How to give the gift of travel
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Earlier this week, TPG talked about how to give a surprise trip as a gift. And, while we love surprising our friends and families, sometimes you need to keep that person in the loop when the gift you want to give them is travel. Are they in a position to take time off from work or family obligations to make the trip? Are you gifting the trip to them and a "plus one" so they don't have to travel alone? Are you going on the trip too? Does your recipient even want to travel? These are all valid questions and they can all be answered in advance of the gift with a few key conversations.
Related: How to give a surprise trip as a gift
Once you know your recipient would love the gift of travel, here are a few ways to make it happen.
Use your miles and points
If you've got a stash of miles and points that you can't possibly keep all to yourself, gifting some for a loved one's trip is an awesome idea. Since you likely have more knowledge of how these programs work, it's usually best if you handle making the award reservations on their behalf. If you're going on the trip too, consider using your miles and points for your traveling companion and paying cash for yourself if you want to earn a few miles to partially replace what you are spending.
Related: Using points and miles to book award travel for others
Before you make any plans, check the current list of bonus transfer offers. If there's a good one that's relevant to booking the particular flights or hotels you're interested in, it can make a lot of sense. It's a great way to stretch the points and miles you already have.
Book a vacation package
Vacation packages can often present a tremendous value when they package together airfare, hotel and sometimes a rental car and even activities. We've seen some solid deals at Costco Travel. And, watch for deals from airline vacation departments. Lots of us were able to leverage our Delta SkyMiles points last year when Delta Vacations ran a particularly lucrative promotion where you could use SkyMiles at a rate of 2 cents each. We've seen money-off promos for American Airlines vacation packages and British Airways London vacation packages (airfare and hotel) for under $600 per person.
Buy gift cards
Around the holiday season, it's par for the course to see promotions that offer gift card buyers a gift to use themselves. This season you could buy $250 Delta gift cards and receive either a $25 Best Buy or $25 Hotels.com gift card as a bonus. Around Thanksgiving, Costco was offering discounted Delta gift cards. And, earlier this month, Hyatt offered 10% off its gift cards. The point is, have eagle eyes if you plan to give the gift of travel via gift cards. Watch your email for targeted promotions or check TPG for deal announcements. You can often find discounted travel gift cards or those offering some type of bonus for the purchase.
Even if you can't find a discounted gift card, at least ensure you are earning as many points as possible when you purchase a gift card.
Related: Best credit cards for gift card purchases
Use Hyatt Globalist elite status to convey benefits to someone else
If you're a Hyatt Globalist, you can use your elite status to improve someone else's stay. It's through the company's Hyatt Guest of Honor program. Basically, if you're a Globalist elite, you can redeem points for a stay for a family member or friend and "transfer" your elite status privileges to that traveler. What does this actually mean? Depending on the property, it means your gift recipient would get extra perks like Regency Club or Grand Club access, free breakfast and late check-out). If you want to give someone you love the royal treatment, this is a great way to do so.
Related: What is World of Hyatt elite status worth?
Use a credit card to get a Welcome bonus when paying for your gift
If you do plan to pay cash for the gift of travel, make sure to reward yourself. Here are offers with welcome bonuses that are currently at or above 100,000 points.
|Credit Card||Annual Fee||Bonus Value*||Notable Perks|
|Capital One Spark Miles for Business||$95, waived first year||Up to 200,000 miles, worth up to $2,800*:
Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening.
|2x miles on all purchases; free employee cards|
|Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express||$450 (see rates & fees)||150,000 points, worth up to $900; Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.||Up to $250 airline credit; up to $250 Hilton resort credit; up to $100 property credit on eligible stays of two or more nights at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad hotels; terms apply|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||$95 (see rates & fees).||Up to 130,000 points, worth up to $780 Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points plus a free night reward after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership.||One free weekend night after spending $15,000 in a year; Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a year; terms apply|
|Hilton Honors American Express Business Card||$95 (see rates & fees)||130,000 points, worth $780; Free night reward offer: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points plus a free night reward after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership.||One free weekend night after spending $15,000 in a year (second free weekend night after spending $60,000 in a year); Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a year; terms apply|
|United℠ Explorer Business Card||$95||Up to 100,000 miles, worth up to $1,300
Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $25,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open
|Two one-time United Club passes and first checked bag free on United flights|
|British Airways Visa Signature® Card||$95||100,000 bonus Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: The best travel credit cards for 2020
Teach your loved one about miles and points
The greatest gift you could give a friend or family member though is knowledge. Have they ever been curious about how you travel the world affordably with the help of miles and points? Well, now may be the time to let them in on the secret. Book a lunch date or dinner, ask about their travel goals and help them draft a plan to start saving miles and points to get there. It could be a really fun project to work on together.
Related: TPG's beginner's guide: Everything you need to know about points, miles, airlines and credit cards
Travel is a privilege that not everyone gets to partake in. Think about gifting an entire trip or a portion of one to someone you love. They may catch the travel bug and become a built-in companion for future vacations!
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Surpass Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Amex Business Card, please click here.