How to Travel to Spain for Cheap on Points and Miles

British Airways, Iberia and United offer reasonably priced nonstop award flights between the U.S. and Spain.
JT GenterJul 13, 2021

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American tourists can now visit Spain without needing to bring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, making it one of the easiest places to go. And because of fierce competition between airlines, Spain is one of the easiest places to fly using points and miles. This makes a win-win situation for any traveler sitting on a stack of travel rewards.

Whether you want to indulge in tapas in Madrid, explore the wonders of Gaudi in Barcelona or anything in between, here are the cheapest ways to travel to Spain using points and miles.

Depending on your home airport, you may be surprised to find that it can be cheaper to fly to Spain than some U.S. domestic destinations. When you find such cheap cash fares, there's no need to search for airline award availability. Instead, use Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to take advantage of these attractive prices.

cardholders can redeem points for travel through the at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. Its current sign-up bonus is:

For example, customers can take advantage of a round-trip deal from Newark to Barcelona for about $350, paying just 27,985 Ultimate Rewards® points for the trip.

Cheap redemption deals can be had through the Chase travel portal even for last-minute trips. For example, members can fly from Miami to Madrid for under 40,000 Chase points round-trip in July:

cardholders can stretch their points even further: Instead of a 25% bonus through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, cardholders get a 50% bonus. So, that nearly $350 round-trip airfare only costs 23,321 Ultimate Rewards® points instead of 27,985.

That's a cheaper redemption rate than you're likely to find by booking a traditional airline award.

For those without points to spare, you can still earn award miles by booking cash fares through the Chase travel portal.

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Even if you can't find cheap flights, you may still be able to use Chase or AmEx points to score an affordable redemption. Both and Iberia’s loyalty programs offer reasonable award rates on nonstop flights between the U.S. and Spain. And you can or to British Airways or Iberia at a 1:1 rate.

Both Iberia and British Airways price awards based on the flight's distance. So, flights from the East Coast of the U.S. to Spain are going to be the cheapest.

For example, you can book an award flight during the peak summer season from New York-JFK to Madrid. Iberia's eonomy class (also called Blue) will run you as little as 20,000 Avios each way, whereas the airline's premium economy class will cost you 35,000 Avios one-way.

Travelers can save more by flying during off-peak dates. For instance, you could pay just 17,000 Avios each way in economy or 25,500 Avios each way in premium economy for flights between Boston and Madrid.

Awards can be booked one-way or round-trip for double the miles cost.

If you want to fly in style, using Avios can provide an affordable way to book a business class award. During off-peak dates, the price to fly Iberia between Boston and Madrid is as cheap as 34,000 Avios each way. That's the .

At this rate, the current sign-up offer on the can get you three one-way business class awards to Spain (assuming you meet the minimum spending requirement).

In order to take advantage of these award rates, you'll need to book a nonstop flight to Spain on a . American Airlines and Iberia team up to offer nonstop flights to Spain from eight U.S. airports:

If you're looking to book a trip this summer, keep in mind that not all of these routes are currently operating.

So far we've highlighted how you can use Chase or AmEx points to fly to Spain, but you also have options if you’re holding . One of Citi's partners, Turkish Airlines, provides incredible business class award rates through . And, unlike the Avios sweet spot described above, you aren't limited to nonstop flights from the U.S. East Coast.

Turkish Airlines' Miles & Smiles loyalty program offers economy award rates that aren't anything special — you'll have to pay 30,000 miles each way for economy tickets. However, Turkish Airlines charges just 45,000 miles each way for a United business class fare between the U.S. and Europe.

For example, you can fly from Newark to Madrid in United's business class (also called Polaris) for just 45,000 miles one way.

If you book the same award through United, you'll have to pay 60,000 MileagePlus miles. Although that's a bit more than what Miles & Smiles charges, it's still a decent rate.

If you don't have enough United miles in your MileagePlus account, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to United at a 1:1 ratio to take advantage of this pricing.

can help make flying in business class more affordable for travelers. This program is a perk for cardholders of and Centurion®-branded cards who book premium cabin fares.

Cardholders can book flights on one of dozens of international airlines via the AmEx Travel portal; though the discount varies based on the airline, route and date, the savings can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

You can also redeem points through the portal at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Terms apply.

With ever-changing entry requirements, it's best to avoid connecting in a third country on your way to or from Spain. There are plenty of options for flying directly from the U.S. to Spain. This summer, five airlines are operating nonstop flights from eight U.S. airports to either Madrid or Barcelona, Spain's two major international airports.

You can fly to Madrid nonstop on:

Or fly nonstop from the U.S. to Barcelona on the following airlines:

Spain offers a wide variety of lodging options, including opulent paradors (historic buildings converted into luxury hotels), chain hotels, guest houses and vacation rentals.

If you want to use your hotel points, you'll want to check options through and . Compared to Marriott's over 100 hotels in Spain, (18 properties) and (15 hotels) have relatively few properties across the country.

You're most likely to stretch your Marriott Bonvoy points value with stays at one of the country's 10 Category 1 hotels (costing between 5,000 and 10,000 points per night) or the 23 Category 2 hotels (pricing between 10,000 and 15,000 points per night).

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IHG offers dozens of hotels throughout Spain. But due to IHG's dynamic award pricing, point rates are ever-changing. Depending on the date, you can find some very affordable luxury IHG redemptions.

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For example, book a Crowne Plaza by the Madrid airport for 15,000 points per night or a Hotel Indigo near the city for 17,000 points per night.

If you don't already have hotel points, you're not out of luck. Spain has plenty of affordable lodging options that you can book with transferable rewards points.

Book your stay through AmEx Travel to redeem Membership Rewards points, or use the Chase travel portal to arrange lodging with Ultimate Rewards® points. By redeeming points via your , you can book 4-star hotels in Madrid for under 4,000 points per night:

Easiest of all, cardholders can book hotels using their card, and then use the to redeem their miles.

Spain is reopened to American tourists, and there are plenty of ways to use points and miles to fly to Spain and book lodging there.

No matter if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, AmEx Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points or Capital One Venture miles, there's a way for you to fly to Spain — or book a hotel stay — without breaking the mileage bank.

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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