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We recently asked our TPG Lounge members to share their favorite tips and tricks for using points and miles to plan the perfect ski trip. Here’s what they had to say. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).
Saving Money on Flights
Several TPG Lounge members wrote in saying Southwest was the airline to fly if you’re lugging ski and snowboard gear across the country to your dream ski destination, while another suggested using certain airline credit cards to get around baggage fees.
“Southwest Airlines. I’ve never been charged for massively overpacked snowboard bags. [You can] change flights easily. [It flies to] Denver (DEN), Salt Lake City (SLC) and Spokane (GEG), all fantastic hubs for skiing and snowboarding.” — Paul L.
“It’s not the most popular card, but the JetBlue Plus is a good option — having no baggage fees means it pays for itself pretty quickly. You could also hoard miles by buying your whole party’s plane tickets since they’ll also get free baggage. Living in New York City, I like JetBlue for its red-eye flights to all the major ski destinations’ hubs like Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA).” — Teddy K.
“[You’ll get a] free checked bag with your credit card, a sure value when flying with skis and boots, as most airlines consider the two as one checked bag. After skiing approximately 30 areas, I’d choose Salt Lake City over Denver because of the drive time from the airport to the resort area. My VRBO rental last year coded as travel, [which was] nice.” — Lisa H.S.
“Book multiple trips using Southwest miles and cancel with no penalty. Also use the UTA Ski Bus in Salt Lake City to get around so there’s no need to rent a car.” — Ben H.
Staying at Epic Hotels With Points
They say getting there is half the fun — the other half is staying in an incredible hotel or ski resort for free (or almost free) thanks to a well thought out points and miles strategy.
“Marriott’s Summit Watch in Park City, Utah.” — Elliot W.
“Trying it out for the first time this year: The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch and Southwest flights.” — Mike B.
“[Stay at the] Waldorf Astoria in Park City and ski at Canyons!” — Jamil A.
“Use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a round-trip Alaska Airlines flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH) and SPG points for a stay before high season at The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth. We loved the resort and look forward to staying there again. I believe it cost us 12,000 SPG points per night during the first week of December 2017. It’s in an incredible location within walking distance to the village shops, restaurants and gondola that takes you directly to Canyon lodge. It’s dog friendly, with a great restaurant and an even better happy hour. They offer free shuttle service to and from the airport and free snowboard or ski check in the lobby. The jacuzzi is decently sized and perfect after a long day on the slopes. You’ll notice, however, some mixed reviews about the front desk personnel which we didn’t experience. Hope that helps!” — Michael T.
“The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch is a great value at 60,000 points. Book before December 31 to get that rate.” — Jason L.
More Tips to Help You Save
Some of our TPG Lounge readers chimed in with more general advice and ideas for saving money on ski trips, like getting the Epic Pass, considering ski trips to other countries and using certain credit cards to book lift tickets.
“The few times I was forced to buy my lift ticket at the window, I used my Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card and it coded as travel.” — Ben H.
“Use them to chase the powder. Points per mile and cents per point really don’t matter when you can drop everything to chase a storm.” — Robert N.
“Step one: have an Epic Pass. Step two: book flights to Denver and rent a car with Chase Ultimate Rewards. Step three: stay in Breckenridge, where there are many hotel options, then ski wherever the best conditions are each morning — there are five resorts within a 30-minute drive.” — Jack F.
“Don’t go during the holidays. Get more bang for your buck. The Salt Lake City area has a lot to offer.” — Ronnie W.
“If you are willing to travel overseas, Japan is a great spot, as is Innsbruck in Austria. Lift tickets are a fraction of the cost of [those at] US resorts.” — Rebecca W.
Readers Helping Readers
We love it when our TPG Lounge members get so involved in a topic they end up chiming in with tips based on their own experiences. That’s what happened when reader Kirsten F. asked the rest of the group whether or not it would be worth it for her to redeem points for a stay at The St. Regis Deer Valley.
“Has anyone ever stayed at The St. Regis Deer Valley? I’ve never skied in Utah and the skier’s only part fascinates me. Is it worth using 60,000 points [to stay there] when cash rates are over $1,000? The hotel reviews are pretty average from what I have read in terms of not being worth the cost or points, but are these just whiny people? Do you have any other nice points-hotel recommendations for Deer Valley or Park City?” — Kirsten F.
“I love The St. Regis Deer Valley! Going back there in December.” — Michelle E.
“Deer Valley is absolutely delightful [in terms of] skiing, with big long runs, polite lefties and lots of terrain for all levels. The St. Regis is beautifully located as a ski-in-ski-out resort with lovely views.” — Marcia Z.
“Deer Valley and Park City are fantastic for a ski vacation — there’s so much to do and you can ski both Park City and The Canyons on one ticket. Deer Valley also has a ton of non-groomed runs hidden away. I actually had two of my best powder days ever there. And with a car, you can get to five other righteous ski areas within 45 minutes to an hour. To top it all off, flying into Salt Lake City is a breeze and you can drive quickly or van easily to Park City or Deer Valley. I would not hesitate to go there again.” — Paul L.
Featured photo by schegi / Getty Images.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards