Home > Credit Cards > Using Credit Card Rewards to Plan a Ski Trip

Comments 0 Comments

[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Credit card rewards seem to exist to allow us to splurge on the most desirable activities. This winter, cardholders can use their accumulated points and miles to take a ski vacation. Let’s take a look at the major expenses involved in taking a typical ski trip.


Other than those who are lucky enough to live near the mountains, most Americans will need to fly out of state to enjoy the best ski resorts. This is where credit card rewards can save you plenty of money. Most airlines will require a minimum of 25,000 miles for a domestic round trip in economy class. The problem is that many ski areas are in remote locations. The closest airports to these resorts only served by smaller aircraft with fewer available award seats at the lowest mileage levels, especially during the peak skiing season. To have the best chance of using your miles for a ski trip, consider flying into some of the larger cities near ski country such as Denver, Salt Lake City, Reno and Albuquerque.


Credit card rewards can also be valuable when finding lodging. In fact, most of these programs do not have the tight capacity controls on awards that are seen in frequent flier programs, making it easier for guests to redeem points for free nights during the peak season. On the other hand, many of the ski lodges will be locally owned properties that are not part of a national chain’s loyalty program.

Ground Transportation

Many skiers can take a shuttle bus to their slope side lodges and enjoy their vacation without a vehicle. But it can make sense to rent a car, especially when flying into major cities that can be several hours’ drive from the ski slopes. Fortunately, some credit card rewards programs such as Chase’s Ultimate Rewards allow points to be used for rental cars. In fact, many of their cards, such as the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold, offer Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards rental car reservations made through Chase’s web site.

Lift Tickets, Ski Rentals, and Lessons

American Express’s Membership Rewards program offers opportunities to redeem points for lift tickets, rentals and lessons at some of the most popular resorts including Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado, Jackson Hole Wyoming, and Killington Vermont. Other options include Snowbird Utah, Sun Valley Idaho, and Telluride Colorado. For example, a 5-day lift ticket award in Telluride requires 40,000 Membership Rewards points for tickets that normally sell for $460. This returns a reasonable 1.15 cents per point compared to most gift card options that return only one cent in value per point redeemed.

Since a family ski trip can easily cost $5-10,000, it cannot be considered a budget vacation. But by utilizing reward credit cards and their points and miles, you and your family can enjoy a ski trip at a reasonable price.

At publishing time, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Ink Bold cards are offered through Credit.com product pages and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Image: Greg Younger, via Flickr

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team