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Travel using points and miles doesn’t always have to involve flights across the world.
While an around-the-world ticket flying business class to tons of destinations would be awesome, most people’s schedules don’t allow enough time to pull this off. Instead, taking a long weekend getaway is more what they’re after.
Whether you’re trying to escape the bitter cold of winter, or just need a quick vacation refresher, points and miles can certainly help to eliminate some costs associated with your getaway, or maybe entirely!
To help get you thinking, here are a few great options for you to consider when planning your next romantic getaway using points and miles.
In This Article
Most people associate Paris, France with being the most romantic city in the world. It’s often referred to as the “City of Love.” It’s known as this for a number of reasons, but a quick getaway to Paris isn’t in the cards for most people. Traveling to Paris from the US and spending just 2-3 nights there and then returning home just isn’t an exciting adventure for most people.
Enter Montreal. Located just north of Vermont, it’s proximity to the US provides the full European experience without the long transatlantic flight. French is widely spoken here, and Montreal’s French-colonial roots give it the full feel being in the heart of Paris, with cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, and local markets. Whether you fly to Vermont and take a beautiful drive across the border, or fly directly into Montreal, the city is extremely easy to get to.
During the winter, it might not be the most ideal destination given the weather. However, Montreal has an incredible underground city that stretches 20 miles and covers 4.3 million square feet, and allows you to escape the brutally cold winters in order to still enjoy shopping, entertainment, dining, and much more.
With it being so brutally cold during the winter, Montrealers spend as much time as possible outside when the weather is nice during the spring and summer months! You’ll find countless restaurants and bars with wonderful outdoor patios and terraces, some boasting tremendous views. Outdoor living when the weather is nice in Montreal is hard to beat!
Montreal (YUL) is very easy to get to from just about anywhere in the US. But remember one important detail – you need your U.S. passport to get to and from the US and into Canada. Other than that, once you’ve arrived at YUL, you’re just a short 20-minute ride to downtown via public transit.
Another fun option would be to fly to Burlington VT, and then rent a car and drive across the border. Be sure you end up back in Burlington, however, as a one-way international car rental would be very very expensive!
Home to some of the whitest sand and calmest, clearest blue water in not only the Caribbean but the world, Turks & Caicos makes an excellent getaway for using points. If you live on the East Coast or Midwest, most places are just a 1-stop flight from this tropical paradise, making it ideal for even a short 3-4 night getaway.
From fine dining to local no-frills dining, you can find it all in Turks & Caicos, making it the perfect tropical escape. The locals are all friendly and outgoing, and extremely proud of their island, which means that more often than not, they’re more than willing to help make your experience a pleasant one!
The one challenge Turks & Caicos presents is that they currently have virtually no points properties. The one exception to this is the Sailrock Resort, a property on the island of South Caicos bookable for 40,000 Hyatt points per night. A few new properties such as a Ritz Carlton and Andaz are currently under construction, so in a few short years, this issue should be rectified with some wonderful hotels.
In the meantime, if you have purchase eraser cards such as the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card or Barclays Aviator+, then if you find some reasonable cash rates for hotel rooms, you can use those points towards offsetting some or potentially all of your stay. Rates fluctuate heavily during peak and off-peak seasons, so if you time it right, a room that often goes for $600-800/night during the peak season can be booked for $200-300/night during more of the off-peak times, making it a great use of purchase eraser cards.
There are a number of easy ways to fly to Turks & Caicos, making it ideal for using points:
- Using revenue based award programs, you can fly on Southwest via Fort Lauderdale (FLL), making a great use of your Companion Pass, or fly on Jetblue from New York (JFK) and FLL.
- Other options unfortunately now require using dynamic pricing award programs, which in turn makes predicting the award prices a bit trickier. You can fly on American Airlines nonstop from CLT and MIA.
When milesAAver space is available, these AA flights present an incredible opportunity for using British Airways Avios at 9,000 per person each way from CLT and 7,500 per person each way from MIA.
Otherwise, you’re beholden to AA’s now dynamic award rates. You can fly Delta non-stop from Atlanta, but mileage costs can be tricky to predict since Delta doesn’t publish an award chart. You can fly United from EWR and seasonally from ORD, but again, given their variable award pricing, the cost can be tough to predict.
Who doesn’t like the idea of a romantic getaway to Beverly Hills? Spend a few days in this posh locale by staying at one of the most iconic hotels in the area – the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Take advantage of the luxurious experience and high-end service that Waldorf Astoria is known for. And if you’re looking for world-class shopping, the shopping mecca Rodeo Drive is just a short walk outside of the hotel property.
