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“Keep Portland Weird” has been a slogan that the city of Portland, Oregon, has lived by for years. Known for its hipsters, donut shops, music venues, food trucks and proximity to nature, Portland offers an amazing vacation for singles, couples and families alike.
Here is your points and miles guide to Portland, where you’ll find plenty of cheap and simple ways to get and stay there.
Getting to Portland
Portland Airport is the only airport in town. Seattle will be the closest option outside of Portland, at 129 miles away as the crow flies. Unless you’re planning a dual-city trip, you’ll want to fly into PDX.
Flying to Portland on points and miles
Here are a few examples of cheap and simple ways to get to Portland using points and miles on various airlines that span domestic and international carriers.
Alaska Airlines, while offering a plentiful number of flights into PDX, also offers some of the best points and miles options to fly for cheap to Portland.
Since it uses a distance-based chart to establish prices for its own flights, depending on the distance and the popularity of specific routes, you’ll pay fewer miles for shorter flights.
Hop flights (less than 700 miles) start at 5,000 miles.
Skip flights (from 701-1,400 miles) start at 7,500 miles.
Jump flights (from 1,401 and 2,100 miles) start at 10,000 miles.
Leap flights (more than 2,101 miles) start at 12,500 miles.
With many routes to Portland up and down the West Coast, you could fly from Seattle or cities around the Bay Area starting at 5,000 miles. To get an estimate on how many miles you need, use a tool like the Great Circle Mapper to calculate the distance from your city to Portland.
Southwest has 11 U.S. airports with nonstop flights into PDX, including from major cities like Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago and Phoenix. Southwest charges a different amount of points for each flight depending on the ticket price, so log on to Southwest to see the cost of the flight for your city and your travel dates.
Turkish Airlines charges only 7,500 miles for a one-way flight in economy within the U.S., allowing you to fly from anywhere (even East Coast cities such as Atlanta or New York) to Portland for one low rate.
Pro tips for flying to Portland
Lounges: While Portland does have a Delta Sky Club and also an Alaska Lounge, the true surprise is the Priority Pass restaurants. If you hold a Priority Pass membership via your Chase or Citi credit cards (AmEx ones are excluded), you can use the restaurant feature from Priority Pass. Capers Cafe in Concourse C and Capers Market in Concourse D offer $28 per person in reimbursement to those who have a membership. Plus, you can bring a guest for another $28 credit. In Concourse C, you can also head to Westward Whiskey for $28 off your bill for a specialized and customized liquor tasting (think wine tasting, but with hard liquor).
COVID-era travel: If you need (or want) a COVID-19 test, PDX airport has partnered with Carbon Health to offer testing at the airport. You can schedule an appointment with Carbon Health before your arrival/departure and get the test results by 2 p.m. the next day.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Hotels to book with points in Portland
As a large West Coast city, Portland attracts a wide variety of brands within every major hotel chain's portfolio, across every budget.
Hyatt has five hotels in the Portland area: three downtown, one near the Nike campus in Beaverton and one at PDX.
Since all the hotels are Category 4 or less, this marks a great opportunity to use the free night certificate earned with the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
While you may decide that the Hyatt Centric in downtown Portland is the best location of all the hotels, the Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center just across the river is a better bet for your points. Rooms start at only 12,000 points (instead of 15,000 for the Centric), and getting into town is only a short rideshare, walk or even a MAX Light Rail ride away.
On top of that, you’ll get access to a 24-hour fitness center and a Regency Club with breakfast, afternoon service, hors d’oeuvres and dessert served daily.
Cost to book in points: Category 3 hotels are 12,000 points a night and Category 4 hotels are 15,000 points, if you don’t have any free night certificates. NerdWallet currently values Hyatt points at 1.9 cents per point.
How to earn Hyatt points
The World of Hyatt Credit Card is a solid option for those looking to earn World of Hyatt points quickly, but you can also transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to Hyatt. Your points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio, just like with all its other partners.
With over 35 Marriott hotels in the greater Portland area, it can be confusing and overwhelming to choose the most interesting or best option for your stay.
