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For much of the country, summer weather is here. And, if you’ve still not yet thought about where you want to celebrate the Fourth of July, you’ll be pleased to know that last-minute travel deals are still out there.
We likely aren’t the first ones to tell you that travel prices this summer are exorbitant. According to Priceline hotel and flight data, the average hotel rates are up 14%, and average round-trip airfares are up 39% compared to last summer. As the travel industry copes with the sharp rise in demand, many have been priced out of booking a weekend away for the Independence Day weekend. But if you look in the right places, you can still find deals.
For example, as part of its Summer Sale, Priceline is helping would-be travelers save on an upcoming Fourth of July vacation. Between June 20 and June 28, you can save $20 on hotel Express Deals when you spend at least $125 by using the promo code SUMMER2022. Similarly, between June 29 and July 4, you can save $100 on hotel Express Deals when you spend at least $500 by using the promo code SUMMER100.
Ultimately, when it comes to finding deals, the best tip is to remain flexible. Be ready to tweak your dates of travel (as much as you can for a weekend break), look for nearby and smaller airports and keep in mind that points and miles can be extremely valuable in high-demand periods like this.
We found some of the best cheap — and last-minute — Fourth of July deals out there, including flight deals and hotel deals. For the purpose of looking for these deals, we searched between June 29 and July 5, though you may find cheaper prices outside of those high-in-demand dates. If you see a deal you like, try searching to see if it’s also available within your preferred dates.
If you’re looking for a last-minute getaway this Independence Day, you could stay somewhere domestic or head farther afield. But no matter which is right for you, there are deals to be had by using travel rewards, which could save you hundreds — or thousands — of dollars on your stay.
Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Secrets is now a part of the World of Hyatt program, and as such, you can stay at this adults-only all-inclusive property all on points. For 29,000 World of Hyatt points per night, you can get a club room from July 1 to July 4. In total, for the three-night stay, you’d owe 87,000 World of Hyatt points. As a point of comparison, you’d have to pay $1,920 on the same dates, which is over 2 cents per point in value, a terrific deal. Plus, remember that all of your food and drinks are included at this all-inclusive, so once you redeem those points, you’re set.
You can quickly earn World of Hyatt points in a number of ways, including by transferring points from the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. However, if you’re interested in boosting your Hyatt account right away, you can earn up to 60,000 bonus points from the sign-up bonus on the World of Hyatt Credit Card. You’ll earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months after opening the account, plus up to 30,000 additional points by earning 2 bonus points per dollar spent in the first six months, up to $15,000 spent.
If an international trip is in order for your Independence Day weekend celebration, consider a stay at the Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya. For 90,000 Hilton Honors points per night, you’ll get a lovely tropical view guestroom with a king bed. For a two-night stay over the Fourth of July weekend, an award stay will cost you 180,000 points. Meanwhile, if you were to pay cash for those same two nights, the bill would be $1,302.
Hilton has a number of credit cards on offer, which makes it easy to earn points quickly for a redemption like this. For example, the Hilton Honors American Express Card currently comes with a welcome bonus offer of 80,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $1,000 in the first three months after opening the account. With 80,000 points in hand, you’re well on your way toward a redemption like this in the future.
The Big Apple is a great option for the Fourth of July. There’s the standard New York sightseeing — strolls through Central Park, eating at some of the best restaurants in the world, shopping in SoHo — and who can forget the Fourth of July fireworks display? If you want to be in the center of it all, the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel is a good option at 44,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. For a three-night stay over the holiday weekend, it’ll cost you 130,000 points. On the same dates, you would have to pay $1,115.
You can earn Marriott Bonvoy points quickly via the hotel chain’s credit card offerings. For example, with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card, you can earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months after opening the account. There’s no annual fee on this card, and you can use it to earn up to 14 points per dollar at Marriott properties. If you frequently stay at Marriott hotels, this could be a solid card to add to your wallet.
If you tend to lean more toward boutique hotels, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your travel rewards for a free stay. Take the Lennox Miami Beach, which is a boutique, Art Deco-style hotel with modern design elements. On the Fourth of July weekend, a three-night stay will cost you 25,000 Hyatt points per night — or 75,000 points for the full stay. Comparatively, if you were to pay cash for those same nights, it would run you $1,394, giving you solid value for your Hyatt points. Then, you can take the money you saved and use it on all the terrific food and drinks the Miami restaurant and bar scene has to offer.
Earning Hyatt points is extremely easy, thanks to the Hyatt Credit Card. But also keep in mind that you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1-to-1 rate. In other words, if you’re a new card holder and earn the 60,000 bonus points on offer from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card when you spend $4,000 in the first three months after opening the account, that could become 60,000 Hyatt points.
The Pacific Northwest could be a great spot to celebrate Independence Day. At the W Seattle, a vibrant luxury hotel located in downtown, you can book a room entirely on points. For a five-night stay over the holiday weekend, you can redeem 181,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. If you were to use cash on the same dates, the total would come to $1,761.
Remember that the Marriott Bonvoy program gives you the fifth night for free when you redeem points, so for this room, you’re only truly paying for the cost of four nights. Plus, when you consider that you can get free night certificates from certain Marriott credit cards, this could be a great deal. For example, with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, you’ll currently earn three free nights (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
Why not visit the 50th state over the Fourth of July? Better yet, you can stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort completely on points thanks to this Hilton Honors deal. Over the long weekend, a four-night stay will run you 280,000 points. While that may seem like a lot, consider that with a nightly rate of more than $500, a four-night stay would run you $2,156. That’s not a bad deal for using your Hilton Honors points — and you’ll get a free hotel stay in return.
Start by building up your Hilton Honors account so you can afford point redemptions like this in the future. With the Hilton Honors Amex, you can lock in 80,000 Hilton bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months of opening the account. And, by staying at Hilton properties and paying for your stay with the card, you’ll continue to earn points at a large clip.
While flight prices are higher than average, it’s not impossible to find a good deal. Here are some of our favorite flight deals we’ve seen from around the country. Keep in mind, too, that it may be helpful to subscribe to a cheap flight service such as Thrifty Traveler Premium in order to get flight deals sent to your inbox every day.
Want to spend Independence Day in the Caribbean? Head from New York to Aruba with United Airlines for just more than $300 round trip. The flights are nonstop in both directions.
Fly nonstop to New Orleans from Chicago with this round-trip fare with Spirit. This itinerary gives you the best time to maximize your long weekend in the Big Easy.
Escape to Las Vegas with this round-trip fare from American for less than $150. Both directions of travel include nonstop flights.
If you don’t mind flying with a low-cost carrier, you can opt to travel with Frontier on this nonstop itinerary from Miami to San Juan. As an added bonus, you won’t need your passport on this trip!
Thinking a long weekend in the Bay Area sounds more your speed? Fly from Dallas to San Francisco with Frontier for just more than $300 round trip.
Take off to South Florida with this exceptionally cheap fare to Miami. It’s nonstop in one direction but requires a stop on the return.
Widely considered the best card for booking flights is The Platinum Card® from American Express. You’ll earn a whopping 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 $315.20 round-trip flight from Chicago to Austin directly with American Airlines, you’ll earn 1,576 American Express Membership Rewards points, plus miles in American’s AAdvantage 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 or Expedia, 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 earns a general 2 points per dollar on all travel purchases.
Find out which credit cards CNN Underscored chose as its best travel credit cards of 2022.