Pride on points: How to use points and miles to celebrate Pride in 6 US cities this year
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June is officially Pride month and this year there is yet another reason to celebrate: In-person events are making a comeback. Because of the pandemic, Pride was a virtual affair last year but that is finally changing. With millions of Americans getting vaccinated over the last few months, cities around the U.S. are once again holding Pride events in person.
If you’re vaccinated and feel comfortable traveling, you can attend Pride in major cities around the country using points and miles. We found an array of flights and hotel options that can still be booked with points at a saver level. If you’re finally ready to attend festivals again, Pride is a wonderful celebration of equality, freedom and sacrifice.
We’ve rounded up six U.S. cities offering in-person events for Pride month and how you can get there on points. Keep in mind that award rates in dynamically-priced programs may be different by the time you book.
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Los Angeles Pride (June 11 and 26)
Los Angeles Pride typically hosts an epic parade, but this year most events will be virtual due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That being said, there are two in-person LA Pride events this June for which you may want to travel to Los Angeles:
- June 11: Annual Pride Night at Dodger Stadium for a 7:10 p.m. game against the Texas Rangers
- Drink specials in the pavilion bars
- Recognition of First Responders from the Los Angeles LGBTQI+ community
- Surprise guests during pregame ceremonies
- Friday Night Fireworks with a special mix by DJ Bowie Jane
- Get a commemorative Dodgers Pride t-shirt with select ticket packages (buy tickets here)
- June 26: LGBTQI+ Pride Movie Night at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a ticketed, outdoor movie
- Organizers say more information will be available in the coming weeks (check here for more information)
If you’re excited about attending one of these two in-person events, here’s what you need to know about using points and miles to book your flights and hotels.
Airfare to Los Angeles
The two primary airports to consider if you want to travel to Los Angeles for LA Pride are Los Angeles (LAX) and Burbank (BUR). It’s worth checking cash rates from your origin airport to LAX and BUR first. A quick scan from major cities on the East Coast didn’t uncover any low rates. If you find a reasonable rate, you may want to redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel or the Amex Travel portal to pay for the fare.
If you don’t find any compelling paid rates, you’ll want to check your favorite airline programs. For example, you could redeem 40,964 Southwest points plus $11.20 round-trip to fly from Atlanta to Los Angeles (LAX) for the annual LGBTQI+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium weekend. There are plenty of ways to earn Southwest points, including Southwest credit cards and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program.
Meanwhile, you could redeem 30,000 Delta miles plus $11.20 round-trip to fly from Chicago for the weekend of June 11-13. You could transfer American Express Membership Rewards points or Marriott Bonvoy points if you need to earn more Delta miles.
Unfortunately, neither LAX nor Hollywood Burbank (BUR) is on American Airlines’ reduced mileage award list for June. You can still get a reduced mileage award if your origin airport is on the list and you can find MileSAAver award availability. If you only want to stay in Los Angeles for the weekend, MileSAAver availability is non-existent on most routes.
Of course, you can always try to snag less expensive awards by booking through other loyalty programs. For example, you may want to book Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, American Airlines flights with Etihad Guest or British Airways Avios and United Airlines flights with Avianca LifeMiles. So, if you have miles in these programs or have transferrable points that you can move over, it may be worth checking whether you can snag a less expensive award.
Hotels in Los Angeles
If you’re traveling to Los Angeles for the Annual LGBTQI+ Pride Night at Dodger Stadium, I assume you’ll want to stay downtown near Dodger Stadium for the weekend. Here are several hotels to consider for a stay on June 11-13.
