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Now that school has been in session for a few months, many of you are probably itching to get away during school break — even if it is for just a few days. If you are looking to plan a trip over the holidays, you might be surprised to hear that you can still book a flight using your points. Not only that, but by taking advantage of the current 40% bonus when transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Aer Lingus Avios, British Airways Avios and Iberia Avios, you can snag those award tickets for fewer points than normal.

This promotion ends Nov. 15, so you have just a few days left to initiate a transfer (which is usually an instant transfer). Eligible cards are those that earn Amex Membership Rewards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card or The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express.

Keep in mind that you can use Avios points to fly your family internationally or domestically. Since British Airways and Iberia actually partner with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines within the US, Avios points gives you a ton of options to take your family on vacation — even during peak times like holiday travel. While availability is constantly changing, I was able to find quite a bit of award redemption flights for families during the upcoming holidays.

Chicago to New York City

Since British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, flights from Chicago (ORD) to New York City (LGA) price out at just 15,000 points round-trip. Compared to the 25,000 miles American Airlines wants to charge, this is a great deal! But, it can get even better. With the 40% bonus, you’ll only need to redeem 11,000 Membership Rewards points for that free round-trip flight per person.

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

Throughout the holiday week, I even saw a ton of availability that ensures you don’t need to pull your kids out of school on either end of the break. While New York City isn’t the warm beach destination you might be dreaming of, it is truly a magical place during the holidays. If you make the trip, it might be the perfect opportunity to see the spectacular Radio City Rockettes and stay at a family-friendly hotel using points.

Raleigh-Durham to Cancun

Laying on a lounge chair at a beach resort is definitely my ideal way to spend the holidays, and right now there are still a decent number of flights available to Cancun. While I found many cities where you can get to or from Cancun using your Avios points, there weren’t too many routes where flights were available on points both ways.

Although you can always fly on points one way and pay for the flight in the other direction, or use points or miles from another airline. With that being said, I did find seven seats available round-trip between Raleigh-Durham and Cancun on American Airlines. If your children do not have school the first week of January, or if you are OK with them missing just a few days, you can head down to the sunny beaches of Cancun over New Year’s for an entire week.

Fun in Cancun (photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Fun in Cancun (photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

And the best part is that you only need to redeem 15,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip. With the 40% bonus transfer offer, that equates to just needing 11,000 Membership Rewards points per person. This could also be a great opportunity to check out the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Cancun, or head to beautiful Playa del Carmen.

Phoenix to Los Angeles

If you’re looking for a quick getaway, there is still a ton of availability between Phoenix and Los Angeles. On many days I checked during school break, some flights have as many as seven seats available!

Image courtesy of Getty Images
Image courtesy of Getty Images

Like many of the other examples above, this flight is also just 15,000 British Airways points round-trip, so requiring the same 11,000 Membership Rewards points after the transfer bonus. Or, if you are based in Los Angeles and looking to relax in a sprawling resort in Scottsdale, you have that option as well. And, there are a ton of opportunities to use your hotel points in both cities, such as the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa and The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, and the Wyndham Santa Monica Pier and The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.

Dallas to Savannah

Less than an hour away from Savannah Airport, you have the beautiful Hilton Head beaches with many resort options. While there is a decent amount of availability between the two cities, most options are only for business class seats. If you are able to find an economy class seat on the way there and a business class seat on the return, you are still only looking at spending 22,500 British Airways Avios points per person — still less than the 25,000 miles many other airlines would charge round-trip in economy.

Savannah, Georgia (Photo by SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images)
Savannah, Georgia (Photo by SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images)

For a family of four to fly with the current transfer bonus, you are looking at only 65,000 Membership Rewards points in total. And, treating your family to a business class seat can be a holiday gift in itself!

Boston to Madrid

If flying internationally is really what you’re looking for, it still can be done. I found flights from Boston to Madrid on Christmas Eve in business class (50,000 Iberia Avios points) and returning in economy class on New Year’s Eve (22,000 Iberia Avios points). To only redeem 52,000 Membership Rewards points is a steal for this round-trip ticket (52,000 points x 40% transfer bonus = 72,000 Iberia Avios points for the round-trip itinerary). Most other airlines require you to redeem 60,000 miles for a round-trip ticket to Europe and that is to fly economy class both ways. With this option, you’d want to transfer your points to Iberia Avios and redeem through the Iberia program.

Bottom Line

It might not be too late to find that ideal vacation for your family over December break. While these are just five examples that I found, there are many more opportunities depending on where you live and where you are looking to go. Taking advantage of the American Express transfer bonus to the three different Avios programs will also help you grab that holiday vacation for even less — being able to fly just six weeks out during peak time on a deal is still possible.

Did you take advantage of the transfer bonus? What flights did you book?

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.

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