How to travel to Spain using points and miles in 2024


This series of articles about credit cards, points and miles, and budgeting for travel is brought to you in partnership with The Points Guy.

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Spain has long captivated travelers with its rich history, vibrant culture and art scene. But for many, the dream of exploring this European gem remains out of reach due to the high cost of travel. Even as airfare has become more affordable, hotels can be pricey and the cost of ground transportation and activities adds up quickly. However, there is a way to unlock a vacation to Spain without breaking the bank: points and miles. 

With travel credit card welcome bonuses, international travel becomes much more affordable. You can cover your airfare and hotels entirely by using the points from these credit cards. If you’re just getting started with travel points and airline miles, we’ll show you how to leverage travel rewards to save on your Spanish adventure or merely upgrade your experience. Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Spain using points and miles: 

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Tibidabo Amusement Park, Barcelona
Tibidabo Amusement Park, Barcelona © Christian Bertrand / Alamy

The cheapest award flights to Spain

Flights to Spain are very affordable during off-peak dates. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see fares under $500 round-trip out of the West Coast. In this scenario, it makes sense to use a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to book your flight with cash and then redeem miles towards the purchase. Capital One miles are worth one cent each towards travel, which isn’t the highest value you’ll get but can still be preferable to paying for travel out of pocket.

If you prefer to travel during the summer months, then budgeting with points and miles is a great way to save money on travel to Spain. Whether you’re looking for economy class tickets or want to splurge on business class, flights to Spain are some of the cheapest you can book with points. Here’s a run-down of the most affordable award flights to Spain and how to earn the miles needed:

  • Cheapest economy class ticket to Spain: 34,000 Iberia Plus miles round-trip.
  • Cheapest business class ticket to Spain: 88,000 ANA miles round-trip.

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Iberia Plus

Iberia is Spain’s national flag carrier and offers numerous direct flights between US cities and Spain. Iberia offers nonstop flights between Madrid and Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Washington D.C. (Dulles), to name a few. Not only does Iberia offer lots of direct flights, but the program has very reasonable redemption rates for both economy and business class flights to Spain:

  • Economy Class: From 34,000 Avios round-trip.
  • Business Class: From 68,000 Avios round-trip.

You can earn Iberia Plus points from the co-branded credit card or by transferring them from Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can also convert British Airways Avios into Iberia Plus Avios. Here’s a list of credit cards that can help you earn enough Iberia Avios for a flight to Spain, starting with the highest welcome bonus:

  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 120,000 points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • Iberia Visa Signature Card: Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • American Express Business Gold Card*: Earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • American Express® Gold Card*: Earn 60,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of card membership.
  • American Express® Green Card*: Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first six months of card membership.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.

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All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club

All Nippon Airways is one of the best mileage programs for booking award flights to Europe. It offers some of the lowest economy and business class fares on Star Alliance flights. You can fly carriers like Lufthansa, United, Turkish and TAP Portugal to Spain. 

  • Economy Class: 55,000 ANA miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 88,000 ANA miles round-trip

ANA Mileage Club miles can be transferred 1:1 from American Express Membership Rewards. With the welcome bonus from some Amex cards, you can cover up to a business-class flight to Spain:

  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • American Express Business Gold Card: Earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of card membership.
  • American Express® Green Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first six months of card membership.

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Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club offers Delta flights at a much cheaper rate than the Delta SkyMiles program. You can fly Delta non-stop from Atlanta (ATL) or New York-JFK to Madrid (MAD) or Barcelona (BCN). This is a great way to travel to Spain using points and miles:

  • Economy Class: 60,000 Virgin Atlantic points round-trip
  • Delta One business class: 100,000 Virgin Atlantic points round-trip

Virgin Flying Club miles are easy to earn. You can transfer them 1:1 from American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards and the Citi ThankYou program. Sometimes, these programs offer bonus points as a transfer incentive, which makes it even easier to get the miles you need. Here’s a list of current welcome bonuses that can help you earn enough Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points for a flight to Spain:

  • Capital One Venture X Business: For a limited time, earn up to 300,000 bonus miles: 150,000 miles once you spend $20,000 in the first 3 months, and an additional 150,000 miles once you spend $100,000 in the first 6 months.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • American Express Business Gold Card: Earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of card membership.
  • American Express® Green Card: Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first six months of card membership.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

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Spain hotels you can book with points

Spain has no shortage of culturally rich and historically significant cities to explore for foodies and adventure travelers. To help you experience as much of it as possible, we’ve put together a four-stop itinerary through Spain’s diverse landscapes and cultures. 

