The 15 Best U.S. Domestic Flight Redemptions for Max Value [2021]

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At Upgraded Points, we are big fans of being world travelers, visiting the most exotic, far-and-away destinations, and doing so in first class while enjoying pure luxury and opulence.

But sometimes it’s draining. Flipping time zones, having enough vacation time to fly 24 hours across the world in each direction, and increased planning required with going someplace totally foreign can start to weigh on you. It gets tiring!

So if you’re focused (at least in the near term) on booking trips within the U.S., you’ll want to keep this guide handy, which should give you some inspiration for high-value ways to redeem your points for domestic U.S. flights!

How To Get Maximum Value When Redeeming Points for U.S. Domestic Flights

Among the numerous types of vacations you can book within the U.S., there are probably 2 that are usually known to be the most expensive:

If you live in a cold area and find yourself frequently looking for sunny places to escape to like Hawaii, California, and Florida, you will inevitably come across a situation where plane tickets are ridiculously expensive.

Similarly, if you’re booking a ski vacation during the peak winter high season, it’s not surprising to be forced to shell out thousands of dollars for flights and hotels.

As with all points redemptions, you should always be comparing the cash price with the points price to determine if it’s a good deal (and by extension, whether you should use points or cash).

In the case of U.S. domestic redemptions, you no longer need to worry about hitting that crazy 10 cents-per-point redemption sweet spot, simply because it’s not going to happen.

When redeeming points for domestic flights, you’ll typically achieve a redemption value similar to the accepted valuations, though you might sometimes get a better-than-expected outcome. You might also get a lower redemption value, but chances are you’ll always get at least 1 cent per point of value.

In this next section, we’ll show you some of the best ways to use your points for U.S. domestic flights.

Best Ways To Earn Points for U.S. Domestic Redemptions

Because of the way U.S. frequent flyer programs like United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles work, it’s a bit more challenging to redeem partner airline miles for travel on a U.S. airline.

For example, Delta SkyMiles’s dynamic award pricing system makes it extremely difficult to suss out which award tickets are bookable by partners, and its mileage prices are mostly reasonable for domestic travel, anyway.

Best Ways To Earn Points for United Flights

United MileagePlus is a 1:1 transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

In addition, it’s a 3:1.1 transfer partner with Marriott Bonvoy (which also offers a 5,500-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred).

Lastly, numerous co-branded credit cards enable you to earn United miles directly.

But broadly speaking, the best way to earn United miles is via Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, whose points can be transferred to United MileagePlus. Here are our recommended picks:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card, which is currently offering a 60,000 point bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

The card earns 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining and 2x points on all other travel purchases, plus more. Enjoy a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, and other travel benefits such as excellent travel insurance coverage, including car rental insurance and no foreign transaction fees, this card is a very rewarding card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - This premium card will get you access to 1,300+ airport lounges. as well as a number of other card benefits. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $550 annual fee. As an extra bonus, until 12/31/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit.

Earn big with this card, earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® card - A solid, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, and 5% on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Then earn 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases, but you won't get any travel benefits with this card.

Best Ways To Earn Points for Delta Flights

Delta SkyMiles is a 1:1 transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards.

Also, you can transfer Marriott points at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Amex also offers a variety of co-branded credit cards to earn Delta SkyMiles.

You can certainly accumulate a lot of Delta SkyMiles with the co-branded cards, but it’s easier to earn more miles on everyday spending with Amex Membership Rewards cards. Here are some recommended cards you can consider opening:

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a new welcome bonus offer of 60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including Priority Pass (enrollment required). We leverage ~$4,900+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - This card has a new welcome bonus of 35,000 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

We love using this card as it earns 4X Membership Rewards Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earns 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).

There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly; and you'll have access to many benefits and perks. Terms apply and for rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

Best Ways To Earn Points for American Airlines Flights

American Airlines AAdvantage doesn’t have any 1:1 transfer partners — its sole transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy, which transfers at a 3:1 ratio to American Airlines AAdvantage with a bonus of 5,000 miles after every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Also, Barclays and Citi both issue co-branded American Airlines AAdvantage credit cards to earn miles directly.

