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Have a bunch of points and miles saved up but not sure how to use them best? You’re in the right place.
We’re the only flight deal alert service on the market that sends our members both cheap cash fares and award alerts to book flights using points and miles – including rare business and first class opportunities! And with the introduction of our new Thrifty Traveler Premium+ service this year, we’re finding more and more of these deals every week.
But among the hundreds of award alerts we sent our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members this past year, some stand out. There were plenty of deeply discounted Delta SkyMiles flash sales, helping travelers get to Hawaii, the Caribbean, or even Europe for a fraction of what Delta typically charges. We unearthed some amazing deals to get travelers to Europe in lie-flat business class for 60,000 miles each way … or much less. And there were some absolute unicorns, too, like insanely hard-to-book business class flights too Australia or ANA First Class to Tokyo in 2023.
Here’s a look back at some of the best points and miles deals we found in 2022.
SkyMiles to Anywhere in Europe 32K
It’s only right to start with Delta SkyMiles flash sales.
Delta is notorious for ditching its award chart, the cheat sheet that lays out how many miles it will cost to fly from point A to point B. Instead, Delta uses dynamic pricing: SkyMiles rates vary wildly based on cash price, time of year, demand, and more. And while that’s a bummer, there’s a massive upside: Huge flash sales with massive discounts. Like this one.
Earlier this year, we unearthed an unpublished SkyMiles flash sale with availability from almost any airport in the U.S. to major European cities from just 32,000 SkyMiles … roundtrip! That’s half what most airlines charge for these flights!
Get amazing Delta deals like this one and other award alerts sent to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium+!
Delta loves targeting its competitors’ hubs with deals like this – and unfortunately, travelers in Delta strongholds like Atlanta (ATL) or Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) often pay higher rates thanks to Delta’s Hub Penalty. In this case, flights were still available nationwide for 32,000 SkyMiles!
Delta rarely advertises these massive sales, but we always find them. Flash sales like this one are easily the best way to use your Delta SkyMiles.
Award Fare Alerts for Tons of Qsuites Seats!
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, using miles to book business or first class seats is the way to go. And if you do, you might as well fly the best….
Qatar Airways Qsuites are the best business class seats in the world – and it’s not particularly close. So go figure that finding the award availability to book these unbeatable suites can be a challenge – especially lately. We can help.
In 2022 alone, we’ve sent Thrifty Traveler Premium+ eight email alerts in 2022 for a chance to book Qatar Qsuites to the Middle East and beyond. After a major dry spell, we recently found a massive amount of seats, with space for two (or more!) passengers to fly from the U.S. to Doha or even continue onward to almost anywhere in Africa.
Read our full review of flying Qatar Airways Qsuites from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Doha (DOH)!
This is just one of the latest business class award space alerts for Qsuites we’ve sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium+ subscribers. In this case, nonstop flights for two (or more!) were available from many U.S. hubs like Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), New York City (JFK), and many more.
You could book these seats for just 70,000 American AAdvantage miles each way – or 75,000 to fly all the way down to South Africa. We’re always looking for ways to help travelers stretch their points even further by combining credit card transfer bonuses with our award alerts. It doesn’t get much better than booking Qsuites for just 50,000 points thanks to a 40% transfer bonus from Amex to British Airways available earlier this year.
Want to fly business and first class? We allow Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members to get alerts for premium cabin fares and award space from all U.S. cities!
Delta One to Europe for 50K Points
Booking a Delta One business class seat across the pond for just 50,000 points each way is one of the best deals in the world. Not with Delta SkyMiles, though: Delta often charges 120,000 SkyMiles, 250,000 SkyMiles, or even more … each way.
The trick to booking Delta One to Europe for 50,000 points is using Virgin Atlantic points … and it can be hard to find the award availability to make it work. But the tide turned earlier in 2022: We’ve given Thrifty Traveler Premium+ the heads-up several times in just the last few months about availability to book from several U.S. cities to Amsterdam (AMS), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Brussels (BRU), Berlin (BER), Zurich (ZRH), and other destinations.
With the help of transfer bonuses to Virgin from banks like American Express, Chase or Capital One, it can be even cheaper than 50,000 points!
If you’re really lucky, you’ll even get a chance to fly to Europe in Delta One suites – Delta flies its Airbus A350-900s or Airbus A330-900neos equipped with these suites on a handful of transatlantic routes.
ANA First Class to Japan for 43K Points
Just as Japan threw open its borders for the first time in nearly three years, we found the unicorn of all award alerts: ANA First Class to Tokyo in 2023 … for two!
Finding even one first class seat on this top-rated Japanese airline has been nearly impossible for more than a year. Traveling with a companion? Forget about it. So we knew we stumbled upon a literal goldmine with this award alert earlier this month – especially considering you could book using just 43,000 points each way!
This award space is long, long gone. Get the next alert with Thrifty Traveler Premium+!
