Using Points and Miles to Visit Vail, Colorado

I recently spent some quality time in a place that looked like Switzerland, had majestic mountain views, and so many different languages were spoken all around me. Was I in Europe? Nope, I was 3 hours away from my own home in beautiful Vail, Colorado. Whether you want a ski vacation or simply a beautiful spring/summer trip, Vail offers it all. Spending points/miles to visit Vail, Colorado is a worthy goal.

Flights

If you want to use miles to get to Vail, you will probably fly into Denver. Because Denver is a large international airport, you will have many options for reward redemptions. Let’s look at a few.

Denver is a United hub so obviously, United Airlines is a great start. Let’s say I am traveling from Chicago to Denver. This is what I find.

Screenshot of United Award flight options to Denver

There are lots of options for a round-trip ticket under 30K. That means if I got the Chase United Quest Credit Card, I could bring 2-3 people with me!

Let’s look at Southwest Airlines. If I want to fly out of Miami and go skiing in the winter, this is what I find. (I find the same options for flying back to Miami).

Screenshot Southwest Airlines

Basically, the same. I can find roundtrip tickets for under 30K miles again, some even cheaper if I travel early. On most airlines, you should be able to find award flights to Denver for around 30K or less from multiple cities. It should be really easy for you to find multiple airlines that you can use to miles to get to Vail, Colorado!

Lodging

Marriott

We stayed about 10 miles outside of Vail in the cute town of Avon. I had some 50K Marriott certificates that I wanted to use so we got a one-bedroom villa at the Sheraton Mountain Villas Avon. It was perfect because we had a nice king bed and a sofa that was made into a bed for grandchildren. We also had a full kitchen so we could stock up on snacks and breakfast items and save on costs. Food in this mountain community is costly!

Hotel living room in Avon, Colorado

Our living room in Avon, Colorado – free with points!

 

If you prefer to stay right in Vail, during the winter, it’s tougher to find availability. For 50,000 points, I did find a couple of days in December at the Marriott Streamside Birch at Vail.

 

Marriott Streamside Birch Hotel in Vail, Colorado

Hyatt

A great choice for using Hyatt points is at the Grand Hyatt in Vail. At only 25,000 Hyatt points a night, you could even use the signup bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred recent 80K bonus, you could get 4 free nights with it. I think that this is the hotel I will pick the next time I use points and miles to go to Vail, Colorado.

 

Hyatt hotel room

IHG Hotels

The Hotel Indigo in Silverthorne can be booked for 60,000 IHG points. This is a new hotel and Hotel Indigo is known to be really nice so this would be a great option for a winter sports trip to Vail. Silverthorne is 30 miles from Vail but it would still make a nice place to sleep at night after a day on the slopes. There are three other ski resorts in the Silverthorne area too.

Things to Know

Parking

Be sure and park at Vail Village Parking if you are there during the summer. It is free for day parking. We almost parked at a place before this parking place and it was $60 for 3 hours!! Yikes! I don’t think the parking is free during the winter but be sure and use it if you are there during the summer.

 

White buildings set among trees

I felt like I was walking in Switzerland in Vail. Many foreign languages were spoken by people vacationing there.

Dining

One of the best guides to eating in this area is found here. We ate at Pazzo Pizza in Avon and they had some really good pizza choices. There is one located in Vail too.

Prior to going up in the gondolas, we ate at Big Bear Bistro. It is located near a creek and we took some of the best sandwiches near there to eat on benches near there. I highly recommend going there for lunch.

Mountain Biking

Everyone is riding mountain bikes around Vail and the surrounding areas. You can rent one and take it on your gondola and then ride it down the mountain. Bicycles are available to rent throughout the Vail and surrounding areas.

Gondola Rides

One of the more popular, and expensive,  activities in Vail is riding the gondolas. The price is $50 for adults 14 and over and $38 for seniors. Children under 14 can ride free with a paid adult. The views are spectacular from the gondolas! We rode up on the gondola from Vail Village. Because we had little ones, we walked about 1.5 miles on an easy hike called the Upper Fireweed trail over to an area of fun activities. Unfortunately, it was a busy day and they were not selling more tickets for the mountain coasters, zip lines, etc. when we got there. We ended up hanging out for a bit and then taking the Eagle Bahn Gondola back down.

Family standing in front of mountain views

There are two gondolas in Vail. We took one up from Vail Village and rode the other one down. Here is a guide on activities in Vail during the winter. It talks about both gondolas.

Adventure Ridge

Once we reach the Eagle Bahn Gondola area, there were several rides in an area called Adventure Ridge. Vail’s Adventure Ridge is home to tubing, ski biking, kids snowmobiling, a bungee trampoline, and snowshoeing during the winter. During the summer, activities include a mountain coaster, kid’s zipline, trampoline, mini-golf, wall climbing, and nest tubing. An all-day pass costs $109. You can also buy single-ride tickets.

There is the usual overpriced Disneyland type of food at the top of the mountain. I’m talking about $9.95 french fries. It makes sense to get a sandwich in town and bring it with you!

Creekside Activities

We walked back to Vail Village from the drop-off from the Eagle Bahn Gondola. There are also buses one can take. It only took about 15 minutes and we walked along a nice creek. Back in Vail Village, we saw children playing in fountains and also in Gore Creek near a restaurant called Up The Creek. You could rent small tubes for $30 from a nearby mountain supply store and this was so much fun for all the children playing in the water.

Here are some more activity ideas for Vail.  We rented bikes from Avon and rode to Eagle one day. There is simply a huge variety of outdoor activities to do in the Vail area no matter what season you are there.

Skiing, Snowboarding

Vail is the third-largest single mountain ski resort in the United States. It is an extremely popular and coveted destination for winter sports. You can look here for ski passes and more information.

Bottom Line

Vail, Colorado is an expensive destination to visit. However, by using points and miles, it can be made more affordable. Use points /miles to get there and stay there and save your dollars for activities and food. Of all the mountain destinations in Colorado including Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and Breckenridge, it is my favorite so far. I felt like I had been transported to a beautiful village in the Swiss Alps and thoroughly enjoyed my time there! I highly recommend that you use some of your points and miles to visit Vail, Colorado!

 

Snow covered town

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