Planning a trip to Austin with points and miles

Back by popular demand, we’re going to plan a trip! Unfortunately, not everyone has hundreds of thousands of miles. We want to show that planning a weekend trip with a smaller amount of points and miles is still possible. For this installment, we’re going to plan a trip to Austin, Texas., with points and miles.

The situation & where to go

I have family in Austin, and it’s always a place I’ve wanted to go since I’ve gotten older. Other than being able to see family, they have great food and fun nightlife.

In this scenario for my trip to Austin with points and miles, I have the following to work with:

  • 40,000 Delta SkyMiles
  • 16,256 World of Hyatt Points
  • One (1) Hyatt Free Night Certificate (at a Category 4 or lower) from the World of Hyatt Credit Card
  • Based in Atlanta, Ga.
  • A trip this October or November, but flexible weekends.

We might have to pay a little out of pocket, but points and miles are going to help take up a good portion of the cost.

I’m hoping to book a two-night, weekend trip. I would prefer a Friday to Sunday, but if I needed to go Thursday to Sunday or Friday to Monday, that would be acceptable as well.

Flight Options to Austin

Okay, first, we need to use Delta SkyMiles for this flight if we want to take advantage of our stash of SkyMiles for this trip to Austin.

There aren’t a ton of great things about Delta SkyMiles. The airline keeps generally devaluing them (more Skymiles to redeem the same flights), however, there are two things working for them:

  • Random, decent redemptions for domestic economy awards
  • Awesome flexible date calendar for award bookings (see below)

For my trip to Austin with points and miles, I wanted to visit in either October or November. Check out what the Delta award calendars showed me.

Yes, Austin isn’t horribly far from Atlanta, but if I was really flexible, I could go round trip between the two cities for just 10,000 Delta SkyMiles. Nevertheless, my goal of flying roundtrip to Austin with Delta SkyMiles is definitely possible with all of these options are for less than 40,000 miles.

I’m going to pinpoint October 4-6 for my trip to Austin using points and miles. Based on the results from my flight search, here’s what my best option looks like:

I will get in just before 10 a.m. on Friday and leave in the evening on Sunday giving me full days on both arrival and departure day. The best part is that this roundtrip flight will cost me just 26,000 Delta SkyMiles. In fact, if I wanted to upgrade to Delta Comfort, I could do that for just 5,000 miles for the entire trip.

The cash value for this roundtrip fare in main cabin (not Delta Economy) is $382.60. Now, you could save money by booking in Delta Economy, but you would be without a seat assignment until check-in. Learn about ways to beat basic economy with credit cards.

With a redemption of 26,000 SkyMiles, I will get 1.4 cents of value per SkyMile – a pretty good value.

Hotel Options to Austin

Because I have both a Hyatt free night certificate as well as some Hyatt points (through spend on my Hyatt credit card and random stays), I’m going to pinpoint Hyatt properties in the Austin area.

There are two Hyatt properties available for the first weekend of October, both of which happen to be category 4 hotels, meaning I can use my annual free night certificate.

The Hyatt Place in downtown Austin and the Hyatt Regency Austin are both excellent options. I will use my free annual night certificate for one night and then 15,000 of my World of Hyatt points for the second night.

Because I want to experience the nightlife and downtown of Austin, I’m going to go with the Hyatt Place. This hotel is only several blocks from Sixth Street, the popular drag in Austin. The Hyatt Regency is also a great option as it’s just across the river.

There are several options to earn World of Hyatt points. First, you can open up the World of Hyatt credit card which will earn a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points (as of June 2019) as well as a free annual night.

The other great thing about Hyatt is that they are a transfer partner of Chase. If you hold any of the either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’re able to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio to the World of Hyatt program.

Final Thoughts

It’s important for people to know that it doesn’t take hundreds of thousands of points and miles to travel for free. For this trip, I used the following:

  • 26,000 Delta SkyMiles + 11.20
  • One Hyatt Free Night Certificate
  • 15,000 Hyatt Points

This trip is really obtainable for almost anyone who earns points and miles through credit cards. Just because you don’t earn large swaths of points and miles on an annual basis, doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits of a free trip!


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