6 Epic Ski Trips You Can Take With Points and Miles This Winter
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As ski resorts around the country — and the world — start opening their doors, it's time to start thinking about your next snowy getaway. Ski and snowboard holidays can quickly add up between all the flights, chalet stays, lift tickets and equipment rentals. These six trips from Park City to St. Moritz are great ways to cash in those points and miles you've been saving up all year, helping you save big on flights and accommodations. Here's a look at some of the hottest redemption-friendly slopes for 2017.
1. Park City, Utah
Last summer, Park City joined forces with Canyons Resort to form the largest ski area in the US, with over 7,300 skiable acres, more than 300 trails and eight terrain parks — all within a 45-minute drive of Salt Lake City. When you’re ready take a break from cruising through the Wasatch Mountains, ski on down into town and take a seat at one of the many restaurants lining historic Main Street.
Where to Stay: The ski-in ski-out Hyatt Centric Park City sits right at the base of Canyons Village and offers free shuttle service to downtown Park City. Oversized suites are perfect for longer stays thanks to full kitchens and an in-room washer/dryer — the property is also pet-friendly for pups under 50 pounds. When you’re ready to set out and explore, the in-house Wasatch Adventure Guides will get you going in the right direction, whether you'd prefer dog sledding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling through Park City’s fresh powder. Rates start at $360 or 20,000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points per night in January.
Travelers looking to stay closer to town can opt for the recently renovated DoubleTree by Hilton Park City — The Yarrow, which sits just a few minutes from Main Street. Rooms show off mountain views and the lounge serves up local brews, making it a prime place to unwind whether you’ve spent the day in town or on the nearby slopes. Rates start at $219 or 50,000 HHonors Points per night in January and February.
Getting There: Fly nonstop from 70 cities in the US to Salt Lake City (SLC) on major carriers like American Airlines, Delta and United. Budget-friendly airlines such as Alaska, JetBlue, Frontier and Southwest also fly here from cities like San Francisco (SFO), Chicago (ORD) and Dallas (DAL), among others.
2. St. Moritz, Switzerland
St. Moritz is to Europe what Vail is to the US — the super-swanky ski resort is the place to see and be seen in season. Perched 6,000 feet above sea level in Switzerland's Upper Engadin Lakes district, it’s no surprise St. Moritz has played host to major events like the Winter Olympics — twice. In addition to the slopes, you can also take part in very James Bond-worthy activities, from a round of roulette at the casino to cocktails at Hotel Waldhaus am See, home to the world’s largest whisky collection with more than 2,500 types to choose from. Even if you can’t swing a purchase at Chanel on this trip, it’s worth window shopping along the infamous Via Serlas — the smaller Swiss version of Rodeo Drive — perusing its designer boutiques.
Where to Stay: Open for more than a century, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel had quite a storied start as the first palace hotel. Sitting on six acres overlooking the St. Moritz Lake, the 120-room hotel not only offers picture-perfect views, it has everything you need for a gourmet getaway from celebrity chef-led restaurants to lavish afternoon tea as decadent as you’d find in London. Part of the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program, the hotel offers cardholders perks like daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, and a $100 food and beverage credit. Rates start at $1,470 per night in January (through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts program).
Getting There: Fly in to Engadin Airport (SMV) by connecting in cities like Zürich (ZRH), Geneva (GVA) and Milan (MXP) on airlines like American, SWISS and United. St. Moritz is a three-hour drive from other airline hub cities like Zurich and Milan and four hours from Munich if you'd rather make a European road trip of it or opt for a three-hour scenic train trip from Zürich.
3. Sun Valley Resort, Idaho
This year marks Sun Valley Resort’s 80th anniversary, and the ski destination is celebrating in style with a birthday bash on Wednesday, December 21, featuring classic cocktails and dancing in the legendary Duchin Lounge. There are plenty of other ways to celebrate America’s first destination ski resort with more than 2,000 acres of terrain prime for everything from cross-country skiing to horse-drawn sleigh rides that land you right at your dinner destination. On Dollar Mountain, you’ll find two new high-speed quads and North America’s largest super pipe, while Bald Mountain boasts 13 chairlifts, 65 runs and Adventure Trails designed with kids in mind.
