Last Minute Summer Travel To Disney Using Miles

Last Minute Summer Travel To Disney Using Miles

With the end of the summer on the horizon, you might want to book a last-minute getaway with the family for some fun before the kids go back to school. Here are a few ways you can maximize your rewards to redeem for travel to a perennial favorite for all-ages: Disney-themed amusement parks.

We’ll take a look at three options: flights from Los Angeles to Disney world in Orlando, Florida; flights from New York City to Disneyland in Anaheim, California; and flights from New York City to Paris, France, to see which reward programs are best.

Los Angeles to Disney World in Orlando, Florida

If you’re traveling with a party of four (two adults, two children) from Los Angeles to Orlando, you’ll need 100,000 points, or 25,000 for each ticket plus about $45 in fees. The cash value of four tickets to travel at the end of August is about $1,000 or $250 each.

After fees and taxes, the value of your miles would be slightly lower than the industry standard of 1 cent per mile. But fares may be higher depending on when you travel and when you book. So depending on the price of the ticket and how big your stash of miles and points are this trip may or may not be the best use of miles. That being said, if you have enough points accrued and would like to use them before school kicks in, here are your best options for loyalty rewards programs:

Executive Club

The frequent flyer program for British Airways, Executive Club, is a member of the oneworld alliance, which includes 15 airlines. It also partners with three additional carriers, so you have a total of 18 airlines to choose from. There is no close-in booking fee, and if you book with Avios, there’s priority boarding on American Airlines flights. There is also a $55 charge or cancellation and redeposit fee and a $25 phone service fee and no award reservation holds, so make sure your travel plans firmed up before booking. Otherwise be prepared to pay some extra fees.

Disney World in Orlando
Disney World in Orlando

MileagePlus United

The MileagePlus frequent flyer program from United has a lot of availability since it is part of the Star Alliance, which has 27 members. It also has 13 non-alliance partners for a total of 40 carriers. Not all fly this route obviously, but with that many partners the possibilities are greater of finding award seats. There are also no fuel surcharges. You can also hold a booking for three days for the low fee of $9.99, or for 7 days for $14.99. While there are plenty of options, there is a $75 fee if you’re booking less than 21 days in advance and a $200 cancellation fee.

AAdvantage

AAdvantage, which is the loyalty rewards program for American Airlines, allows you to redeem its miles to book award tickets on the airline and its partners, which include the oneworld alliance (15 carriers), and 10 additional airlines for a total of 25 carriers. Award availability is great, and with LAX as one of the hubs, you should have little problem booking a flight. If you book seven or more days in advance, you can put a 24-hour hold on itineraries at no cost. However, you’ll want to book 21 days prior to your departure date, or you’ll be charged a $75 fee.

Alaska Mileage Plan

Alaska Airline’s frequent flyer program Mileage Plan has a hub at LAX, which would make it more convenient to book travel from Los Angeles to Orlando. Because Alaska uses different award charts for each of its partner airlines, the award redemption charts can be a bit confusing. The perks of this loyalty program are many: there are low taxes and fees, you can cancel free of charge within 24 hours of ticketing, and there’s one free itinerary change within 72 hours of ticketing. And if you’re booking the same day, there’s no close-in booking fee. There are also no holds on awards tickets though.

Delta SkyMiles

And as you’re booking a few weeks beforehand, using points accrued on Delta SkyMiles is another option worth looking into. Plus, there’s no fee for last-minute bookings and you’re allowed one stopover and open-jaw per roundtrip. Just keep in mind that there’s a $150 cancellation fee, and you’ll need to cancel reservations 72 hours before departure if you want your points to be redeposited. While Delta’s reward program has received criticism in the past few years for being difficult to book award flights among other things, there is a workaround: you use Air France to search for inventory instead of Delta.com.

Use your Delta miles to travel to Disneyland
Use your Delta miles to travel to Disneyland

Aeroplan
Aeroplan, the frequent flyer program for Air Canada, is another solid option. However, because there’s a heftier fee of $85 versus $45 for the other programs mentioned, your cash value per point is slightly less at .915 per mile. There is no close-in booking fee, so you won’t be penalized for booking a flight at the last minute. Plus, if necessary, you can buy miles during checkout to meet miles required for redemption at a reduced rate.

New York City to Disneyland in Anaheim, California

The prices for different airports near Anaheim vary. If you’re traveling to Long Beach (LBG) it can be as low as $1,600 for a family of four (two adults, two kids) or approximately $1,900 if you’re flying into John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County, which is slightly closer to Anaheim than Long Beach.

If you’re planning on renting a car from Los Angeles, however, you can also fly into Los Angeles International (LAX) and tickets will be roughly the same as flying into Long Beach. The benefit of flying into Long Beach besides being closer to Disneyland is that it’s a less busy airport than LAX. LAX does have more inbound flights so you’ll have an easier time booking tickets.

