What Are Your Thanksgiving Award Travel Tips? TPG Readers Respond

Nov 16, 2017

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Travel around the holidays is pretty much the worst, between sky-high airfare and delays due to weather. That said, we knew our TPG Lounge readers would deliver when we asked them about last-minute Thanksgiving travel — more specifically, last-minute award flights that don’t cost an astronomical number of miles. Here are some of the best tips you shared:

Travel on Thanksgiving Day

Many readers are hip to the fact that traveling on the actual holiday can unlock huge savings. Lindsey B. recommends flying “Thanksgiving evening and have dinner on Friday or Saturday. We saved $250 off each ticket by flying at dinner time.” Scott M., meanwhile, says leaving Wednesday “on a redeye and coming back on [Saturday] gets some good deals” for travel from Honolulu (HNL) to Seattle (HNL).

Spend the Holiday Abroad

Thanksgiving in Iceland sounds pretty dang perfect. Image by Yevgen Timashov/Getty Images.

We recently highlighted 10 unexpectedly awesome places to spend Thanksgiving abroad, and it appears plenty of readers have the travel bug around this time of year, as well. Jay M. is going to Athens, Greece “for the same price that it would cost me to visit family in Atlanta,” while Gaurang K. scored a last-minute $518 round-trip fare from JFK to Dubai and Riley P. is headed to Iceland.

And even if you haven’t booked anything yet, hope isn’t necessarily lost. Quinne J.’s spontaneous Thanksgiving plans are pretty enviable: “Just booked 5 last minute tickets to Cancun last night for thanksgiving week ! United standard saver awards one way and only 8k points for the return on Southwest plus one Companion Pass!! All flights at great times!”

Flexibility Is Key

Shana G. shares some valuable advice: “Be flexible with airports. I live in DC but must fly from BWI to get an award ticket at the low level.” Even if it means more driving to reach a farther-away airport, it could be worth it if you’ll be saving tons on your tickets.

Use That Companion Pass

Award travel on Southwest is even better when you have the Companion Pass.

The Southwest Companion Pass is truly an MVP when it comes to frequent flyer perks. Several readers mention utilizing this two-for-one benefit — attainable by earning 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year — when booking award itineraries around Thanksgiving.

Bonus Tip: Use Google Flights for Cheap Paid Airfare

This last tip pertains to paid airfare rather than award flights, but it’s worth mentioning in case your frequent flyer programs of choice aren’t offering availability (saver-level or otherwise) on your desired routes and dates. We’re big fans of Google Flights here at TPG — it’s a great way to search airfare options and view the cheapest travel dates. Mike Z.’s a fan of using this service’s alerts feature (to get notifications for price drops, for instance), and D Rece M. and Christy M. also utilize the website to find affordable tickets.

Featured image of Berlin, one of our top destinations for spending Thanksgiving abroad, by J_rg Farys / EyeEm/Getty Images.

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