Visiting the Seven Wonders of the World using miles & points: Machu Picchu, Peru

Mar 10, 2022

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Editors note: This is a new series showing you how to experience the seven wonders of the world using miles and points. As only one of the original seven wonders of the world from the second century is still standing (the Pyramids of Giza), we are using the list of the new Seven Wonders of the World.


Dating back to the 15th century, Machu Picchu is an Incan city in southern Peru. Famous for its high altitude at almost 8,000 feet up, the restored mountain-top city is popular for adventurous travellers and one of South America’s most visited sights.

Machu Picchu is a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s possible to visit on a day trip from nearby Cusco by taking the very picturesque train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, though if you are up for a real adventure, consider the well-known four-day, three-night hike through the Urubamba Andes. This is limited to 200 hikers per day so you will need to book with a tour operator well in advance. This hike will require a good level of fitness as well as acclimatisation of high altitude – the trek goes even higher than Machu Picchu to almost 14,000 feet.

Related: 7 tips for avoiding crowds at the world’s most popular tourist sites

Regardless of how you choose to arrive, you will need a permit to visit — these are also limited daily (to 2,500 permits). The cost will generally depend on the type of tour you do. The most popular time to explore Machu Picchu is the dry season months between April and September. If you don’t mind the potential of a bit of rain and potential cloud for that all-important photo, there are fewer people and lower prices during the rainy months of October to March.

Like many attractions, the earlier in the day you visit the fewer crowds there will be – you can find permits from 6 a.m. Do note that there may be more mist at sunrise which limits visibility even if there are less people.

If you’ve ever wanted to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World — here’s how to visit Machu Picchu using miles and points.

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(Photo by dislentev/Getty Images)

How to get there

The closest airport to Machu Picchu is Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ). There are no direct flights from Europe to Cuzco, so you will need to fly to the countrys main Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima (LIM), and then transfer onto a short domestic hop across to Cusco.

There are currently no direct flights from the United Kingdom to Lima as British Airways no longer operate the route. However, if you wish to redeem Avios for the trip you can fly Iberia via Madrid (MAD) or American Airlines via Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Miami (MIA). Availability is generally easier to come by if you’re flying Iberia, where you will need to redeem:

  • 21,000 Avios + £244.37 in fees, taxes and surcharges in economy
  • 30,400 Avios + £367.47 in fees, taxes and surcharges in premium economy
  • 38,250 Avios + £493.47 in fees, taxes and surcharges in business class

Related: 14 of the most scenic train rides on Earth

If you’re looking for other points and miles options, Virgin Atlantic’s partner airlines also fly to Lima — Air France, via Paris (CDG), KLM via Amsterdam (AMS) and Delta Air Lines via Atlanta (ATL).

When booking with points the prices may vary slightly depending on your route, but you can expect to pay around, one way, per person on Air France or KLM:

  • 17,000 Virgin Points + £225 in fees, taxes and surcharges in economy
  • 42,000 Virgin Points + £300 in fees, taxes and surcharges in premium economy
  • 87,500 Virgin Points + £401 in fees, taxes and surcharges in business class

You can expect to pay more Virgin Points if you are travelling with Delta as the two legs will be priced separately.

If you have Star Alliance miles you can fly from the United Kingdom to Lima on Avianca via Bogota (BOG), or United via Houston (IAH) or Newark (EWR).

You may be surprised to hear that none of the Big 3 Middle Eastern carriers – Emirates, Etihad and Qatar – fly to Peru.

Related: 9 mistakes travellers make when visiting Machu Picchu

(Photo by Shaun Bayes/EyeEm / Getty Images(

Where to stay

There are several hotel options to redeem your points and miles in Cusco. From there you can easily visit Machu Picchu:

  • The Hilton Garden Inn Cusco is a four-star member of Hilton Honors with cash rates from £61 per night or 20,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
  • The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco is a five-star Marriott Bonvoy property with cash rates from £161 per night or 50,000 Bonvoy points for a standard night redemption as a Category 6 property.
  • The Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel is a five-star Marriott Bonvoy property with cash rates from £191 per night or 50,000 Bonvoy points for a standard night redemption as a Category 6 property.
  • The Ramada by Wyndham Costa Del Sol Cusco is a four-star Wyndham Rewards property with cash rates starting at £41. You can also redeem 15,000 Wyndham points per night.
  • The Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel is a five-star Marriott Bonvoy property with cash rates from £271 per night or 50,000 Bonvoy points for a standard night redemption as a Category 6 property.
  • The Novotel Cusco is a four-star Accor Live Limitless property with cash rates from £49. You can reduce the price by redeeming 2,000 Accor points for a €20 discount.

Related: Why Peru’s Choquequirao trek is a great alternative to the Inca Trail

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco. Photo courtesy of the hotel.

Visiting the Seven Wonders of the World using miles & points:

Featured image by Alexander Yates / Getty

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