- Hilton Checkers Los Angeles: 98,000 Hilton Honors points for the two-night stay
- InterContinental Hotels Los Angeles Downtown: 79,000 IHG Rewards points for the two-night stay (only Friday night is less than 40,000 points if you want to use an IHG anniversary night certificate), but beware of the $35 per night amenity fee
- JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE: 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the two-night stay (both nights cost 50,000 points, which is perfect for one or more Marriott 50,000-point free night awards)
- The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles: 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the two-night stay (both nights cost 35,000 points, which is perfect for one or more Marriott 35,000-point free night awards)
And, if you plan to be in Los Angeles for the LGBTQI+ Pride Movie Night, I assume you’ll want to stay in Hollywood near the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for the weekend. Here are several hotels to consider for a stay on June 25-27.
- Kimpton Everly Hotel: 75,000 IHG Rewards points for the two-night stay (both nights are less than 40,000 points, so you could use IHG anniversary night certificates for either or both nights)
- W Hollywood: 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the two-night stay
- Hampton Inn & Suites Los Angeles/Hollywood: 120,000 Hilton Honors points for the two-night stay
- Andaz West Hollywood: 40,000 World of Hyatt points for the two-night stay (this hotel is in West Hollywood and hence a bit further away than the other options)
If you need to earn more points for your weekend stay, check out our guides to earning Marriott Bonvoy points, earning Hilton Honors points, earning World of Hyatt points and earning IHG Rewards points.
If you have Amex Membership Rewards points, you can transfer points to Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. And, if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer them to World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards.
Finally, if you plan to stay in Los Angeles for four or five nights, consider booking with a program that gives you a fourth or fifth night free on awards.
Capital Pride (June 12)
Washington, D.C. Pride is home to one of the most colorful pride events in the nation. Dating all the way back to 1972, D.C. Pride will feature the first Pridemobile celebration this year. The parade will travel through some of the city’s most well-known landmarks, including Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenue, the United States Capitol building and more. With nearly 1 out of 10 residents in Washington D.C. identifying with the LGBTQI+ community, it is sure to be an amazing event.
If you are interested in joining D.C. Pride in person, there are many ways to attend while maximizing your points and miles.
Airfare to Washington, D.C.
If you’re looking to fly into D.C., Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is probably your best option. Connected to the city by metro, it is a quick $2-$4 one-way metro ride into the city. D.C is a very walkable city, making this a great way to cut down on costs by not renting a car, especially for a weekend excursion.
Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) are also options in the vicinity but are farther away and require either an Uber, taxi, train or rental car.
Delta seems to have the best award options to D.C. However, keep in mind prices are a little higher since we’re getting closer to the event date. You can book a one-way ticket between Atlanta (ATL) and BWI for just 8,000 SkyMiles and $6.
If you have access to the Chase travel portal via one of their credit cards, they often have some enticing fares. Keep in mind that tickets booked through this portal are coded as revenue fares, so you will accrue airline miles and status. That’s worth noting as you chase your airline status throughout 2021.
Hotels in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. has an incredible number of options for hotels you can book with points. Being such a walkable city with a great metro line system, you can be only minutes away from all of the action even if you decide not to stay close by.
Hilton has a wide assortment of options within a few miles of the main festivities. Using the map view can help you get an idea of hotel locations and how far your Hilton Honors points are getting you.
Marriott also has a plethora of properties to choose from. This might be a good opportunity to use the up to 35,000-point free night certificate from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. Don’t sleep on cash rates though. With fewer festivities happening in D.C. this summer, hotel rooms are running relatively cheap.
NYC Pride (June 13-26)
NYC Pride is offering lots of virtual and in-person events this year, starting on June 13. Virtual events include an online rally, conferences and even a culinary experience. The Pridefest street fair will be held in-person (with a virtual component), along with Pride Run, Pride Ride and lots more. Many events are free to attend, while others require a $20-$60 registration fee.
Airfare to NYC
By now, you’ve probably noticed a trend here: Delta is offering some of the cheapest fares to major cities during Pride month.
If you’re traveling out of the Bay Area, which does not currently have a major Pride event planned, you might have a hard time booking reasonable airfare. We checked economy fares on Delta, American, United and JetBlue and they’re well above 30,000 miles one-way on most dates. Awards on programs like ANA Mileage Club and Avianca Lifemiles (which tend to price out awards cheaper) are blocked off on those routes for most of June.
