How to Travel to Spain for Cheap on Points and Miles - NerdWallet (2023)

American tourists can visit Spain without needing to bring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, making it one of the easiest places to go. And because of fierce competition between airlines, Spain is one of the easiest places to fly using points and miles. This makes a win-win situation for any traveler sitting on a stack of travel rewards.

Whether you want to indulge in tapas in Madrid, explore the wonders of Gaudi in Barcelona or anything in between, here are the cheapest ways to travel to Spain using points and miles.

Cheap ways to fly to Spain with points and miles

1. Book through the Chase travel portal for cheap economy fares

Depending on your home airport, you may be surprised to find that it can be cheaper to fly to Spain than some U.S. domestic destinations. When you find such cheap cash fares, there's no need to search for airline award availability. Instead, use Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to take advantage of these attractive prices.

For Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. Its current sign-up bonus is: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card customers can take advantage of a round-trip dealfrom Newark to Barcelona for about $350, paying just 27,985 Ultimate Rewards® points for the trip.

How to Travel to Spain for Cheap on Points and Miles - NerdWallet (1)

Cheap redemption deals can be had through the Chase travel portal even for last-minute trips. For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card members can fly from Miami to Madrid for under 40,000 Chase points round-trip in July:

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For Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders

Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can stretch their points even further: Instead of a 25% bonus through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders get a 50% bonus. So, that nearly $350 round-trip airfare only costs 23,321 Ultimate Rewards® points instead of 27,985.

That's a cheaper redemption rate than you're likely to find by booking a traditional airline award.

For those without points to spare, you can still earn award miles by booking cash fares through the Chase travel portal.

» Learn more: Chase Ultimate Rewards®: How to earn and use them

2. Transfer Chase or AmEx points to Avios to book nonstop awards

Even if you can't find cheap flights, you may still be able to use Chase or AmEx points to score an affordable redemption. Both British Airways’ and Iberia’s loyalty programs offer reasonable award rates on nonstop flights between the U.S. and Spain. And you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® or American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways or Iberia at a 1:1 rate.

Both Iberia and British Airways price awards based on the flight's distance. So, flights from the East Coast of the U.S. to Spain are going to be the cheapest.

Iberia economy class awards

For example, you can book an award flight during the peak summer season from New York-JFK to Madrid. Iberia's eonomy class (also called Blue) will run you as little as 20,000 Avios each way, whereas the airline's premium economy class will cost you 35,000 Avios one-way.

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Travelers can save more by flying during off-peak dates. For instance, you could pay just 17,000 Avios each way in economy or 25,500 Avios each way in premium economy for flights between Boston and Madrid.

Awards can be booked one-way or round-trip for double the miles cost.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Booking a one-way award frees you up to build a multi-stop itinerary. For example, you can fly into Madrid and back from Barcelona. Or you could consider flying back via Paris, Amsterdam, Rome or wherever else you want to visit.

Iberia business class awards

If you want to fly in style, using Avios can provide an affordable way to book a business class award. During off-peak dates, the price to fly Iberia between Boston and Madrid is as cheap as 34,000 Avios each way. That's the cheapest way to fly to Europe in business class.

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At this rate, the current sign-up offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can get you three one-way business class awards to Spain (assuming you meet the minimum spending requirement).

U.S. airports that offer nonstop flights to Spain

In order to take advantage of these award rates, you'll need to book a nonstop flight to Spain on a Oneworld airline. American Airlines and Iberia team up to offer nonstop flights to Spain from eight U.S. airports:

  • Boston.

  • Charlotte.

  • Chicago-O'Hare.

  • Dallas/Fort Worth.

  • Los Angeles.

  • Miami.

  • New York-JFK.

    (Video) How I Travel Cheap Using SkyMiles | Travel Reward Credit Cards

  • Philadelphia.

If you're looking to book a trip this summer, keep in mind that not all of these routes are currently operating.

3. Transfer Citi points to United to book business class

So far we've highlighted how you can use Chase or AmEx points to fly to Spain, but you also have options if you’re holdingCiti ThankYou points. One of Citi's partners, Turkish Airlines, provides incredible business class award rates throughUnited MileagePlus. And, unlike the Avios sweet spot described above, you aren't limited to nonstop flights from the U.S. East Coast.

