11 Travel Redemptions You'll Be Angry You Haven't Booked 11 Travel Redemptions You'll Be Angry You Haven't Booked

11 Travel Redemptions You'll Be Angry You Haven't Booked

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Some points and miles redemptions are just better than others. We've put together a list of 11 travel redemptions from our team that represents some of the best value and should make your friends and family jealous. Our list is in no particular order, but we've saved what we think is the easiest and a favorite for last.

Man on Beach

11 Travel Redemptions You'll Be Angry You Haven't Booked


Around the World in Business Class for Only 105,000 Miles Using ANA miles


ANA has multiple award charts, each with their own benefits. If you want to go around the world, with a ton of flexibility, their round the world chart will do it for as little as 105,000 miles. ANA is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, so earning ANA miles is a piece of cake.

We put together New York to Seoul to Istanbul to Vienna to Zurich to Frankfurt to Brussels to London and back to Newark. In all, 17,362 flight miles for 105,000 miles — 100% in business class and you have one year to complete the trip. (back to list)

A Shower in the Sky – New York to Milan for 105,000 JAL Miles With Emirates First Class

Shower Head Water

Caviar, fine champagne, your own private suite — OH AND A SHOWER IN THE SKY for just 105,000 JAL miles, round trip! Transfer SPG points at a ratio of 1:1.25, so 80,000 SPG points will do it. Enough for an extravagant meal, a nap, and a hot shower before you take on Milan. (back to list)

25,000 miles round-trip to Hawaii

Hawaii Aloha

We've covered the sweet spots to get to Hawaii, including how 25,000 miles in economy or 45,000 miles in first class will get you there! (back to list)

80,000 miles to Europe in Business Class


South Korean airlines Asiana and Korean both offer flights in business class on their partners from the US to Europe for only 80,000 miles in business class! That said, there are plenty of great options for using points and miles to get to Europe in business class. (back to list)

Unlimited BOGO flights with Southwest Companion Pass

Southwest tops the list of North American frequent flyer programs for the best award change and cancellation policies
Southwest tops the list of North American frequent flyer programs for the best award change and cancellation policies

Say what you will about Southwest; heck, they don't even fly to my home airport; however, unlimited Buy One Get One is nothing to turn your nose up at. The Southwest Companion Pass is widely regarded as the holy grail of domestic US travel. If there are two seats on a Southwest flight, you and your companion are in. Better yet, BOGO works on Award tickets too! (back to list)

Intra-Japan flights & Other Short Flights for as little as 4,500 British Airways Avios

Park Hyatt Tokyo

How come shorter flights don't always go with smaller prices? Supply and demand. This is particularly the case in Japan but works great for flights from London to Paris and other short hops. British Airways' Avios program has an ultimate sweet spot for short flights at only 4,500 Avios (miles). (back to list)

Round Trip to South Africa on Cathay Pacific for 140,000 Alaska miles with Free stopovers!

Lion in Road

Fancy a Safari but want to get there without breaking the bank or your back? How about first class to South Africa for only 70,000 miles each way and feel free to stop in Hong Kong each way, because you can! Alaska Airlines has a great partnership with Cathay Pacific that makes this happen. Note: Cathay Pacific currently only offers a business class cabin on the HKG-JNB segment, but you can still enjoy all the first class amenities at HKG airport in the lounges and of course on your flight to HKG from the US. (back to list)

140,000 miles to the Maldives in Business Class – Sure, hang out in an overwater bungalow

Cathay Pacific Business Class

Getting to the Maldives isn't easy or cheap, but 140,000 AA miles will get you there in style in Cathay Pacific Business Class. Save your money for the cocktails and diving! (back to list)

Stacking Citi Prestige 4th night free with Hotel 3rd night free promos for 50% off hotels!

IHG Hotel Bedroom 50 Percent Off Promotion

Splurge on a hotel room leveraging the 4th-night free benefit on the Citi Prestige® Card paired with a hotel promotion that includes the 3rd-night free (check other brands too) and you've given yourself four nights for the price of two. (back to list)

Super Cheap Marriott Properties in Southeast Asia – Almost Any Luxury Brand!

