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The Cheapest Marathons To Travel To

Cheapest Marathons
Written by Charlie

Here is a list of some of the cheapest marathons to travel to. The list may be surprising but just remember – it is the travel part that is the cheapest for these! We will look at each marathon and then how you can get there so cheap (especially right now!).

Cheapest Marathons to Travel to

What do you think these marathons have in common? For one, they are some of the largest marathons in the United States. For another, they are all in cities that are hub airports of American Airlines.

How to get to these marathons on the cheap

Because these marathons are located in hub airports of American Airlines, runners can reach these cities using British Airways Avios points for American Airline flights. Since British Airways is a distance based award program, runners within 650 miles of these cities can fly to the cities for 9,000 Avios round-trip! That is an incredible value! Not only that, but the 650 mile radius around these cities (combined) include a vast majority of the people that live in the United States. You can tell in the map below that runners in the Atlanta area actually have access to marathons in 4 of the 5 above cities. That gives you runners in that area prime opportunity to take your pick of some of the largest marathons in the country and to get there for very few points!

Cheapest Marathons

Using British Airways Avios to Book American Airline Flights

To start with, you need to have a British Airways account. Go here to sign up for one (it is free). To actually book the flights, you will need to have some points in the account (but we will take care of that in the next section). For now, follow the photo guide below to see how you can select American Airline flights (which, by the way, have tremendous availability for flights to AA hubs):

Cheapest Marathons

Login to your account and select “Spending Avios”

Cheapest Marathons

Select to “Book Flights with Avios”

Cheapest Marathons

Enter your departure city, arrival city, departure date, arrival date, and “Get Flights”

Cheapest Marathons

Some of the options available for Atlanta – Miami on marathon weekend

Cheapest Marathons

The round-trip total for Atlanta to Miami!

As you can see, it is not that complicated to book AA flights with British Airways. These same flights that you are booking with Avios (that cost 9,000 round-trip) would cost you 25,000 miles if you booked them using AA miles – the same exact flights! You can get almost 3 tickets for the price of 1 just by using Avios!

Getting British Airways Avios

Fortunately, British Airways Avios are the easiest points to accrue. This is because you can get a British Airways co-branded credit card that will give you the points, you can transfer them from Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer them from Membership Rewards, and you can transfer them from Starwood Preferred Guest. It is extremely easy to get the 9,000 points necessary for an award booking as mentioned above from any of those sources. Here is a list of the cards that will get you these points (I am leaving off the SPG cards as they have many more valuable uses than transferring to British Airways). One thing to keep in mind is the regular bonuses that are available on transferring Membership Reward points to British Airways I currently do not receive a commission on any of these cards except the American Express Business Platinum card.

BUT, That’s Not All!

Now that the merger is going to happen for US Airways and American Airlines, there will be some of the US Airway hubs that will become hubs in the new AA. This means even more cities that will have opportunity to get to cheaply with Avios! In addition, if you live in any of the above cities, you can actually get to any city that AA flies to for the same 9,000 Avios. That means, for you NYC, LA, Miami, Dallas, Chicago runners, you have most of the country open to you for cheap flights for marathons! The only thing holding you back is your imagination! So, have fun! 🙂





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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I was happy to find this blog that mashed two of my passions but unfortunately you focus (almost?) exclusively on marathons, which is clearly your distance. But what about other races, 10k,5k and halfs etc.

    There are more people running more half marathons and it is the fastest growing distance.

    I’ll keep reading for a while longer in case the blog reflects its name and not just “marathons with Miles”

    • Thanks, Tom. You are right – a lot of focus is on the marathon distance. That is the distance race that most people travel to participate in, but I do have some posts coming up that will look at other distances as well. What are some distances you have traveled for or would like to?

  • Half marathons is a very fast growing section of running, and I can see people making the effort to get on a plane and participate for those events, so perhaps you can include some as well? I have traveled to Jackson Hole, WY (AA goes there) as well as Bethlehem, PA for half Marathons, Considering the one in Miami on Feb. 2nd….. I enjoy your blog, keep on running and writing!