Turkish Airlines' Miles & Smiles loyalty program offers economy award rates that aren't anything special — you'll have to pay 30,000 miles each way for economy tickets. However, Turkish Airlines charges just 45,000 miles each way for a United business class fare between the U.S. and Europe.

For example, you can fly from Newark to Madrid in United's business class (also called Polaris) for just 45,000 miles one way.

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Or book the same flight via United

If you book the same award through United, you'll have to pay 60,000 MileagePlus miles. Although that's a bit more than what Miles & Smiles charges, it's still a decent rate.

If you don't have enough United miles in your MileagePlus account, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to United at a 1:1 ratio to take advantage of this pricing.

4. Book premium cabin flights through AmEx Travel

AmEx's International Airline Program can help make flying in business class more affordable for travelers. This program is a perk for cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Express and Centurion®-branded cards who book premium cabin fares.

Cardholders can book flights on one of dozens of international airlines via the AmEx Travel portal; though the discount varies based on the airline, route and date, the savings can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

How to Travel to Spain for Cheap on Points and Miles - NerdWallet (8)

You can also redeem AmEx Membership Rewards points through the portal at a rate of 1 cent per point.

🤓Nerdy Tip

You may want to save your Membership Rewards points for better-value redemptions and use a Platinum-branded card to earn 5x points on your airfare purchase.

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Terms apply.

Routes from the U.S. to Spain

With ever-changing entry requirements, it's best to avoid connecting in a third country on your way to or from Spain. There are plenty of options for flying directly from the U.S. to Spain. This summer, five airlines are operating nonstop flights from eight U.S. airports to either Madrid or Barcelona, Spain's two major international airports.

You can fly to Madrid nonstop on:

  • Air Europa from Miami or New York-JFK.

  • American Airlines from Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami or New York-JFK.

  • Delta from Atlanta or New York-JFK.

  • Iberia from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami or New York-JFK.

  • United from Newark.

Or fly nonstop from the U.S. to Barcelona on the following airlines:

  • American Airlines from Miami.

  • Delta from Atlanta or New York-JFK.

  • Iberia from New York-JFK or San Francisco.

  • United from Newark.

Where to stay in Spain for cheap using hotel points

Spain offers a wide variety of lodging options, including opulent paradors (historic buildings converted into luxury hotels), chain hotels, guest houses and vacation rentals.

If you want to use your hotel points, you'll want to check options through Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards. Compared to Marriott's over 100 hotels in Spain, Hyatt (18 properties) and Hilton (15 hotels) have relatively few properties across the country.

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott has all sorts of affordable properties in Spain, including 6,000 point-nights at AC Hotels, though the price will vary from night to night.

» Learn more:How to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points

IHG Rewards

IHG offers dozens of hotels throughout Spain. But due to IHG's dynamic award pricing, point rates are ever-changing. Depending on the date, you can find some very affordable luxury IHG redemptions.

» Learn more:IHG rewards optimization for beginners

For example, book a Crowne Plaza by the Madrid airport for 15,000 points per night or a Hotel Indigo near the city for 17,000 points per night.

How to Travel to Spain for Cheap on Points and Miles - NerdWallet (9)

(Video) How To REDEEM AMEX POINTS | Membership Rewards 101

Transferable points programs

If you don't already have hotel points, you're not out of luck. Spain has plenty of affordable lodging options that you can book with transferable rewards points.

Book your stay through Capital One Travel portal to redeem Capital One points, or use the Chase travel portal to arrange lodging with Ultimate Rewards® points. By redeeming points via your Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can book 4-star hotels in Madrid for under 4,000 points per night:

How to Travel to Spain for Cheap on Points and Miles - NerdWallet (10)

Easiest of all, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders can book hotels using their card, and then redeem Capital One miles for a statement credit against the purchase.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Since you have 90 days to redeem miles against travel purchases, you can use miles earned on your Spain trip to cover some of the travel purchases made during the trip.

There are also deals to be had forCapital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card holders, as you'll earn 10x per dollar spent on hotel bookings in the Capital One travel portal.

