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If you think you don’t have enough credit card points or airline miles to book your next vacation, think again.
While many travelers like to accumulate points and miles in an effort to save for business or first-class seats, with just a few points and miles, you can book some really great economy award fares to fly to some of our favorite destinations around the world.
Whether it’s a 9,000-mile roundtrip flight to Las Vegas (LAS) or a 50,000-mile roundtrip flight to Buenos Aires (EZE), Rio de Janeiro (GIG), or Tahiti (PPT), there’s no shortage of ways to squeeze in every time you go. Potential percentage between points and miles you have when flying economy.
And you can have all kinds of points and miles to take advantage of these deals. Below, we’ll show you examples of flights booked with Delta SkyMiles, American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Built Rewards points, AAdvantage Miles, United MileagePlus Miles, Capital One Venture Miles, and Virgin Atlantic Miles.
But the best thing about booking economy award tickets is that award availability is much easier to find than business and first class flights. This is especially true if you plan to travel with two or more people.
Interested in flying up the front? Check out the best business class award deals we’ve found this year
The only thing all these deals have in common is that they are sent to us Thrifty Traveler Premium+ Customers Premium+ members will receive every points and miles deal we send from their home airport, with the option to also receive every Premium cabin deal we send – regardless of departure airport.
Delta SkyMiles Economy Flash Sales
When it comes to flying economy, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better value than Delta SkyMiles. Delta’s points currency tends to be low (waaaay short) on premium cabin bookings, but its economy award fares may be among the most competitive in the business.
That’s because Delta doesn’t publish an award chart and employs a dynamic pricing model for SkyMiles. This leads us to four of our favorite words: Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales.
When Delta puts its economy award fares on sale, you’ll get:
For just 9,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, you can fly from Hawaii and the West Coast back. And if you knock those fares up to 15,000 roundtrip, you can get a fully refundable main cabin fare on the same flight!
This deal is no longer available. Join Thrifty Traveler Premium+ so you don’t miss the next one!
But your SkyMiles can take you much further than Hawaii. What about this flash sale with service to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) that we posted a few months ago? Starting at just 50,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, you can book a bucket list trip to Rio that includes availability during the city’s world-famous Carnival celebrations.
In the deal we wrote below, the cash rate on that flight was close to $2,000 from many of the cities on the list….ouch.
The same is true of this SkyMiles deal in Buenos Aires (EZE) we revealed a few months later. These LATAM flights can be booked using SkyMiles and can get you to the heart of South America while saving your hard-earned cash in the process.
If you were to do a SkyMiles-per-actual-miles breakdown of this next deal, you’d probably find it the best Economy SkyMiles deal we’ve ever sent. For just 50,000 SkyMiles roundtrip, you can book this dreamy honeymoon vacation.
Further across the Pacific, you could also book this 70,000-SkyMiles roundtrip fare to Tokyo (TYO). This deal, which we dug up after Japan reopened to travelers, sent our customers spinning. Premium+ members in Tokyo are probably on the trip of a lifetime right now as you read this.
SkyMiles can get you around the world and back again, but they can also fuel your domestic flights. Check out this SkyMiles fare from San Francisco (SFO) to Seattle (SEA) for just 6,000 and $11 roundtrip!
Or it’s from Minneapolis (MSP) to Las Vegas (LAS) for just 9,000 SkyMiles and $11.
Whether you have 6,000 SkyMiles or 60,000, you have enough SkyMiles to take a trip in 2023 or beyond. Just make sure you’re signed up Thrifty Traveler Premium+ So you get the first crack at booking this sweet, sweet fare.
Not to mention, thanks to the new Takeoff 15 benefit for Delta SkyMiles credit cardholders, you can get an additional 15% off any SkyMiles award booking — as long as it’s on a Delta-operated flight.
American, United, Virgin and more: Economy deals from all kinds of points and miles
Not to be outdone, airlines around the world like to swing for the fences from time to time with some lovely little economy award sales of their own.
It was particularly memorable for us Thrifty Traveler Premium+ Members to Sydney, Australia (SYD) for 70,000 American AAdvantage miles and $107 roundtrip!
This fare was part of Australia Flying American Airlines’ nationwide deal that many Premium+ customers took advantage of. That’s a pretty mind-blowing rate and the best points and miles roundtrip deal we’ve seen in a long, long time.
This flight deal to Chile was also a sizzler. American Airlines saw Delta fares in Argentina and Brazil and said, “Hold my beer.”
The cash rate on that same flight to Santiago (SCL) was well over four figures in fares. This is probably the best use of 40,000 American miles I can think of. A spectacular deal!
Although United Airlines miles deals are rare, they ran a unique promotion the Cyber Week after Thanksgiving in 2022, putting thousands of its flight itineraries on sale, starting with just 30,000 United miles roundtrip.
This deal was so extensive that we didn’t know where to begin. In the end, it covered nearly every US airport with United service and featured some of our favorite cities in Asia, Australia and Europe when it was all said and done.
These next few deals may seem head-scratching to some travelers. You might be saying, “Dude, I’m not collecting Virgin Atlantic miles or Air France/KLM Flying Blue points. Why would I book a contract with these currencies?”
The answer to this question is flexible point currency. If you earn points like American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Capital One Venture miles, Citi ThankYou points or Built Rewards points, you can transfer those points to many airline programs to take advantage of deals like this.
So, let’s say you have 17,000 points in your Capital One account. What could you possibly do with them?
Roundtrip fly to Cancun (CUN) and back, that’s what.
By transferring those 17,000 points from your Capital One account to your Virgin Atlantic account, you can book these Delta flights directly to the beach in minutes.
In fact, Chase, Capital One, Amex, Citi and Bilt are all Virgin Transfer partners, so you can shred those 17,000 points (or 34,000 for two!) to book.
Read Next: Master List of Credit Card Transfer Partners
And for just a few points more, you can book a fare to Europe using Virgin!
It’s not just a virgin thing, either. This week, Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France and KLM, ran a huge sale on its economy awards in Europe, resulting in nonstop rates to Amsterdam (AMS) and Paris (CDG) starting at just 23,000 Flying Blue miles roundtrip. .
This was another boon for our customers, including Chase, American Express, Capital One, Citi or Built Points, all of which migrated to Flying Blue.
Whether you’re looking for a weekend in Vegas or a bucket list trip to Tahiti, the right economy trip booked with points and miles shouldn’t break the bank.
While we love booking business and first-class award tickets, there’s also some great value in booking economy fares using your hard-earned points and miles. You just have to know where to look!
our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ Members know all about it and are given the first crack at finding these sizzling award deals for travel in 2023.