I prefer to use my AVIOS to book long haul trips in business class which cost less than economy class flights. However, I do occasionally use them to book short-haul travel hack weekend escapes with fixed taxes. Some would argue this isn’t worthwhile for Brits playing the travel hacking game, but my post Long haul v Short Haul found it was not as simple as that.
Travel Hack weekend escapes
Of course, for travel hackers based in the US, the outlook looks much rosier with ample opportunities to bag bargain bucket travel hack weekend breaks. I’ve been picking the brains of a number of savvie travellers, and am excited to share their stories of mileage weekend escapes, so you can find some travel inspiration for your miles.
Jackie from The Globe Trotting Teacher
I used British Airways Avios to fly from New York City to Montreal for a ski weekend in gorgeous Mont Tremblant. BA Avios are great for short haul flights like this in North America. The flights are operated by partner American Airlines, and BA does not impose fuel surcharges on AA flights within the Americas. What’s more, the cash price for a short haul flight from NYC to Montreal tends to be quite high compared to the miles flown.
Mont Tremblant is consistently rated as a top ski resort on the east coast of North America. The slopes were long, well-groomed, and offered spectacular views of frozen Lac Tremblant, nestled between a forest of evergreens.
I stayed at the base of the slopes in Mont Tremblant Village, a pedestrian-only zone, where most visitors are in ski in/ski out range. The village has no shortage of apres-ski restaurants and bars to match everyone’s budget and tastes.
It was a terrific no-hassle ski weekend with great powder and no crowds, all set within a quaint and colourful village.
Anne: I can only agree with Jackie. We narrowly missed being in resort at the same time (small world, hey?).
Connect with Jackie on Facebook.
Lee of Bald Thoughts
Because my wife doesn’t have much vacation time, the majority of our family travel is at the weekend. Recently, we visited the Kimpton Canary Hotel in the wine country of Santa Barbara, California. We love visiting wine country because we were married there, and it brings back great memories. Quick getaways rekindle the romance that can get put on the back burner when you have young children.
Anne: aw, isn’t Lee a sweetie?
Normally, a hotel of this stature costs $400 a night, but rather than pay cash, we used rewards to get the night for free. Because we have top-level loyalty status, at check-in we were upgraded to a King Suite that’s $500 a night. Knowing how your preferred loyalty program works allows you to receive incredible benefits, and experience memorable mini-vacations, without breaking the bank.
Anne: I love the way Scarlett does not seem to be appreciating the pool area as much as daddy!
Connect with Lee on Twitter
Zach from Monkey Miles
In 2015, I was home for Thanksgiving and did something a little sneaky. My dad always takes me to the airport when it’s time to leave, and as an early Christmas gift, I had a plan to surprise him with tickets to a Colts game in Charlotte.
The problem was that flights were nearly $500 and hotels were very pricey as well. Luckily, I was aware of using Avios for AA flights and booked tickets for both of us to Charlotte for 5,000 points each. In addition, I was able to book the Hyatt Place for 5,000 Hyatt GP. Both of these are transfer partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Once I had the flights and hotels sorted, I had my mom pack a bag for my dad without him knowing. When we left for the airport, I told him that the extra bag was just stuff I wanted to take to LA, and that I’d like for him to come in with me because I wanted him to see a new trick to checking in. This was one of my favorite parts!
We got to the airport and he helped me carry “my extra bag,” not knowing it had all his stuff in it!!!! Heh, heh, heh. I took him all the way to security and said ‘ok, let’s go on through‘. He looked at me quizzically, and then I pulled out his boarding pass and said, “you know that bag you have…it’s yours. I planned a surprise trip for us.”
The look on his face was priceless. He was excited, confused, and I’m pretty sure he peed his pants…or maybe I did. Whatever, we were excited! It ended up being an incredible trip, and one we’ll never forget. BYAH!!!!! Without points I never could have afforded to do it, and it just fed my addiction even more.
Anne: I love this story from Zach and was smiling from ear to ear as I read it and only wish I could have been a fly on the wall to witness that moment!
I am also totally impressed he managed to keep it a secret. When I booked surprise tickets to take my mum on her dream trip to Niagara Falls, I managed to keep it secret for all of about fifteen minutes.
Connect with Zach on Facebook.
Elena of Muslimtravelgirl
One of my favourite ways to use my Avios is for last-minute weekend escapes. I recently moved to Doha and flights with Qatar Airways are much more expensive from their hub airport. The best thing is that they are a Oneworld partner and using Avios with them is super cheap.
Recently, I escaped to Bulgaria from Doha, about a 4 hr flight, and saved so much money. A cash flight on Qatar airways cost about £600 round trip, but on Avios it’s 20,000 points and £70 taxes.
Considering that I stay with family there, and I get to cuddle my adorable nieces, it is one of the best redemptions in my books. If you are looking for hotel options, Sofia also offers some great five-star properties from as little as £70 a night.
Connect with Elena on Instagram
Tim of Points to be made
British Airways’ Reward Flight Saver has been a brilliant addition to their Executive Club. I tend to book weekend trips just a few days in advance so I can track the weather. The last thing I want is to have horrendous weather when I am on holiday!
Unlike normal cash tickets, which increase in price right until the moment of the flight, Avios flights are the same price whenever you book them. For instance a London-Milan trip I made last summer, cost £270 a week in advance, but cost me just 9000 Avios (which I value at about £90) plus £35 in taxes.
This was made even sweeter by the fact that I received those 9000 Avios for nothing, by taking advantage of promotions through Shell, Tesco and American Express on purchases which I had to make anyway.
Hotels at the time were sufficiently cheap that I did not need to use points, which is a reminder that you should always compare the cash price vs. points price rather than seeing all points redemptions as ‘free’.
Connect with Tim on Facebook.
Jason of Traveltheglobe4less (aka my hubby)
The best thing about living in Europe is that there are so many places we can jet off to for the weekend. We’ve used points for Monaco, Sweden and most recently for award flights to Berlin. It’s worth doing some number crunching to ensure it’s not a blatant rip off, but this can be a really cheap way to bag a bargain weekend break.
We celebrated New Year drinking champagne on the docks of Monaco, have watched the Stockholm half marathon and immersed ourselves in the history of Berlin, using AVIOS reward savers.
British Airways have even recently added some new destinations from Manchester giving us more weekend escape options. Mykonos here we come!
Your sexy weekend escape
So there you have it, your sexy weekend escape awaits you. All you need to do is start building your balance and choose your destination.