Best Ways To Earn Points for Alaska Airlines Flights

Similar to American Airlines AAdvantage, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan does not have any 1:1 transfer partners; indeed, the only transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy, which follows the same transfer ratio of 3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus after transferring 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Bank of America is the sole issuer of co-branded Alaska Airlines credit cards, which offers one of the best ways to earn Alaska Airlines miles.

CARDBENEFITS & INFO
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

Alaska Signature card
  • Get 40,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
  • Get Alaska's Famous Companion Fare after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. There are no blackout dates.
  • Get another Alaska's Famous Companion Fare every year! Each year on your account anniversary get a companion fare. Valid on all Alaska flights booked on alaskaair.com with no blackout dates.
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other guests on the same reservation
  • Annual Fee: $75

The 15 Best U.S. Domestic Redemptions

When you’re booking a flight on a U.S. airline like United, your first instinct should be to redeem miles belonging to that airline (United MileagePlus miles in this example).

This will almost always steer you in the right direction, but if you have extra time and are willing to try to find partner award availability (particularly for premium cabin domestic flights), you may be able to cut down on the number of points spend by up to 50%!

That American Airlines flight that costs 50,000 AA miles? You could possibly get that same flight booked for 32,500 Amex points! That United Airlines flight that costs 50,000 miles? You might be able to get the same ticket booked for 15,000 Citi points!

To be clear, this generally only works on select premium cabin flights; you’ll still find the vast majority of availability when booking using the U.S. airline’s frequent flyer program. And in most cases, the mileage prices are reasonable enough to warrant booking through these programs.

Enough talk — let’s get into our top U.S. domestic redemptions you can make for maximum value.

We’ll dip our toes in partner-level award tickets for premium cabin redemptions early in this section, but we’ll be focusing on the cheapest realistic price you’ll find on a given domestic flight without worrying about the lowest “theoretical” price you’d find if you spent all day looking for partner award space.

Let’s get started!

1. United Transcontinental Polaris Class

United Polaris Business Class Seat on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
One of the top U.S. domestic redemptions you can book is United’s transcontinental Polaris class with Turkish Airlines miles! Image Credit: Chris Hassan

Our top redemption on this list also happens to be one of the most difficult to pull off in practice, but if you can pull it off, you’re getting a steal of a flight using points.

Usually, United charges 25,000 miles for Saver-level Polaris class availability on transcontinental flights.

But if you book your flights through Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles (a Citi ThankYou transfer partner), you can book one-way business class flights for 15,000 points!

That’s a savings of 40% of your points! And if you’re fine flying in coach, one-way economy tickets cost just 7,500 points!

Hot Tip: The challenge in pulling off this sweet spot redemption, though, is in finding Saver-level availability. United is extremely stingy in releasing Saver-level Polaris class award space on transcontinental routes. Keep your dates as flexible as possible!

Check out some of these nonstop transcontinental routes you can fly aboard United Polaris class:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – New York City (JFK) one-way in United’s transcontinental Polaris class for 15,000 Turkish Airlines miles transferred from Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Newark (EWR) one-way in United’s transcontinental Polaris class for 15,000 Turkish Airlines miles transferred from Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – New York City (JFK) one-way in United’s transcontinental Polaris class for 15,000 Turkish Airlines miles transferred from Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Newark (EWR) one-way in United’s transcontinental Polaris class for 15,000 Turkish Airlines miles transferred from Citi + $6 in taxes and fees

Hot Tip: Need to earn more Citi points? Check out our complete guide to the best ways to earn Citi ThankYou Points!

2. American Airlines Flagship First Class

American Airlines Flagship First Class
American Airlines’s Flagship First Class is an elite premium cabin product reserved for select flights in the U.S. market. Image Credit: Stephen Au

One of the most comfortable ways you can fly in the U.S. is aboard American Airlines’s Flagship First Class product, which is only offered on A321T and 777-300ER aircraft.

Traditionally offered on select premium transcontinental flights, the cash prices that these flights command are immense (think $1,500 one-way).

Normally, American Airlines charges 50,000 miles for a one-way Flagship First Class ticket on a Saver award ticket, which actually isn’t a bad deal considering the high cash prices.

But if you are looking for the best deals possible and can be flexible, you can find Saver award space on American Airlines’s website and book that same ticket using Etihad Guest miles to save big!

