We recently started a new series called Weekend Dash. This series is to focus on different race distances that take place one or two weekends from the post. For example, the first post, Weekend Dash: Trail Runs 12/14-12/15, focused on trail races in the Miami area for this coming weekend. These posts are designed to help runners pick a race in the 5K – Half-Marathon range and check out a new city at the same time. The reason we are looking at races one or two weekends out is that it gives runners a nice chance to take an impromptu trip with some flexbility.
In order to take advantage of this series, it is best to have some miles and points set aside for this purpose. Many people have different mile and point accounts that they have targeted for various uses. I would not want you to have to draw miles from an account that you are saving for a different trip, so I thought I would put this post together to give a suggestion for the best Dash Miles and Points Package.
Making a Dash Miles and Points Package
Though we will be looking at a variety of miles and points program for the Weekend Dash, here are some of the best options for what to accrue for this purpose.
Without a doubt, the best miles to accrue for this purpose (though for selected cities) are British Airways Avios. This is because you are able to use BA Avios for travel on American Airlines – without paying close-in booking fees and at reduced mileage amounts based on distances. Here is the chart to show the distances:
For races that we look at in the general vicinity of Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York City, and Los Angeles, there are millions of people that can take advantage of Avios. If you are within 650 miles of any of the above cities, you will only pay 9,000 Avios round-trip for flights on American Airlines – as opposed to booking it with American Airline miles which will cost you 25,000 miles. If you live in one of the above cities, you have access to many cities around the country at the same price. The map below shows what is possible with 9,000 Avios tickets.
There are more ways to get British Airways Avios than any other airline currency. 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.
- british airways avios credit card from chase – up to 100,000 Avios bonus
- chase sapphire preferred card – 40,000 Ultimate Reward points (plus additional 5,000 when adding an authorized user)
- chase ink bold card – 50,000 Ultimate Reward points
- chase ink plus card – 50,000 Ultimate Reward points
- american express premier rewards gold card – 25,000 Membership Reward points
- american express business platinum card – 25,000 Membership Reward points
There are several options for hotels and many are personal preferences. My suggestion for our Dash Miles and Points Package is for Hilton Hotels. Yes, they have devalued their program earlier this year, but the devaluation that occurred was mostly for the high-end hotels. Because we are looking for hotels that we can simply use for an overnight (because there is a race in the morning), unless you plan to stay for the weekend.
Hilton really shines as a hotel option for this purpose for three reasons – 1) low/mid-range hotels can be had at a good value, 2) Hilton points are the easiest to come by, and 3) there are many Hilton hotels around the country. Here is a list of the cards that can provide you with Hilton HHonor points:
I currently do not receive a commission on any of these cards.
- citi hilton reserve card – 2 free weekend nights at most Hilton hotels
- American express hilton surpass card – up to 60,000 HHonor points
- American Express hilton card – 40,000 HHonor points
- citi hilton hhonors visa signature card – 40,000 HHonor points
- virgin atlantic credit card – up to 50,000 Flying Club miles in the first year (which transfers to Hilton at a ratio of 1:2 = 100,000 HHonor points)
Putting the Dash Miles and Points Package Together
Above are the best options for most of the races we will cover in the Weekend Dash series. Now, the question is how many miles and points you should have in your package. At the very least, I would recommend 9,000 Avios (for one round-trip that falls within 650 miles from you) and 20,000 HHonor points (this will cover rooms from category 1 – off-peak category 4 for at least one night).
My suggestion for an ideal package would be:
- 30,000 Avios (this would allow two people to fly up to 1,151 miles away for a getaway dash or three dash trips for one person up to 650 miles away)
- 50,000 HHonor points (this would allow for several nights at a lower category hotel – up to 10 nights at the lowest – or one/two nights at a nicer category hotel)
It would take no more than two credit cards to easily clear those numbers. Once you have them, you can act impulsively and book one of the Weekend Dash trips that we will talk about. Imagine that – read about it Monday and be flying out Friday night after work to run a race someplace that you had not even been thinking about! Makes me wish I was in the US right now to do these myself!