Did you know your Bilt Points can come in clutch for last-minute trips? While cash prices for airline tickets booked close-in can be sky-high, you can find a great deal by transferring your Bilt Points to one of Bilt’s 12 airline partners or booking your flight through the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia.
Whether you’re looking for a spontaneous getaway or have an unexpected travel emergency to tend to, let’s take a look at three real-world examples where your Bilt Points can save you big time.
Interested in flying to Japan on a whim? Yes, we’re talking before the end of this month.
While peak cherry blossom season in Tokyo has already passed, there are still a few weeks left this spring to catch the sakuras in northern Japan. On the gorgeous island of Hokkaido, known for its hot springs, volcanoes, and natural beauty, peak bloom is forecasted for late April and early May. Better yet, you can fly there in under 2 hours (or take a 4-hour bullet train) from Tokyo.
From dozens of U.S. cities this April and May, you can book a flight to Tokyo for just 50,000 United miles... round-trip! Here are just a few examples at the time of writing:
Newark (EWR) to Tokyo (NRT) for 50,000 miles and $50.55 in taxes and fees (nonstop)
Houston (IAH) to Tokyo (NRT) for 50,000 miles and $50.55 in taxes and fees (nonstop)
Raleigh-Durham (RDU) to Tokyo (HND) for 50,000 miles and $58.25 in taxes & fees (one-stop)
If you paid for the same last-minute flights with cash, it would cost you almost $2,000. Run, don’t walk: you’re looking at a value of nearly 4 cents per point by transferring your Bilt Points to United MileagePlus.
Didn’t get Beyoncé tickets during the sold-out presale? You’re not alone. Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour is slated to begin in Europe in May. While it’s certainly a gamble, you may be able to find a discounted rate for a last-minute concert ticket for her early tour dates. All you need now is a flight to get you there (and back).
If you’re eyeing her tour dates in London, you can book a round-trip flight via the U.K. carrier Virgin Atlantic for 20,000 points. Although the taxes and fees can sting, that rate certainly beats out paying $1,000+ for the same flights.
New York (JFK) to London (Heathrow) for 20,000 points and $492 in taxes & fees (nonstop)
If you’d like to head to Barcelona instead for her concert in early June, look at award rates through Spanish flag carrier Iberia.
New York (JFK) to Barcelona (BCN) for 39,000 Avios and $200 in taxes & fees (nonstop)
Travel emergencies pop up here and there, and next thing you know, you’re booked on a one-way flight — wherever home may be for you. If you’ve got no choice but to book a flight under the wire, you’ll likely be on the hook for paying hundreds of dollars for a last-minute ticket.
Fortunately, you can leverage several of Bilt’s transfer partners to score you an outstanding deal on a domestic flight. And oftentimes, the best deal isn’t found through a domestic airline’s loyalty program. In fact, looking at their international partner programs can yield favorable results.
British Airways uses a zone-based award chart, which means that you can score excellent deals for short- and medium-haul flights on its partner American Airlines:
Zone 1 (0 to 650 miles): 6,000 Avios one-way
Zone 2 (651 to 1,151 miles): 9,000 Avios each way
Zone 3 (1,152 to 2,000 miles): 11,000 Avios each way
The stipulation here is that you’ll need to find saver award space on American Airlines’ website to snag these low rates using British Airways Avios. However, it’s absolutely worth the hunt as taxes and fees for domestic flights will cost you just $5.60 each way.
Before you book your flight using United MileagePlus miles, take a look at Star Alliance program Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles. Thanks to its simplified award chart, you can book domestic flights on United Airlines for just 7,500 Turkish miles one-way.
In order to find these incredible rates, you’ll also need to search for “Saver Award” space through United’s website. Then, look for the same flight through the Turkish Miles&Smiles program.
Like its U.K. counterpart British Airways, Virgin Atlantic also uses a distance-based award chart to offer some stellar deals on domestic tickets through SkyTeam partner Delta Air Lines.
Flights between 0-500 miles: 7,500 points one-way
Flights between 501-1,000 miles: 8,500 points one-way
Flights between 1,001-1,500 miles: 11,500 points one-way
Flights between 1,501-2,000 miles: 12,500 points one-way
Flights between 2,001-3,000 miles: 15,000 points one-way
For example, I purchased a Taylor Swift concert two days before her tour kicked off in Glendale, Arizona. Instead of paying $500+ for a flight to Phoenix, I was able to book my Delta flight through Virgin Atlantic for just 15,000 points and $5.60 in taxes and fee.
If all else fails, remember that you can book any flight (on any airline) with virtually no restrictions by searching through the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia.
When redeeming your points for travel using this method, your Bilt Points are worth a flat 1.25 cents apiece. A $200 flight would require 16,000 Bilt Points, a $400 flight would require 32,000 Bilt Points, and so forth.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always need to have your travel planned out months ahead in order to get the best deal. Sometimes, airlines will release incredible mileage deals last-minute to help fill up any open availability left with award tickets. And don’t forget that Bilt Transfer Partners tool powered by Point.Me in the Bilt app can make this hunt for award flights easier than ever.