How to Travel to Tampa Bay on Points and Miles

Tampa Bay can be your destination or gateway to exploring other Florida cities, like Clearwater and St. Petersburg.
By Rebecca Lake 
Edited by Bethany Walsh

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The Buccaneers' win in the 2021 Super Bowl put Tampa in the spotlight, but it's more than just a football town. The Tampa Bay area is also a popular tourist spot along Florida's western coast.

The area's many beaches are an obvious attraction, and if you're interested in spending time outdoors, you can try activities like fishing and paddle boarding. Busch Gardens offers family fun if you're traveling with kids, and there are plenty of places to dine and shop.

If you've got some travel points and miles saved up, booking a Tampa trip could be a great way to use them. Here's how to travel to Tampa Bay on points and miles.

Getting to Tampa Bay

Nearest airports

When planning your Tampa Bay trip with points and miles, it helps to know which airports are nearby.

Airports serving the Tampa Bay area include:

  • Tampa International Airport (8.4 miles away).

  • St. Petersburg Clearwater International Airport (17.3 miles away).

From the airport, you have numerous ways to get to your hotel — or anywhere else you might need to go. Options include taxis, shared passenger van service, bus service and ride share options like Uber and Lyft. There are also 15 rental car companies to choose from, including Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz.

Major airlines flying to Tampa Bay

No major airline has a hub in Tampa, but the Tampa International Airport is a hub for private airline Silver Airways.

The majority of flights at TPA are operated by these carriers:

It's helpful to check the full list of airlines through the airport website when using miles and points to book an affordable Tampa Bay trip.

Flying to Tampa Bay on points and miles

Say you want to book a round-trip flight from Chicago-O'Hare to Tampa International Airport.

Southwest Airlines

You would need about 12,158 Southwest Rapid Rewards points to fly round-trip on the cheapest days.


On JetBlue, you would need 18,700 points per traveler to fly round-trip.

Delta Air Lines

A booking with Delta would cost 14,000 miles.

Spirit Airlines

Consider whether budget airlines are worth a look. For example, you'd need 13,000 Free Spirit points to fly Spirit Airlines from Chicago to Tampa round-trip during the same time period.

Southwest Airlines yields the best deal when looking for cheap and simple ways to get Tampa Bay. But keep in mind that different departure destinations may cost you more (or less) points or miles, and your travel dates will be a factor, as well.

Other tips for flying to Tampa Bay

Here are a few other things to know about flying to this destination.

Lounge access at Tampa International Airport

If you're stopping in Tampa Bay before traveling on to another destination or have time to kill before your departing flight, you may want to relax in the lounge. There are three lounges to choose from at TPA:

  • American Airlines Admirals Club: Located at Airside F, adjacent to Gate 85. Amenities include snacks, a full-service bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.

  • Delta Sky Club: Located at Concourse E, Gate 68. Amenities include beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), snacks, fax and printing services, phones, TV, Wi-Fi and personalized travel assistance.

  • The Cafe by Mise En Place (Priority Pass): Located at Airside F, adjacent to Gate 85. Amenities include TV, refreshments and alcoholic beverages.

Helpful travel cards

If you fly regularly, it may be worth getting a travel rewards credit card that includes lounge access as a benefit. Some of the cards you may consider include:

Hotels on points in Tampa Bay

There are plenty of hotels in Tampa Bay that are available to book with points.

Some of the properties closest to the airport (less than five miles away) include:

  • Hilton Garden Inn.

  • Embassy Suites by Hilton.

  • Tampa Airport Marriott.

  • Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott.

As part of your points and miles guide to Tampa Bay, here's a closer look at three top hotel brands.

Tampa Bay Marriott hotels

Tampa Bay Marriott Water Street

If you're interested in a luxury hotel stay, you might consider the Tampa Bay Marriott Water Street. This hotel, which sits adjacent to the Tampa Riverwalk, features an on-site spa and fitness center, a full-service restaurant and rooftop pool bar.

Cost to book in points will vary based on demand. NerdWallet values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.8 cent apiece.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card could be a good fit for earning Marriott Bonvoy points toward stays at this hotel. This card offers the following welcome offer, which could help you earn a one-night stay relatively quickly if you meet the minimum spending requirement: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

If you want elite status, but don’t want to commit to a Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit card, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which comes with automatic Marriott Gold Status. Plus, the card is currently offering this welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new 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.

Tampa Bay Hilton hotels

DoubleTree Beach Resort by Hilton Hotel Tampa Bay

Photo courtesy of Hilton

The DoubleTree Beach Resort by Hilton Hotel offers waterfront views of the Gulf, along with full-service dining and an outdoor pool. The property is on the shore of North Redington Beach between Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach; you're a bit further away from the Tampa city center.

Cost to book in points: Hilton doesn’t have a set award chart. This property offers rooms starting at 37,000 points per night and goes up to 60,000 points per night. NerdWallet values Hilton Honors points at 0.5 cent apiece.

How to earn Hilton Honors points

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is worth considering for earning Hilton Honors points. Its current welcome offer is: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer Ends 7/31/2024. Terms apply.

If you want status or the ability to book on points, but don’t want to commit to a Hilton branded credit card, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express, which also comes with automatic Hilton Honors™ Gold Status.

Those points can typically be transferred to the Hilton Honors program at a 1:2 ratio, which means 1 American Express point can be turned into 2 Hilton points. Terms apply.

Tampa Bay Hyatt hotels

Hyatt Place Tampa Busch Gardens

Photo courtesy of Hyatt

The Hyatt Place Tampa Busch Gardens could be a great fit for families who want close proximity to the theme park. This hotel offers free breakfast and an on-site restaurant, as well as a fitness center and pool — plus it's just five minutes from Busch Gardens.

Cost to book in points: Category 2 rooms start at 6,500 points per night for off-peak stays, which puts it in the budget category. This could be a good spot if you're hoping to maximize the value of your hotel rewards. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 2.3 cents each.

How to earn Hyatt points

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is worth considering for earning Hyatt points. This card's introductory bonus is large enough to get 12 free nights at Category 1 hotels if you meet the minimum spending requirement. You can also earn nine points per dollar on Hyatt stays.

If you visit Tampa Bay with points and miles

This step-by-step guide highlights the most important things to know about how to get to Tampa Bay with points and miles. Whether you want your travel plans to aim for high-end or low-budget, you can find flights and hotels to make the most of your travel rewards.

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 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

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NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


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Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

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Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

See more travel cards
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