The Waldorf Astoria is bookable with Hilton points, and starts at 95k/Hilton points per night. With rates often starting in the $600-$700 per night range, and going up from there, this can be a great use of Hilton points.
But an even better option would be if you and/or your spouse are cardholders of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. One of the benefits of this card is that you receive one weekend night at almost any Hilton property worldwide each year that you’re a cardholder, which means that you could redeem that free weekend night at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.
Even better, if by chance your spouse is also a cardholder, you could use both nights for a nice getaway in Beverly Hills by redeeming both of your nights.
Not only could you get 2 free nights here from the Aspire card, but by being a cardmember, you’ll receive Hilton Diamond elite status. By using this at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, you give yourself a tremendous chance at being upgraded to one of the many different suites offered that often start at $1,000/night and go up from there.
Los Angeles (LAX) is extremely easy to get to from just about anywhere in the world, so no matter where you’re coming from and how you’re flying, LAX is easy flight away on almost all major airlines.
Big Sur is located on a beautiful and pristine stretch of California coastline called the Central Coast. Boasting the infamous Highway 1 that weaves along the rugged and wild coastline and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean mile after mile, Big Sur feels like a throwback to another era in time. It has a Zen-like feel to it, with it’s relaxed atmosphere and culture nestled among the incredible Redwood forests. You won’t find any cell phone towers or big chain hotels and resorts here, and there are only a handful of restaurants.
Nestled among these Redwood forests with just spectacular sunset views over the Pacific lies the Alila Ventana Big Sur. This property just screams relaxation on all fronts. It’s quiet, no matter how at capacity the 59-room property is. Its remote location offers no light pollution at night, offering an incredible opportunity for stargazing.
So if your ideal getaway might include a little bit of hiking, sitting outside your room taking in the view, a few glasses of wine (this practically is wine country you know), and some spectacular culinary experiences, then Alila Ventana Big Sur might be just what you’re looking for.
Its parent company, Alilia Hotels, recently joined World of Hyatt in the summer of 2019, so Ventana Big Sur has only recently been bookable with points. With cash rates regularly at $1,000+ per night at this Category 7 Hyatt property, being able to redeem 30,000 Hyatt points per night provides an excellent value and award redemption.
If you’re a Hyatt Globalist loyalty member, not only will you often receive an incredible upgrade to some of the suites and villas available, you’ll also receive waived parking costs and resort fees. So if you’re a Globalist, or know someone that is and can book you as a Guest of Honor, this is a spectacular domestic Hyatt redemption.
Getting to Big Sur isn’t too difficult. It’s located about a 2-hour drive from San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC), and offers a spectacular drive along the coastline once you get out of San Francisco. Both SFO and SJC offer service from a number of domestic carriers and are easy to get to. You can also fly into Monterey (MRY) and drive about 45 minutes to Big Sur, but MRY offers limited service from only United, American and Alaska.
Originating back as early as 1670, it doesn’t get much more romantic than the oldest city in South Carolina – Charleston, SC. Boasting both world-class dining and food scene and incredible historical architecture, this gem of the South and lowcountry makes for an incredible getaway destination.
Make your way through downtown by exploring the cobbled stone streets on a horse-drawn carriage ride. Be sure to view the landmark Rainbow Row – which is a collection of 18th-century colorful historic buildings located near The Battery, which overlooks Fort Sumter. Then catch a ferry out to Fort Sumter, and see where the Civil War started.
A few days certainly isn’t enough to experience all that Charleston has to offer, but it’s enough to dip your toes into experiencing it, and to encourage a return visit or two.
You can use Marriott Bonvoy points to stay at two unique and distinct properties – The Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, Autograph Collection and the Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel. Being located right in the heart of downtown, they’ll both provide a luxurious and relaxing accommodation for your exploration of Charleston.
Both are Category 6 properties, so award stays cost 50,000 Marriott points for standard dates, 40,000 points for off-peak dates and 60,000 points for peak dates. If you’re able to secure off-peak pricing, both properties make an excellent redemption for 40,000 points. If you’re able to secure standard pricing, don’t forget that if you’re a cardholder of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, you get a free night award good at properties costing 50,000 points per night or less.
Getting to Charleston (CHS) is easy, with service from major airlines such as Delta, American Airlines, United, Jetblue, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines, to name a few. And with Southwest flying to CHS, it’s a great way to make use of your Companion Pass.
By maintaining a healthy stash of points and miles, weekend getaways like the above are certainly more regularly attainable. To the average person, some of the above getaways could easily run into the thousands of dollars, but by using points and miles instead, they might just cost a few hundred dollars if not zero for a memorable getaway experience.
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