The Best Ways to Travel from New York City to Boston

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New York City and Boston are the East Coast’s most iconic cities, and while they’re relatively close, driving between the cities can be tough due to seemingly endless traffic. Because of this, a number of airlines have started offering near-hourly shuttle flights between the cities, making it easy for travelers to make the short hop at any time during the day.

Further, there’s also frequent rail service between the cities. A number of Amtrak routes run between New York City and Boston, including the high-speed Acela Express service that offers both business and first class cabins.

If you find yourself wanting to jump up or down the coast and have travel miles to spare, you’re in the right place. Here are the best ways to travel between New York City and Boston using miles and points.

Delta Air Lines Low-Priced SkyMiles Award Tickets

One of the best ways to fly domestically is with Delta SkyMiles award tickets. The airline uses a dynamic award chart for all of its award tickets, meaning that award ticket pricing varies based on passenger load, travel date, and other variables. It also means that Delta does not publish a standardized award chart for award tickets.

While this skyrocketed award ticket pricing for some awards (think long-haul business class), some tickets actually dropped in price significantly. One of the best examples of this is short-haul economy tickets and the NYC to Boston route is no exception.

Redeeming Delta SkyMiles for NYC to BOS
Delta awards can be had for as little as 4,500 SkyMiles one-way. Image Credit: Delta

Currently, Delta Air Lines flies to Boston (BOS) from New York (JFK), New York (LGA), and Newark (EWR). When searching just over a month in advance, you can find one-way tickets priced at 4,500 SkyMiles one-way in Basic Economy. Better yet? You’ll pay just $5.60 in taxes on these tickets.

Hot Tip: Book as far in advance as possible to get the lowest priced SkyMiles award tickets.

Need more Delta miles? You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy to Delta at varying rates. Plus, check out our full guide to earning miles with Delta SkyMiles to find even more ways to stock up.

American Airlines Economy Web Special Fares

Booking an American Airlines Economy Web Special award ticket
American Airline’s Economy Web Special awards provide excellent value. Image Credit: American

American Airlines flyers can book NYC to Boston on the cheap using the AAdvantage program. Last year the airline introduced Economy Web Special award tickets, bringing cheaper award tickets to select routes around the world. The LGA-BOS route frequently has these awards, and tickets are priced at just 6,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in economy.

You can find Economy Web Special fares as you would any other American Airlines award ticket: just search on the American website. Simply input your dates and check the Redeem Miles box, and then look for the Economy Web Special box for the lowest priced award ticket.

Hot Tip: Economy Web Special fares are only bookable online and cannot be changed without a fee. However, mileage redeposit fees are waived for Executive Platinum members.

Do note that Economy Web Special award tickets are only available on specific dates and may not be permanently offered on this route. Thankfully though, the NYC to Boston route prices as a short-haul award ticket when Economy Web Special fares aren’t available. In this case, the ticket costs just 7,500 AAdvantage miles one-way.

Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to American Airlines AAdvantage at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for all 60,000 point (20,000 AAdvantage mile) transfers. If you need more miles to start planning that trip, explore our full guide to how to earn lots of AAdvantage miles.

United Airlines Discounts Point Tickets (EWR-BOS)

Book Low-Cost United award tickets
United Airlines awards can be booked for as little as 8,500 miles. Image Credit: United Airlines

Like American, United Airlines and its MileagePlus loyalty program offers discounted NYC to Boston award tickets from its EWR hub. While not as cheap as Delta and American, Saver award tickets can be had for as low as 8,500 United MileagePlus miles. This is 4,000 miles cheaper than a standard domestic saver ticket due to the fact that the flight is under 700 miles one-way.

Like Delta, United has begun implementing dynamic award pricing on its tickets, so you may see tickets price slightly above 8,500 points. For example, when booking 2 months out, you’ll find fares ranging from 8,500 to 10,000 MileagePlus miles one-way.

Hot Tip:United Airlines co-branded credit cardholders and MileagePlus Premier elite status members have expanded access to low-cost awards.

You can transfer miles to United MileagePlus from Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy at varying rates. There’s a slew of other ways to earn extra MileagePlus miles too.

Chase Travel Portal — Cheap Cash Fares

With so much competition on the route, NYC to Boston fares can often be quite cheap. In fact, you can find tickets as low as $59 one-way when booking over a month in advance. You may find that these low fares make little sense to book with points — especially if you plan to use United or American miles.

However, there is a way to justify covering low-priced cash tickets with points: the Chase Travel Portal.

