Off-peak travel has some massive upsides. For starters, you are typically able to travel for a significant discount over peak dates. Tickets to Europe in April or October can easily be less than half the cost of fares you’ll see midsummer. You’ll also avoid the worst of the crowds, which may be vital if you plan to visit somewhere incredibly popular.

When it comes to award travel, peak season travel can be a major pain for another reason. Programs that are fully revenue-based, such as Southwest and JetBlue, offer award prices that are pegged to the cash fares. Others, such as Delta, allow seasonal airfare fluctuations to heavily influence their award pricing as well. When cash fares are high, award prices are high. The flip side is that when fares are low, award prices are low.

For programs that have a standard award chart, I appreciate those that have set off-peak flight award rates, discounting the award prices when flights aren’t in as high a demand. You can use these awards to significant advantage. Here are seven in particular that I want to highlight.

best off-peak flight award

Iberia Off-Peak Business Class from the U.S. to Madrid

One of the sweetest sweet spots for business class from the U.S. to Europe is Iberia’s off-peak business class pricing for routes to the eastern United States. You can fly from New York or Chicago to Madrid for just 34,000 Avios one-way. Considering that American Express Membership Rewards often offers a 40% transfer bonus to Avios, this is a screaming deal.

Other airports served by Iberia price out a bit high, but they are still reasonable off-peak flight awards. Miami to Madrid will set you back 42,500 Avios one-way, and flights from the Spanish capital to either San Francisco or Los Angeles will set you back 51,000 Avios one-way. At this point there are a few cheaper alternatives, but given how easy it is to accrue Avios, this is one of the better deals to be had. Check out the peak/off-peak flight award calendar here.

Aer Lingus Off-Peak Economy from the U.S. to Dublin

Looking to visit the Emerald Isle? You’re in luck if traveling off-season, as you can use British Airways Avios to book cheap economy flights on Aer Lingus. Typically, I avoid carriers that charge significant fuel surcharges, especially for economy flights. British Airways and Iberia also offer off-peak pricing on their own flights, but the surcharges for economy awards are cost prohibitive in my opinion.

Not with Aer Lingus. You can fly from Chicago or New York to Dublin for just 13,000 Avios and ~$35 one-way. Flying from Seattle or San Francisco? You’re still only looking at 16,250 Avios per person one-way. These are fantastic prices, especially considering that we see fewer fare deals to Ireland, especially for nonstop travel.

The trick here is to book with British Airways Avios. You’ll need to call them to do so. Oddly enough, tickets booked with Aer Lingus Avios carry higher fuel surcharges.

best off-peak flight award

American AAdvantage Off-Peak Flight Awards to Europe

The American Airlines award calendar has several different regions with both peak and off-peak flight award pricing. Most are within the Americas, but you can also enjoy some savings to both Asia and Europe. Europe in particular offers a significant discount over the standard award price. Between January 10 – March 14 and November 1 – December 14 each you, you can fly for 22,500 AAdvantage miles one-way in economy. This is 7,500 miles cheaper than the standard price of 30,000 miles.

With so many good off-peak Oneworld cash fare sales to Europe, this pricing is less useful for popular destinations such as London, Paris, or Rome. You can routinely find sub-$400 fares to these airports out of major U.S. gateways. If you’re looking to fly from a regional U.S. airport to a less popular destination, such as Traverse City to Munich, the off-peak flight award rates make total sense.

The real deals, though, may be the new web special awards. In many cases, these may outdo the off-peak pricing. Although in the case of a regional airport departure, the standard prices may still reign supreme.

ANA Business Class Between North America and Japan

This one is worth a mention as one of the best off-peak flight awards simply because of how excellent of a deal it is to begin with. ANA offers seasonal pricing on its own flights, with prices denoted as Low, Regular, or High season. Low season business class between the U.S. and Japan is available for just 75,000 ANA miles round-trip. You could also settle for economy for just 40,000 ANA miles round-trip. The low season window is fairly narrow, with typically only two months of the year falling into this category.

Business class prices during the rest of the year are still excellent, with ANA requiring 85,000 miles round-trip in regular season and 90,000 miles round-trip during high season. There are few cheaper ways to fly between the U.S. and Japan in a premium cabin.

a plane parked at an airport

Delta Award Sales to Europe

I left this one for last since it isn’t technically an off-peak flight award option, but the Delta sales are truly a de-facto stand-in. We’ve seen many sales now where you can score economy round-trip awards between many U.S. airports and multiple European destinations for less than 30,000 miles round-trip. Compared to the standard off-peak award charts, this is actually a better deal.

Since Delta’s prices are often pegged to cash fares, expect to see award sales that mimic their fare sales. You can keep tabs on their current award sales here. At time of writing, you can book tickets from New York to Paris or Amsterdam for 26,000 or 30,000 SkyMiles round-trip, respectively. Sure, cash fares may be just $400. But if saving money is the name of your travel game, these are excellent deals.


I like to avoid peak travel periods unless I’m getting a good deal. Generally, this means booking a standard award during these times and avoiding revenue-based programs. During other periods, I look to excellent cash fare sales or off-peak flight awards as the best use of my miles and points. These seven are some of the best off-peak flight awards to be found.