In general, American Airlines Flagship First Class Saver award space is more generous than United’s transcontinental Polaris class Saver award space, so you probably have a better chance at booking the flight you want by using Etihad Guest miles.

For this flight, expect to redeem around 32,500 Etihad Guest miles one-way.

Here are a few example redemptions you can make:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Miami (MIA) one-way in American Airlines Flagship First Class for 32,500 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – New York City (JFK) one-way in American Airlines Flagship First Class for 32,500 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – New York City (JFK) one-way in American Airlines Flagship First Class for 32,500 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees

3. American Airlines Lie-Flat Business Class

American Airlines 787-9 Flagship Business Class seat 4L
American Airlines’s Flagship Business Class is one of the most comfortable ways to fly around the U.S. Image Credit: Stephen Au

In addition to a top-quality first class product, American Airlines also offers a great business class product, should you be interested in booking lie-flat seats.

The benefit of Flagship Business Class is that it can be a bit cheaper than Flagship First Class. Plus, it’s easier to find a Flagship Business Class product, thanks to its offerings on other 777 and 787 aircraft.

On select domestic flights, you can find lie-flat business class seats akin to what you’d encounter on a long-haul international flight, which will maximize your comfort.

Here are the best routes you’ll often find lie-flat business class seats on:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Honolulu (HNL) one-way in American Airlines Flagship Business Class for 37,500 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines charges 55,000 miles for Saver-level availability
  • Dallas (DFW) – Honolulu (HNL) one-way in American Airlines Flagship Business Class for 37,500 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines charges 55,000 miles for Saver-level availability
  • Dallas (DFW) – Kahului (OGG) one-way in American Airlines Flagship Business Class for 37,500 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines charges 55,000 miles for Saver-level availability
  • Dallas (DFW) – Kona (KOA) one-way in American Airlines Flagship Business Class for 37,500 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines charges 55,000 miles for Saver-level availability
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Miami (MIA) one-way in American Airlines Flagship Business Class for 25,000 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines charges 25,000 miles for Saver-level availability
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – New York City (JFK) one-way in American Airlines Flagship Business Class for 25,000 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines charges 25,000 miles for Saver-level availability
  • San Francisco (SFO) – New York City (JFK) one-way in American Airlines Flagship Business Class for 25,000 Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines charges 25,000 miles for Saver-level availability

4. Delta First Class to Hawaii

Delta Airbus A220 First Class Seats 3A 3B
Fly Delta first class to Hawaii using Amex points! Image Credit: Greg Stone

Flying Delta to Hawaii is often the most convenient option, in addition to a great quality product. The diamond-stitched leather seats, warm service, and edible catering options make this one of the better airlines to fly nonstop to Hawaii.

The catch? It’s really difficult to book these flights using partner miles like Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles.

The implication of this is that to maximize your odds of booking these tickets, you ought to accumulate Delta SkyMiles or Amex points (which can then be transferred to Delta).

The great news is that Delta is excellent about offering a “baseline value” for your points, so while redeeming Delta SkyMiles may not theoretically be the cheapest option, you’ll probably get at least 1.2 cents per point of value, often more.

Here are some of Delta’s terrific routes to Hawaii:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Honolulu (HNL) one-way in Delta One/Delta first class from 95,000 Delta SkyMiles (can be transferred from Amex or Marriott points) + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Lihue (LIH) one-way in Delta One/Delta first class from 42,000 Delta SkyMiles (can be transferred from Amex or Marriott points) + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Salt Lake City (SLC) – Kahului (OGG) one-way in Delta first class from 49,000 Delta SkyMiles (can be transferred from Amex or Marriott points) + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Seattle (SEA) – Kona (KOA) one-way in Delta One/Delta first class from 50,000 Delta SkyMiles (can be transferred from Amex or Marriott points) + $6 in taxes and fees

5. Nonstop Flights to Aspen

Aspen
Aspen is a fantastic all-year-round destination you can visit using points. Image Credit: Evan Wise via Unsplash

Planning a ski vacation to Aspen? Well, depending on which airport you fly out of, you could see large cash price tags, upwards of $400 one-way!

