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4 last-minute flight redemption deals for Valentine's Day

Jan. 31, 2022
13 min read
Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head Crater including the hotels and buildings in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu island, Hawaii. Waikiki Beach in the center of Honolulu has the largest number of visitors in Hawaii
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Nothing says “I love you” like taking your significant other on a trip for Valentine’s Day. And if you have points and miles to spend, it doesn’t have to break the bank either.

While it’s often necessary to book well in advance in order to find availability for the best offers in points and miles, there are still some incredible deals to be had for a last-minute Valentine’s Day trip. Whether you’re looking to whisk your love away to Europe or stay closer to home, have a look at these flight redemption deals with available dates over Valentine’s Day.

Note: All redemption amounts indicate round-trip flights, per person. Availability was found at the time of writing and is subject to change.

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New York to Miami in a lie-flat seat for 25,500 miles

Treat your valentine to a lie-flat seat this Valentine's Day. (Photo by JT Genter/ he Points Guy)

If you want to experience a bit of luxury without shelling out a ton of points, flying in lie-flat seats on an American Airlines 777-200 from New York-JFK to Miami (MIA) is a great way to impress your loved one.

I was able to find saver availability in business class on outbound flights departing the weekend before Valentine’s Day. However, I could only find economy seats for a return flight the following week. I chose flights departing Feb. 11, returning Feb. 15 as an example, but there are flights available on surrounding dates as well.

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These flights can be booked with just 25,500 British Airways Avios plus $11.20 in taxes and fees round-trip, per person (51,000 Avios + $22.40 for two), with the outbound business class leg costing 16,500 Avios per person. This is far less expensive than booking with American's own AAdvantage program, which charges 25,000 miles per person for the business class leg.

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Cash tickets for this itinerary come to around $473 per person ($945 for two), so this represents a valuable redemption rate if you’d like to save your cash and spend points.

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If you’re hoarding either American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer points from either program to British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio. Alternatively, you can earn Avios with the British Airways Visa Signature Card, which currently offers 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

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Related: Reviewing American’s best 777-200 business class

Chicago, Denver or Salt Lake City to Honolulu for 15,000 miles

Escape to paradise with award space to Hawaii. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/The Points Guy)

Hawaii is always a good idea, and Valentine’s Day is a particularly special time to visit. Luckily, there are still several saver-level award seats available on United flights from select U.S. cities to the tropical state in the middle of the Pacific.

Plus, you can take advantage of one of the best points and miles deals to get there, and fly with your loved one to sunshine for just 15,000 Turkish Airlines miles each round-trip (30,000 for two). Tack on $11.20 per person in taxes and fees, and you’ll have an inexpensive romantic vacation to Hawaii.

For example, I found multiple award seats departing Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) on Feb. 12, returning from Honolulu (HNL) on Feb. 19. I also checked flights departing Denver (DEN), Salt Lake City (SLC) and San Francisco (SFO) and was able to find seats on surrounding dates without any issue. You can undoubtedly find availability from other U.S. cities as well.

To book these flights, you need to use Turkish Airlines’ Star Award search tool. To find it, log in to your account, click your name at the top and then click “Miles Transactions” from the drop-down menu. On the following screen, click the “Book now” link in the Star Alliance award ticket box.

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At the time of writing, these same flights cost $628 round-trip each for a standard economy class ticket ($1,256 for two). Sure, you’d be able to find a basic economy fare for less, but that would not be a fair comparison considering an award ticket will resemble a traditional economy ticket. This includes a full-size carry-on bag and advanced seat assignments.

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While you may not have a stash of Turkish Airlines miles, you can transfer Capital One miles or Citi ThankYou points to the Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program at a 1:1 ratio. This could be a great way to use some of those bonus miles if you recently signed up for the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which offers 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Hawaii has plans to require visitors to have a booster shot in order to avoid COVID-19 testing and quarantine. It’s possible this will go into effect starting February 18, 2022, which shouldn’t affect an arrival for Valentine’s Day. However, make sure to stay up to date on entry requirements.

Related: The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles

Boston or Chicago to Madrid for 68,000 Avios in business class

Fly to Europe in comfort with Iberia. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Taste all of the tapas and wine Madrid has to offer this Valentine’s Day with this sweet deal on Iberia.