Availability was limited, and only Los Angeles (LAX) was an option. But we can’t blame our members for gobbling up all this award space within just a few hours … especially considering these flights typically cost $20,000.
Booking ANA first class awards via Virgin Atlantic is one of the best deals in the world of points and miles – if not the best, period. A first class ride to Tokyo for just 55,000 points (or less, thanks to transfer bonuses) is unbeatable, and this alert made it a reality.
MSP to Anywhere in Europe for 30K
A few years back, travelers with Delta SkyMiles had an absolute goldmine: Flights on Air France or KLM to almost anywhere in Europe for 30,000 miles roundtrip. But it was short-lived: Delta hiked prices soon after, and has since killed off these great partner award redemptions altogether.
But there’s a workaround for travelers to book these same flights to Europe for just 30,000 miles roundtrip using Virgin Atlantic … but it’s best from just one city: Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP).
Air France and KLM teamed up with Virgin Atlantic in 2020, allowing you to use Virgin Flying Club points to book Air France/KLM flights – or vice versa. Unfortunately, some hefty cash fees make using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to fly KLM a bad deal – with one exception. Flights departing from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) are spared from those exorbitant fees. That means you could book roundtrip flights from Minneapolis to almost anywhere in Western Europe as low as just 30,000 miles and under $100 in fees.
Just book with Virgin Atlantic points instead of Delta SkyMiles. – they’re easy to earn, as Virgin is an Amex transfer partner, a Chase transfer partner, a Capital One transfer partner, a Citi ThankYou transfer partner, and even a Bilt Rewards transfer partner.
During peak travel periods like mid-summer, you’ll see higher rates of 50,000 points roundtrip. On the plus side, it’s easy to find and book these flights. And if you can pair it with a transfer bonus – like a 30% bonus when sending Amex points to Virgin Atlantic, for example – it gets even better. We sent this latest deal to Minneapolitans just last week, helping them book a trip to Europe next year for as few as 24,000 points!
These fares, available this winter and into the spring or even summer of 2023, would typically cost over $1,000!
Roundtrip to Maui from 17K Delta SkyMiles
Travelers love few things more than a cheap flight to Hawaii. We can do you one better: a nearly free flight to Hawaii.
Like I said before, we’re the only flight deal service that finds both cheap cash tickets and deals to use your points and miles. And that includes Delta SkyMiles flash sales, when Delta slashes award rates on flights to get you somewhere for far, far less. And it doesn’t get much better than this: Just 17,000 SkyMiles to Maui (OGG) and back.
Only Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members get award alerts like these – sign up today to get the next one!
This SkyMiles flash sale we dug up featured some enormous value for subscribers from Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP), and many cities in between. Tons of cities with Delta service across the country got in on the action, all with flights to Maui (OGG) from less than 29,000 Delta SkyMiles roundtrip!
Take all that in! This was one of our favorite Hawaii deals ever, and it was led by a truly befuddling fare from LAX. This was a Hawaii deal to remember for our subscribers with SkyMiles and truly one of the best deals of the year.
Business Class to Australia from 55K Miles
Getting to Australia in lie-flat business class is a tough one. Airlines know travelers will pay a small fortune for those seats, so they rarely release them to book using miles.
But then, just when Australia had finally reopened to international travel, it happened: One of the best points and miles deals of the year.
These business class seats are long gone now – get the next alert with Thrifty Traveler Premium+!
Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier, quietly released a bunch of business class award seats to fly from the U.S. to the land down under in late 2022 and early 2023. And because we’re always looking for great points and miles deals, we spotted it and tipped off our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ subscribers, giving them the exclusive heads up to book for as low as 55,000 miles each way.
Whether Melbourne (MEL) or Sydney (SYD) was your preference, a lie-flat seat was suddenly within reach. It was clearly one of our best deals of the year, and helped a lot of travelers knock Australia off their bucket lists in incredible style.
60K United Miles to Istanbul in Biz Class
Mistake fares are the holy grail of flight deals, when airlines mess up and accidentally sell flights much cheaper than they intended. Earlier this year, we caught it when United goofed … when redeeming miles to fly on a partner airline.
Booking Turkish Business Class to Istanbul (IST) using United MileagePlus miles typically costs 77,000 miles each way. But back in April, United briefly was offering these exact same flights for just 60,000 miles each way … from airports all across the country!
Best of all, there was wide-open availability for four (or more!) passengers to plan a trip all through 2022 and into early 2023!
This deal didn’t last long, but it stuck around long enough for subscribers as far as Fargo (FAR) to lock in a once-in-a-lifetime trip in style to Turkey for this year or next. It was a great way to spend some United miles or even transfer some Chase points!
Learning the best ways to book using points and miles, then finding the flights that are actually available can feel daunting. That’s the entire point of our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ service: to do that legwork for you.
We did that again and again and again this past year, sending hundreds of award alerts to tip off travelers when there was a great chance to put some hard-earned points and miles to use. These are just the best of the best – the cherry on top of an absolute mountain of deals. And even more are coming in 2023.