Alaska is offering more reasonable rates, starting at 12,500 miles one-way for economy class.
Hotels in NYC
NYC Pride events are happening all over the city, so the best hotel option really depends on which events you want to attend. For example, the Pridefest street fair is taking place on June 27 in Greenwich Village, while the Pride Run is in Central Park on June 26. Meanwhile, the OutCycling event is scheduled for June 13 at Riverbank Park.
The Hyatt Union Square is a great option if you want to be close to Greenwich Village and room rates go for just 25,000 points per night. For closer proximity to Central Park, the Park Hyatt New York can be pricey at 30,000 points/$700+ per night, while the Hyatt Centric Times Square offers cheaper award nights (25,000 points) and paid rates (around $280).
Chicago Pride (June 26-27)
Chicago’s Pride festival is one of the biggest in the country. Its music festival offshoot — Pride in The Park — is returning as an in-person event this year on June 26 and 27. The event will take place in Chicago’s Grant Park, where Lollapalooza is held, over the course of two days. It will feature performers like Chaka Khan and a handful of speakers.
You can buy tickets on the Pride in The Park website. All attendees must be vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test to attend.
Airfare to Chicago
Chicago is home to two major airports — Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Chicago-Midway (MDW). O’Hare is a big hub, with flights from nearly all major international and domestic airlines. Midway is Southwest’s gateway to Chicago (though it also serves O’Hare) and has limited service from other airlines, like Allegiant and Delta.
Award space is plentiful during the Pride in The Park event. You’ll find saver-level award tickets on all the major carriers. In fact, Delta has basic economy award tickets for as low as 5,000 SkyMiles one-way from some of its hubs. Here’s a look at pricing from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to ORD and MDW:
You’ll also find reasonable fares on Southwest. For example, you can book Atlanta (ATL) to MDW for as little as 4,986 Rapid Rewards points next month.
Hotels in Chicago
Grant Park is in the heart of downtown Chicago — or “The Loop” — and there are plenty of great options on points. One of my favorites is the Chicago Athletic Association, on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. The hotel has multiple dining options and ultra-hip rooms that are a great festival crashpad. You can book a stay at the hotel for just 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night, which can be a great deal if cash rates are high.
Alternatively, you can use Hilton points to stay at the Hilton Chicago, which is right across the street from Grant Park. The hotel has a great lobby and modern rooms with views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan. You can book a one-night stay for as little as 59,000 Hilton Honors points per night this June.
Miami Beach Pride (Sept. 18)
Although historically held on the first weekend in April, Miami Beach Pride will run from Sept. 10 to 19 when it returns this year. There will be festivities happening all week long, but the main event will be at Lummus Park on Saturday, the 18th, as well as a parade along Ocean Drive in the Art Deco district on Sunday, Sept. 19. Saturday’s festival will feature two stages with performances by artists like Teraj, Nitty Scott and Guy Scheiman.
Luckily, there are plenty of flights to Miami and South Beach. While there are lots of points hotels, but you’ll want to book early because availability won’t last long.
Airfare to Miami
The greater Miami area has two major airports: Miami International (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). They’re about 40 minutes apart by car and both provide easy access to South Beach. Both airports are served by most major airlines, though Miami is the main hub for American Airlines while JetBlue, Spirit and Southwest largely serve Fort Lauderdale.
Cash fares to South Florida are relatively cheap from most U.S. cities. For instance, you can fly nonstop from Los Angeles (LAX) to FLL for just $127 round-trip on Alaska Airlines over Pride week.
When cash fares are this low, it’s best to forgo transferring your points and book directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem points at a flat 1.5 cents each, while Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit cardholders can redeem at 1.25 cents each. In other words, you might be able to book your ticket for less than 8,500 points round-trip.
