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It’s that time of the year. In just more than a week’s time, the Cincinnati Bengals are set to square off against the Los Angeles Rams. While the Rams — and their fans — don’t have to travel far, as the game’s being held at the team’s home stadium, Cincinnati fans will need to make the trek to LA to see the game in person.
On what is widely considered the biggest night in sports, the game is typically an expensive event to attend. But it’s not all bad news. We’re seeing some deals that could help you save on travel to Los Angeles — and where to stay while you’re there — for the big game. Here are some of the best travel deals we’ve found.
The best hotel deals
On what is sure to be a busy weekend, it’s a bonus that Los Angeles is a city filled with plenty of hotel options.
While there are some cash deals to be had over weekend, you can also get some terrific value by using loyalty points and miles to redeem for a free stay. Instead of using cash, consider splurging for a free stay by using your points. Use that cash you’re saving on all of the best food and drink that Los Angeles has to offer.
This property, which is part of the World of Hyatt program, is charging just 15,000 Hyatt points per night for a free stay over the weekend. For a three-night stay, you’ll have to pay 45,000 Hyatt points. Alternatively, the hotel is charging more than $1,000 per night. For the same three-night stay, it would cost you $3,421.13, meaning you’d be getting tremendous value out of your hotel points.
The best way to earn Hyatt points is through co-branded World of Hyatt credit cards. For example, the World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 points — you’ll get 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of opening the card. Then you’ll earn up to 30,000 more points by earning 2 bonus points total per $1 spent in the first six months on purchases, on up to $15,000 spent. If you had the Hyatt card and received the sign-up bonus, you’d have more than enough points for this tremendous redemption for the weekend, saving you nearly $3,500.
You can book this stay for just 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night over that weekend. A three-night stay from Friday to Monday will run you 180,000 points in total. If you were to pay cash for the same three-night stay, it would cost a whopping $3,285.60.
Hilton co-branded credit cards are the quickest way to earn Hilton Honors points quickly for great redemptions like this in the future. The Hilton Honors American Express Card, for example, comes with a welcome bonus of 100,000 Honors points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, plus up to $100 in statement credits on purchases made at Hilton hotels in the first 12 months of card membership, putting a redemption like this well within reach in the future.
This 4-star hotel in Hollywood is the perfect way to splurge on that weekend by using your points to get a stay for free. The hotel is a member of the Marriott Bonvoy program, meaning you can use your points for a three-night stay over the weekend, which will cost a total of 180,000 points. While that may seem like a lot, the hotel is charging more than $1,400 per night on the same dates — $4,280 in total for the same three-night stay. That represents terrific value from your Marriott Bonvoy points. In fact, more than double what they’re worth, according to The Points Guy’s valuations.
You can quickly earn Marriott Bonvoy points to use on redemptions like this in the future by considering one of the co-branded American Express cards. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card currently comes with a welcome bonus of 75,000 Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. That bonus alone will put you well on your way to a redemption like this.
This property, located in Pasadena, offers great value for your points. As part of the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, you can redeem your points for a free stay — 80,000 points for a two-night stay over the weekend. On those same nights, you would need to pay $779. Ultimately, this is a good deal and one that could save you some cash that you can spend on souvenirs at the game.
The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of five free nights (up to 50,000 points each) after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Card holders also receive one Elite Night Credit for every $5,000 in spending.
If you don’t mind staying close to the airport (think: easy access to and from LAX for your short weekend trip), this is a great option for using your points. A standard night will cost you 40,000 points, meaning a two-night stay from Saturday to Monday costs 80,000 Honors points, or paying cash will cost you a whopping $1,162.56 for the same two-night stay. You’ll be getting about 1.45 cents per point in value, which is much more than Honors points are typically valued at — 0.6 cents per point, according to The Points Guy’s valuations.
The welcome bonus from the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card is currently 130,000 Honors points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of holding the card, plus up to $130 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of card membership.
This property, which is also located close to LAX — ideal for a quick weekend trip — is also part of the World of Hyatt loyalty program. On the weekend of the game, you can redeem 12,000 points per night for a free stay. So, for a two-night stay, it would cost you 24,000 Hyatt points. Alternatively, the same two-night stay costs $1,952.68 — meaning you’re getting more than 8 cents per point in value from this terrific redemption. That’s some of the best value you can get from Hyatt points.
The sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 points — 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months and up to 30,000 additional points by earning 2 bonus points total per $1 spent in the first six months on purchases, on up to $15,000 spent — on the World of Hyatt Credit Card means you could get a stay like this for free in the future.
The best flight deals
For those looking to fly to the big game, the good news is that the host city of Los Angeles is home to one of the busiest airports in the country. As a result, Priceline says the average round-trip flight to the host city is $210, approximately 48% lower than 2020’s big game in Tampa.
Keep in mind some of our best tips for finding cheap airfare, such as looking at surrounding cities — Burbank (BUR), Ontario (ONT) or Long Beach (LGB) — and being flexible on your travel dates will come into play on busy travel dates like this.
Here are some of the best flight deals we’re still seeing for this weekend.
This round-trip flight requires one stop each way. But for those looking to head to LA from Cincinnati, it’s a well-priced option for seeing the Bengals in their first championship game since 1988.
For just more than $200, you can fly round trip from Miami to LA just in time for the big game. Depart on Saturday morning and fly back to Miami on Monday evening.
This nonstop itinerary is well priced for a long weekend in Los Angeles watching the big game. Depart early on Friday and be back home by Tuesday night. That’s a weekend well spent.
This round-trip fare with Alaska Airlines is nonstop on the way out but requires a stop on the way home. Also, note that the itinerary departs from Newark (EWR) and arrives back at New York–Kennedy (JFK). However, to arrive in LA for the big game at the $270 price point, it’s a great option.
At less than $150 round trip, this nonstop itinerary with United from Chicago to Los Angeles will allow you to experience a game weekend in person on the cheap.
If you prefer, fly from fellow Ohio city Cleveland to Los Angeles for $295.20 round trip with this fare from United. It requires a stop each way to LAX, but you’ll be able to travel from Saturday to Tuesday.
This itinerary operates from Boston to Ontario (ONT), which, in fact, is located in California — not Canada. For just more than $250 you can fly round trip on a trip from Saturday to Monday.
How to book your flights
If your mind is now set on the idea of heading to the big game, make sure you book your flight the right way in order to maximize what you’re getting for your purchase. For instance, there are a number of credit cards that earn extra rewards or perks when you book travel with them.
Widely considered the best card for booking flights is The Platinum Card® from American Express. You’ll earn 5 points for every dollar you spend on flights booked directly with an airline or via Amex Travel when you use the Amex Platinum. So if you book the $295 round-trip flight from Boston to Ontario directly with Delta Air Lines, you’ll earn 1,475 points from Amex, plus points in Delta’s SkyMiles program.
Alternatively, you could book these flights with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earns 3 points per dollar on travel, including flights, and 5 points total on air travel if you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
And if you’re planning to book with an online travel agency like Priceline, remember to book your flights with a credit card that earns points on all travel, not just travel booked directly with airlines or via an issuer’s booking portal. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns a general 2 points per dollar on travel purchases.
Looking for a new travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.