Los Angeles, with its year-round beautiful weather, beaches, scenery, hikes and world-renowned restaurants and nightlife, makes for a great vacation destination.
The second-largest city in the U.S. offers visitors a wide range of possibilities including luxe hotel stays, hiking in Malibu, learning to surf in Santa Monica and walking down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Los Angeles is also a great base to explore all of Southern California, with Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree National Park and skiing in Big Bear all within a one- to three-hour drive.
Here's our guide to traveling to Los Angeles on points and miles.
Getting to Los Angeles
If you’re traveling by plane to Los Angeles, you’ll likely be flying into Los Angeles International Airport — the third busiest airport in the world by passenger volume in 2019, with 88.1 million travelers passing through. But you actually have several airports to choose from.
Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX (~18 miles from downtown LA).
Hollywood Burbank Airport (~15 miles).
Long Beach Airport (~25 miles).
Many airlines use LAX as a hub, including United, Delta, American and Alaska Airlines. LAX is located on the southwest side of the city. It’s a 20- to 25-minute drive from Santa Monica and a 25- to 35-minute drive from Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood (although all drive times are highly dependent on traffic, which can be notoriously bad in Los Angeles). If you’re planning to stay in Hollywood, you should consider flying into the smaller Hollywood Burbank Airport, which is only 15 to 20 minutes away.
Your main options for getting to and from LAX are the LAX FlyAway Bus, renting your own car and driving or using a rideshare or taxi service.
One of the benefits of having such a large international airport nearby is that there are plenty of cheap and simple ways to get to Los Angeles using points and miles. Below, we’ll go into more detail about the best points and miles for cheap flights to Los Angeles.
» Learn more: The guide to Priority Pass lounges at LAX
Major airlines flying to Los Angeles
Major airlines flying into LAX include:
Delta Air Lines.
» Learn more: Best airline hubs in the U.S. for remote workers
Flying to Los Angeles on points and miles
If you’re planning your Los Angeles trip with points and miles, you have a number of options.
Depending where you’re flying from, expect to spend between 5,000 and 50,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for a main-cabin, one-way trip to Los Angeles. While that is a wide range, it’s more likely your flight will fall into the 5,000- to 12,500-mile range unless you're looking for more expensive fares such a business or first class.
You can also use your Alaska miles to fly American Airlines. One-way award flights on American, when available, cost a flat rate of 12,500 miles for the main cabin and 25,000 miles for business/first class.
Using American AAdvantage miles to book your trip to Los Angeles? You'll work off American's award chart for your flight:
Flights up to 500 miles in distance cost between 7,500 and 30,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in the main cabin.
Flights over 500 miles cost between 12,500 and 30,000 miles one way in the main cabin.
Business class flights up to 500 miles in distance cost between 15,000 and 55,000 AAdvantage miles.
For a distance greater than 500 miles, you’ll pay between 25,000 and 55,000 miles in business class.
United, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue
If you collect points or miles with United, Delta, Southwest or JetBlue, the cost of your award flight to Los Angeles will vary based, in part, on how much the same ticket costs in cash. So look for deals. Delta sometimes has flash sales on certain routes where you can find good flat rates for award redemptions. For instance, a recent Delta sale had tickets between LAX and Seattle for 4,000 miles each way in the main cabin. Tickets between LAX and Atlanta were 7,000 miles each way in the main cabin.
Because the number of miles needed to book an award flight to Los Angeles can vary, your best bet is to have miles saved up with a few airlines (or credit card points that can be transferred to airlines) and search to compare mileage redemption rates for each airline.
Hotels on points in Los Angeles
If you’re looking for hotels to book with points in Los Angeles, options include luxurious five-star accommodations, boutique hotels and more budget-friendly hotels. Below is a guide to booking hotels with points in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Hilton hotels
There are dozens of hotels in the Los Angeles area that you can book using Hilton Honors points. The luxurious Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hilton Hotel get you exceptional value for your Hilton points. Prefer a beach getaway at a lower-priced property? The Hampton Inn & Suites Santa Monica puts you a short walk away from the famous Santa Monica Pier. Looking to use your Hilton points for a quick layover? The Hilton Los Angeles Airport could be your best bet.