SPG Westin Phuket

Southeast Asia is the home to inexpensive luxury. Four and Five-star hotels well under $100/night and often within lower category redemptions on award charts. Check out some of the least expensive Marriott properties in Southeast Asia. We love Marriott, but this works across all brands. (back to list)

High-End InterContinental Properties Using the IHG Reward Night Certificate


Sure, this one isn't free, but for an $99 annual fee (which isn't waived for the first year), the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card can get you a high-value night of accommodation at any IHG property that costs up to 40,000 points, plus you can now top up IHG free night certificates with points from your account and use them at properties worth more than 40K! Don't use this certificate at an airport Holiday Inn; instead, try a fancy InterContinental Hotel! (back to list)

Only 11? What About 20 More!

We could easily come up with more as there are so many destinations and so many deals available. These are the ones that came to the top of our heads. What'd we miss that you've done or want to do? Share it with us in the comments or on Facebook.

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  • Howie, did you take you trip to London yet, and if yes, could you comment on your stay at the IHG Intercontinental Park Lane? I have a free night to use. Previously, I stayed at the SPG Park Lane, and would like your thoughts/comparison. Thank you very much.

    • I’m actually here now (final night of our stay was last night). It is in a nice location, easy tube access, and nice to have the parks right around you. That said, anything in the hotel will be (expectedly) expensive and you’ll likely have to hop on the tube or talk a walk to get to more affordable things. Would I stay here again? Yes, absolutely, mostly because it was only $49. That said, there are other IHG properties in London that might not be as luxurious, but in a better location that I’d seriously consider next time.

  • So much great info. Thanks for the extensive list of best usage of points. Hoping to take advantage in future

  • I have 500k marriott points can I transfer to SPG transfer to Alaska also 1 mil delta miles can I transfer to alaska Helpp ????????

  • Ok more to look at. You should see my credit pulls since I’ve discovered ya’ll! But it has really helped me and my family travel. PLUS, ya’ll helped us already getting enough points to cover a hotel to Universal Hollywood and soon miles on American. Thank you! It will be a great vacation, as long as, my kids don’t complain too much about the lines.

  • The first post : ANA chart is amazing.
    I use ANA miles for exchange intra Asia award ticket , it’s 20,000 or 31,000 miles only plus one free stop over and open jaw.

    Good valued.

  • Good resource, isn’t the Prestige 4th night free devalued now that it’s 1 night of the average price?

  • These look like some great travel redemptions. I would love to use 70,000 Alaska Miles to for Cathay Pacific first/business class to South Africa.


    Very useful post, Howie! Very constructive information on how to best use my points. Thanks

  • Good reminder to look past the usual suspects and find some better redemptions. I’ve never “planned” a trip to Hong Kong, but I’ve enjoyed several long stop overs enroute to other destinations. Always good to keep stop overs in mind to pair with great redemptions.

  • Great list, thanks as always!

  • Thank you for the list!

  • It’s a shame the UK version of the IHG credit card doesn’t include a free night! Instead, you have to spend £10k (GBP) within a year for them to issue you with a free night certificate.

  • Okay….based on this post I am now strategizing a long overdue trip on Cathay! We have shifted into planning mode at our house!

  • Great am onboard. Now how do I accomplish this need help

  • Have done the intra Japan one, very good value!

  • Great list. Thanks!

  • Would be awesome to snag one of these…

  • Don’t be angry, just book them!

  • The first redemption looks fantasic.
    105k miles for an around the world award in business is a great value!

  • Thanks Howie. I worded my question poorly. What I meant was I can’t find Cathay from HKG – JNB with a first class option. In doing my research (after getting the idea to get to JNB via HKG from your post…I didn’t know I could do that) I am only finding biz class on this route.

    • Gotcha. Yes, as it stands now they only operate a business class cabin, no first on that segment. I’ll add a note about it. That said you can still book first from HKG to the US and enjoy the first class lounges in HKG

  • Intra-Japan flights & Other Short Flights for as little as 4,500 British Airways Avios is the best redemption IMHO. It is very easy to accrue and the value is great as tickets can get very expensive in Japan

  • WOW!! So much useful information in one post! Definitely bookmarking this one and will spend some time researching our next redemption strategy. I love to see posts highlighting ways to use the miles we work so hard to earn! Nice work, Howie!!

  • Oh boy – now you got me! I’ll check my balances and maybe even convert some MR-Points…WOW!

  • Great post, Howie! Most bloggers talk about How To Get Miles & Points but not much about how to best use them. This is very useful for anyone. Thanks! Have a great time in London!