Another good option would be to book directly through the American AAdvantage program. American normally charges 7,500 miles for one-way economy saver flights that cover less than 500 miles and 12,500 miles for longer domestic flights. Thanks to AA’s Web Special awards, you may be able to book your flight for as little as 6,000 miles each way.
Depending on what American is charging, you might be better off redeeming British Airways Avios instead. Assuming American Airlines has saver-level award space, flights up to 1,151 in distance can be booked for only 9,000 British Airways Avios each way in economy or 16,500 Avios in business class.
Airlines like JetBlue, Delta, United and Southwest use fully dynamic award pricing for their flights, making it hard to speak in general terms about how much travel to and from Miami should cost. However, some solid deals exist, such as New York (LGA) to MIA for 4,500 one-way on Delta.
Hotels in Miami
If you want to be in the heart of the action, you’ll want to stay in South Beach. Specifically, you’ll want to stay in the Art Deco district.
A great — and very Pride-appropriate — option here is the vibrant Moxy Miami South Beach, which just opened earlier this year. It’s a Category 5 Marriott Bonvoy hotel, so award nights will cost 30,000 points for an off-peak night, 35,000 for a standard award and 40,000 for a peak night.
It seems like most nights during Pride week are currently being considered off-peak. You might even be able to redeem your annual free night certificate that comes with many Bonvoy credit cards for standard award night here. It offers two rooftop pools, an indoor-outdoor gym and some rooms even have bunk beds, making it a great option for those traveling as a group.
If you want a quiet place to retreat to at the end of the day, the 132-room boutique Kimpton Angler’s Hotel is a solid option. It has a more intimate layout and sophisticated feel. The rooms are a mix of studios, villas and lofts and are larger-than-average for the area. On the sixth floor, there’s a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the city. Current rates start at 29,000 IHG points per night.
The Confidante Miami Beach is a popular points option in South Beach and is often a great value. As a Category 4 property in the World of Hyatt program, award nights here cost just 15,000 points. However, it’s located quite north, so you wouldn’t be in the middle of the action.
San Francisco Pride (TBD)
San Francisco Pride had originally planned a Pride Expo this year but canceled it due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead, San Francisco Pride will host two film screenings at Oracle Park on June 11 and 12. You can learn more and buy tickets here.
San Francisco Pride also plans to host an inaugural National Coming Out Day Festival in October.
Airfare to San Francisco
San Francisco has one international airport (SFO), though the nearby Oakland International Airport (OAK) is also an option. You can take BART directly from the airport to the Montgomery station for $9.65. BART fares between OAK and Montgomery are $11 each way.
Generally, airfare to SFO is cheaper and the airport is served by every domestic carrier. Generally, you can expect to pay 25,000 miles round-trip with most domestic carriers. That being said, it’s probably not worthwhile flying into the city for movie night, especially since there are so many great in-person Pride events happening throughout the country and online.
Hotels in San Francisco
If you want to head to San Francisco to attend the SF Pride film screenings, there are several great hotel options near Oracle Park. The closest is the Hyatt Place San Francisco/Downtown, which is located across from the park. A free night will set you back 20,000 points while paid rates are $185 per night that weekend.
Since TPG values Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each, you’re better off saving your Hyatt points and opting for the cash rate. If you have a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can offset the $185 nightly rate with 18,500 Capital One miles.
If you’re looking for a more affordable cash rate, the Hampton Inn San Francisco Downtown/Convention Center is about 1.5 miles away and goes for $120 per night. Award nights are 37,000 points, which isn’t worth it considering TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents each.
On the Marriott front, the Clancy Hotel is about a 10-minute walk to Oracle Park. The Category 6 property is pricing out at 45,000 points per night during the weekend of June 10.
Reporting by Katie Genter, Ryan Patterson, Andrew Kunesh, Benji Stawski, Ariana Arghandewal.
Featured image by Mixmike/Getty Images.
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