Start Planning Now: 5 Ideas for a Ski Trip With an American Airlines Credit Card Bonus
Yes, it’s summer now, but it has been just long enough since the previous ski season ended, that many skiers out there are starting to miss the feeling of fresh powder in their faces.
Now is actually the perfect time to start planning next season’s ski trip because you can start working towards earning large welcome bonuses, then redeem your miles to get an early deal on an award flight this winter.
Any of the welcome bonuses from the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®, or Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard can get you round-trip flights to top ski destinations in the US, Canada, or Europe!
I’ll show you how to redeem these welcome bonus miles for a dream vacation to a top ski destination.
Huge Welcome Bonuses With American Airlines Credit Cards Right Now
The Citi American Airlines credit cards are currently offering large bonuses, some of which are higher than the usual offer!
70,000 Mile Bonus with CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select
The CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select has the largest welcome bonus from American Airlines right now. For a limited time, you can earn 70,000 American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 4 months of account opening. This card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.
In addition to the welcome offer, this card will give you 1 free checked bag on domestic American Airlines itineraries for yourself and up to 4 companions on the same reservation, and preferred boarding on domestic flights from American Airlines.
60,000 Mile Bonus on Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select
The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select card is currently offering another great limited-time bonus. You’ll earn 60,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of opening your account. The annual fee of $99 is waived the first year.
The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card offers a great benefit for frequent award fliers, which is 10% mileage rebate on any miles you redeem, up to 10,000 miles total each year. This will help you miles go even further since it will effectively lower the miles cost of your flights.
50,000 Mile Bonus from the Citi AAdvantage Executive
The Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard is currently offering 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. The card has a $450 annual fee which is NOT waived the first year.
This card will let you travel in style, with an Admirals Club membership included with the card plus guest privileges. Authorized users (free to add!) even get Admirals Club access themselves. The value of the Admirals Club membership alone offsets the annual fee of the card for most people.
Plus, you’ll enjoy priority check-in and boarding, and a first checked bag free for yourself and up to 8 companions traveling on the same reservation) on American Airlines domestic itineraries
Top 5 Ideas for Your Next Ski Trip
If you ask me, skiing trips are one of the best vacations. You have the opportunity to wake up early and hit the slopes in the morning, make some new friends on the ski lifts by the afternoon, and then hit the town to enjoy some great culture and food in the evening.
So I wanted to explore some of the best ski trips to consider, and how you can use your American Airlines credit card welcome bonus to enjoy them.
Best Ski Trip for Families
If you are looking to take the whole family with you on your next ski trip, check out Big Sky, Montana. At Big Sky, all children 10 and under ski free, saving you ~$50 per child, per day (compared to other top resorts). In addition, the crowds are never too big at Big Sky and the routes are so spread out that you don’t have to worry about your kids getting run over by other skiers on the trails.
Unlike many other ski towns that turn into frat parties at night, Big Sky is relatively tame, with family-friendly entertainment and food options.
American Airlines flies into Bozeman Airport (BZN) direct from Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW), and Chicago (ORD). This means anyone in the US will have plenty of connecting flight options.
25,000 American Airlines miles per person will get you round-trip airfare (12,500 miles each each way) from anywhere in the US to Bozeman on American Airlines or its partners.
Best Ski Trip to Experience Culture
Folks who appreciate indulging in unique culture will fall in love with Zermatt, Switzerland. The town of Zermatt is nestled high in the Swiss Alps and sits in the shadow of the famous Matterhorn. It is unique in that the only way into the town is by mountain train so there are no cars or roads in the entire city. Zermatt is like walking through a storybook of a traditional Swiss-style town and the mountains are like skiing through a postcard.
After a day of skiing, you can enjoy wandering the town by foot, shopping the unique storefronts, and enjoying some epic traditional Swiss fondue. Most folks at hotels, restaurants, and shops in Zermatt speak English (which is not the case with the rest of Switzerland) making shopping easy.
I often recommend Zermatt to my friends who are traveling with partners that don’t ski. The city is fun to explore on your own and there is tons for non-skiers to do while their partners enjoy the mountains during the day. At night the pedestrian-only town is more magical than Paris, making it a great romantic getaway.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to get to Zermatt. I recommend flying to Geneva, Switzerland (GVA) and taking a train to Zermatt (you can not drive to Zermatt, so do NOT rent a car). While American Airlines doesn’t fly to Geneva, British Airways and Iberia do. These airlines are partners so you can redeem American Airlines miles towards award flights. In ski season, the flight can usually be found for 22,500 American Airlines miles in coach each way (45,000 miles round-trip).