Where to Stay: The 108-room Sun Valley Lodge also turns 80 this year and has taken on a contemporary twist for the occasion, renovating everything from the rooms to the 20,000-square-foot spa and glass-encased pool (rates from $389 per night in January). The Sun Valley Inn, meanwhile, is a European-inspired mountain retreat with just 105 family-friendly rooms, from a three-bed apartment complete with a full kitchen and dining room seating six to the two-bathroom family suite (rates from $369 per night in January). While Sun Valley doesn’t have any points hotels, you can still rack up points on your stay there by booking with a travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which can earn you 2x or 3x the points on travel, respectively.
Getting There: Fly into Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) on daily nonstop flights from Denver (DEN) or San Francisco (SFO) on United (new this season); daily nonstop service from Los Angeles (LAX), Seattle (SEA) and Salt Lake City (SLC) on Delta; or daily nonstop service from Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle (SEA) on Alaska Airlines, which also offers two seasonal weekly flights from Portland (PDX). Once you arrive, hop on a complimentary shuttle for the 14-mile trip from the airport to the Sun Valley Resort. If you’re flying on Alaska Airlines, you can score a number of perks — like special arrival-day lift tickets to discounts on adult group lessons — when you trade in your boarding pass.
4. Mont Tremblant, Quebec
SKI Magazine has named Mont Tremblant the #1 ski resort in Eastern North America for the past 17 years straight, and it’s no surprise since it offers one of the largest and most diverse ski terrains in the region. Couple that with its Québecois French flair and you’ve got a European-style ski escape that’s much closer to home. Trails appeal to all skill levels with 21 percent prime for beginners and nearly half of them designed for advanced and expert skiers up for a challenge. Streets lining the pedestrian-only village take on European charm with cafés and eateries spilling out on to terraces, serving up cuisine ranging from French crêpes to Savoyard fondue and raclette.
Where to Stay: The 314-room Fairmont Tremblant is the region’s only ski-in ski-out resort and offers Disney-esque perks like first tracks access and sliding evenings. Sitting at the foot of the Laurentian peaks, the luxe resort has everything you need for a ski holiday from a high-speed chairlift straight out the door to ski valet service and equipment rentals. Of course, those who would rather stay onsite than on the slopes will also find plenty of ways to keep busy, from Elixir Ice Cider massages at the Amerispa to craft cocktails at the Nansen Lounge, overlooking the slopes and colorful village streets. Rates start at $189 per night in January.
At the 122-room Le Westin Resort & Spa, meanwhile, you’re placed in the heart of the village near the hiking trails and ski lifts. The hotel is also home to an Amerispa, as well as an outdoor saltwater heated pool, whirlpool, driving range and mini-golf course. Parents looking for a little alone time can also take advantage of the childcare service and have a romantic dinner for two at the onsite Spanish-inspired eatery, Gypsy. Rates at the SPG Category 4 hotel start at $169 or 10,000 Starpoints per night in January.
Getting There: Air Canada flies nonstop from New York (LGA) to Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), where you can connect to a 65-minute nonstop flight to Mont-Tremblant International Airport (YTM) on Air Canada Express — or on Porter Airlines from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ). From Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL), meanwhile, it’s just a 90-minute drive to Mont Tremblant. Delta flies nonstop in winter to Montreal from Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) and New York (JFK and LGA), while Air Canada offers nonstop service from destinations like Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington DC (DCA), among other cities. If you’re landing right in Tremblant, hotels like Homewood Suites by Hilton, Fairmont Tremblant and Marriott Residence Inn offer express shuttle service from the airport that includes luggage valet ($40 per adult; $25 per child).