  • Any promotion avail for SFO to Toronto and back.
    Leaving 14 Sept back 19th
    Thx. If yes I will send the request

  • jason picker says:

    Very useful list .
    If only more airlines offered “Shower the Sky”

  • Richard Blundell says:

    Great blog. Thank you for sharing.

  • worldtraveller73 says:

    this is a worthy list. There are some gems in there!!

  • All this is great if you are lucky enough to find availability in many of these programs and situations. It’s been a frustrating year for me as I couldn’t find any Business Class award seats on American to Italy, couldn’t use hardly any award points at hotels due to lack of availability of award nights and couldn’t even use my IHG anniversary night. Earning points and miles is great and relatively easy nowadays but using them is becoming more and more of a challenge.

  • Howie, I see you are responding to other inquires. Are you able to show an example of being able to book the Cathay flight to South Africa?

    • Somebody is antsy. I haven’t had time to sit down and do an award search, for which I’d use BA.com or Qantas.com. I’ve got your comments in the queue and will indeed respond, just need to have the time to actually do a search. An important thing to keep in mind is that Cathay Pacific award availability does not show up on Alaska’s website. You’ll need to use the site of a mutual partner to find availability — hence why I use BA and Qantas.

  • I dont see the details for the 140k AA miles on Cathay Pacific flight to Maldives. How can I get that info?

  • Great list! Hope there are special lists specific for airline miles, hotel points etc. separately too 🙂 It would be easier to browse through.

  • Wow this is a really great list. Bookmarking it for the next time I have an itch to travel somewhere!

  • Howie, thank you for these great ideas. However, can you find one example of the “first class to South Africa for only 70,000 miles each way” on Cathay through Hong Kong? I’m not being a naysayer, but I cannot find one example of this itinerary on Alaska’s site.

  • How much longer until these sweet spots are gone?

  • Cathay is not the easiest to get space on

  • You would not believe how many bookmarks I have just from articles I’ve read on this blog. And, you guessed it! I’m bookmarking this one, too! Thx for such wonderful info all in one place!

  • ok, now onto finding ways to get so many points & miles…

  • Wow, I never realised how “accessible” some of these were. Definitely gonna put them on the bucket list

  • thanks for this great post. ive bookmarked it, and will be referencing it often, im sure!

  • So far, I’ve only done the Starwood SE Asia thing, which was great. I spent 4k/night for the Le Meridien Siem Reap when we went to check out Angkor Wat and another 48k for 5 nights (5th night free) at the Library Koh Samui. At first, was feeling bad that I couldn’t swing the W or Vana Belle Koh Samui, but when I saw how isolated they were, vs. The Library tucked away on a busy street with lots of shops, restaurants, and bars within walking distance, I was glad I went for the bargain.

    Oh, and for South Africa, check your routing. If you plan to hunt, your safari outfitters will advise you to only take direct flights from the US to South Africa – Atlanta on Delta, and I think South African Air out of IAD, but they stop to refuel somewhere en route. Otherwise, your guns might not make it.

  • angelo fonseca says:

    My God. These offerings were very good. I would love to go back to Hawaii.

  • Done a few of these already. Next off this ‘bucket list’ is going to be South Africa!

  • Thanks. I’ll be compelled to look this up again every time I’m looking to book something.

  • It’s pretty amazing to see what you can actually get for your airmiles if you know how to use them to maximum advantage. Passengers paying full fares would spit out their coffee if they knew what some of us manage to get for our miles! 🙂

  • Wow!! Looking forward to more travel fun.

  • So inspiring, not jealousy-inducing

  • Bertrand Say says:

    I will definitely try to get some of these.

  • Unfortunately there aren’t really any luxury SPG properties in Category 2, even in Southeast Asia. There are some decent ones, but mostly Four Points and Aloft hotels. Award Mapper also isn’t fully up-to-date. Lombok for example is a Cat. 3 now. There might be others.

  • I was more enamored with the pictures that I couldn’t understand the article. LOL

  • 25,000 miles to Hawaii sounds awesome!

  • Used CSR points to book 2 weeks in Europe next month! It has saved us at least 8K, on Flights and Hotels. Really Nice accommodation too!

  • Good stuff here, thanks and I’m about to look into about 4 or 5 of these options!

  • I would love to do any one of these! So far I’ve only done a free IC stay, but Hawaii and the Maldives are on my aspirational list.

  • Alice Chen says:

    This is an amazing list!! I am so glad I know about these!

