How to plan the ultimate points and miles holiday to Spain
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Have a stash of points and want to head to Spain?
While holidays in this Mediterranean country are generally affordable, using points or miles for the flight or accommodation will free up extra cash to spend on other holiday fun.
Find your flight
Getting from the U.K. to Spain is generally affordable and easy. Low-cost carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet fly to various destinations within the country nonstop, as well as British Airways and Iberia.
British Airways offers one-way redemption rates to fly on either British Airways or Iberia from London to Spanish destinations such as Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Ibiza, Málaga, Alicante and Valencia starting at 6,500 BA Avios (off-peak) or 7,500 BA Avios (peak) in Euro Traveller and 12,750 BA Avios (off-peak) or 15,000 BA Avios (peak) in Club Europe.
Rates for the Canaries (Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote) are higher, as the islands are much farther south. Expect to spend at least 8,500 BA Avios (off-peak) and 10,000 BA Avios (peak) in Euro Traveller and 17,000 BA Avios (off-peak) and 20,000 BA Avios (peak) one-way to get there.
British Airways often charges hefty fees, however, so it may be worth it to move your Avios to Iberia (here’s how) and book Iberia Avios awards when flying to a hub such as Madrid or Barcelona.
Expect to spend 7,500 Iberia Avios (off-peak) or 8,250 Iberia Avios (peak) in Turista and 15,000 Iberia Avios.(off-peak) or 16,500 Iberia Avios (peak) in business class to fly from the Spanish mainland to the U.K.
While some of the point redemptions are higher using Iberia Avios than BA Avios, you may save on taxes and fees, so research the best deals on both airlines before moving your points or booking.
Stay at a points hotel
Keep in mind that the Platinum Card from American Express gives you Gold elite status at Hilton and Marriott, so staying at these brands while in Spain will offer cardholders a little something extra, such as upgrades (pending availability), free breakfast or other perks.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite points hotels in Spain:
7Pines Resort in Ibiza
This gorgeous Ibiceno-style hotel offers 185 suites and three spectacular pools. Room rates start at 324 euros (£274) or 30,000 Hyatt points per night.
This landmark hotel in Madrid was built in a former palace, dating back to 1912. Room rates start at 230 euros (£195) or 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
Ritz-Carlton Abama in Tenerife
This stunning pink hotel features a luxury spa and overlooks the glittering Atlantic Ocean. Room rates start at 240 euros (£203) or 40,000 Bonvoy points per night.
St. Regis Mardavall in Mallorca
This lush retreat has 125 rooms and suites and sits on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. Room rates start at 500 euros (£424) or 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
Hotel Arts in Barcelona
This iconic hotel is home to two Michelin-starred restaurants and is recognizable for El Peix, the Frank Gehry statue that sits in front of the property. Room rates start at 260 euros (£220) or 70,000 Bonvoy points per night.
This heritage landmark hotel offers a few special suites that feature terraces overlooking Seville’s historic city center. Room rates start at 300 euros (£254) or 70,000 Bonvoy points per night.
Rooms at this grand Madrid hotel feature marble bathrooms, rich textiles and views of the city below. Room rates start at 240 euros (£203) or 40,000 IHG points per night.
Higueron Hotel, A Curio Collection in Málaga
With a Michelin-starred restaurant and views of the sea, this Mediterranean retreat makes for a luxurious, relaxing stay. Room rates start at 120 euros (£102) or 37,000 Bonvoy points per night.
Located on Madrid’s famous Gran Via street, this hotel has a gorgeous rooftop bar with views of the city’s rooftops. Room rates start at 212 euros (£180) or 20,000 Hyatt points per night.
Use the right credit cards for car hire
First off, it’s important to note that you won’t need a car for visiting urban destinations such as Madrid or Barcelona. It’s always fun to take the high-speed train to spots like Seville, Valencia and Alicante from Madrid. In fact, a car hire isn’t really necessary in many destinations in Spain unless you really want to do a road trip.
That being said, a car hire in the Canary Islands is a must if you plan to explore outside the resort. And using the right credit cards can earn you additional points as well as perks like upgrades or discounts on car hire.
The aforementioned Amex Platinum card is an excellent choice for car hire. Cardholders will hold status with programmes like Avis Preferred, so you can get discounts and upgrades on your reservation.
If you use your British Airways American Express Premium Plus card for car hire, you’ll earn 1.5 British Airways Avios for each £1 spent on the card on car hire, which is the equal highest of any card available in the U.K. Make sure to read our roundup of best cards for car hire so you know exactly which card to use to maximise benefits and points earning.
Don’t forget about Amex offers
If you have an American Express credit card, you have access to Amex Offers within your account.
Amex Offers are a way to earn additional points, miles or statement credits in return for making a purchase with your Amex card. Make sure to check these, because you may be able to get significant discounts or statement credits on everything from dining or accommodation you can utilize for your holiday in Spain.
For example, through 31 December 2021, you can use your Platinum Card from American Express U.K. to receive a statement credit of up to £200 when spending at these restaurants in Spain thanks to an Amex Offer.
You can also save £100 when spending £400 on travel via the Amex Travel Portal through the end of November, meaning you can book a hotel through the portal and save on lodging.
While these particular offers do expire, continue checking your Amex offers as they are regularly updated with new ones. Remember to read all the terms and conditions carefully to ensure offers apply to purchases outside of the U.K. and other relevant details.
Remember, all U.K. American Express cards come with Amex Offers — whether it’s a core card like The Platinum Card from American Express U.K., a small business card like The Business Platinum Card from American Express U.K. or a cobranded card like The British Airways American Express Premium Plus Credit Card from American Express U.K.
Spain isn’t an expensive country to visit, but when you’re spending on flights, hotels, dining and entertainment, costs can add up. Using your points, miles and credit cards wisely can offer you a more affordable and more luxurious holiday in Spain.
(Feature image courtesy of Matteo Colombo/Getty)
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