If you travel to Spain with points and miles

Spain is reopened to American tourists, and there are plenty of ways to use points and miles to fly to Spain and book lodging there.

No matter if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, AmEx Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points or Capital One Venture miles, there's a way for you to fly to Spain — or book a hotel stay — without breaking the mileage bank.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

FAQs

How many miles do you need for a free international flight on United? ›

How many miles do you need to have for a free international flight?
AirlineCoach/EconomyBusiness class
American Airlines22,500-65,00057,500-135,000
Delta Air Lines35,000-40,000170,000-285,000
Southwest AirlinesN/AN/A
United Airlines20,700-33,00060,000-155,000
6 more rows
31 Oct 2022

How much is 50000 travel points worth? ›

Airline rewards values
Rewards programBankrate value*Estimated value of 50,000 points/miles
American Airlines AAdvantage1 cent$500
Avianca Airlines LifeMiles0.8 cents$400
Avios (average)1.2 cents$600
British Airways (Avios)0.7 cents$350
27 more rows
31 Aug 2022

Why are tickets to Spain so cheap? ›

Low airport fees allow fares into Spain to undercut fares into other European cities. Airlines can simply drop the overall fare lower because the airport fees flying in and out of Spain aren't as high.

How do you get travel points fast? ›

You can earn points without flying by signing up for a rewards credit card and using it and shopping with program partners.
  1. Focus on Where You Fly. ...
  2. Consider Airline Partners. ...
  3. Get a Points or Miles Bonus. ...
  4. Choose the Right Credit Card. ...
  5. Dine Out. ...
  6. Use Shopping Portals. ...
  7. Fly.

How much is 60000 United miles worth? ›

Excellent travel and car rental insurance

Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.

How much is 50000 United miles worth? ›

50,000 United miles are worth about $600. How much are 80,000 United miles worth?

How much money is 100k points worth? ›

100,000 Chase points are worth $1,070 with most Chase credit cards, whether you spend them on travel, cash back, gift cards, experiences or shopping. With a few Chase cards, 100,000 points can be worth 25% - 50% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

How many dollars is 75000 points? ›

How much are 75,000 American Express points worth? At a minimum, 75,000 American Express Membership Rewards points are worth $750 when you use them in the Amex Travel portal. If you're looking for even more value, you'll want to transfer them out to an Amex hotel and airline partner.

Is it worth booking flights with points? ›

Using points and miles to book your flights is great. Not only do you save money, but you can use your points to book flights that may not be feasible when paying cash.

How can I go to Spain cheaply? ›

Spain Budget Travel Guide: 50 Ways to save
  • Spanish cities can be cheaper in August. ...
  • Avoid major events in Madrid and Barcelona. ...
  • Plan your trip during Spain's off-season. ...
  • You don't have to fly round trip. ...
  • You don't have to fly into Madrid. ...
  • Try flying a low-cost airline. ...
  • Add a stopover for extra savings.

What is the cheapest month to go to Spain? ›

According to Hotels.com, the cheapest time to visit Spain is usually from December to March, which also happens to coincide with both its coldest months and its thinnest tourism season.

What is the cheapest city in Spain to fly into? ›

What's the cheapest city to fly into in Spain? The cheapest city to fly into is Barcelona, and the cheapest airport serving this city at the moment is Barcelona.

How much is 100000 miles worth? ›

Airline Loyalty Programs
Airline Loyalty ProgramOctober 2022 Value (cents/point)Value of 50,000 / 100,000 Points
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Points1.3$650 / $1,300
Spirit Airlines Free Spirit Points1.1$550 / $1,100
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Miles1.3$650 / $1,300
United Airlines MileagePlus Miles1.3$650 / $1,300
20 more rows
4 Nov 2022

How much is 25000 travel points worth? ›

25,000 travel points are worth $250, on average, though the value depends on the card's rewards program and the redemption method. For example, Bank of America Travel Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point when redeemed for travel, so 25,000 points are worth $250.

What happens when you reach 1 million miles United? ›

All members who have one million lifetime flight miles or more earn annual status benefits for themselves, as well as the option to extend their current Premier status to a companion (defined as a spouse, significant other or individual who resides at the same home address, based on MileagePlus profile information) on ...