Fortunately, it’s easy to use points to avoid paying hundreds of dollars for a short-haul domestic flight to Aspen.

Both United Airlines and American Airlines offer nonstop flights, though interestingly, Delta does not. If you can get 2 cents per point of value on this trip, consider it a success!

Here are some of the best nonstop flights available to Aspen:

  • Austin (AUS) – Aspen (ASE) in American Airlines economy class for 12,500 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Chicago (ORD) – Aspen (ASE) in United Airlines for 12,500 United miles (transferred from Chase) + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines economy class is also bookable for 12,500 American Airlines miles
  • Dallas (DFW) – Aspen (ASE) in American Airlines economy class for 12,500 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Denver (DEN) – Aspen (ASE) in United Airlines economy class for 12,500 United miles (transferred from Chase) + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Houston (IAH) – Aspen (ASE) in United Airlines economy class for 12,500 United miles (transferred from Chase) + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Aspen (ASE) in United Airlines for 12,500 United miles (transferred from Chase) + $6 in taxes and fees
    • American Airlines economy class is also bookable for 12,500 American Airlines miles
  • Phoenix (PHX) – Aspen (ASE) in American Airlines economy class for 7,500 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Aspen (ASE) in United Airlines economy class for 12,500 United miles (transferred from Chase) + $6 in taxes and fees

Hot Tip: Be prepared for your next trip to the Rockies with our guide to airline ski/snowboard baggage policies and ultimate ski and snowboard trip packing list. Learn more about the 2 passes that cover Aspen Snowmass in our ultimate guide to season ski passes around the world.

6. Nonstop First Class Flights to Vail

Vail Ski Resort
Get your ski on by using points to avoid paying cash for your travels! Image Credit: Vail Resorts Management Company

Booking a ski trip to Vail can get ridiculously expensive, just like booking a ski trip to Aspen.

And while there are differences between the 2, there’s no way to get around it — you’ll be spending quite a bit of money here.

The closest airport to Vail is Eagle County (EGE), and there are many nonstop flights operated by the big 3 U.S. airlines.

Here are some great example redemptions you can make:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Eagle County (EGE) in Delta first class from 41,000 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Denver (DEN) – Eagle County (EGE) in United Airlines first class from 25,000 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Eagle County (EGE) in United Airlines first class from 25,000 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Miami (MIA) – Eagle County (EGE) in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Eagle County (EGE) in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Eagle County (EGE) in United Airlines first class from 25,000 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees

7. Nonstop First Class Flights to Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole
Enjoying Jackson Hole’s beautiful nature and scenery is one of the best ways to use points in the U.S. Image Credit: Aleesha Wood via Unsplash

Jackson Hole is known for its outdoorsy and rugged terrain, as well as the annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium that hosts dozens of Federal Reserve and finance professionals.

Often voted as the best ski resort location in North America, it’s no surprise that the idea of flying to Jackson Hole for a domestic vacation has probably crossed your mind.

Well, hesitate no longer because those traditionally expensive flights are now almost free, thanks to points!

All of the Big 3 U.S. carriers operate flights out of their hub airports to Jackson Hole (JAC). If you’re interested in the best deal, American Airlines and United offer reasonable fares, while Delta tends to be the priciest.

Here are some of the best example redemptions you can make:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Jackson Hole (JAC) one-way in Delta first class from 55,000 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Boston (BOS) – Jackson Hole (JAC) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Dallas (DFW) – Jackson Hole (JAC) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Houston (IAH) – Jackson Hole (JAC) one-way in United Airlines first class from 27,500 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Newark (EWR) – Jackson Hole (JAC) one-way in United Airlines first class from 50,000 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees

8. Nonstop Flights to Alaska

Alaska
Alaska offers a fantastic getaway but can be expensive if paying for your flights using cash. Image Credit: Zetong Li via Unsplash

Alaska’s scenery and wildlife are often associated with storybook imagery and picturesque wilderness you’d only find in high-budget Hollywood movies.

Whether it’s glaciers, fjords, rivers, national parks, wildlife spotting, or rugged activities like fishing, a trip to Alaska will make you one with nature.

But getting to Alaska can be expensive — most of the flights from the continental U.S. you’ll find fly into Anchorage (ANC), and depending on when you fly, you might observe economy ticket prices exceeding $500 one-way!

