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Before you can rack up the points and miles on your wedding and then put them to use subsidizing a mind-blowing honeymoon, you still have time for an amazing bachelor party. And what’s a bachelor party if not an excuse to plan an amazing trip with your points and miles? Oh, and party with some of your best buds, too. Here are five great getaways for a bonanza bachelor party where your points and miles will come in handy.
And if you have a travel-loving friend who plans to propose soon, tell him or her to check out some of these other frequent-flyer romantic antics set in the Etihad A380 Apartment, the Amsterdam Airport and a good old standby, Maui, not to mention this Delta-themed wedding.
1. Las Vegas, Nevada
There’s a reason The Hangover was set in Sin City. It’s the ultimate bachelor party destination. Casinos, clubs, celebrity chef restaurants and the country’s most fun pool scene all culminate in Vegas to spectacular effect…for better or worse. The good news is you can save your cash for the casinos by using points and miles to get there and stay there. And if you get sick of the city, there are plenty of activities away from it to keep you busy.
Honestly, with deals from the East Coast as low as $106 round-trip, you might not want to use airline miles for a trip to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. Instead, consider redeeming fixed-value miles like those you earn with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. If you have a card like the American Express® Gold Card or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you could also redeem your points directly through the Amex Travel or Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portals, respectively, at decent rates that might require fewer points than a typical airline award.
But if you are looking to scrimp and save where you can, you should be able to use miles with all the major US airlines to travel to Sin City, and all for less than you probably think. For example, here’s a round-trip itinerary for 15,000 Alaska Airlines miles from Seattle to Las Vegas (LAS).
Delta itineraries from various cities across the US are pricing out as low as 19,000 miles round-trip at the moment. Due to their respective revenue-based award schemes, JetBlue and Southwest present some real bargains as well, like this itinerary from Portland (PDX) for just 10,506 points.
And if you’re feeling under-the-weather (for one reason or another) at the end of the trip and you have The Platinum Card® from American Express in your wallet, be sure to stop by the Centurion Lounge at the airport for a pre-flight pick-me-up.
Where to Stay
If you’re planning a bachelor weekend to Las Vegas, you could always hole up in a cheap hotel room, since you’re not likely to be spending much time there anyway. However, you can use points to book rooms and suites at some of the city’s best hotels thanks to various partnerships between the major loyalty programs and properties in town.
For instance, World of Hyatt has a partnership with MGM Resorts’ MLife program, so you can use your Hyatt points to stay at hotels like The Mirage, The Signature at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and Vdara for 20,000 points per night. Free nights at the higher-end Bellagio, Delano and Aria will set you back 25,000 points, though several others are available for even fewer points.
However, Hyatt is currently offering double points on eligible rates at participating MGM resorts in Las Vegas, so that could be a better option for your trip, especially if revenue rates are low.
Another points property in town is the hotel that used to be the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, which just reopened as the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas at the end of August after a $50 million renovation. Room rates are relatively low, starting at under $200 per night. But if you want to use your Hilton Honors points, you could redeem 58,000-80,000 per night depending on the room and the dates.
Marriott, meanwhile, has 25 properties in the area, though the most interesting is probably The Cosmopolitan, which is an Autograph Collection property and where you can book award nights for 50,000 points each.
2. Los Cabos, Mexico
Cancún’s West Coast counterpart boasts plenty to enjoy, including a popular bar scene, thumping clubs and some of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches (even if the surf is a little rough for swimming). But if clubbing isn’t your thing, there are more gentlemanly pursuits to keep your guys busy, including deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and golfing.
You can fly to Los Cabos International Airport from a number of US hubs on the following airlines, including:
- Atlanta: Delta
- Dallas-Fort Worth: American
- Denver: Southwest, United
- Houston: United
- Los Angeles: Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest
- Oakland: Southwest
- Phoenix: American
- San Diego: Alaska, Southwest
- San Francisco: Alaska, United
- San Jose: Alaska, Southwest
There truly are tons of choices, so how you fly will depend on the miles you have. Depending on your flexibility, though, you can find some decent options for your points, like this round-trip itinerary from Orange County, California on Alaska for just 20,000 miles and ~$72 round-trip.
Or Denver to Cabo on Southwest for 19,188 points plus $104.
Just be sure to crunch the numbers to make sure that the redemption is worth it.
Where to Stay
You could try the all-inclusive thing by redeeming World of Hyatt points at the Hyatt Ziva for 20,000 per night.
At the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, award nights range from 52,000-70,000 points each.
Marriott currently has five properties in the area. The Sheraton Grand Los Cabos Hacienda Del Mar is 35,000 points per night. The JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa is 45,000 points per night. The Westin Los Cabos Resort Villas & Spa will cost you 50,000 points per night.
The most interesting option, however, is probably Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos. It just opened in September, so it’s all new, and award nights are readily available for 60,000 points each.
3. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
There’s nothing like fresh mountain air and a little altitude to lend you some perspective on an upcoming life change. So why not take your best men (and/or women) to this mountain playground for a weekend of reflection…mixed with a little adventure and fun, of course?
To get to Tahoe, you can fly into any of the Bay Area’s airports including San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC) and Oakland (OAK). Sacramento (SMF) is also an option, but the most convenient arrival gateway would likely be Reno (RNO), which is a much shorter drive. However, award availability might be harder to come by.
While domestic redemptions used to be a standard 12,500 miles each way on the legacy carriers, you can often find lower redemptions these days on Alaska, Delta and United as well as JetBlue and Southwest thanks to their dynamic pricing models. Your mileage may vary, but aim to book a ticket that only costs you 10,000 miles or less each way in economy.
