Many frequent flyer gurus will tell you to never use your hard-earned miles to book a domestic award ticket. While it’s true that there may be more value when booking a first class ticket to somewhere exotic like Bali, there is definitely a time and place to spend miles to get to destinations closer to home.
Orlando is a pricey city to visit these days, with Disney World tickets costing hundreds of dollars for a family of four. So you may want to defray the total trip cost by using miles for the flights. Here are a few of the best values for redeeming miles for travel to Orlando.
The Cheapest Way to Get to Orlando: Spirit Airlines
One of the absolute cheapest ways to fly to Orlando is via Spirit Airlines. This is especially true if you have a Free Spirit MasterCard*. If you do, you are eligible to book off-peak awards at insanely cheap rates. For example, an off-peak one-way award costs just 2,500 miles within Region 1 (flying up to 1,249 miles).
The standard price is 10,000 miles each way, making Spirit a much cheaper option than some of the legacy carriers that charge 25,000 miles for a round-trip ticket to Orlando. Of course, there’s competition to snag these inexpensive off-peak awards, but it’s certainly possible if you plan your trip in advance and book seats as soon as off-peak awards become available.
(1,250 - 1,749 miles)
Remember, you must have the Free Spirit MasterCard in order to book off-peak awards. You can download Spirits list of off-peak dates to see when these fares are available.
Using British Airways to Fly Alaska, American or Delta—On the Cheap
It’s easy to forget about British Airways when planning a trip to Orlando, since the airline doesn’t fly there. However, BA does partner with American Airlines, US Airways, Delta and Alaska Airlines, and those airlines do fly to Orlando. The draw here is that British Airways uses a distance-based chart to determine how many Avios each award ticket costs.
This presents a sweet spot for some travelers looking to get to Orlando on the cheap. You can fly up to 650 miles one way in economy for just 4,500 Avios points. That means you could fly round-trip in economy from, say, Charlotte to Orlando for a total of 9,000 Avios. You’d pay 25,000 miles for that same trip using American AAdvantage miles.
The key here is to fly short distances without a connection. (Adding a connection will increase the number of Avios needed to book the itinerary.) See the distance-based chart below to determine if this method would work for your next trip to Central Florida.
|Zones||Distance in miles||Economy class||First class|
Using ANA to Fly United on the Cheap
Like British Airways, ANA (All Nippon Airways, a Japanese carrier) uses a distance-based award chart. So—depending on where you live—you can fly to Orlando International Airport (MCO) using a relatively few number of miles. Since ANA is a Star Alliance member, you’ll use ANA miles but will book a United flight. The cool thing here is that you may spend fewer ANA miles on that flight than what United charges. Here’s the ANA award chart.
|Total itinerary distance||Economy round-trip||Business round-trip||First round-trip|
|0 to 2,000||20,000||38,000||60,000|
|2,000 to 4,000||22,000||43,000||70,000|
|4,001 to 7,000||38,000||63,000||90,000|
|7,001 to 9,000||43,000||68,000||100,000|
|9,001 to 11,000||55,000||85,000||120,000|
|11,001 to 14,000||60,000||90,000||140,000|
|14,001 to 18,000||65,000||105,000||160,000|
|18,001 to 20,000||75,000||115,000||180,000|
|20,001 to 22,000||85,000||125,000||200,000|
|22,001 to 25,000||100,000||145,000||220,000|
|25,001 to 29,000||120,000||170,000||260,000|
|29,001 to 34,000||140,000||200,000||300,000|
|34,001 to 39,000||160,000||220,000||340,000|
|39,001 to 44,000||180,000||270,000||390,000|
|44,001 to 50,000||200,000||300,000||400,000|