Got Points and Miles? Check Out the Best Award Fare Alerts We've Sent

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Got Points and Miles? Check Out the Best Award Fare Alerts We’ve Sent

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Here at Thrifty Traveler, we pride ourselves on finding the cheapest domestic and international airfare. That’s what our Thrifty Traveler Premium service is all about: finding fares at $500 off or more. What’s better than a cheap flight?

Just one thing: A free flight – or a nearly free one. That’s why we also scour the internet for the best ways to use points and miles to travel more for even less. We’re the only flight deal alert service on the market that sends our members both cheap cash fares and award alerts to book flights using points and miles – including rare business and first class opportunities!

We’ve sent Thrifty Traveler Premium members alerts for Delta SkyMiles flash sales with massive discounts on flights to Europe, Asia, and beyond; rare award sales on both United and American Airlines; and huge amounts of business and first class award availability to save not hundreds, but thousands, of dollars.

Here’s a look at some of the absolute best award fares we’ve sent to Premium members over the years.

Not a Premium member yet? Get award fare alerts and cheap flight deals for just $59.99 a year!


Delta SkyMiles Flash Sales to Europe for 34K RT – Or Less!

It’s only right to start with Delta SkyMiles flash sales.

Delta is notorious for ditching its award chart, the cheat sheet that lays out how many miles it will cost to fly from point A to point B. Instead, Delta uses dynamic pricing: SkyMiles rates vary wildly based on cash price, time of year, demand, and more. And while that’s a bummer, there’s a massive upside: Huge flash sales with massive discounts. Like this one.

Last year, we unearthed an unpublished SkyMiles flash sale with availability from almost any airport in the U.S. to major European cities from just 32,000 SkyMiles … roundtrip! That’s half what most airlines charge for these flights!

thrifty traveler premium skymiles deal 

Get award alerts like this one sent to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium – try it for just $7.99 a month!

Occasionally, we’ve seen SkyMiles award fares to Europe even cheaper. And by cheaper, we mean half that already incredible price. Back in 2019, Delta slashed rates as low as just 14,000 SkyMiles round-trip to get to London and back.

award fare alerts 

Delta loves targeting its competitors’ hubs with deals like this – and unfortunately, travelers in Delta strongholds like Atlanta (ATL) or Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) often pay higher rates thanks to Delta’s Hub Penalty. In this case, flights were still available nationwide for 30,000 SkyMiles or less!

Delta rarely advertises these massive sales, but we always find them. Flash sales like this one are easily the best way to use your Delta SkyMiles. And this one is just the tip of the iceberg.


Fly Almost Anywhere in Europe for 30K Miles RT!

At the end of 2019, we stumbled upon an absolute goldmine.

Delta temporarily cut SkyMiles award rates flying partner airlines like Air France, KLM, or Virgin Atlantic – and with that came some unbelievable value when using SkyMiles. With this deal, you could have flown to most major European cities for just 30,000 SkyMiles round-trip!

Most airlines charge at least 60,000 miles for a round-trip to Europe, and Delta often charges much, much more. Whether you booked flights to western European megahubs like Amsterdam (AMS) or Frankfurt (FRA) or even farther-flung destinations like Athens (ATH) or Kyiv (KBP) in Ukraine, it was still just 30,000 miles.

Roundtrip flights to many European destinations can cost up to $1,000 cash, so the savings by using SkyMiles here were insane.

award fare alerts 

Unfortunately, Delta has since raised prices for these flights considerably: After a devaluation in late 2020, these same redemptions now cost at least 70,000 miles roundtrip. But there’s a great way you can still book almost any roundtrip flight to Europe for 30,000 miles…

Air France and KLM teamed up with Virgin Atlantic in 2020, allowing you to use Virgin Flying Club miles to book Air France/KLM flights – or vice versa. Unfortunately, some hefty cash fees make using Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to fly KLM a bad deal – with one exception.