What does 75k miles get you? ›

75,000 Capital One miles are worth up to $525 when redeemed for Travel. You can also redeem Capital One miles for a statement credit, a check or gift cards, among other options, though the redemption value will likely be lower.

How much is 500000 miles worth? ›

It's about the places and adventures that the miles unlock. You can see the world with 500,000 miles or use them for over 20 domestic round-trip flights (Estimated Value: $8K).

How many flights is 60000 miles? ›

Redeeming 60,000 miles on one of these flights would be enough to buy four round-trip tickets, so there's no excuse not to bring your family or friends.

Is it cheaper to buy United miles? ›

You can generally expect that prices that are cheaper with cash will also be cheaper with miles. It's always best to compare the cost of each before booking. Note that if you pay for a flight with miles, you don't earn frequent-flyer miles for that flight.

Do airlines still sell lifetime passes? ›

The airline ended sales of the unlimited passes in 1994 except for a one-time offer in the 2004 Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog at a price of $3 million (equivalent to $4,303,911 in 2021) for the pass and $2 million for a companion pass; none were sold.

Does Amex still have a black card? ›

The American Express Centurion Card is the official name of the Amex Black Card. The Black Card is a high-end, exclusive charge card issued by American Express. Platinum Card holders must meet certain criteria to be extended an invitation. The American Express Black Card comes in personal and business variants.

Is Amex platinum hard to get? ›

Most Amex Platinum cardholders have a credit score of 670 or better, and relatively high income. But your score alone does not fully decide whether or not you will be approved. If you have a strong credit score with a few years of credit history and a decent annual income, you stand a good chance of being approved.

How much is 200K Amex points worth? ›

While 200K Amex points will typically only give you about $2,000 in value when you shop for flights in the Amex travel portal, you can sometimes find Business or First Class flights — that can normally cost over $10,000 — for only 200K points, when transferred to a frequent flyer program.

How much is 150k Amex points worth? ›

So the 150k MR points part of sign-up bonus is worth about $2,250, and the value is even more if 10x on restaurants earning rate is counted in! Earn 5x MR points for flights booked directly with airlines, on up to $500k. Earn 5x MR points for flights and prepaid hotels booked with AmEx Travel.

How many is too many credit cards? ›

It's generally recommended that you have two to three credit card accounts at a time, in addition to other types of credit. Remember that your total available credit and your debt to credit ratio can impact your credit scores. If you have more than three credit cards, it may be hard to keep track of monthly payments.

How much is 120000 Amex points worth? ›

Amex cardholders will typically get the best deal by transferring their Amex points through the airline transfer program where they can get 2.2 cents in value per point on average.
...
Hotels.
Economy round-tripBusiness class round-trip
Redemption120,000 miles + $65.12251,000 miles + $78.74
Point value0.7 cents4.0 cents
1 more row
19 May 2022

Is it better to pay with points or cash? ›

If X is less than the cost to book in cash, you're getting a better value paying in points. If you're looking solely at airfare, we've built a flight mileage calculator to do the work for you. If Y is less than the cost to book in cash, it's generally a good idea to use your points, you're getting good value.

Is it better to get points or miles? ›

If you're awarded points, you can redeem them for various prizes and services. If you earn miles, they will generally be tied to a specific airline's frequent flyer program. Miles tend to have a more limited capacity than points — most often, they can only be redeemed for airline tickets.

How many dollars is 40000 miles? ›

We value United MileagePlus miles at 1.2 cents each. So, how much is 40,000 United miles worth? Roughly $480.

Which part of Spain is cheapest? ›

Granada is the cheapest place to live in Spain and the favorite to visit. The city is 250km east of Sevilla and is ideal for people who prefer cooler or smaller environments.

How much money do you need for 7 days in Spain? ›

So, a trip to Spain for two people for one week costs on average €1,672 ($1,669). All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget. A vacation to Spain for one week usually costs around €836 for one person.

