As you talk with travelers who are hard-core frequent flyer fans, you’ll often hear recurring themes when it comes to vacation destinations. That’s because miles allow you to visit exotic places that you might never visit if you had to pay for the airline ticket out of pocket. Once you’ve unlocked the secret value of frequent flyer miles, you suddenly see new possibilities when planning trips. Here are a few places that most frequent flyer gurus have visited using their miles.
This is probably one of the first vacations you’ll plan with your frequent flyer miles. Its a popular choice because flights are generally pretty pricey (approximately $750 roundtrip from East Coast cities). Once on the ground, you’ll encounter fairly expensive hotels, restaurants and excursions. With a bit of advanced planning, its relatively easy to get to the Big Island, Kauai, Maui and Oahu using your files.
Airlines that fly there: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, WestJet
Use these miles: You can use miles from any of the above airlines or their partners. If you live on the West Coast, its especially lucrative to use British Airways Avios points for flights to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines, American and US Airways. That’s because British Airways uses a distance-based award chart so you will spend fewer points for those flights than if using miles from the airlines themselves. For example, flights of 2,001 to 3,000 miles cost 12,500 Avios points one-way. That means you can get a round-trip award ticket from Los Angeles or Phoenix for just 25,000 points. That same flight would cost 35,000 American AAdvantage miles (off-peak) or 45,000 miles during the rest of the year.
Its a tad bit of an understatement to say that its a long haul flight to the Maldives. Its 8,700 miles from New York City, but its so worth the effort to go to this tiny country of more than 1,000 islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Its unlike anywhere else you’ve ever traveled. Each resort is situated on its own island and you must take a seaplane or speedboat to get there from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE).
You’ll be as remote as you can be and will enjoy the pristine beaches, excellent snorkeling and remarkable diving. Most atolls have no roads save the sandy paths you can walk or bike along. The only downside is that only a very few resorts take part in any hotel loyalty program. The most popular choices are the Park Hyatt Hadahaa and Conrad Rangali Island.
Airlines that fly there: Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Swiss, Turkish Airlines
Use miles from: If you’ve got miles from any oneworld airline, you can easily get to the Maldives on flights operated by Qatar, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, SriLankan, or British Airways. Caveat emptor: British Airways imposes hefty fuel surcharges to its own award flights to the Maldives, so steer clear of that option. If you’ve got American Airlines AAdvantage miles, you can book an award ticket on partner airline Etihad. On American, for example, roundtrip flights will cost 90,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 135,000 miles in business class, and 180,000 miles in first class.
Easter Island, Chile
This Polynesian Island in the South Pacific, also known as Rapa Nui, is one of the more remote places you can visit using your miles. Whats unique here are the hundreds of moai, massive stone statues that dot the island. Natives carved these statues from the early 1100s to the late 1680s.
Airlines that fly there: You’ve got one option: LAN Airlines connecting from either Papeete, Tahiti or Santiago, Chile.
Use miles from: You can get there using miles from LAN, or from any oneworld alliance partner, such as American Airlines or British Airways.
While Bali is a popular island getaway for Australians, more and more Americans are visiting thanks to their stash of frequent flyer miles. This Indonesian island is known for its gorgeous rice terraces, temples, artist colonies, volcano and Monkey Forest. The residents are welcoming, its easy to get around, and the food is absolutely spectacular. Its a commitment to fly to the other side of the world, but you will love your vacation and there are plenty of hotels where you can use points from IHG Rewards Club, Hyatt and Hilton.
Airlines that fly there: Many international airlines—including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesia, China Southern, China Eastern, Malaysia Airlines, EVA and KLM—fly to DPS from cities around the world.
Use miles from: Miles from any SkyTeam member airline can be used to book award flights on China Eastern, China Southern, KLM or Garuda Indonesia. Oneworld alliance member miles can be used to fly Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines. Use StarAlliance to fly on Singapore or EVA.