How to Travel to Charlotte on Points and Miles

Charlotte, North Carolina, is an American Airlines hub, so it's easy for AAdvantage members to find cheap award flights there.
Ramsey QubeinJul 22, 2021

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One of the largest cities in the Southeast and home to the headquarters of banks like Bank of America and Truist Financial, Charlotte, North Carolina, is a popular destination for business travelers.

The Charlotte area also has excellent art and cultural museums, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the U.S. National Whitewater Center and an amusement park called Carowinds. Proximity to nearby lakes, mountains and plenty of outdoor activities make Charlotte a great destination for the active traveler, too.

As American Airlines’ second-largest hub and one of the busiest airports in the nation (top 10 in the world based on takeoffs and landings), bustles with flight options and activity.

The airport is about 7 miles west of the city center, with multiple options for reaching the airport. A Sprinter bus goes from Uptown (that’s how Charlotte refers to its downtown area) to the airport in less than 30 minutes for $2.20. Taxis, rideshare services and rental cars are other options, and Silvercar can pick you up and take you to an Audi dealership (or deliver the car to you) for a more luxe rental car experience. Here’s how to travel to Charlotte on points and miles.

Most North American carriers fly to Charlotte. Two international airlines serve the airport: Volaris has flights to Mexico, and Lufthansa offers flights to Europe.

Here are cheap and simple ways to get to Charlotte using points and miles.

Since Charlotte is a major American Airlines hub, you can find good deals redeeming American Airlines AAdvantage miles. American offers regular to cities around the country. Sometimes you can find a one-way flight as low as 5,000 miles. An easy way to search for these is by entering a destination in the . If available, you will also find web specials when searching cities and dates on or the American Airlines app.

Holders of certain American Airlines credit cards can access — discounted one-way award flights to . A complete list is available online, with details on which credit cards are eligible. The list includes and .

Without one of these special deals, a one-way flight to Charlotte from within the continental U.S. starts at 12,500 miles.

United offers expanded award availability (no blackout dates on awards) for its co-branded credit cardholders like the .

American’s award chart makes it easy to know for a flight but for most other airlines you might fly to Charlotte, including and , the only way to know how many miles you’ll need is by searching for flights on the airline website.

As a major hub, Charlotte Douglas International Airport has some amenities worth checking out when planning your Charlotte trip with points and miles. Its famous rocking chairs trace their origins to a 1997 art exhibit about Southern porches that used real rocking chairs in the displays. When the exhibit at the airport ended, the rocking chairs, which were a hit, stayed, sparking a trend in airports nationwide.

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Business travelers will most likely be staying in Uptown, but leisure visitors too will appreciate the many museums, shops and restaurants there. Uptown is also where most concerts, theater performances, festivals and sporting events take place. Bank of America Stadium, where the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers play, and Spectrum Center, where the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Hornets play, are both Uptown.

Among many other popular areas of town are SouthPark, with its shopping center and numerous hotel options, and Ballantyne, the southern part of the city. Here are some of the top hotels to book with points in Charlotte.

Marriott is on a roll in Charlotte, with plenty of options at all price points including more than a dozen hotels in the Uptown area alone.

is perhaps the city’s most luxurious Uptown hotel. It is popular with business travelers during the week and shoppers and leisure visitors on weekends. The hotel is located opposite the Epicentre entertainment complex. Don’t miss the Punch Room, its 19th century-style speakeasy with craft cocktails using small-batch spirits and local ingredients.

Cost to book in points: As a Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property, a redemption night costs between 35,000 and 60,000 points.

The city’s newest Marriott property, the chic is located in the Uptown area across from the Charlotte Convention Center and not far from the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Bank of America Stadium.

Cost to book in points: A redemption night for a standard room at this Category 5 property goes for between 27,500 and 40,000 points.

Also Uptown, the boasts impressive artwork and Argentine-inspired decor. A rooftop bar provides an excellent vantage point of the skyline.

Cost to book in points: A redemption night for a standard room at this Category 5 property goes for between 27,500 and 40,000 points.

Surrounded by lush gardens, in southern Charlotte offers a resort experience complete with an impressive day spa and recreational options like tennis and golf.

Cost to book in points: A redemption night for a standard room at this Category 6 resort goes for between 35,000 and 60,000 points.

at  each. New cardmembers who sign up for the can earn welcome bonus points: The card comes with a chance to earn an annual free night award valued up to 35,000 points, which works at Marriott Bonvoy hotels in Categories 1 to 5.

The is also offering welcome bonus points for new cardmembers: This card’s free night award is worth up to 50,000 points, making it redeemable at hotels up to Category 6 in the Bonvoy program. Terms apply.

You earn bonus points for using either card to pay for qualifying Marriott stays, helping the points pile up faster.

If you want status without committing to a , consider , which comes with automatic Marriott Gold Status (enrollment required). Plus, the card is currently offering a welcome bonus: Those points can typically be transferred to the Bonvoy program at a 1:1 ratio.

Hilton’s offerings in Charlotte skew more toward the business traveler than high-end luxury seeker.

Close to great SouthPark shopping and dining, the offers loaner bikes to explore the area as well as a free shuttle to get around. There are also occasional evening drink tastings in the lobby. Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members are eligible for a space-available upgrade, which is a nice perk.

Cost to book in points: Standard rooms tend to cost between 27,000 and 39,000 points per night. at  per point.

If you’re looking to stock up on Hilton Honors points, consider one of the brand’s two , among other benefits.

The comes with Hilton Honors Gold status and has the following welcome bonus:

The comes with top-level Hilton Honors Diamond status and also offers new cardmembers a chance to earn bonus points:

If you want Hilton Honors status or the ability to book with points but don’t want to commit to a , consider , which comes with automatic Hilton Honors Gold Status (enrollment required). Those points can be transferred to the Hilton Honors program at a 1:2 ratio. Terms apply.

The is close to major Uptown attractions and business offices and is part of IHG Rewards. Its rooftop bar, Merchant and Trade, is a local favorite and a must-experience for visitors. Guests can expect signature Kimpton perks, like a complimentary happy hour with beer and wine each evening, in-room yoga mats, and free loaner bikes to cycle around town.

Cost to book in points: IHG Rewards members can often find rooms here for around 25,000 points per night, though prices vary depending on when you travel. at  each.

There are a couple of IHG Rewards-affiliated credit cards that can help you earn lots of points. The also comes with Platinum Elite status and a chance to earn a welcome bonus: .

In the heart of Uptown, offers modern and stylish interiors just steps from city-center attractions.

Cost to book in points: The Ivey’s is part of the program. The number of points you’ll need for a night varies depending on the room type and when you stay.

You can earn Stash Hotel Rewards by booking hotel stays through the program.

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Using miles and points to book an affordable Charlotte trip doesn’t have to be complicated. This business hub has plenty of leisure and entertainment options for the whole family, plus a major global airline operating many flights to the city and a vast array of lodging choices.

To view rates and fees of the , see .

All information about the has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The is no longer available through NerdWallet.

To view rates and fees of the , see .

To view rates and fees of , see .

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

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