The Aloft at Cascade Station has a welcoming pet policy, even giving beds and bowls with food for dogs. The brand-new Moxy hotel downtown offers a hip and cool area for locals and travelers alike to gather for food, drinks and games. The Bidwell and Hi-Lo offer unique boutique experiences in the heart of the city.
But we suggest targeting the Nines Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel. Their Urban Farmer Steakhouse is one of the top-rated steakhouses in the city, and the rooftop bar, Departure, offers views of the city from a luxurious setting.
Cost to book in points: The Nines is a Category 6 hotel (as are the Bidwell and Hi-Lo), costing between 40,000 and 60,000 points a night. You’ll want to look at the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card if you need points, plus the free night certificate every year is worth up to 50,000 points. You can pair that free night certificate with some Bonvoy points for a classy stay in the heart of Portland. Terms apply.
You’ll also find a lot of Category 4 (20,000-30,000 points per night) and Category 3 (15,000-20,000 points per night) hotels throughout the metro area. If you’re not needing to stay downtown, you can get affordable award nights in different parts of the city and surrounding suburbs.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points
We recommend going for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card because of the higher point value for the free night certificate. Even though it has a high ($450) annual fee, the card also comes with a $300 statement credit when you charge the stay to your card, potentially making the stay even cheaper for you. Terms apply.
If you want status but don’t want to commit to a Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit card, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which also comes with automatic Marriott Gold status. Plus, the card is currently offering the following welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Those points can typically be transferred to the Bonvoy program at a 1:1 ratio.
With over two dozen hotels to choose from, Hilton offers a wide footprint in the greater Portland area. None of the hotels stands out as particularly luxurious or unique; however, both the Canopy and Hampton Inn Pearl, located in downtown, are near the city’s best restaurants, bars and music venues.
Cost to book in points: Since Hilton doesn’t have a set award chart, you’ll want to check the dates to see which hotel has the best rates for your time frame.
How to earn Hilton Honors points
Both the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card come with sizable welcome offers in addition to access to free weekend night certificates either as welcome benefits, anniversary benefits or after certain spending thresholds. Terms apply.
Unique hotel options in Portland
Portland has some of the most quirky and off the beaten path options for hotels that you’ll find anywhere. Independent brands and other chains offer fun options to try something a little different. Here’s a couple you can book on points.
Hotel Vintage – Kimpton (IHG Hotels)
The Hotel Vintage, located in the center of downtown Portland, showcases graffiti-inspired art, an urban tasting room, plenty of wine options, an “adult game room” with board games and an Atari arcade, and in-house bar/restaurant options.
Since this hotel is part of the IHG hotel group, you can earn and use your IHG points here.
Cost to book in points: Rates will vary depending on the cost of the room, so make sure to check your dates before you travel to know the exact points rate.
How to earn IHG points
IHG points can be earned via the sign-up bonus and spending from the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, or transferring points from Chase. That said, you’ll generally get better value booking IHG hotels through the Chase Travel Portal, as opposed to transferring them to your IHG account.
Radisson Red Hotel, Downtown
Offering a Sunday Drag Brunch, this hotel set atop a downtown office building offers a unique opportunity to utilize your Radisson Rewards points.
Pets are welcome and even encouraged. Your pet will get a bed, water bowl, food dish and Red bandana. There’s no fee for your pet, and you can have up to two per room.
The hotel also offers an adult game room with free video games and table tennis.
Cost to book in points: Award nights start at 50,000 points per night as a Category 6 hotel.
How to earn Radisson points
There are several Radisson-branded credit cards to choose from, or you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards.
» Learn more: The best hotel credit cards right now
The bottom line
If you have a variety of airline miles and hotel points, there’s no shortage of ways to get to the City of Roses. Almost every airline has service to the city, with plenty of nonstop flights from cities across the U.S.
Large hotel chains offer budget options all the way to luxury getaways. If you’re looking for something completely different, the slogan “Keep Portland Weird” means you’ll have no problem finding the quirky, bold and unique in Oregon for your next award travel adventure.
All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.
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 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card