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This week, Google released its annual list of trending travel destinations for 2020 and the results are interesting, representing both popular tourist destinations and lesser-known cities. If you’re pondering your next travel move, this list might give you a bit of inspiration:
Da Nang, Vietnam
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Seoul, South Korea
Tel Aviv, Israel
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Below, we’ve compiled ways to travel to these cities using points and miles.
1. Da Nang, Vietnam
Surrounded by mountains, beaches and luxury resorts, Da Nang has long been a popular travel destination. It’s also quite affordable to get to using points. If you want to make it easy in terms of mileage accrual and redemption, look no further than American Airlines. The AAdvantage program not only partners with Cathay Pacific to help you get there, but it also allows you to book this award online.
A one-way economy class award costs 37,500 AAdvantage miles, while business class clocks in at 70,000. This isn't a bad deal considering AAdvantage miles are pretty easy to come by, thanks to sign-up bonuses on multiple credit cards issued by Citi:
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
2. Sao Paulo, Brazil
American Airlines is also a great program for getting you to Sao Paulo, Brazil, using miles. Not only does American Airlines operate flights to South America, but the airline also partners with South American carrier LATAM Airlines. A one-way economy class award to Sao Paulo on American Airlines costs 30,000 miles, while business class goes for 55,000.
A flight on LATAM prices out the same in economy class, though business class is slightly higher at 57,500 miles.
3. Seoul, South Korea
Korean Air is a SkyTeam member, enabling you to redeem Delta SkyMiles for award tickets. Redemption rates can be quite reasonable, depending on when you’re traveling and out of which airport.
Economy class awards between Atlanta and Seoul require as few as 32,500 SkyMiles each way, while first-class awards can be found for 90,000 SkyMiles each way.
4. Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo can be an expensive city to visit, but it’s much more affordable using points and miles. ANA Mileage Club miles offer one of the best deals out there: 40,000 ANA miles in economy class or 75,000 miles in business class to Tokyo. Never heard of ANA before? The Japan-based carrier is a Star Alliance member and a Membership Rewards transfer partner.
If you’re short on Membership Rewards, you can opt to redeem Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles as well. You’ll need 60,000 miles round-trip for economy and 90,000 miles for business (“Upper”) class when flying from the West Coast. East Coast flights are priced 65,000 and 95,000 miles, respectively.
Virgin Atlantic FlyingClub is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Citi ThankYou, and AmEx Membership Rewards. You can top off your Membership Rewards account with one of the following credit cards:
The Platinum Card® from American Express: 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.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.
American Express® Business Gold Card: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
» Learn more: AmEx Business Gold review: Bonus rewards change with you
5. Tel Aviv, Israel
Whether you’re looking to enjoy the vibrant nightlife or use Tel Aviv as a starting point to explore the Holy Land, you can get there pretty cheaply thanks to Flying Blue. Departing from the East Coast, all you need is 25,000 miles each way in economy class or 53,000 miles in business class.
KLM/Air France Flying Blue is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Citi ThankYou, and AmEx Membership Rewards, providing plenty of opportunities to stock up on those points.
6. Marseille, France
If you’re one of the people Googling ways to travel to the South of France for less, you’re in luck: With United’s dynamic award pricing, it’s possible to book a flight to Marseille for as little as 30,000 miles each way. Just one welcome bonus from the United℠ Explorer Card can cover this entire fare: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
7. Vienna, Austria
Flying to Vienna on points can be quite affordable, especially if you can travel during off-peak dates. American Airlines offers round-trip economy class awards for just 45,000 miles between Jan. 10-March 14 or Nov. 1-Dec. 14. A single welcome bonus from the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® can help you score the miles you need for this trip: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
8. Bangkok, Thailand
Ready to put your Delta SkyMiles to good use? You can book a round-trip economy class ticket between New York and Bangkok for as little as 61,000 Skymiles. The welcome bonus from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card can cover a significant portion of this, and the rest of your miles can be transferred from AmEx Membership Rewards.
9. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
One of the cheapest ways to travel to Dubai on points is with ANA Mileage Club miles. A partner award flight between the U.S. and the Middle East costs just 65,000 miles round-trip in economy class and 104,000 miles in business class.
How would you get your hands on some ANA miles for this trip? Luckily, the program is a Membership Rewards transfer partner.
10. Perth, Australia
Australia is currently experiencing devastating wildfires, but after the situation is under control, tourism can help mitigate the negative economic impact. Once again, ANA offers one of the cheapest award flights to Australia: 75,000 miles round-trip in economy class and 120,000 in business.
The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
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
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Which airline credit card is best for international award travel? Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program: The complete guide Find the best travel credit card for you