I would select an Iberia flight if possible (usually American Airlines from the US to Spain, then connect on Iberia to Geneva), because British Airways charges high fuel surcharges on award flights.
Best Ski Trip for the True Explorer
The true explorers out there will enjoy Whistler-Blackcomb resort in Whistler, British Columbia (Canada). Whistler offers the largest skiable area in North America with a total of 8,171 acres.
There are 3 glaciers to explore, 16 alpine bowls, and over 200 marked runs. You will be able to explore for weeks without riding the same trail twice.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is your gateway to this beautiful area. American Airlines maintains many flights to Vancouver, so finding flight options will be easy. Once in Vancouver, you will need to drive ~2 hours to Whistler.
Award flights to Vancouver from mainland US are only 15,000 American Airlines miles each way (30,000 miles round-trip) making this an affordable international trip. So the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select welcome bonus of 60,000 miles would earn you exactly 2 round-trip tickets so you can bring someone along.
Best Ski Trip for Experienced Skiers
Looking to push your limits and test your skills? There is unlikely a more challenging and technical ski destination than Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Many people have nicknamed it “Jackson Drop” because of the number of dropoffs that are skiable here. Pack your best pair of skis and a helmet as you prepare to check some double black diamonds off your list.
I recommend planning to do Jackson Hole during shoulder season, just because conditions can be very unpredictable in the middle of winter. Many of the runs in Jackson Hole can close unexpectedly in the heart of winter when they simply become far too dangerous. Jackson Hole really isn’t for beginners. Even the “easy” runs can be VERY steep and are only considered “easy” because the terrain is less likely to maim you. Also, the runs tend to be more remote, meaning its hard for beginners to get off the mountain when they get in over their head.
To give you an idea of what you should be prepared for, check out this video from Teton Gravity Research on skiing the drops at Jackson Hole. (Oh, did I forget to mention the liability waiver you have to sign to get your lift pass?)
You will be thrilled to hear that Jackson Hole has its own airport (JAC) with direct American Airlines flights from most of their hubs. Like other domestic flights on American Airlines you can get to Jackson Hole for only 12,500 American Airlines miles each way. Meaning you can bring a ski buddy with the points from your welcome bonus.
Best Ski Trip for All-Around Skiing
I saved the best for last. I feel like the best all-around skiing in the US is in Park City, Utah. You will not find better facilities than in Park City because of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Despite being hosted in Salt Lake City, all of the venues were actually in Park City.
You can visit these centers and use them, meaning you can try your hand at bobsledding, biathlon, ski jumping, skeleton, and many other winter sports on official Olympic courses. All of these are actively maintained because Park City is the official training facility for US winter sports, so Olympians live here and train here every day.
Park City has so many resorts, it is sometimes hard to decide which one is best for you:
- Park City (the resort) This used to be 2 resorts (listed as Park City Mtn Resort and The Canyons on the map above) and was recently merged into one mega-resort after being bought by the group that owns Vail. It connects to Olympic Park and historic downtown
- Snowbird offers tons of deep powder and cliffs
- Alta is gaining in popularity now among tourists and was previously the favorite among locals. Expect steep chutes and deep powder.
- Deer Valley is my least favorite. It’s the most expensive and is mostly flat with open over-groomed trails. They do not allow snowboarders
- Brighton & Solitude are the 2 resorts where local Utahns go. Both are affordable and offer great variety.
- Sundance (yes the same resort that hosts the Sundance film festival in the summer) is my personal favorite. I buy a season pass here each year. It is dense with trees to offer a more rustic experience. It is incredible for night skiing. Many celebrities and movie stars ski here
One of the best things about Park City is how easy it is to get here. Salt Lake City airport is a major airport that’s only 20 minutes away. You will find tons of shuttles available to take you and your skis to the mountains from here. American Airlines offers many flights through this airport since it is a large airport. Like other US destinations, it will only cost 12,500 American Airlines miles to get here from anywhere in the mainland US.
Currently, American Airlines has 3 cards with huge welcome bonuses that we love:
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®: 70,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 4 months of account opening
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard: 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Now is the perfect time to start planning a ski trip. If you apply now for one of the cards above, you should be earning your welcome bonus miles just in time to purchase an award flight to one of our top 5 ski destinations.
- Best ski trip for families: Big Sky, Montana
- Best ski trip to experience culture: Zermatt, Switzerland
- Best ski trip for the true explorer: Whistler-Blackcomb, Canada
- Best ski trip for the experienced skier: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- Best ski trip for all around skiing: Park City, Utah
Of course, we didn’t even scratch the surface of amazing ski destinations around the world. What are some of your favorite ski destinations that didn’t make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.