  • The Marriott Air and Hotel Packages are something that I should really consider for the future. I’ve known about them for a while but I’ve never really considered the value.

  • BA has no availability to Hawaii even a year from now. What’s the point of advertising this if it’s a nonexistent option? Too many of these flight “deals” are misleading in this way, and all you’re left with is tens of thousands of miles that are pretty much useless.

  • Wow, good list. I am only 3/12 done.

  • Great list! But I’d skip the London Park Lane IC. I just stayed there on points from getting the card, and it was the least impressive hotel of our 3 weeks in Europe. Tiny room, terrible view, no service to speak of, and you could even hear people walking down the hallway. Maybe IC’s just aren’t what they used to be.

    • Oh no! We’ve actually got 4 nights there next month. Here’s to hoping we get a quiet room at the end of the hall.

      • I wouldn’t fret too much Howie. We stayed at the IC Park Lane a couple of years ago, and had a very pleasant stay. There really isn’t a wow-factor with this property, but the common areas are lovely, bordering on the opulent, and the guestroom we had was very nice, comfortable, and very well appointed. I also don’t recall there being recall any unusual noise from other guests. So, unless the property has gone waaay down hill since then, I think you’ll be fine.

        • Sweet 🙂

          Both my wife and I will be working throughout our stay so we’ll likely end up heading out in the morning to a cafe for breakfast and then doing a bit of work. Any recommendations for something close you’d recommend we’d absolutely take!

          • Unfortunately, I believe, of all the time we’ve spent in London over the years, we’ve on;y had breakfast once…better night life, you see. Happy to offer some other recco’s though: For dinner, very nearby are both Wild Honey (modern British), and Salt Yard (Mediterranean tapas); both are fantastic. Further afield, definitely check out Dishoom (a ‘Bombay cafe’), of which there are now 5 dotted around the city; I’d say go to the one in Shoreditch, it’s the original, and hard to imagine how the other spots could beat it. The best chippy I’ve tried is Poppie’s next to Spitalfields Market; IMHO the absolute tops It’s getting a little commercialized these days, but their fish is still second to none. If you’re looking to cozy up with a bottle of wine at lunchtime, the only place to do it is at Gordon’s Wine bar on Villiers Street, next to Charing Cross Station; nothing else like it that I’ve been to anywhere in the world. And finally, for a great pub, check out the Cittie of Yorke (Holborn), Ye Olde Cheshiee Cheese (Fleet St), Old Mitre (off Holborn Circus), Bank of England (Fleet St), Ten Bells (Spitalfields), Black Friar (Blackfriars), Viaduct Tavern (Holborn Viaduct), Angel in the Field (Marylebone), and Princess Louise (Holborn). In that group you’ll see some of the oldest, most beautiful, interesting, or all of the above, pubs one could find in London. I’m sure I’m leaving tons out, but that should get you going. Cheers

          • Awesome; thank you! Just added it to our notes that we’ve got to review this weekend in prep for the trip.

          • You’re very welcome. Happy to share some of the places we’ve enjoyed!

      • Forgot to mention: our room had a view of Hyde Park; and to clarify: we stayed on points/certs as well.

  • Every post seems to educate me a little more. As is often said “You just don’t know how much you don’t know.” Pairing this with “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” and the fun really starts. Time to find out more about ANA credit cards.
    A sincere thank you for being so generous with the sharing these hacks.

  • Ian Snyder says:

    Great post! I was not aware of the first two options. I knew ANA had a great award chart…just hadn’t put together the around-the world opportunity. Been looking at either Asia or Europe in business next year. Now I may have to do…both!!

  • Great post! I was not aware of the first two. ANA’s chart is amazing. I’d been looking to use it for business-class travel to either Europe or Asia next year, but now I may have to do…both. 🙂

  • There are some outstanding redemptions in this article and would love to try them all. The round the world trip in business seems amazing value. I also particularly like the JAL miles redemption. I had never considered collecting JAL miles before. Sadly though the only one that I am likely to achieve in the next year is the IHG free night. Great offer though that is, it isn’t in the same league as some of the others.

  • Tomorrow I’m going to get IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card!!! Does this certificates adds or you must to spend them immediately? And first year you haven’t annual fee at all!!! Thank you!

  • Great there goes two more hours of my time searching through all of my “stuff” to see if I can do any of this. 🙂