As you’ll need 100,000 reward points and there is $45 in fees, the conversion rate is 1.85 cents per mile if you were flying into the John Wayne Airport, and 1.55 cents per mile if you were flying into Long Beach or Los Angeles. Here are some frequent flyer miles you can redeem your reward points through:

MileagePlus United

The MileagePlus frequent flyer program from United has a lot of availability, and there are also no fuel surcharges. You can also hold a booking for three days for the low fee of $9.99, or for 7 days for $14.99. While there are plenty of options, there is a $75 fee if you’re booking less than 21 days in advance and a $200 cancellation fee.

Book a ticket to Disney using miles and points and take the whole family
Book a ticket to Disney using miles and points and take the whole family

Executive Club

The frequent flyer program for British Airways, Executive Club is a member of the oneworld alliance, which includes 15 airline carriers. It also partners with three additional airlines, so you have a total of 18 airlines to choose from. There is no close-in booking fee, and if you book with Avios, there’s priority boarding on American Airlines flights. There is also a $55 charge or cancellation and redeposit fee and a $25 phone service fee and no award reservation holds, so make sure your travel plans are firmed up before booking. Otherwise be prepared to pay some extra fees.

Delta SkyMiles

And as you’re booking a few weeks beforehand, using points accrued on Delta SkyMiles is another option worth looking into. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is one of the hubs, so you should have sufficient options for booking this trip. Plus, there’s no fee for last-minute bookings and you’re allowed one stopover and open-jaw per round trip. Just keep in mind that there’s a $150 cancellation fee, and you’ll need to cancel reservations 72 hours before departure if you want your points to be redeposited.

Alaska Mileage Plan

The perks of Alaska Airline’s frequent flyer program Mileage Plan are many: there are low taxes and fees, you can cancel free of charge within 24 hours of ticketing, and there’s one free itinerary change within 72 hours of ticketing. And if you’re booking the same day, there’s no close-in booking fee. There are also no holds on awards tickets. Because Alaska uses different award charts for each of its partner airlines, the award redemption charts can be a bit confusing.

AAdvantage

AAdvantage, which is the loyalty rewards program for American Airlines, allows you to redeem its miles to book award tickets on the airline and it’s partners, which include the oneworld alliance (15 carriers), and 10 additional airlines for a total of 25 carriers. Award availability is great even at lower redemption rates, and with JFK as one of the hubs, you should have no problem booking a flight. If you book seven or more days in advance, you can put a 24-hour hold on itineraries at no cost. However, you’ll want to book 21 days prior to your departure date, or you’ll be charged a $75 fee.

Aeroplan

Aeroplan, the frequent flyer program for Air Canada, is another solid option. However, because there’s a heftier fee of $85 versus $45 for the other programs mentioned, your cash value per point is slightly less at .915 per mile. There is no close-in booking fee, so you won’t be penalized for booking a flight at the last minute. Plus, if necessary, you can buy miles during checkout to meet miles required for redemption at a reduced rate.

New York to Disneyland in Paris

If you’re going from New York City to Disney world in Orlando, because you’ll only get about a quarter or a half a penny per mile, it might not be worthwhile to use your loyalty points. You’re probably better off using your miles for a longer more expensive ticket, such as New York Disneyland in Paris. There’s nothing quite a Parisian getaway before the fall.

Getting to a Disney park on miles saves money for fun things on your trip
Getting to a Disney park on miles saves money for fun things on your trip

Alaska Mileage Plan

When it comes to using points, with the Alaska Mileage Plan you can book four tickets for only 160,000 points. Keep in mind that there is $340 in estimated fees, so you’ll be getting 1.66 cents per reward mile for this trip. If you’re flying out of New York City, it would definitely be a better trade to use your reward points for a trip to Paris rather than Los Angeles.

With partners such as Air France, you should be able to find a flight from New York to Paris. The perks with this loyalty rewards program are many: there are low taxes and fees, you can cancel within 24 hours of booking for free, and you can change your itinerary free of charge within 72 hours of ticketing. Plus, if you’re short on miles you have the option of buying them at a discounted rate at the time of booking. However, there are no holds on awards tickets, and you cannot mix partners on one itinerary.

AAdvantage

With the AAdvantage loyalty reward program, you’ll be able to book award tickets through the 15 oneworld alliance plus 10 additional airlines for a total of 25 carriers. And with John F. Kennedy International Airport serving as one of the hubs, you should have ease in finding several options for flying out of JFK airport. Of the major domestic airlines, American Airlines has one of the most straightforward booking processes.

You’ll get the greatest conversion rate at this time of year by booking an international flight, and traveling from New York City to Paris. And While booking travel a few weeks beforehand is usually more expensive than booking it a few months ahead of time, by shopping around you’ll be able to get the most out of your miles if you make sure you follow the rules and don’t get hit with extra charges. You’ll be able to enjoy yourselves before the kids head back to school. Have fun!

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