For just 68,000 Iberia Plus Avios round-trip, per person (136,000 for two), fly in business class from either Boston (BOS) or Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Madrid (MAD). It’s one of the cheapest ways to cross the Atlantic in a lie-flat seat, and your valentine will appreciate the comfort when you wake up refreshed to explore a week in Europe.

As an example, I found business class seats available departing Boston (BOS) on Wednesday, February 9, returning from Madrid (MAD) on Wednesday, February 16. There are a few other surrounding dates available from Chicago, and even more availability in economy class.

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Taxes and fees add up to around $275 per person ($550.94 for two), which is more than you’ll pay in fees on some other airlines. Regardless, it's still a small price to pay for business class seats to Europe, considering the low number of points required for redemption.

And when you compare the cost of a cash ticket, you’ll be truly amazed at how good of a deal this is. At the time of writing, cash tickets for these business class flights cost a whopping $8,045 round-trip, per person ($16,090 for two). Of course, it likely wouldn’t cost nearly this much if you were to book further in advance, but this just goes to show that using points and miles for last-minute bookings can save a ton.

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Popular credit card points American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards both transfer to Iberia Plus at an even 1:1 rate. You can also transfer your British Airways Avios to Iberia so long as both accounts have been open for 90+ days.

If you need to top up your Amex Membership Rewards balance, consider opening one of these cards:

  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of card membership. Earn 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants; 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar); 3 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines or American Express Travel; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases, ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. Earn 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines or with American Express Travel (earn 5 points per dollar on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases, ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • American Express® Green Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership. Plus, 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases in the first six months, up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit. Earn 3 points per dollar on dining at restaurants, travel and transit (including flights, hotels, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services), 1 point per dollar on all other purchases ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees).

Booster shots are required for U.S. citizens to visit Spain as of Feb. 1, 2022. If more than 9 months have passed since your last required dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you’ll need a booster shot at least 14 days before you arrive in Spain.

Related: The cheapest ways to book a trip to Spain with points and miles

Seattle or Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta for 12,000 SkyMiles

(Photo by Josh Laskin for The Points Guy)

Looking to stay closer to home but still want to take an international trip? Consider a quick flight down to the Riviera Nayarit along Mexico’s Pacific coast. In Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find plenty of top resorts to enjoy golden sunsets and an intimate dinner on the beach.

Right now, you can fly from either Seattle (SEA) or Los Angeles (LAX) to Puerto Vallarta for fewer miles than it costs to fly many domestic routes. Pricing is dynamic, but I was able to find nonstop Delta flights for just 9,000 SkyMiles round-trip per person (18,000 for two) for main cabin tickets around Valentine’s Day.

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It’s possible to book basic economy tickets for only 5,000 miles per person, but in my opinion, the savings are not worth the extra restrictions. Taxes and fees add up to around $110 each ($218.18 for two), which is what you’ll pay in fees for Mexico flights regardless of which airline you fly. For this example, I chose flights departing Seattle (SEA) on Feb. 12, returning from Puerto Vallarta (PVR) on Feb. 18.

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Cash tickets are usually fairly cheap on these routes, but if you have a stash of Delta SkyMiles available, sales such as these are some of the best ways to utilize your miles for the best value. At the time of writing, the cash price for main cabin tickets from Seattle to Puerto Vallarta is $383 round-trip each ($765 for two). This means you’ll get a value of over 3 cents per mile, which is really good for SkyMiles.

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It’s possible to transfer Amex points to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio, however, know that Amex transfers to domestic airlines require an additional fee of 0.06 cents per point. In turn, it costs $10.80 to transfer 18,000 Amex points to Delta.

There aren’t any major COVID restrictions for entering Mexico from the U.S., but you will need to provide a negative test result taken within one day of your return flight to the U.S., regardless of your vaccination status.

Related: TPG’s guide to the best all-inclusive resorts you can book with points

Bottom line

As you can see, there are plenty of excellent last-minute award tickets out there — but time is ticking. If you’d like to take that special someone somewhere new, jump on these deals while they last and enjoy a Valentine's Day trip with your one-and-only. It's sure to make for a Valentine's Day that you'll both remember for a lifetime.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, click here.

Feature photo by okimo/Getty Images.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.