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How to Use Rewards to Fly to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII

Jan. 18, 2019
Reward Optimization, Travel
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If you’re lucky enough to be going to the Super Bowl, you might want to offset that expensive game ticket with some free travel.

Super Bowl LIII takes place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, so the good news is there is plenty of service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In fact, it’s the busiest airport in the country, with Delta headquartered there and budget carriers Southwest and JetBlue ramping up service.

But what are your best options for miles and points travel, and is there even availability with the game only two weeks away?

Round-trip domestic flights can cost at least 25,000 miles for an economy seat. But reward availability may be limited from your city on game day, especially if your team has made it this far. Or you may be paying a premium in miles for limited seats. Delta’s mileage rates for flights from cities where teams have a good shot of making it to the Super Bowl are in the six-figure range. In that case, fixed-value points earned from Barclays or Capital One credit cards might be the way to go as they let you buy any available ticket or hotel room.

We took a look at a few routes sure to be popular with fans. At the time of this writing, it is down to four NFL teams: the New England Patriots, the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. The final two teams will be decided this weekend, but flights and hotel rooms have been quickly filling up.

From Boston to Atlanta to cheer on the Patriots

The New England Patriots might be the team most expect to get to the Super Bowl. Delta fares on the nonstop flight were around $320 round trip from Feb. 2 – 4, while American offered one-stop flights starting at $410. Delta award flights, however, cost a whopping 147,000 miles plus $11.20 in taxes.

American still has availability at the rate of 12,500 miles each way for travel Saturday to Monday, but if you want to fly in Friday or leave on Sunday after the game the one-way ticket is 25,000 – 75,000 miles.

It will cost 20,000 miles and $86.20 in taxes and fees to fly from Boston to Atlanta on United on the Saturday before the game. Getting home on Sunday or Monday is currently priced at 12,500 miles with the same amount of fees.

Flight deals for Saints, Rams and Chiefs fans

Spirit Airlines and Delta have the best fares for the flight from New Orleans. There are still fares in the $250 – $300 range available, but again, it might be best to use fixed-value points from your rewards credit card as Delta wants 134,000 miles for the flight.

Spirit is also offering the lowest rate at $292 from Los Angeles to Atlanta if you’re a Rams fan hoping your team makes the cut. American is the best bet for mileage redemption. They have fares of 12,500 miles each way whether you are flying out on Friday, Saturday or game day.

And if you’re betting on the Kansas City Chiefs, Delta offers the lowest priced cash fare from Missouri to Atlanta at $485. But again, it will cost you 150,000 miles if you want to fly in the day before and fly out the day after.

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 2020, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
9 cheap things to do in Atlanta during Super Bowl weekend
NerdWallet’s top travel credit cards
This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards

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