Flights departing from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) are being spared from those exorbitant fees. That means you could book round-trip flights from Minneapolis to almost anywhere in Western Europe as low as just 30,000 miles and under $100 in fees. 

thrifty traveler premium europe deal 

Just book with Virgin Atlantic miles instead of Delta – they’re easy to earn, as Virgin is an Amex transfer partner, a Chase transfer partner, a Capital One transfer partner, and even a Citi ThankYou transfer partner.

During peak travel periods like mid-summer, you’ll see higher rates of 50,000 points roundtrip. On the plus side, it’s easy to find and book these flights. And if you can pair it with a transfer bonus – like a 30% bonus when sending Chase points to Virgin Atlantic, for example – it gets even better.

msp to europe premium deal 

These fares, available this fall and into 2023, would typically cost over $1,000!


Award Fare Alerts for Tons of Qsuites Seats!

Qatar Airways Qsuites are the best business class seats in the world – and it’s not particularly close. So go figure that finding the award availability to book these unbeatable suites can be a challenge.

That’s why we’re always searching for award availability to fly Qatar Qsuites to the Middle East and beyond. Just a few weeks ago, we found a massive amount of seats, with space for two to four (or more!) passengers to fly from the U.S. to Doha (DOH) and continue onward to Middle Eastern cities like Amman (AMM) or Muscat (MCT).

There was wide-open award space on many of Qatar’s U.S. routes into early 2023. We’re always looking for ways to help travelers stretch their points even further: It doesn’t get much better than booking Qsuites for just 50,000 points thanks to a 40% transfer bonus from Amex to British Airways available at the time.

qsuites middle east 

Want to fly business and first class? We allow Thrifty Traveler Premium members to get alerts for premium cabin fares and award space from all U.S. cities!

This is just one of the latest business class award space alert for Qsuites we’ve sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers. In this case, nonstop flights for two (or more!) were available from many U.S. hubs like Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), New York City (JFK), and many more.

You could also book these seats for just 70,000 American AAdvantage miles each way – or 75,000 to fly all the way down to South Africa.

Read our full review of flying Qatar Airways Qsuites from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Doha (DOH)!


10K AAdvantage Miles to Fly Roundtrip…to Australia

This one in 2019 nearly broke the internet.

Whether you’re paying cash or using miles, getting to Australia or New Zealand isn’t cheap. So jaws hit the floor when American Airlines briefly sold flights from the U.S. to New Zealand and Australia for just 10,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip. 

Yes, you read that correctly: 10,000 miles to get to New Zealand and back. Typically, 10,000 miles will hardly get you to a nearby U.S. city. But this was back when American Airlines was just starting to play with variable award fare pricing with their Economy Web Specials. Talk about making a splash!

The sale didn’t last more than an hour or two, but many of our Thrifty Traveler Premium members were able to book the deal of a lifetime after we shared it – though credit goes to Spencer from Straight To The Points for being the first to find this gem.


And the savings here were huge: These flights would have cost more than $1,000 each in cash. This was the deal of a lifetime!


A Summer Trip to Switzerland in Biz Class

Travel demand to Europe surges every summer, making it difficult to lock down award space if you want to fly across the pond in business class. As travel demand explodes heading into summer 2022, finding business class seats to Europe is like pulling teeth.

That’s what made this next award alert so great. A few months back, we discovered a goldmine of award availability for two (or more) passengers to fly straight into Geneva (GVA) in Switzerland all summer long – almost every day from June through August 2022, to boot! And thanks to a transfer bonus from Amex to Avianca LifeMiles, these hard-to-find seats were bookable for just 52,000 points apiece!

SWISS business class is one of our favorite ways to fly to Europe. Snagging these seats for a summer trip at a discount thanks to one of our award alerts? You can’t beat that.

swiss business class award alert


Delta One Suites Under 100K SkyMiles

If you’re flying across the ocean, it’s tough to beat Delta One suites. This is Delta’s top business class seat, and it’s among the best business class seats in the world, period. The problem? Delta often charges 120,000 SkyMiles, 250,000 SkyMiles, or even more … each way. It’s not cheap.

