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Salt Lake City, home to “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” is famous for its ski resorts — 11 of them within an hour’s drive from downtown. Travelers seeking summer hikes and adventure love Utah for its natural wonders, including five national parks. Plus, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are also within a reasonable driving distance from Salt Lake City.
Budget-savvy travelers look for cheap and simple ways to get to Salt Lake City using points and miles. If that’s you, here’s your points and miles guide to Salt Lake City.
Getting to Salt Lake City
Just 6 miles west of downtown, Salt Lake City International is a brand-new airport that opened in September 2020 — the first new U.S. hub airport built in the 21st century.
In the past, TRAX, a light rail system, took you all the way from downtown to the old airport’s Terminal 1. But the new building is in a slightly different location, and a new airport TRAX station is yet to be built. You can wait for a free shuttle to take you to the 1940 West Station, where you can connect with TRAX and go to the city center.
But until a new airport station opens, consider using a rideshare or taxi, which can pick you up from a designated spot and take you either downtown or straight to the slopes.
Major airlines flying to Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City International is a Delta Air Lines hub. Most other domestic carriers operate routes to Salt Lake City, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. Internationally, KLM operates a seasonal flight direct from Amsterdam.
Flying to Salt Lake City on points and miles
Wondering what are the best points and miles for cheap flights to Salt Lake City? That depends a lot on where you’re flying from. You can also book your preferred airline, like Delta or United, using a partner airline’s frequent flyer program. For example, use your British Airways Avios points to reserve a seat on American Airlines.
Delta Air Lines
Because Delta Air Lines has a hub at Salt Lake City International Airport, that’s the best place to start when traveling on points and miles.
The number of Delta SkyMiles you’ll need for an award ticket goes up or down with the cash price for the same flight. Some days, a SkyMiles redemption can be a gold mine, with one-way tickets starting at just 2,000 SkyMiles. Other days, the rates are sky-high.
For example, a basic economy seat on a nonstop, round-trip flight from New York to Salt Lake City will cost flyers 15,000 SkyMiles.
When cash prices are low, using Delta SkyMiles could be a cheap and simple way to get to Salt Lake City using points and miles. The cash price for that same flight is $219.
Departing from Los Angeles, you can fly to Salt Lake City and back in Delta’s basic economy for as few as 9,000 SkyMiles.
That same flight would cost you $145 outright.
When redemption rates are high on Delta, consider booking through one of its partners’ frequent flyer programs, like Air France-KLM Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. They have fixed award rates for Delta-operated flights, so you could find better deals there.
» Learn more: Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program: The complete guide
If you’re flying from an American Airlines hub, there are many options for planning your Salt Lake City trip with points and miles as well. American Airlines AAdvantage program uses an award chart for award flights, so you can have a general idea of how many points you'll need to get there. For domestic flights under 500 miles, you can get MileSAAver awards for 7,500 points one way. Flights over 500 miles will run you 12,500 points. You may be able to score even better deals by using its Web Special awards.
Here’s a Web Special award flight from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Salt Lake City and back for 20,000 AAdvantage miles.
When you want to fly American, especially on nonstop itineraries, take a look at either British Airways Executive Club or Iberia Plus programs. In some cases, you’ll need fewer Avios than AAdvantage miles to book the same flight on American Airlines. We even found the same flight for 17,000 Avios + $20.20 — fewer miles, but a few more dollars.
Both British Airways and Iberia are distance-based programs, which means that shorter flights require fewer miles. Just compare prices and pick the program that requires the fewest miles on your itinerary.
United Airlines hub-dwellers can easily fly to Salt Lake City, too. A round-trip itinerary from Chicago-O’Hare to Utah’s capital requires 24,000 MileagePlus miles.
If you’re flexible, you could find something more affordable because, as with Delta and American, United’s redemption rates fluctuate based on demand.
Or check the cost in miles with the Avianca LifeMiles and Air Canada Aeroplan loyalty programs. The latter is now a distance-based program, which means you could beat United’s price by using Aeroplan to book one-way United flights for 10,000 miles.
Other tips for flying to Salt Lake City
Lounges at Salt Lake City International Airport: Visit the newest and the largest Delta Sky Club located in the new airport terminal (take a right after security).
Getting to downtown from the airport: Take a free airport shuttle to the 1940 West Station to hop on TRAX, which takes you downtown. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle after a long travel day, take an Uber, Lyft or taxi.
Navigating the airport: At the moment, the airport has two working concourses: South Concourse West and North Concourse. The two are connected via a moving walkway down the escalators. If departing from the North Concourse, give yourself extra time to walk between two concourses.
Hotels in Salt Lake City
Depending on what you come to Utah for, you might choose to stay in downtown Salt Lake City, Park City or even Springdale to visit Zion National Park. Here’s a look at some of the best hotels to book with points in Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake City Marriott hotels
John Willard Marriott, the founder of the Marriott Corporation, was born in Utah, so let’s start looking for your perfect Salt Lake City hotel stay with the Marriott Bonvoy program.
Salt Lake City Marriott City Center
Located in the heart of Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake City Marriott City Center is a short walk to the city’s attractions, including the Temple Square, the Capitol Theatre, the City Creek Center shopping and Vivint Arena, home of the Utah Jazz.
Cost to book in points: A room here costs 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points on an off-peak night, 35,000 points on a standard night and 40,000 points on a peak night. Unless you’re traveling during peak season, this is a great place to use your Marriott free night certificates that come with Marriott Bonvoy credit cards issued by American Express and Chase.
The St. Regis Deer Valley
About 40 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport in the mountains of Park City, Utah, the luxurious St. Regis Deer Valley sits on one of the Deer Valley Resort runs. A funicular takes you up to your room.
