MyTravelHacks: How to get 5 roundtrip tickets to Hawaii for $775

This article shows how to get 5 roundtrip tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii for $775, but it’s just an example. You could use the same strategy to fly almost anywhere in the U.S. (or abroad) many times for less than $1k.

The hack uses two of my favorite credit cards: The Alaska Visa Signature and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you have these cards already — great — you can use them for this hack. If you don’t: Please only get them if you’re paying off your current cards and your credit is good.

Now, down to brass tacks (whatever those are.)

The Alaska card provides three bonuses that we care about for the purposes of this hack:

  • A signup bonus of 40,000 Alaska miles (after minimum spend)
  • An companion fare, which lets someone else travel on the same itinerary for $121, no matter the cost of your original ticket
  • 3x miles for each dollar spent on Alaska

The Chase card offers tons of things, only one of which we care about here:

  • A signup bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

You’ll want to wait to apply for the second card until you’ve hit the minimum spend on the first card. Then you’ll have 60,000 Chase points, 40,000 Alaska miles, and a companion fare.

Here’s how to use them:

Tickets 1 + 2: Companion Fare

Assuming a roundtrip ticket to Hawaii costs about $450 (with a deal from MyTravelNerd, naturally), buying two tickets with the Alaska companion fare will be $450 + $121 = $571. These are the only tickets you’ll pay for with cash.

Bonus: You’ll earn ~5,000 Alaska miles for flying this route, and 1,713 miles for using your Alaska card to pay for the tickets. So you now have 46,713 Alaska miles in the bank.

Ticket 3: Alaska miles

Alaska offers one-way flights from the U.S. to Hawaii for as little as 15,000 miles, but 17,500 seems more common. Two one-ways will therefore cost you 35,000 miles, leaving ~12,000 Alaska miles for future use.

Tickets 4 + 5: Chase points -> Avios

Here’s where things get a little travel-hacky, but don’t worry, it’s not super complicated. Chase points can be transferred to a number of partners, including British Airways’ Avios program. You can book a flight on Alaska (using Avios) for as little as 12,500 each one-way.

Two roundtrip tickets will therefore set you back 12,500 x 4 Chase points, leaving 10,000 for future hacking.

Here’s a full breakdown, including the small fees in cash for each award ticket:

5 roundtrip flights would normally cost $2,250 (very conservatively) so this hack you saves about $1,475. Not bad.

Again, there are umpteen ways you could use these two cards to score cheap travel, this is just one (fairly) straightforward option. Have questions? Other great ideas for using these cards? Comment below and let me know!

MyTravelNews: Alaska Airlines award sale

Alaska is running a sale (through tomorrow 4/18) on award flights. Just select the drop-down menu for your home airport and see what’s available. Some one-way flights are available for as low as 5,000 miles.

Alaska miles are worth about 1.5 cents apiece, so a 5,000 mile one-way flight is the equivalent of $75. If it’s cheaper than that to buy the flight, don’t use your miles.

Remember my travel-hacking mantra: Use your damn miles. They get less valuable with time.

> Get the dirty deets at Alaska Airlines

A Beginner’s Guide to the Delta Mileage Program

If Lewis Carroll created a frequent flyer program — one full of logical inconsistencies, nonsense rules, and a seemingly sadistic sense of humor — it would be Delta’s SkyMiles.

“How much is a one-way domestic ticket?” Alice asked.

“Oh that’s simple. It’s the price of a one-way ticket.” Delta replied.

“Yes, but … but can you tell me how many miles it will cost?”

“Of course I can.”

“Will you?”

“Hmm …” Delta puffed meditatively at its pipe. “No.”

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Here are three good ways to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

You’ve got a steaming heap of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points sitting in your account. You know they’re great. You know you can use them in tons of different ways. But the options seem overwhelming. And you want to get as much value from them as possible. Ack.

Fear not. I’ve got three great, simple options for using your points to help you overcome the paradox of choice and start traveling.

Option 1: Stay at an Andaz for God’s sake

The Andaz is a concept hotel chain from Hyatt, and it’s excellent. I’ve stayed at the Andazes Maui, Wall Street, San Diego, and Tokyo and they all rank among my favorite hotels ever. They didn’t pay me to say this — I just love the cut of their jib.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to the Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio and stay at their Category 6 hotels for 25,000 points a night, compared to the $350-$600 you might pay for them out of pocket (TL;DR it’s a good use of points).

Option 2: Fly to Hawaii from the West Coast

This one’s a bit counter-intuitive: You actually transfer points to British Airways and then book a flight on their partners — Alaska and American — between major West Coast cities (including Phoenix) and Hawaii. Each ticket runs 25,000 miles in economy.

These flights are usually pricey ($500-$800) and rarely on sale, so it’s also a good bang for the Ultimate Reward buck.

Option 3: Book flights directly through Chase

If transferring points and looking up award availability sounds like a pain (and it often is), make it easy on yourself and book flights through the Chase Travel Portal. Points earned from the Sapphire Preferred card are worth 1.25 cents apiece and points earned from the Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents apiece, which ain’t bad at all.

In fact, if you find a great flight deal (through MyTravelNerd of course), booking directly through Chase can be an excellent use of points. Plus it’s super simple — just plug your destination and dates into the travel portal and book it.

Nerd Note: Flights booked through the Chase Travel Portal way earn you frequent flyer miles and elite-qualifying miles (to get status). Awards tickets (like Option 2) do not.

That’s it — stop thinking about it and go book something with your trove of points already.

Here Are 3 Good Ways To Use Alaska Miles If You Live In Seattle

Everybody wants to know the “best use” of their miles, which is sort of like wanting to know the “best use” of their money. There is no best use. But there are some better deals than others.

Most travels blogs will tell you to use your miles for first- and business-class tickets, since those provide the most $/mile “value,” but they also require hundreds of thousands of miles and lots of time searching for availability. If you’re planning a crazy honeymoon splurge, save your miles for premium seats. If you’re a normal human, use them for economy fares.

You’ve got scads of good options for using your Alaska miles out of Seattle. To keep things simple, here are 3 of ’em.  Continue reading

Review: The Andaz San Diego (And Its Golden Bathroom Duck)

Does anything curdle your blood more than hearing that a giant multinational corporation is trying to “attract young people”? It summons to mind Toyota’s Scion cars, Comcast’s Seeso streaming service, and Poochie. 

So it’s surprising that Hyatt’s hotel chain aimed at attracting young travelers — the Andaz Hotels — don’t suck. In fact, they’re my favorite hotels on the planet.

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