This portal lets Chase cardholders redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points towards any paid flight available on Expedia. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can redeem their points for 1.5 cents per point, Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders can redeem for 1.25 cents per point, and all other personal Chase-branded cards can redeem for 1.0 cents per point.

Booking NYC-BOS with the Chase Travel Portal
Use the Chase Travel Portal to cover cheap paid tickets with Ultimate Rewards points. Image Credit: Chase

So, if you’re a Sapphire Reserve cardholder, you can redeem just 3,886 Ultimate Rewards points for a $59 JFK-BOS flight on American Airlines. This is significantly cheaper than booking with AAdvantage miles, and since you’re essentially buying a paid ticket, you’ll still earn AAdvantage miles on this ticket.

Bottom line:Make sure to add your frequent flyer number to tickets booked through the Chase Travel Portal. You’ll earn redeemable and elite status-qualifying miles on all flights.

TrueBlue Points — Cheap Cash Fares (With Caution)

JetBlue maintains focus cities at both JFK and BOS and runs frequent flights from all 3 NYC airports to BOS. Because of this, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up on a JetBlue plane for your next jump up or down the coast.

Like the Chase Travel Portal, JetBlue’s loyalty program — TrueBlue — prices award tickets based on the cost of the cash ticket.

Bottom Line: The more expensive a paid JetBlue ticket is, the more TrueBlue points it will cost.

You can transfer points to JetBlue TrueBlue from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Marriott Bonvoy. However, should you do this is a different question entirely.

Currently, we value JetBlue TrueBlue points at 1.25 cents per point and since Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards points at 1.5 cents per point through the Chase Travel Portal, it’s not the best use of your miles to transfer your miles to TrueBlue.

However, don’t write off TrueBlue miles altogether — you should most definitely use an existing stash of points to cover your paid JetBlue flight, especially if you can find low-priced NYC to Boston tickets.

Train Tickets with Amtrak Guest Rewards Points

Amtrak Acela Express Train in Newark, New Jersey
The Amtrak Acela Express service takes just 4 hours between NYC and Boston. Image credit: Michael715 via Shutterstock

Don’t want to head to the airport? Taking a train from New York’s Penn Station to Boston’s South Station on Amtrak. This can be an excellent option for your next journey. Standard train journeys take 4.5 hours between the cities, and the high-speed Acela Express option takes only 4 hours. When you consider time at the airport, this can be an excellent option — especially if you live near the train station.

Like airlines, Amtrak has its own loyalty program dubbed Amtrak Guest Rewards. The cost of an award train ticket depends on the cost of a paid ticket, akin to JetBlue, the more a train ticket costs, the more the award ticket costs. Amtrak points are worth roughly 1.82 cents per point when redeemed on Acela routes and 1.92 when redeemed on standard Amtrak service.

You can earn Amtrak Guest Rewards points by traveling on Amtrak or by using the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard® from Bank of America. This card has a varying welcome bonus and earns points on all purchases, including extra points for Amtrak and travel purchases.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways to travel between New York City and Boston for free. Check the Chase Travel Portal first and then Delta Air Lines and other options to price compare. Since it’s such a short flight, the experience you get on all of these airlines will be relatively similar.

Remember, though: refrain from transferring new points to JetBlue TrueBlue, especially from Chase. These will generally give you a lower redemption rate than booking through the Chase Travel Portal and you won’t earn new points on the ticket.

Safe travels!


FAQ

What New York City area airports offer nonstop service to Boston?

Currently, 4 New York City airports offer nonstop service to BOS:

  • Newark (EWR)
  • New York (JFK)
  • New York (LGA)
  • White Planes (HPN)

What airports in the Boston area offer nonstop service to New York City?

Currently, Boston has 1 airport with nonstop service to New York City: Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). Further, there are no other airports directly serving the Boston area as of the time of publishing this article.

What airlines fly between New York City and Boston?

The following 5 airlines service the busy New York City to Boston route:

  • American Airlines (LGA and JFK)
  • Delta Air Lines (LGA, JFK, and EWR)
  • JetBlue (LGA, JFK, and EWR)
  • Tradewind Aviation (HPN)
  • United Airlines (EWR)

Does Southwest Airlines fly between New York City and Boston?

Southwest Airlines does not operate a flight to Boston from any New York City area airport.

How long is the flight from New York City to Boston?

According to most airlines, the flight is roughly 1.5 hours. However, this may be longer or shorter in practice depending on weather conditions and other factors.

Andrew Kunesh

About Andrew Kunesh

Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City. He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt.

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