This St. Regis knows a thing or two about luxury. You’ll find multiple heated pools, a ski valet room and a kids club among the amenities.
Deer Valley is a ski-only resort, meaning no snowboarding is allowed. But it’s just minutes from two other alpine resorts: Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Village at Park City, both of which welcome snowboarders as well as skiers.
Cost to book in points: As a Category 8 Marriott property, the St. Regis Deer Valley will set you back 75,000 Marriott points on off-peak nights, 85,000 points on standard nights and 100,000 points on peak nights. Cash rates can go as high as a few thousand dollars per night, so this hotel is a great value for your points.
This property charges a nightly resort fee of $35. Unfortunately, Marriott doesn’t waive resort fees on award stays, even for elite members.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points: Consider applying for either the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card to earn Marriott Bonvoy points.
You’ll earn up to 17 Marriott points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels and 2 points per dollar spent on all other purchases by using the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. As a cardholder, you’ll also receive automatic Silver Elite status and 15 elite night credits. The annual fee is $95.
The pricier Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card offers card members a $300 Marriott statement credit, 15 elite night credits, Gold Elite status and a free night award (worth up to 50,000 Bonvoy points). With this card, you’ll earn 6 Marriott points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and on airfare, and 2 points per dollar on all other purchases. The annual fee is $450. Terms apply.
Salt Lake City Hilton hotels
More than two dozen Hilton properties are scattered across the Salt Lake Valley, plus a few in Park City, making it easier to travel to Salt Lake City on points and miles.
The Peery Salt Lake City Downtown, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Built in 1910, The Peery Salt Lake City Downtown is one of the oldest hotels in Salt Lake City, and that’s part of its charm. The building comes with everything you’d expect from a historic landmark: the elegant lobby, the antique pieces, the ghosts… Yes, The Peery Hotel is listed on many paranormal-themed websites as haunted.
Located in the city center, the three-story Peery Hotel is close to the city’s hottest dining spots as well as the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Cost to book in points: The number of Hilton Honors points you’ll need varies. But you can often find standard rooms for 33,000 to 40,000 points.
Waldorf Astoria Park City
For a luxurious trip, head up to Park City and stay at this ski-in/ski-out Hilton property located at the foot of the Canyons Village at Park City, about 30 miles from the airport. The Waldorf Astoria Park City shares a private gondola with Club Wyndham Park City to take you to the ski resort’s base. After a day of shredding powder, hiking or fly-fishing, enjoy an outdoor heated pool, hot tubs and a spa facility on-site.
Cost to book in points: Depending on your travel dates, standard rooms start around 89,000 Hilton Honors points. Cash rates can be in the thousands per night during winter peak dates, so using points is a steal.
A daily resort charge of $40 applies to cash bookings but is waived when you pay with points.
How to earn Hilton Honors points: One way to earn Hilton Honors points is with a credit card like the $0-per-year Hilton Honors American Express Card or the $95-per-year Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. You can earn at least 7 points per dollar spent at Hilton properties, as well as bonus points for spending in categories, such as U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, airfare and U.S. restaurants. Terms apply.
With the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, you automatically become a Hilton Honors Gold elite, which comes with complimentary breakfast or a food credit at eligible properties and 10 Priority Pass visits per year (enrollment required). Terms apply.
The premium Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card qualifies you for automatic Diamond elite status. The card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership (enrollment required) and an annual free weekend night reward good for a free stay at most Hilton properties. The annual fee is $450. Terms apply.
Another way to get Hilton points is by transferring American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors at a ratio of 1:2.
» Learn more: Your guide to booking award nights with Hilton Honors
Salt Lake City Hyatt hotels
World of Hyatt members have a few places they can earn or redeem points in Salt Lake City. With the exception of a couple of pricey properties in Park City, most choices in the Salt Lake City area fall into World of Hyatt Categories 1 and 2.
Hyatt Place Salt Lake City / Cottonwood
Hyatt Place Salt Lake City / Cottonwood is a gem of a property in the Cottonwood Heights area of the Salt Lake Valley, 20 minutes south of downtown yet convenient to four different ski resorts: Brighton Ski Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon, and Alta Ski Area and Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon. You can reach all of these mountains in 20 to 30 minutes from the Hyatt Place Salt Lake City / Cottonwood.
Cost to book in points: Hyatt Place Salt Lake City / Cottonwood is a Category 2 property, which means you need 8,000 World of Hyatt points per night to stay here. Anniversary free night awards earned with a co-branded credit card from Chase can be used at this property as well.
Hyatt Centric Park City
If you’d rather be skiing in Park City, consider a posh Hyatt Centric Park City stay. This ski-in/ski-out hotel at the base of Canyon Village offers standard rooms as well as residence suites, making it a perfect place to use your Hyatt suite upgrade certificates.
Cost to book in points: Hyatt Centric Park City is a Category 7 property with standard rooms going for 30,000 World of Hyatt points.
How to earn Hyatt points: One way to earn Hyatt points is by using the World of Hyatt Credit Card. You’ll earn up to 9 points per dollar spent at Hyatt hotels (4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels and 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member) and 2 points per dollar on dining, airfare purchased directly from airlines, gym memberships and local transit.
If you don’t have the World of Hyatt Credit Card, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to the Hyatt program at a 1:1 ratio. Points transfer instantly, which means using miles and points to book an affordable Salt Lake City trip is possible as soon as you’re ready to book.
The bottom line
No matter which loyalty program you prefer, you can earn or redeem points on your Salt Lake City adventure — whether that means staying downtown or near one of the area’s famed ski resorts. As for flights, it’s pretty easy to redeem miles from all major airlines to fly to the Beehive State.
To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® 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.
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