purchases every year you’re a cardmember.
The credit starts working as soon as you get the card and covers purchases like:
- Hotels and motels (including Airbnb)
- Car rental agencies
- Cruise lines
- Travel agencies
- Discount travel sites
- Passenger trains
- Taxis (including Uber and Lyft)
- Toll bridges and highways
- Parking lots and 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 and 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 (see Rates & Fees).
Using Pay With Points provide a flexible option to book flights without blackout dates. Plus, you’ll earn airline miles on your Pay with Points flight because it’s essentially the same as paying with cash.
And remember, Amex small business cards don’t appear on your personal credit report. So they won’t count against Chase’s 5/24 rule if you apply for Chase cards in the future.
7. Get $300 Toward Your Next Marriott Stay
When the Marriott and Starwood Preferred Guest programs were combined into Marriott Bonvoy, a whole new set of credit card offers were made available. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card from American Express is the most luxurious of them all.
This card is only worth it for people who stay at Marriott hotels, but with so many locations around the world that shouldn’t be an issue. If you have a paid stay, you’ll get a $300 statement credit when you spend $300 or more at a Marriott property. And you’ll also get a free-night certificate valid at hotels costing up to 50,000 points per night each year. Cardholders are also upgraded to mid-tier Gold status.
Currently, this card offers 75,000 Marriott points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. To read more about what we think about this card, check out our full Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex review. (see rates and fees)
8. Fly to Hawaii for Less Using Singapore Airlines Miles
Alaska Airlines added Singapore Airlines to their list of valuable airline partners in 2017, and redeeming Singapore Airlines miles for flights on Alaska Airlines can save you lots 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 four major flexible points programs:
Flying from the West Coast to Hawaii only costs 12,000 Singapore Airlines miles. That’s one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get to Hawaii.
If you’re traveling to Hawaii from anywhere else, Singapore Airlines miles are still a good option. You can still redeem for flights on Alaska Airlines, or you can consider using Singapore Airlines miles to book United Airlines flights. You’ll save 10,000 to 20,000 miles compared to booking 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. The Best Deal to Get to Asia in Business Class With Alaska Miles
You’ll pay the following one-way prices:
- 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles in coach
- 35,000 Alaska Airlines miles in Premium Economy
- 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles in business class
- 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles in first class
No matter what class of service you book, you can’t go wrong. And you’ll surely enjoy flying to Asia in style.
10. SAS Promotion: Fly Up to 8 Children to Europe for Free
One of the absolute greatest deals in travel is the yearly SAS promotion that allows you to fly your kids to Europe for free.
Often popping up near the end of the year, you can bring up to eight kids ages 11 and under to Scandinavia for just the cost of taxes and fees when you purchase at least one adult ticket. That’s a potential savings of thousands of dollars.
You’ll have to depart from one of the cities SAS serves:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Washington, DC
And your destination must be one of the following cities:
Even if these destinations don’t appeal to you, it’s a good way for a large family to cross the Atlantic for cheap. Then it’s relatively inexpensive to hop to other European countries on budget airlines.
There are lots of excellent travel deals for folks looking to check off some bucket list items in 2019.
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
Leave any questions in the comments. And remember to subscribe to our newsletter for more tips on how to be smart with your miles and points!