How to Find Flights from NYC to San Diego Using Points and Miles

Because weather like this shouldn't cost an arm and a leg.
How to Find Flights from NYC to San Diego Using Points and Miles


The Daily Navigator strives to help you make the best decisions in travel. While we produce content according with strict editorial integrity this post may contain references to partner products. Here’s a full explanation for how our team makes money .

What are travel credit cards, and how do they work?

Travel credit cards are financial products that offer various rewards and benefits geared towards frequent travelers. They typically earn you points or miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. These rewards can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses. Travel credit cards may also include perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and no foreign transaction fees.

How do I choose the best travel credit card for my needs?

Choosing the best travel credit card depends on your travel habits, spending patterns, and preferences. Consider factors like the type of rewards offered (points, miles, or cash back), the card’s annual fee, sign-up bonuses, earning rates, redemption options, and additional travel perks. Analyzing these features will help you find a card that aligns with your lifestyle and offers the most value.

What are the benefits of using a travel credit card over other types of credit cards?

Travel credit cards provide unique advantages for travelers, such as earning rewards specifically tailored to travel expenses. Additionally, many travel credit cards offer travel-related perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and travel insurance. Some cards also waive foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international travelers.

What is a sign-up bonus, and how can I qualify for it?

A sign-up bonus is a promotional offer provided by the credit card issuer to entice new cardholders. To qualify for a sign-up bonus, you usually need to meet specific spending requirements within a certain timeframe after opening the account. The bonus can be in the form of points, miles, or cash back, and it’s a great way to jump-start your rewards earning.

Do travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees?

Not all travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. Many of the top-tier travel cards waive these fees, making them ideal for international travel. However, it’s essential to read the card’s terms and conditions to confirm this before using it abroad.

How can I maximize the rewards earned with my travel credit card?

To maximize rewards, use your travel credit card for everyday expenses and large purchases. Take advantage of bonus categories and special promotions to earn more points or miles. Consider combining your travel credit card with loyalty programs to stack rewards and get even more value out of your purchases.

Whether you’re reading this on a dreary winter’s afternoon or frying in the heat of a brutal summer, one thing will always be true: the weather in San Diego is better. And that’s all the excuse you need to hop on a flight at any time of the year to one of the US’ finest cities, bask in the sunshine, and take things at a true San Diego pace.

Of course, San Diego isn’t known for being an affordable city, so saving a few bucks where you can goes a long way. And what better way to save than grabbing a flight for almost nothing?

Read also: How to Use Points and Miles to Get Flights to Australia

To prove how easy it is to enjoy a weekend in the sun, we’ve thrown together the best ways to find flights from NYC to San Diego using points and miles. “Why NYC?” I hear you ask. Because it’s on the opposite side of the country, and if you can fly free from there, you can do it from anywhere.

Let’s take a look at some flights from NYC to San Diego using points and miles.

Finding the best airlines for points and miles flights from NYC to San Diego

As with any points and miles quest, the best way to start is simply to search for flights from NYC to San Diego. Check which airports in New York have direct flights, and which airlines operate them. How many times a day do they run? If they have connections, where are they? And of course, check the price of these flights.

All of this information will help you make a logical decision and maximize the value of your flights from NYC to San Diego. We’ve done some of the hard work for you, though. Here are some of the best options.

Using Delta SkyMiles to find flights from NYC to San Diego

First up on our list is Delta. The US’ most popular airline doesn’t have the most reliable loyalty program. Its dynamic award system fluctuates heavily, making it tough to find high-value redemptions. But its domestic redemptions are one exception. A quick search shows it’s easy to find flights from NYC to San Diego for as little as 15.5 thousand SkyMiles plus $5.60—a great deal by any standard. 

Another Delta sweet spot is its monthly sky deals page. The list is updated every few weeks and has some incredible deals for specific routes. At the time of writing, there were flights from NYC to San Diego going for just 22.5 thousand SkyMiles for a roundtrip. There’s no guarantee that the deal will be there in the future, but it’s always worth checking from your home airport.

How to earn enough Delta SkyMiles for flights from NYC to San Diego

Earning Delta SkyMiles is simple, even if you don’t fly with the airline or its partners regularly. American Express is a transfer partner and also facilitates Delta’s line of co-branded cards. That leaves you with a number of different options for finding enough SkyMiles for flights from NYC to San Diego.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card is American Express’ most premium product. While it does have a hefty annual fee, it’s nullified by a mega 80,000-point intro bonus. You’ll need to spend $8,000 within six months of opening the card to earn those points, but that’ll leave you with enough points to fly to San Diego and back three times. You could even check out one of Amex’s amazing Centurion Lounges on the way.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

80,000 Membership Rewards® Points

after you spend $8,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee: $695  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card is the mid-tier option in Delta’s co-branded card line. It’s currently offering a 40,000 intro bonus, earned after spending $2,000 within six months. On top of that, you’ll enjoy free checked bags on Delta flights.