Enter Delta SkyMiles flash sales. In just the past year, we’ve found a handful of amazing sales to book Delta One seats for dirt-cheap.

delta one suite 

Do Delta One Suites really live up to the hype? (Yes, they do)

The cream of the crop was an insane flash sale on Delta One Fares to Tokyo-Haneda (HND). At just 90,000 SkyMiles round-trip, it was one of the best sales we’ve ever found to fly business class. Getting to Tokyo and back in lie-flat seats would typically cost at least 250,000 SkyMiles – or $5,000.

award fares 

And back in late 2019, we found another Delta One SkyMiles flash sale to Europe, with wide-open availability to fly even to tough-to-reach destinations like Athens (ATH), Budapest (BUD), and Istanbul (IST) for just 98,000 SkyMiles round-trip! And it was bookable at that low rate from nearly every U.S. airport, even smaller cities like Bemidji, Des Moines, Peoria, and more! (Yes, we find flight deals from your regional airport!)

award fares


Worldwide AAdvantage Miles Sale from ALL U.S. Cities

This American flash sale definitely made history: It was the first worldwide flash sale on American Airlines AAdvantage miles!

Fares from every U.S. city were at least 50% off typical award fares to destinations around the world. We’re talking:

  • Hawaiian islands for 30,000 miles roundtrip
  • Caribbean islands, from Aruba to St. Kitts, for 15,000 miles RT
  • European hotspots from Barcelona to Zurich for 33,000 miles RT
  • South American hubs like Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro for 30k RT
  • All of Central America for 15,000 miles RT
  • Asian gateways like Hong Kong and Tokyo for 40,000 miles RT


award sale


SkyMiles Flash Sale to Cancun for 11K RT

Need a tropical escape this winter? We had just the ticket.

Delta typically charges 30,000 SkyMiles to 45,000 SkyMiles or more for roundtrip flights to Mexican hotspots like Cancún (CUN), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), and Cabo (SJD). This incredible SkyMiles flash sale we found helped travelers get there this coming winter from just 11,000 SkyMiles total. You can’t beat that price.

cancun flash sale 

This deal even included rock-bottom rates on the nonstop Delta flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Cancún, which rarely happens as Delta typically charges Minnesotans more for these prized routes.

delta skymiles flash sale cancun 

Get alerts like this sent straight to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!


A Chance to Fly Emirates’ Gamechanger First Class

There’s first class … and then there’s this. Emirates’ game-changing first class suites cannot be touched. And we gave Thrifty Traveler Premium members the heads up on a rare chance to book it from the U.S. earlier this year.

Emirates New 777 First Class 

Read our full review of the incredible Emirates first class suites on the 777!

Sadly, Emirates only has a handful of planes equipped with these incredible suites – and they rarely fly to the U.S. So when we noticed that Emirates was flying these jets between its Dubai (DXB) hub and Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD), we sent out an award alert with almost daily availability from January through March 2022!


emirates first class alert


Massive United Business Class Award Sale to Japan

Traveling to Japan may seem dicey in 2022, as borders are still closed to American tourists. But the beauty of booking with miles instead of cash is that it’s risk-free if you can cancel and get your miles back for free – or a small fee.

That’s what was so great about this award alert we sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium members a few weeks ago. From August through December 2022, there was daily availability for two or more passengers to fly United Polaris business class to Tokyo and back.

united japan award alert 

With saver award availability this widespread, it was easy to book flights for 70,000 United MileagePlus miles each way. But we tipped our members off to a better way: Why not book for just 85,000 ANA Mileage Club miles, which are transferrable from Amex? Roundtrip business class flights to Japan don’t get cheaper than this.
ana japan redemptions

Read our full guide to using ANA Mileage Club miles!

Bottom Line

This is just the start. Between SkyMiles flash sales, award sales on American and United, mileage sweet spots, and business class availability, we’re constantly finding the best ways to make your points and miles stretch even farther.

Points and miles are the key to traveling more for less. That’s why we send these alerts to Thrifty Traveler Premium members along with massive discounts on international and domestic cash fares.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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