The journey begins in Madrid, where the Royal Palace, Prado Museum, and bustling Puerta del Sol offer a glimpse into Spain’s royal heritage and vibrant street life. From there, you’ll head south to the enchanting city of Seville before continuing to Valencia, a city that seamlessly blends the old and the new.

Explore the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences and stroll through the historic Old Town, savoring traditional cuisine and enjoying the Mediterranean breeze. You can wrap up your Spanish adventure in Barcelona, where the art scene and lively atmosphere of Las Ramblas offer a perfect finale to your journey. This four-stop Spanish odyssey promises a well-rounded immersion into the country’s culture, history and art.

Of course, hotels can be pricey, which is where hotel credit cards can help you earn enough points to offset these expenses. Here’s a look at Spain hotels you can book with points:

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The entrance to El Retiro, Madrid
The entrance to El Retiro, Madrid © Jorg Greuel / Getty

Stop 1: Madrid

Madrid is Spain’s capital city, making it the ideal place to start your journey. Several airlines offer direct flights to Madrid from major international cities, so you’ll end up here first. The city offers world-class museums, including the renowned Prado, stunning architecture, bustling markets and a culinary scene to satisfy any foodie. The Hotel Indigo Madrid Gran Via has an excellent location for all your sightseeing needs and can be booked for under 30,000 points per night. The welcome bonus from the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card will cover four nights at this hotel. Cardholders get the fourth night free on award redemptions, giving you an additional 25% discount on award stays. 

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Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla
Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla © ColorMaker / Shutterstock

Stop 2: Seville

From Madrid, you can take a 3-hour train ride to explore Seville, dubbed the “Pearl of Andalusia.” The city’s magnificent architecture, including the awe-inspiring Alcázar and the iconic Giralda tower, reflects a rich heritage that spans centuries. Marriott’s Hotel Alfonso XIII is the perfect base from which to explore Seville. It’s located within walking distance of important monuments like the Gothic Cathedral and Alcázar, plus it offers easy access to public transportation. 

Built in the grand architectural style of the region, the hotel has a rich history spanning back to its namesake Spanish monarch who commissioned it. Free night awards start at 70,000 points per night and you can get the fifth night free on consecutive award night bookings. The current welcome bonus from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card* covers up to two nights at this hotel.

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Square of Saint Mary's and Valencia Cathedral Temple, Valencia
Square of Saint Mary’s and Valencia Cathedral Temple, Valencia © V_E / Shutterstock

Stop 3: Valencia

Located on Spain’s sunny east coast, Valencia is a must-visit on your way to Madrid. The city’s historic Old Town offers narrow winding streets and stunning architecture, while foodies will appreciate the birthplace of Paella for its vibrant food scene. Marriott’s Palacio Santa Clara is a great hotel option in Valencia. Rooms go for around 25,000 points per night, though that number will vary depending on the travel season. You can earn these points by transferring them from Amex, Bilt or Chase. Or you can cover up to six nights with the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card*.

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Overlooking the city from Park Güell, Barcelona
Overlooking the city from Park Güell, Barcelona © Gatsi / Getty

Stop 4: Barcelona

Barcelona is the perfect city to cap off your trip to Spain. With its iconic architecture and a rich history reflected in the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona provides a captivating journey through time. Hyatt’s Category 5 Hotel Bagues is a great place to stay. The hotel provides an excellent location to explore the city. Rates are also very affordable at 17,000-23,000 points per night. You can transfer these points 1:1 from Bilt or Chase Ultimate Rewards. Or you can cover up to four nights with the welcome bonus from the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

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Activities and ground transportation

Once you’ve covered your flights and hotels to Spain, it’s time to tackle activities and ground transportation. Whether it’s your train tickets around the country or museum passes, you can cover some of these expenses with your credit card points. The Capital One Venture and Venture X cards let you redeem miles towards travel purchases at a rate of one cent each. This is simple and straightforward.

If you have a Chase credit card, you can book your tourist activities through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and redeem points during checkout. Points Points are worth 1.25 cents each with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and 1.5 cents each with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

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Bottom line

Traveling to Spain doesn’t have to be expensive, nor do you have to sacrifice comfort in order to stick to your travel budget. With the right credit cards, you can leverage points to save on airfare, hotels and transportation, leaving you with more funds to spend on food and fun. Even if you don’t want to apply for new credit cards, you might be able to leverage existing rewards to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Hopefully, the tips outlined above have given you an idea of how to do just that.

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*Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

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



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