A great way to use points for airfare, particularly when you don’t have enough for a full round trip long haul ticket, is to use it on one way flights and pay for the other way on cash. I particularly like the Sapphire card for this purpose. Booking through their portal you can see which airlines will offer rates for one way fares (not all of them do). I usually do the research before hand to see if I can find an inexpensive flight for the other way to pay cash for before I book my one way on points.
For an example of this, on our trip to Spain in March of next year I booked us totally on points for our flight from the US to London (then we’ll jump on an EasyJet flight to Spain) on Air New Zealand. On the way home, I found a cheap flight from London back to the US on Norwegian Air for only $240 per person one way. Which means, we’re both flying to Europe for only about $500 total since we used points on the outbound flight.
This is also a great way to save on flights to and from major airports. For example when we travel abroad, we generally leave from Seattle or LA, so to get from Portland to those airports, I’ll use points to cover those connecting flights from our Alaska account. Generally we never pay for those connecting flights, they are always on points since they are short and don’t require a lot of mileage.
Credit cards points can be great for weekend getaways and can often cover everything you need in a couple days at a location. Particularly in not as popular destinations, you can easily cover a weekend’s hotels, car rental and airfare on points when used properly.
For an example of this, earlier this year Nick and I spent a weekend in New Mexico. We covered our flights, car rental and hotels for the whole weekend on points from our Sapphire card. This is especially easier after you’ve received your sign up bonus points for cards like this or if you’ve stockpiled points for a while, but nevertheless, there are lots of destinations that you can cover with points for a weekend getaway pretty easily.