6 Colorado Ski Resorts You Can Fly to for 17,500 AA Miles Round-Trip

Jan 12, 2017

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One of the great benefits of the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is the Reduced Mileage Award program. While we cover the ins and outs of this program in a bimonthly post, essentially you can fly for 17,500 AAdvantage miles round-trip in the US as long as you depart from or arrive at one of the listed airports.

American Airlines’ text list of the eligible airports — which can top out at 171 airports for a single month — makes it nearly impossible to fully comprehend all of your options. To make it easier to find destinations you might be interested in, we map out the list of airports for each month. But even these maps can be overwhelming, so today we’re just going to focus on six Colorado ski resorts that you can travel to for just 17,500 AAdvantage miles round-trip.

1 and 2: Vail Ski Resort & Beaver Creek

A skier tears up fresh powder on a Vail run. Image courtesy of Vail Resorts/Jack Affleck
A skier tears up fresh powder on a Vail run. Image courtesy of Vail Resorts/Jack Affleck.

We’re going to start off with this two-in-one. Vail Eagle Municipal Airport (EGE) is a 30-minute drive from both Vail Ski Resort and Beaver Creek. If you need to be sold on these popular winter destinations, we go into tons of detail about both of these ski resorts in this TPG post from a few years back.

Despite the resorts’ popularity, Vail Eagle Municipal Airport (EGE) is listed on the reduced mileage awards list for January, February and March 2017.

Solid availability from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Vail Eagle Municipal Airport (EGE).
There’s solid availability from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Vail Eagle Municipal Airport (EGE) — at least in economy.

American Airlines has nonstops to EGE from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORD), New York City (JFK) and Miami (MIA) — and economy availability is generally looking pretty good for each of these routes outside of spring break weeks. Remember that you don’t need to originate in DFW/LAX/ORD/JFK/MIA, but you’ll need to also find saver-level availability from your origin to these connecting airports to get the 17,500-mile round-trip reduced mileage award rate.

3. Steamboat Ski Resort

Snowboarders take in the views of Steamboat from the top of a run. Image courtesy of Steamboat Ski Resort.
Snowboarders take in the views of Steamboat from the top of a run. Image courtesy of Steamboat Ski Resort.

Just 22 miles from Steamboat/Hayden Airport (HDN), Steamboat Ski Resort is an accessible and somewhat affordable ski resort in the north of Colorado. Having personally made the drive from Denver (DEN) to Steamboat in a blizzard, I find the idea of flying directly into HDN incredibly appealing.

For those who experience altitude sickness, this is one of the better options in Colorado — as the base sits at just 6,900 feet. Despite its lower altitude, it still gets solid powder. Currently, almost all lifts and trails are open. While there are numerous beginner trails on the mountain, some of these beginner trails are quite narrow or require narrow crossover to reach. However, for intermediate and advanced skiers, Steamboat provides a wide range of trails and challenges.

January's award availability to HDN airport from DFW and ORD, respectively.
January’s limited award availability to HDN airport from DFW and ORD, respectively.

Unfortunately, HDN is only on the reduced mileage award list for January. So, you’re going to want to start planning a getaway now. American Airlines has nonstops from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Chicago (ORD). Both routes currently have scattered availability in January for economy, but no award availability in first class.

4 and 5: Purgatory Resort and Silverton Mountain

The base area of Purgatory Resort. Image courtesy of Purgatory Resort.
The base area of Purgatory Resort. Image courtesy of Purgatory Resort.

Both located within 50 miles of Durango’s La Plata County Airport (DRO), Purgatory Resort and Silverton Mountain offer solid skiing options at affordable prices. In fact, Durango’s ski resorts consistently rank at the top of the most-affordable ski destinations. So, in addition to getting a deal on your award flights there and back, you’re more likely to have a budget-friendly stay there.

American Airlines has flights to DRO from both Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Phoenix (PHX). Even better news if you live in or around Phoenix: Since the distance between PHX-DRO is under 500 miles, you’ll pay just 13,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip for this nonstop hop.

There's even first class saver award availability to DRO.
There’s even first-class saver award availability to DRO.

In addition to fairly open economy award availability, the route from DFW-DRO is one of the few ski routes that has saver first-class award availability. As with economy awards, you’ll save 7,500 miles off of the normal price of a round-trip award ticket, meaning you’ll pay 42,500 miles round-trip for a round-trip in first class. Plus, you can book reduced mileage awards to DRO for January, February or March 2017.

6. Telluride Ski Resort

You too can enjoy the view from the top of Telluride. Image courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort.
You too can enjoy the view from the top of Telluride. Image courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort.

Another popular Colorado skiing destination is Telluride Ski Resort, in its namesake town of Telluride, CO. While Telluride has its own airport — located at a stunningly high 9,078 feet — only one carrier services it: Great Lakes Airlines. However, just a 68-mile drive away is Montrose, CO (MTJ). While the drive will set you back 1.5 hours each way, it sure beats a 6.5-hour drive from DEN. According to Forbes, the drive will be worth it.

As with Durango, American has flights to MTJ from both Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Phoenix (PHX). And, the route from PHX-MTJ is also under 500 miles, so you’ll pay just 13,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip if you fly this route nonstop.

Nonstop flights from Phoenix (PHX) to ___ start at 7,500 each way before the reduced mileage award discount.
Nonstop flights from Phoenix (PHX) to Montrose (MTJ) start at 7,500 each way before the reduced mileage award discount.

Although AA.com would have you think that some flights are available at 0 miles, the nonstops from PHX-MTJ price out online at 7,500 miles each way, before the 1,000-mile discount. There’s currently fairly decent award availability in economy, but no availability in first class.

This is yet another airport where you can book reduced mileage awards in January, February or March, as long as you book your award tickets by January 31.

Booking

Once you’ve found your destination and confirmed availability, you’re going to need to go through the special process to book these flights. To do so, call 1-800-882-8880 — or your elite reservations number, if applicable — and explain that you’re booking a “reduced mileage award.” The agent will likely request the promotion code unique to the discount you’re trying to get. A chart of these codes can be found in this post.

It’s important to remember that you only have until January 31 to book these trips. On February 1, the current list of airports for February and March will be tossed and a new list of airports will be posted for February-May. Destinations that you might want for February/March might not be the same. So make sure to book by January 31 if you’re sold on a destination.

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Take advantage of this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus to earn at least three reduced mileage award round-trip tickets.

If you don’t have the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card, now’s the time to get it. There’s a limited-time offer of 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for spending $3,000 in the first three months. This spend will net you at least 53,000 AAdvantage miles — enough for three reduced mileage award round-trips.

Bottom Line

The American Airlines/Citi reduced mileage awards open up at least one hundred possibilities each time a new list is posted. Today we just focused on the ski destinations available in this version of the promotion. If you’re not interested in skiing, check out the dozens of other possible destinations all across the US and Canada.

Featured image courtesy of Blende64 via Getty Images.

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