Here are some solid redemptions you can make on flights to Alaska:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Anchorage (ANC) one-way in Delta economy from 39,000 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Chicago (ORD) – Fairbanks (FAI) one-way in United economy from 17,500 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Detroit (DTW) – Anchorage (ANC) one-way in Delta economy from 14,500 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Houston (IAH) – Anchorage (ANC) one-way in United economy for 17,500 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees

9. Nonstop Flights to Yellowstone

Yellowstone
Visit entrancing Yellowstone using points! Image Credit: Denys Nevozhai via Unsplash

A visit to Yellowstone is one of the glorious trips you can book within the U.S. As the first national park in the U.S. and also widely accepted to be the first national park in the world, making a vacation to enjoy the natural wonders of Yellowstone is a must-do.

To check out Old Faithful and all of its surrounding attractions, you can fly into Bozeman (BZN). Here are a few great redemptions you can make using points:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Bozeman (BZN) one-way in Delta economy class from 23,000 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Charlotte (CLT) – Bozeman (BZN) one-way in American Airlines economy class from 10,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Houston (IAH) – Bozeman (BZN) one-way in United economy class from 12,500 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Bozeman (BZN) one-way in United economy class from 12,500 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees

10. Short-Haul Flights Between the Midwest and the Northeast

Maine
Book a flight from the Midwest to the scenic Atlantic Northeast with points. Image Credit: Mercedes Mehling via Unsplash

The Northeast is home to some of America’s most quaint towns. And although visiting states like Maine and Massachusetts isn’t quite as popular as Florida or California, it’s still definitely worth a look.

Here are some great example domestic redemptions you can make:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Burlington (BTV) one-way in United economy class from 12,500 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Milwaukee (MKE) – Portland (PWM) one-way in United economy class from 12,500 United miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Minneapolis (MSP) – Pittsburgh (PIT) one-way in Delta economy class from 16,000 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Rapid City (RAP) – New York (LGA) American Airlines one-way in economy class from 12,500 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • St. Louis (STL) – Boston (BOS) one-way in American Airlines economy class from 12,500 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees

11. Short-Haul Flights Within the Pacific Northwest

Pacific Northwest
For a short flight within the Pacific Northwest, using points could save you a good chunk of change. Image Credit: Dave Hoefler via Unsplash

If you’ve ever looked at ultra-short-haul flights within the Pacific Northwest, you’ll know that Alaska Airlines basically has a monopoly on these routes. Furthermore, these plane tickets are often very expensive when you take into account how short they are.

So if you’re booking a short-haul flight within the Northwest, you can redeem either Alaska Airlines miles or Delta SkyMiles to save a few hundred dollars:

  • Boise (BOI) – Spokane (GEG) in Alaska Airlines economy class from 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Eugene (EUG) – Salt Lake City (SLC) in Delta economy class from 7,000 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Portland (PDX) – Kalispell (FCA) in Alaska Airlines economy class from 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Seattle (SEA) – Sun Valley (SUN) in Alaska Airlines economy class from 5,000 Alaska Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees

12. Intra-Florida Flights

Florida
If you’re booking a short hop flight within Florida, using points could be a good deal! Image Credit: Denys Kostyuchenko via Unsplash

Need to travel within Florida and can’t take a car?

If you’re using points, chances are you’ll get a good deal booking American Airlines economy flights with AAdvantage miles.

Here are a few solid redemption ideas:

  • Key West (EYW) – Miami (MIA) one-way in American Airlines economy class from 7,500 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Miami (MIA) – Pensacola (PNS) one-way in American Airlines economy class from 12,500 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Tallahassee (TLH) – Miami (MIA) one-way in American Airlines economy class from 7,500 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees

13. First Class Between the West Coast and Nashville

Nashville
Save a bundle by using points to book your flight from the West Coast to Nashville. Image Credit: djgmix via Pixabay

Nashville is a fast-growing city. Known in pop culture to be an incredible music mecca, Tennessee’s economic hub is a popular domestic vacation spot.