Cost to book in points: Hilton has a helpful Points Explorer tool you can use to find out the lowest nightly points rate at its hotels.
The Beverly Hilton Hotel starts at 48,000 Honors points per night.
The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills rooms start at 95,000 points per night.
The Hampton Inn Santa Monica can be had for as few as 35,000 Hilton Honors points.
The Hilton Los Angeles Airport starts at 26,000 points.
To see if you’re getting a good deal, note that NerdWallet values Hilton points at 0.5 cent each. Multiply the number of points needed for your stay by 0.5 cent to see the cash equivalent of your redemption. When you use Hilton Honors points to pay for your room, you don’t pay any resort fees.
How to earn Hilton Honors points: You can collect Hilton Honors points by staying at Hilton family hotels, through credit card transfer partners and through a Hilton credit card like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. On top of earning you points when you make charges, some Hilton credit cards also come with an annual free weekend night certificate. Terms apply.
Plus, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card comes with complimentary Hilton Gold status and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with complimentary Hilton Diamond status, both of which get you bonus points on paid stays, complimentary breakfast and space-available upgrades. Terms apply.
If you don’t want to commit to a Hilton-branded credit card but you still want Gold status in the Honors program, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which also comes with automatic Gold status. The card is currently offering a welcome bonus: 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 be converted into Hilton Honors points at a rate of 2 Hilton points for every 1 AmEx point transferred.
» Learn more: Hilton credit cards: Which one should you get?
Los Angeles Marriott hotels
There are a number of great hotels where you can redeem your Marriott Bonvoy points in the Los Angeles area. If you’re looking for a higher-end stay, consider the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles or the West Hollywood EDITION. For layovers, the Westin Los Angeles Airport has a free shuttle to LAX and features Westin’s famous Heavenly bed. For a downtown Los Angeles experience, check out the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles.
Cost to book in points: The number of Bonvoy points you’ll need for a stay is based on a chart that prices rooms according to the category of hotel and whether you’re booking during an off-peak, standard or peak time. For example, the Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles is a Category 8 hotel that will generally cost between 63,000 and 100,000 points per night. The W Hollywood is a Category 6 hotel, which will generally cost between 36,000 and 60,000 points per night.
NerdWallet values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cent per point. Marriott does not waive resort fees for award bookings, so check your hotel’s website to learn about these kinds of fees before you make your reservation.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points: You can collect Marriott points through hotel stays, credit card transfer partners and Marriott credits cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which both get you Marriott status. Terms apply.
If you want Gold status, but don’t want to commit to a Marriott-branded credit card, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which also comes with automatic Marriott Gold Status. Points you earn using this card can typically be transferred to the Bonvoy program at a 1:1 ratio. Terms apply.
» Learn more: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card should I choose?
Los Angeles Hyatt hotels
World of Hyatt members don’t have as many choices in Los Angeles, with only about a half dozen hotels open in the area. But a Park Hyatt near Dodger Stadium and a Thompson Hotel in Hollywood will open soon. A great choice for spending your World of Hyatt points is the Andaz West Hollywood, which boasts a central location in West Hollywood near restaurants and nightlife and a gorgeous rooftop pool with views of the Hollywood Hills.
Cost to book in points: Like Marriott, Hyatt uses an award chart. Prices range from 5,000 to 40,000 points per night for a standard room, depending on the hotel’s category. The Andaz West Hollywood is a Category 5 hotel, with a standard room costing 20,000 points per night. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 1.9 cents per point, and World of Hyatt members don’t pay resort fees for award bookings.
The bottom line
If you’re looking to travel to Los Angeles using miles and points, you have a lot of great options. The number of airline miles you’ll need for a flight can vary by airline and dates of travel; search a few different airlines and compare prices before booking.
Looking redeem points for a hotel stay in LA? The major hotel chains all offer great possibilities, especially at luxury properties like the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and the Ritz Carlton, Los Angeles. Given how large Los Angeles is, you should be sure to book a hotel that is near the attractions you’re planning to visit.
To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.
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.
To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, see this page.
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