How much does a 7 day trip to Spain cost? ›

The average price of a 7-day trip to Spain is $1,092 for a solo traveler, $1,745 for a couple, and $1,721 for a family of 4. Spain hotels range from $49 to $209 per night with an average of $73, while most vacation rentals will cost $150 to $500 per night for the entire home.

Is 2 weeks long enough in Spain? ›

The standard two-week vacation is more than enough time to experience the highlights of Spain. This includes art walks in Madrid, flamenco shows in Seville, wine tours of Andalusia, and all the authentic tapas you can eat.

What time of year is cheapest to fly to Spain? ›

Top tips for finding cheap flights to Spain

High season is considered to be June and July. The cheapest month to fly to Spain is February.

How many days is ideal for Spain? ›

However, we recommend a minimum of seven days when it comes to Spain itineraries as this is just enough time to visit two destinations in one trip (like Madrid and Barcelona, or Seville and Granada).

Is it cheaper in Spain or Italy? ›

Italy vs Spain: cost

To stretch your travel budget, Spain is typically slightly more affordable than Italy, even in expensive cities like Madrid. But Italy can also be a very affordable vacation destination.

Is it cheaper to fly into Madrid or Barcelona? ›

To answer the question, which city in Spain is the cheapest to fly into, Madrid is definitely the best contender, but there are other entry points to consider. During hot months, never land on Barcelona and other coastal cities as plane ticket prices are insanely expensive.

Which airline is best for Spain? ›

Iberia Airlines, Spain's national airline and part of the One World Alliance (which includes American Airlines and British Airways) is the go-to airline for many travelers searching for flights to Spain.

Can United miles be used for international flights? ›

Not only are United miles easy to earn thanks to a suite of United credit cards and a couple of major transferable points partners, but you also can redeem miles across United's vast network of domestic and international routes or on over two dozen Star Alliance partners.

How much is 40000 miles worth with United? ›

We value United MileagePlus miles at 1.2 cents each. So, how much is 40,000 United miles worth? Roughly $480.

How much is 10000 United miles worth? ›

United miles are worth 1.29 cents each, on average. That means 10,000 United miles have a value of roughly $129.

What happens when you reach 1 million miles on United? ›

All members who have one million lifetime flight miles or more earn annual status benefits for themselves, as well as the option to extend their current Premier status to a companion (defined as a spouse, significant other or individual who resides at the same home address, based on MileagePlus profile information) on ...

Is United or American better for international? ›

Winner for flight options: American for domestic travel, United for international. When you're choosing an airline — especially as you're considering one to earn miles or elite status with — your home airport may be the most important consideration.

How many miles do I need to fly to Europe on United? ›

Flights on United Airlines
United Airlines
RegionEconomyBusiness
Northern South America20,00035,000
Southern South America30,00060,000
Europe30,00060,000
13 more rows
24 Jan 2022

How much is 500000 United miles worth? ›

Even so, I value my 500,000 MileagePlus miles at around $25,000 — more than four times TPG's valuations. In this article, I'll discuss why I value United miles so highly and describe how you can start getting 5 cents or more per United mile. Let's dive in.

Is 1K on United worth it? ›

The bottom line

If you're a frequent United flyer, becoming a Premier 1K member may be a good idea for you. Although it's costly, the benefits you'll receive are expansive. These include complimentary upgrades, free checked baggage, Marriott elite status and more.

Is United 1K lifetime? ›

Lifetime United Premier 1K status (three million miler)

Those who cumulatively fly three million revenue miles on United will receive lifetime MileagePlus Premier 1K status for themselves and one companion. This is United's highest elite tier with published requirements.

How many United points is 1K? ›

You must fly 36 PQF and earn 13,500 PQP or earn 15,000 PQP, exclusive of Flex PQP in order to qualify for Premier 1K status.

What does 150000 United miles get you? ›

United Business Card 150,000-Mile Welcome Bonus

We value United miles at 1.3 cents per mile, making this bonus worth a whopping $1,950 based on our valuation.

How many flights will 50000 miles get you? ›

The cash value of 50,000 American Airlines miles is $645, on average, or the equivalent of at least one round-trip flight between New York and Los Angeles on American Airlines. AA miles are worth about 1.34 cents per mile, slightly less than average for a major airline.

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