5. Courchevel, France
When it comes to stylish ski stays in France, Courchevel is one of the top, with slopes just as legendary as the shops lining the village streets. Part of Les Trois Valleés, Courchevel offers up more than 370 miles of slopes — half of which are on the easy side — in addition to unbeatable views over Alpine peaks like Mont Blanc and Les Ecrins. Of course royalty-worthy resorts are a given here, but you can also snag a stay in a low-key luxury chalet or hotels with all-inclusive offerings.
Where to Stay: If you’re familiar with the luxe Hotel Le Majestic (a Cannes film festival fave) in the South of France, you’ll be happy to hear that the Barrière group is opening its very first mountain chalet this season here in one of France’s most elegant Alpine addresses. The new Hotel Barrière Les Neiges sits on the Bellecote slope and features 22 pale wood-lined rooms, 20 suites and a haute penthouse that sits at the very top with three bedrooms and a private spa. Rates here start at $973 per night in January.
If you’re an American Express Platinum Card member, you can snag deals at another chic chalet in town — Chevel Blanc Courchevel, a member of Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. The ski-in ski-out hotel is a dream for fashion lovers (it’s part of the LVMH portfolio) with sleek design aesthetics throughout, done up by interior designer Sybille de Margerie (also behind hotspots like Saint-Tropez’s Hotel de Paris). As with any French house, dining is one of the highlights and the cuisine here doesn’t disappoint, with Chef Yannick Alléno behind the hotel’s two Michelin-starred eatery, Le 1947. Rates in February start at $2,373 per night and Amex Platinum members can expect benefits like noon check-in, room upgrades, daily breakfast for two and one lunch or dinner for two when they book a stay through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts.
Getting There: The closest international airports to fly to are Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport (LYS) in France and Geneva Airport (GVA) in Switzerland, both about a two-hour drive from Courchevel. United flies nonstop into Geneva five times per week from Washington DC (IAD) and six times per week from Newark (EWR), while Swiss offers daily flights from New York (JFK).
6. Heavenly Mountain in South Lake Tahoe, California
One of the perks of a ski trip to Heavenly is the convenience factor, since the resort sits near three major highways and is just a few hours’ drive from San Francisco and Northern California. Straddling the California-Nevada border, the resort reaches an elevation of 10,057 feet — the highest at Lake Tahoe —with 4,800 skiable acres, including the expert areas of Mott and Killebrew Canyons. Snow is one draw, but après-ski here is just as epic, with live DJs and drinks at the Unbuckle party at the top of the gondola and Heavenly's only 24/7 casino sitting at the mountain base.
Where to Stay: If you really want to be in the heart of Heavenly’s ski action, book a stay at the Category 8 Grand Residences by Marriott, Lake Tahoe, whose fireplace-warmed villas sit within the village, just a 100-yard walk from the lifts. Rates start at $146 or 40,000 points per night in January.
In downtown South Lake Tahoe, the 539-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe is just a quick walk from the village and gondola, showing off sweeping views of the lake as well as its signature rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. Rates start at $109 per night in January.
Getting There: Fly to Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) or Sacramento International Airport (SMF) with more than 200 daily nonstop flight options on airlines like American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United. Travelers can then hop on a daily shuttle service from RNO to South Lake Tahoe. If you’re coming from San Francisco, the Bay Area Ski Bus heads straight to Heavenly on a 3.5-hour drive, with fares starting at $89 per person.
Consider These Co-Branded Hotel Credit Cards to Help You Get There
Getting excited about one of these destinations, but low on hotel loyalty points? Consider the following co-branded cards to help boost your points:
Starwood: If you’re low on Starpoints, consider the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and/or its business version, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express, both of which no longer charge foreign transaction fees.
Hilton: You can earn more Hilton HHonors points by signing up for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card and the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, or the Hilton Honors Card from American Express and Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express.
Hyatt: The current sign-up bonus for the Hyatt Credit Card is two free nights at any participating Hyatt property when you spend at least $2,000 within the first three months.
For more ski ideas, check out this post: Planning Your Ski Trip with Points and Miles.
Where are some of your favorite ski destinations? Let us know in the comments, below.
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