Pride on points: How to celebrate Pride in 6 international cities using points and miles
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Pride month is in full swing and while we’ve shown you how to do Pride on points in the U.S., there are lots of events planned internationally.
We’ve rounded up ways to book airfare and hotels for Pride festivals around the world. As compared to last year, award rates are largely priced dynamically, so options might be different by the time you book.
Without further ado, here are six international cities offering in-person Pride events and how you can get there on points.
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Paris (June 25)
Looking for a last-minute international Pride event? Look no further than Paris Pride on June 25.
France now allows fully vaccinated (and boosted) U.S. travelers to enter with no pre-travel testing required. Unvaccinated U.S. travelers can also now visit for tourism but need to present proof of a negative pre-travel test. The Health Pass, or Pass Sanitaire, is no longer checked in public venues.
This year, you can expect a parade and events around the city that will extend into July. Expect days of equality advocacy, visibility and fun. The route will take paradegoers from Pantin to the Place de la Republique, via Avenue Jean Jaures, Rue Lafayette and Boulevard de Magenta.
Book tickets fast if you plan on attending Paris Pride. You’ll find Air France award tickets from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) the week of Paris Pride for as little as 75,500 Flying Blue miles round-trip, plus roughly $250 in taxes and fees. You can transfer American Express, Capital One, Citi, Chase and Marriott points to Flying Blue.
Keep an eye out for cheap cash tickets, too. You can book a United round-trip ticket from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to Paris at the end of the month for $806 in basic economy. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can redeem just 60,426 points for the ticket through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
Paris is home to countless hotels in all the major loyalty programs. You can use your World of Hyatt points to book iconic properties like the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome and Hotel du Louvre or newer concepts like the Hyatt Paris Madeleine. Whatever you choose, you’ll be close to the parade’s starting point via the Paris Metro. You can transfer Chase points to World of Hyatt.
Or, you can use Marriott Bonvoy points (or free night certificates) to book a handful of properties. Many have already sold out, but the Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel can be booked from 69,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. This puts you close to where the parade ends, so you can avoid expensive Ubers and crowded Metro rides.
Finally, those with IHG Rewards points may opt to use their points to stay at the Crowne Plaza Paris – Republique. Forty-six thousand IHG points will get you a free night at the hotel, just down the street from where the parade ends. There are other IHG properties scattered around Paris with openings, too.
Madrid (July 1-10)
Spain now welcomes both vaccinated and unvaccinated American tourists. Vaccinated tourists can enter without COVID-19 testing, while unvaccinated tourists are subject to predeparture testing. The festivities will begin shortly after International Pride Day (June 28), but the highlight of Madrid’s Pride Week, the parade, is on July 9.
The majority of activities will be in the Chueca neighborhood, but there will be festivities across the entire city. Expect concerts and shows in Plaza de Pedro Zerolo, Plaza del Rey, Puerta del Sol and Puerta de Alcala. The parade will go from Atocha (Paseo del Prado next to the Botanical Gardens) to Colon.
There are nonstop flights to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) from most major U.S. airports, such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Miami International Airport (MIA) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), as well as lots of connecting options.
The cheapest option is often directly through Spain’s flag carrier, Iberia. You can book flights from the U.S. East Coast to Spain for as few as 17,000 miles one-way in economy and 34,000 in business class during some parts of the year. However, because Madrid Pride falls under “peak” dates, you’ll pay at least 20,000 miles in economy or 50,000 in business class, which is still pretty good.
There’s plenty of last-minute award availability for economy, though business class is hard to find. If you find flights that work for you, you can transfer points to Iberia from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy.
Book a hotel in or near the Chueca neighborhood if you want to stay near all of the action. That said, it’s extremely easy to get around the city by foot, bike or public transport, so don’t worry if your hotel is a bit farther away.
Marriott Bonvoy offers options for everyone. If you’re on a budget, you can book the Aloft Madrid Gran Via for 30,000 points per night. Some nicer options include The Westin Palace, Madrid for 54,000 points per night and Hotel Palacio Del Retiro, Autograph Collection for 70,000 points per night. Several Marriott properties are already sold out.
If you’re looking to redeem World of Hyatt points, three hotels are available: the Hyatt Regency Hesperia Madrid for 15,000 points per night, the Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid for 20,000 points per night and the Urso Hotel & Spa for 25,000 points per night. The Urso Hotel is part of Hyatt’s partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, so you’ll get perks like free breakfast, early check-in, late checkout and a room upgrade even if you don’t have elite status.
With Hilton, your only standard room award option is the Canopy by Hilton Madrid Castellana, as the Atocha Hotel Madrid, Tapestry Collection by Hilton and the nearby DoubleTree are nearly sold out. It’s a modern hotel, which is being offered at 45,000 points per night, but it’s a good 2 miles from the festivities.