If you’re coming from the East Coast and you have some patience, I’d suggest trying to fly to San Francisco so you have a shot at booking a premium business-class product with lie-flat beds like JetBlue Mint, which flies from Boston (BOS), Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and New York-JFK to San Francisco. The lowest-priced Mint award I could find was for 30,200 points (compared to the next-best rates, which were 53,100) each way from Boston or JFK to San Francisco.
That’s not a small number of points, but JetBlue True Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards (recently), and a 1:0.8 transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards.
Where to Stay
As a premier West Coast resort destination both for skiing and outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe has plenty of choices ranging from rustic cabins to five-star resorts. Once you decide on what kind of experience you want, it should be easy to put your points to use booking it.
If you have World of Hyatt points, you can redeem them at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino (20,000 points per night) or the Hyatt Residence Club Lake Tahoe High Sierra lodge (30,000 points per night), both of which are luxurious options.
Marriott Rewards members can redeem at the sumptuous Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe for 60,000 points per night.
Or at the Grand Residences by Marriott, Lake Tahoe at a rate of 50,000-55,000 points per night.
If you decide to rent an Airbnb instead, make sure you use a card that earns bonus points on the purchase.
4. Miami Beach, Florida
If your crew gravitates towards clubs and beaches but doesn’t want to pack their passports, Miami might be the best option. The city has a dynamic restaurant scene these days, some of the country’s best nightlife, gorgeous hotel spas for pampering and relaxation, and beaches galore. If you’re in the mood for a little culture, you can peruse the contemporary art collection at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, which was designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The city combines the benefits of both a Caribbean beach destination and a major American metropolis, all at your fingertips.
Miami International Airport (MIA) is one of American Airlines’ hubs, so the carrier will probably provide the greatest variety of options for nonstop flights from dozens of US cities. Award tickets will cost 12,500 miles each way in economy or 25,000 miles in business class, though you’ll need to find Mile SAAver availability to lock in these prices (ExpertFlyer can be a big help here).
Delta also has a decent presence in Miami, with non-stops from hubs like Atlanta (ATL), New York (both JFK and LGA), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Detroit (DTW). Award tickets start at 6,000 miles each way.
Where to Stay
Miami is home to hundreds of hotels, so you can put your points to use on free stays at properties all over the city across all of the major programs.
Both the Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami and the Confidante Miami Beach are bargains at just 15,000 points per night (or would be great spots to redeem the free night certificates from The World of Hyatt Credit Card).
If you have Hilton Honors points, meanwhile, try the Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach, which costs 80,000 points per night this fall.
Or stick to a stricter budget with the Hampton Inn Miami South Beach – 17th Street, where award nights range from 49,000-70,000 points per night.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland
Most folks forget that Iceland is just under six hours from the East Coast by air, making this out-of-the-ordinary destination perfect for a quick weekend away with friends where you can still enjoy some exotic experiences.
Reykjavik has quickly become one of Europe’s coolest capitals thanks to a great bar scene, interesting restaurants and trendy boutiques. It is also easily accessible to some of the country’s more interesting nature adventures like snorkeling between tectonic plates at Silfra, or just soaking in the thermal pools at the Blue Lagoon.
Flying into Iceland has never been easier thanks to the planned expansion of the international airport at Keflavik (KEF), pressure from low-cost carrier WOW Air, Icelandair’s aggressive growth and new flights from the major US legacy carriers (including American and United). In fact, it seems like there are phenomenal flight deals from the US to Iceland every other week, including a recent one for just $169 round-trip.
With prices that low, booking traditional airline award tickets might not be worth it. Instead, you might want to opt either for paying cash, or redeeming Amex Membership Rewards, Barclaycard Arrival miles, Capital One Venture miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Rewards at fixed values.
Also remember that you can use Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles to book awards on Icelandair if you do want to go that route. The airline currently flies to nearly 20 cities in the US including both major hubs like New York (JFK) as well as smaller cities like Kansas City (MCI) and Tampa (TPA). Alaska will charge you 22,500-40,000 miles each way in economy, and 50,000 miles each way in Saga business class.
For strategies on both fixed-value redemptions and traditional awards, you can check out this recent guide on How to Get to Iceland on Points and Miles.
Where to Stay
We also have a recent guide on How to Use Points for Hotels and Lodging in Iceland that serves as a handy reference tool for award nights up north both in hotels and through Airbnb.
Radisson Rewards fields both the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel and the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel in town, and the Park Inn by Radisson Reykjavik Keflavik Airport out toward the airfield. The first costs 70,000 Gold Points per night while the second two are a more reasonable 44,000 points each.
Hilton has three properties in town, including the millennial-targeted Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre, where you can redeem 52,000-70,000 points per night; the Curio Collection’s Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, which opened in March in a former turn-of-the-century department store for 60,000-95,000 points per night; and the more budget-friendly Hilton Reykjavik Nordica for 36,000-60,000 points per night. Here were sample rates in October.
If you have Marriott Rewards points, you can redeem them at the boutique 101 Hotel, Reykjavik, the ION City Hotel, or the stunning 45-room Ion Adventure Hotel in Selfoss. All are members of Design Hotels and cost 60,000 points per night.
Whether you want poolside day drinking, pulse-pounding outdoor adventures, or simple beach relaxation with your best mates, your points and miles can help you plan the perfect bachelor party and maximize your last days of unwedded freedom. As always, before redeeming your points, make sure you are getting enough value from them to make an award booking worth it. Don’t forget about your direct-redemption options at fixed values, even with points you might normally transfer to partner airline or hotel programs like Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Hopefully this list has inspired you to get planning for a final send-off into marital bliss!
Featured image via Getty Images.
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