Read also: The Best Airline Credit Cards of 2024

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

40,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 6 months

Annual Fee: $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $150  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Use JetBlue TrueBlue Points to find flights from NYC to San Diego

JetBlue is an undervalued option in the points and miles space. Its loyalty program, TrueBlue, operates differently from other dynamic systems in that it ties the value of its points directly to the cash value of any given flight. I.e the flight costs more, you’ll need more points. You can also only use points on JetBlue flights—no partner redemptions here.

Read also: How Much Are Airline, Hotel, and Credit Card Points Worth?

This isn’t great for achieving outsized value in your redemptions, but it also makes it hard to get a truly bad deal. If saving points is your goal, it’s easy to find flights from NYC to San Diego with JetBlue for as little as 12.5 thousand TrueBlue points. That’s almost on par with the best Delta Sky Deal.

How to earn enough JetBlue TrueBlue points

Aside from flying on partner airlines or opening a JetBlue co-branded card, you can transfer points from Chase, Citi, or American Express. Frustratingly, the transfer rate from Amex is 250:200, so you’re losing some value when you move points this way.

Instead, opt for the other two companies, which allow a good old-fashioned 1,000:1,000 option. Here are some cards you can use to earn enough JetBlue TrueBlue points.

Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier® Card is criminally overlooked in comparison to the other cards mentioned on the list. Its brilliant 60,000-point intro bonus can get you to San Diego and back twice. You’ll need to spend $4,000 within four months of opening the card to earn those points.

Citi Premier® Card

60,000 Bonus Points

after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best premium cards on the market. It has a similar 60,000-point intro bonus, also earned by spending $4,000 within three months of opening it. The big difference here is a higher annual fee—but that’s easily balanced by its luxury perks.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

60,000 Bonus Points

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee: $550  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Using Air Canada Aeroplan for flights from NYC to San Diego

Our last suggestion for grabbing your San Diego flights is Air Canada’s Aeroplan. This program is up there with the best in the industry, offering excellent rates around the world thanks to its generous zonal-based award chart system.

With Aeroplan, it’s easy to grab flights to San Diego for 12.5 thousand each way. The fees are slightly more expensive, but still only $35. Not bad at all.

How to earn Aeroplan points

One major plus of Aeroplan, besides its value, is the ease with which you can earn points. American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Bilt all allow transfers to the airline, so scrounging a few thousand points from across your accounts should be no problem.

Here are some of the best cards you can use to earn Aeroplan points.

card_name

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card’s 75,000-mile intro bonus is amazing and could fly you to San Diego and back multiple times. Yet somehow, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this card. Luxury lounge access, hotel credits, easy earning, and annual bonus points make this card a no-brainer. You’ll need to spend $4,000 in three months to earn that bonus.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee: $395  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Bilt Mastercard®

While the Bilt Mastercard doesn’t have an intro bonus, it is the only card designed to let you earn points on your rent (up to 100,000 a year). If your rent is $2,000 (and if you’re in NYC, it probably is), you’ll have almost enough points for a roundtrip by the time the year is out.

The point

Your options for finding flights from NYC to San Diego are limitless. With so many excellent redemption offers and just as many brilliant cards to match, you’ll likely have enough for a repeat trip.

Read also: How to fly to Hawaii using points and miles

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

Learn To Earn

Get expert insight into travel credit cards, loyalty programs, points hacks, and more.

Related Stories

Built with ❤️ by travelers, for travelers.

© 2024 Dollar Flight Club Inc. All Rights Reserved

Stay in the know with
The Navigator Newsletter

A five-minute trip through the news that matters most to travelers. Past Edition

A five-minute trip through the news that matters most to travelers. Past Edition

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. The relationship may impact how an offer is being presented. Our site doesn’t include all the offers available. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The Daily Navigator Featured Card Popup 3
Chase Ink Cash Credit Card Business
Limited Time Offer!

EARN UP TO $750 IN BONUS CASH TO TRAVEL FOR FREE

Our favorite card with a $0 annual fee. 

Partner offer. Terms apply.

DFC Partner Perks App Link Image
Special Discounts for Our Members

Save Big with Perks

Get $5,000+ in immediate travel savings with Perks. Unlock next level travel benefits, for life. Get discounts from the world’s best travel brands you won’t find anywhere else. No credit required.

DFC Concierge App Link Image
Special Discount for Our Members

93% off lifetime access

Save $1,200 and 10 hours of your time on every vacation. With Lifetime access to DFC Concierge, get fully customized trip itineraries to make every vacation unforgettable.

Dollar Flight Club App Link Image
Special Discount for Our Members

50% Off PREMIUM

You can save up to $500 on your next adventure without lifting a finger get email alerts when we find flights up to 90% off leaving your home airport. Just let us know your departure airport and we’ll do the rest.

The Navigator Commitment

The Daily Navigator is the cornerstone of the DFC Media family. Through each of our brands, we’re dedicated to helping our readers travel, spend, and live smarter.

With products dedicated to affordable travel, daily news, hospitality, and personal finance, we deliver the day’s essential content with none of the filler — all in a way that’s fast, easy, and fun to read. Every morning, over 2 Million travelers trust DFC to deliver the latest news and information so that they can make informed decisions faster. We hope you’ll join them.

We’re happy to have you here!