Keep in mind that depending on the hotel program, your status and what credit cards you have, you may be able to get a fourth or fifth night free when redeeming points on longer stays.
Amsterdam (July 30-Aug. 7)
The Netherlands is open to fully vaccinated tourists and those who can show proof of recovery 11-180 days after a COVID-19 positive result. Visit this website for the most up-to-date requirements.
Amsterdam’s Pride features a citywide festival that’s widely regarded as one of the world’s largest Pride festivals, with hundreds of thousands flocking to the city each year. The peak of the festival happens to line up with the Canal Parade this year, so you can experience two special celebrations in one. This year, Amsterdam’s Pride festival features street parades, a canal parade and an open-air cinema, along with 300-plus other events.
There are tons of options to get to Amsterdam on points. Since it’s a KLM and SkyTeam hub, the first place to look is with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Just be mindful when using programs with stops — you may want to double-check you’re avoiding countries that tend to have higher taxes on tickets, like the United Kingdom and Germany.
If you don’t have many miles to pull from, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club may be a great choice, especially for those on the East Coast. You’ll be hit with taxes while stopping in London, but it’s nothing too heavy. Virgin Atlantic being a transfer partner of both Chase and American Express provides many options with wide-open availability. If you manage to find availability, Upper Class is 66,500 points each way plus taxes.
There are also some Oneworld options using AAdvantage miles. You can book a one-way flight from Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) to Amsterdam for 30,000 miles in economy class.
Alternatively, you can use 57,500 miles to fly in business class and transit through Casablanca-Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) on Royal Air Maroc.
Amsterdam has plenty of options for hotel rewards. I would recommend checking your accounts to see if you have any current transfer bonuses when transferring points to hotel rewards programs. American Express currently offers a 25% bonus when transferring points to your Marriott Bonvoy account. While we don’t recommend this, it’s a solid way to top off your account for an upcoming stay.
Marriott offers a great number of resorts not far from the action. If you want to use one of your 35,000-point certificates, it may be worth staying closer to the airport as Amsterdam has a cheap train directly into the city center. You have many options if you can dish out a few extra points or have a 50,000-point certificate.
Hilton Honors has fewer options, but it would be a crime not to recommend the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, one of the best-regarded hotels in the Hilton network. Availability is limited, but there’s scattered availability for 110,000 points a night with eligibility for space-available upgrades with status. If you’re sitting on recently extended free night certificates from your Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, it may be a great place to cash out.
The information for the Hilton Aspire 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.
There are quite a few really great boutique hotels in Amsterdam that don’t operate under any large brand. A quick check of the Capital One Travel portal offers up some pretty slick deals on hotels that have you only feet from the action. Staying near the canals of Amsterdam has been a bucket list adventure for me personally, so check out the portal for some great deals.
London (July 2)
London’s 2022 Pride parade takes place on the weekend of July 2. The rest of the weekend will feature lots of fun and informative events, including advocacy forums, themed brunches, parties, speed dating sessions and more.
There are lots of cheap options to fly to London for Pride weekend using points and miles. Hands down, the cheapest is using British Airways Avios for an economy-class award out of the East Coast, but availability is limited.
You’ll redeem just 13,000 miles and $64 on the outbound segment. That’s right: For about the cost of a domestic award ticket, you can fly from Boston to London. British Airways classifies these tickets as off-peak, which explains the incredibly low redemption rate.
The return segment gets tricky because the taxes are much higher, so you’ll redeem 26,000 Avios and $320 if you manage to find award space.
We advise booking the United flight from London to Boston. You could redeem 30,000 MileagePlus miles for economy class or 60,000 miles for business class. In order to have access to these fares (in the XN and IN fare classes), you must be a Premier member or have a cobranded United card.
London’s Pride parade will make its way through Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. A detailed route with a starting point hasn’t been announced, but you can get close to the action by staying at Hyatt’s Great Scotland Yard Hotel for 29,000 points per night. Room rates during Pride weekend are around $700 per night with taxes, making this a solid Hyatt redemption.
The nearby DoubleTree by Hilton London – West End is also a good choice. Room rates are over $400 per night with taxes. With award rates going for 60,000 points per night, you’re just over TPG’s valuation of Hilton points at 0.6 cents apiece.
The St. Ermin’s Hotel, Autograph Collection is also a good choice. It will set you back 70,000 points per night, but cash rates come in north of $1,000 with taxes. That means you will get over 1.4 cents per Marriott point by staying here, which is significantly higher than our valuation of Marriott points.
Buenos Aires (Oct. 29-Nov. 5)
This year’s Pride parade in Buenos Aires is on Nov. 5. It will go through the trendy neighborhood of Palermo. Keep in mind, however, that parties won’t begin until around midnight.
