How to book an award ticket to Malta from 55,000 miles round-trip
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Starting June 1, Malta will be one of the few European countries opening its doors to fully vaccinated travelers. In fact, the Mediterranean island nation is so keen to welcome tourists that it's offering up to $238 in credits towards hotel expenses.
If you manage to get a hold of that credit, that's great. But if you're trying to budget for a trip to Malta using points and miles, we've got you covered.
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Airlines that fly to Malta
Despite its small size, nearly two dozen airlines currently fly to Malta International Airport (MLA). For this article, we'll focus on the ones that are either part of an alliance or that are affiliated with an accessible rewards program.
- British Airways
When booking award travel to Europe, especially during peak travel dates, you can't always be picky. Availability can be limited, so flexibility is key. However, if availability happens to be plentiful, you'll want to focus on booking the cheapest award ticket possible. Here's a look at your best options for each alliance:
Related: The 7 best ways to redeem points and miles for flights to Europe
Cheapest Oneworld awards to Malta
- Cheapest economy award: 45,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip
- Cheapest business class award: 115,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip
One of the cheapest ways to get to Malta is to redeem AAdvantage miles for an off-peak economy class ticket. This will set you back just 45,000 miles round-trip if you travel between Nov. 1 - Dec. 14, 2021.
Outside of off-peak dates, AA award tickets will set you back 60,000-115,000 miles round-trip, depending on when you travel. Even if you fly a segment on British Airways, the taxes and fees are not bad.
How to earn enough AAdvantage miles
You can earn AAdvantage miles for an award ticket to Malta fairly easily, thanks to the generous welcome bonuses offered by the American Airlines credit cards. If you apply for a card, be sure to time your application at least two months before your travel date. This will ensure that you have sufficient time to complete any spending requirements and that your miles post before award space dries up.
- AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard: 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Additional 10,000 miles when an employee card is used for a purchase.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: 65,000 American Airlines bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening.
- AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard: 60,000 bonus miles and a $99 companion ticket awarded after making a purchase within the first 90 days of card opening.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: For a limited time earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $3,500 on purchases in the first four months of account opening.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select, AAdvantage Aviator Red and the AAdvantage Aviator Business cards 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: How to book a post-pandemic trip to Spain with a backup plan for Colombia
Cheapest Skyteam awards to Malta
- Cheapest economy award: 50,000 Korean miles round-trip
- Cheapest business class award: 80,000 Korean miles round-trip
Ever since Chase Ultimate Rewards dropped Korean SkyPass as a transfer partner, earning Korean miles has become much more difficult. You can transfer Marriott points to Korean SkyPass at a 3:1 ratio. You can also pick up a Korean SkyPass credit card from U.S. Bank.
Unfortunately, the sign-up bonuses on these cards are not great and you'll need two of them to generate enough points for an award. I wouldn't recommend getting a card for this award alone, but if you need it to give an existing balance a boost or for long-term earnings, it could be a good option:
- SkyPass Visa Signature® Card: 30,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days.
- SkyPass Visa® Business Card: 30,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days. 2,000 Bonus Miles at renewal.
The information for the Skypass Visa Signature and Business 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: Dreaming of Europe this summer? Check out these flight deals.
Cheapest Star Alliance awards to Malta
- Cheapest economy award: 55,000 ANA miles round-trip
- Cheapest business class award: 88,000 ANA miles round-trip
The Star Alliance has a strong presence in Europe, making it a great choice for getting to Malta on points and miles. The Asiana Club loyalty program offers some of the cheapest awards to Europe (i.e., 80,000 miles round-trip in business class). But between the fuel surcharges and how difficult it is to earn Asiana Club miles, we'll forego that option for something more accessible: ANA Mileage Club.
All Nippon Airlines is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, which are easy to earn thanks to a slew of Amex credit cards offering generous welcome and category bonuses. You'll need just 55,000 miles round-trip for an economy class award or 88,000 miles for business class to Europe. The downside is that you can't book one-way awards and the taxes can range from $300-$600 round-trip. But considering that these rates are on par with what some airlines charge for one-way awards and cash fares can skyrocket in the summer, it might be worthwhile.
Membership Rewards-earning cards are offering pretty big welcome offers right now. In many cases, it's enough to cover an ANA economy or business class award ticket to Malta:
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first three months of card membership.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership.
- American Express® Business Gold Card: 80,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first three months of Card Membership.
- American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 within your first six months of card membership
Related: Airline miles that are hardest to earn — and why you want them anyway
Malta hotels you can book with points
The Hilton Malta requires 60,000 points per night in a King Deluxe room with marina views. The same room goes for about 262 Euros in the summer ($316), which gets you a little under 0.6 cents in value per point. You're better off paying for this stay with your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and redeeming miles toward the hotel charge.
If you decide to go the Hilton Honors route, you can earn Hilton points by applying for the following co-branded credit cards:
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership.
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors Business card within the first three months of card membership.
The information for the Hilton Honors 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.
Hyatt has two properties in Malta: The Hyatt Regency Malta, which goes for 8,000 points per night, and the Casa Ellul for 25,000. I found cash rates at the Hyatt Regency going as high as $229 in the summer, which would get you nearly three cents of value per point.
With the welcome bonus from the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you can cover several nights in Malta.
Rates at the Intercontinental Malta range from 26,000-37,000 IHG points this summer. If you don't mind a more frugal option, you can book the Holiday Inn Express Malta for just 13,000 points. It's located across from the Intercontinental, so you get the same great location (and free breakfast) at a fraction of the cost.
There are over a dozen ways to earn IHG points, but the quickest is with a co-branded credit card. The IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card currently offers 140,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This card offers an anniversary reward night which is valid on hotels requiring up to 40,000 points, so the Intercontinental Malta would qualify.
The IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card is a great alternative if you want an IHG card with no annual fee. The card offers 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Marriott has two properties in Malta, the Category 6 Westin Dragonara Resort and the Category 6 Malta Marriott Hotel & Spa. You can book the Marriott for 30,000-40,000 points per night, which I think is much more preferable than 40,000-60,000 for the Westin.
You can cover several nights at these Marriott properties in Melta with one of the following welcome bonuses:
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
With round-trip airfare starting at just 55,000 miles and hotels going for as few as 8,000, a trip to Malta is much more attainable on points than most people expect. If you're starting to earn points for this trip, you're cutting it close for the June 1 reopening, but you can certainly plan something for the summer.