Here are some examples of nonstop first class flights you can book using points:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Nashville (BNA) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
    • Delta first class is also available from 34,500 Delta SkyMiles
  • Phoenix (PHX) – Nashville (BNA) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Salt Lake City (SLC) – Nashville (BNA) one-way in Delta first class from 31,000 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Nashville (BNA) one-way in United first class from 45,300 United miles
  • Seattle (SEA) – Nashville (BNA) one-way in Delta first class from 26,500 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees

14. First Class Between the Upper Midwest and Phoenix

Phoenix
Escape the cold Midwest and book a desert vacation today using points. Image Credit: Kyle Kempt via Unsplash

The winter season in the Midwest can get blisteringly cold. To avoid being cooped up in your house all day, go ahead and make your way down to Phoenix. The weather is much warmer year-round, and American Airlines offers tons of nonstop flights.

To book first class, you’ll redeem around 25,000 AAdvantage miles. Here are a few interesting nonstop flights you can book:

  • Bismarck (BIS) – Phoenix (PHX) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Columbus (CMH) – Phoenix (PHX) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Fargo (FAR) – Phoenix (PHX) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Grand Rapids (GRR) – Phoenix (PHX) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Indianapolis (IND) – Phoenix (PHX) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Milwaukee (MKE) – Phoenix (PHX) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees

15. First Class Between the South and Las Vegas

Las Vegas
First class flights between the South and Las Vegas are quite pricey! Image Credit: Pexels via Pixabay

Our last redemption in this guide is booking first class flights to a short vacation to Las Vegas!

There are plenty of things to do in Las Vegas besides gambling, like shows and live entertainment, resort hopping, sightseeing, and sunbathing!

Flying in first class can be affordable — check out these sample redemptions:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Las Vegas (LAS) one-way in Delta first class from 45,000 Delta SkyMiles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Austin (AUS) – Las Vegas (LAS) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Charlotte (CLT) – Las Vegas (LAS) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Dallas (DFW) – Las Vegas (LAS) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees
  • Miami (MIA) – Las Vegas (LAS) one-way in American Airlines first class from 25,000 American Airlines miles + $6 in taxes and fees

Final Thoughts

In short, redeeming points and miles for U.S. domestic travel won’t net you those ultra-aspirational redemption values you’d find on international flights aboard Emirates or Lufthansa first class. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve excellent redemption value domestically!

To maximize your redemption value, the best flights to book are transcontinental or Hawaii flights aboard lie-flat-configured aircraft with true premium seats. These tickets are much more comfortable than your run-of-the-mill domestic recliner seat with enhanced legroom.

But if you would prefer not to visit a major coastal city, you can also redeem points to check out Nashville, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Yellowstone, Aspen, Jackson Hole, and much more.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, and Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.


Frequently asked questions

What are the best ways to redeem points for domestic U.S. travel?

Our top 4 favorite ways to redeem points for domestic U.S. travel are:

  1. Book United’s transcontinental Polaris class using Turkish Airlines miles transferred from Citi
  2. Book American Airlines Flagship First Class coast-to-coast using Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi
  3. Book American Airlines lie-flat business class using Etihad Guest miles transferred from Amex or Citi
  4. Book Delta first class to Hawaii using Delta SkyMiles transferred from Amex

What is the best way to use Chase points for domestic travel?

One of our top ways to use Chase points for domestic travel is to transfer them to United MileagePlus. You can then redeem United miles for domestic flights.

What is the best way to use Amex points for domestic flights?

Our 2 favorite ways to use Amex points for domestic travel are:

  1. Transferring them to Etihad Guest to book American Airlines Flagship Business or First Class
  2. Transferring them to Delta SkyMiles to book Delta economy or first class

By following either of these, you can readily book flights on both American Airlines and Delta!

Should I use miles for domestic flights?

In general, it’s best to save your points and miles for international flights. That being said, if you can find a good deal for your miles, go ahead and use them!

How many points is a domestic flight?

With American Airlines miles, you may redeem anywhere from 7,500 to 12,500 miles for an economy flight. With United, that number is usually closer to 12,500 miles. With Delta, a domestic flight might be as cheap as 7,000 SkyMiles or as expensive as 20,000 SkyMiles. Alaska Airlines charges as few as 5,000 miles for flights shorter than 500 miles in distance.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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