The lowest airfare prices to Buenos Aires appear to be on Delta using LATAM for 25,000 miles one-way.
You can transfer American Express points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio.
Alternatively, American Airlines has limited availability on its nonstop from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) from 29,500 points around Buenos Aires’ Pride Week.
For United flyers, the award space isn’t looking good. The only “saver” awards have two stops in Canada, Colombia or Brazil.
There are several Marriott Bonvoy hotels in Buenos Aires. If you’re looking to save points, though, the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center is just a hop, skip and a jump from Palermo. You can redeem 106,000 points or pay $1,304.38 for a five-night stay. So, if you redeem Marriott Bonvoy points, you’d get a redemption value of 1.12 cents per point. The Buenos Aires Marriott is available for 93,000 points, too.
Want something a bit more authentic? I’d stay at the Anselmo Buenos Aires, Curio Collection by Hilton. The hotel is in the heart of the San Telmo neighborhood and doesn’t feel like a business hotel.
Five nights here will cost 119,000 points. The hotel cash rate would be $657.04 for five nights, so by using points, you’re only getting around 0.55 cents per point, which is below our valuation. However, regardless of whether you opt for points or cash, this option is much less expensive than the Hilton Buenos Aires in Puerto Madero.
Johannesburg (Oct. 28)
Johannesburg Pride hosts the Pride of Africa celebrations on Oct. 28 in Johannesburg. Specific details for this year’s event aren’t available yet, but Johannesburg Pride typically holds the event in the Sandton suburb of Johannesburg.
In a usual year, thousands gather for a festival and to march through the streets. Johannesburg Pride says the march is to stand for self-acceptance and legal rights, but also to celebrate Pride. The festival and parade are typically open to the public at no cost.
Let’s take a quick look at airfare and hotel options if you want to attend the Pride of Africa celebrations.
My favorite way to get to South Africa with points is to redeem American Airlines miles to fly Qatar business class. There’s usually excellent award availability for at least two seats, and I enjoy flying the Qatar Qsuite product. Additionally, it only costs 75,000 American Airlines miles plus about $40 in taxes and fees per person each way to fly from the U.S. to South Africa via Doha, Qatar. Check out our post on how to earn American Airlines miles if you need more miles.
However, American Airlines miles can be challenging to earn. If you prefer to redeem United miles, you’ll be happy to know there’s excellent saver availability for economy-class awards and decent availability for business-class awards.
For example, you could depart Newark on Oct. 26 to fly nonstop to Johannesburg in economy class for 45,000 United miles plus $5.60 per person one-way. If you need it, see our guide on how to earn more United miles.
As a United Premier member or cobranded credit card holder, you’d have access to the XN fare class, which allows you to book a seat on this flight for 40,000 miles instead of the public going rate of 45,000 miles.
Of course, there are plenty of other options. So, check your favorite loyalty programs to see what’s available for your preferred origin and dates.
If you want to redeem hotel points to stay in the Sandton suburb of Johannesburg for the Pride of Africa celebrations, there are three great options. However, since the organizers haven’t yet announced the parade route or location of the festival, it’s challenging to determine which hotel is best.
The Hilton Sandton has an executive lounge and a free scheduled shuttle you can use to visit nearby destinations. If you have elite status with Hilton, you can get a fifth night free when you redeem points. After the fifth night free, you’d need to redeem 93,000 Hilton points for a five-night stay from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2.
Alternatively, you could book this stay for $505 — which might be a better option since you’d only get 0.53 cents per point of value when redeeming Hilton points (which is below TPG’s valuation of 0.6 cents per point). Check out our guide to earning Hilton Honors points if you need to earn more points.
Meanwhile, the Holiday Inn Sandton – Rivonia Road provides excellent value. Also, if you have an eligible IHG Rewards credit card, such as the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card, you can get a fourth-night reward when you redeem points for a stay of three nights or longer.
With a fourth-night reward, you’d only need 27,750 points for a four-night stay from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1. This same stay would cost $240, which means you’d get a redemption value of 0.86 cents per point if you redeem IHG One Rewards points. If you need more IHG points, check out our guide to earning IHG One Rewards points.
Finally, the Protea Hotel Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton also provides excellent value. All Marriott Bonvoy members get a fifth night free when redeeming Marriott points. So, a five-night stay from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2 would cost just 29,000 points. This same stay would cost $420, so you’d get 1.44 cents per point on your redemption. Compared to TPG’s valuation of Marriott points at 0.84 cents, this is an excellent redemption rate.
Reporting by Andrew Kunesh, Benji Stawski, Ariana Arghandewal, Ryan Patterson, Katie Genter and Kyle Olsen.
Featured photo by Ink Drop/Shutterstock.
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