The best Mardi Gras travel deals on flights and hotels

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After a one-year hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mardi Gras celebrations are returning to New Orleans. While there will be changes to some of the celebrations, the event is going ahead in 2022.

This year, Fat Tuesday falls on March 1. While most celebrations ramp up in the week before, if you’re considering a trip to New Orleans, you’ll probably want to be there for the weekend preceding Fat Tuesday — plus, of course, the big day itself.

If you feel comfortable enough traveling to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras, there are still travel deals out there. We’ve rounded up some of the best flight and hotel deals that you can lock in to head to New Orleans this year.

Hotels in New Orleans can bump their nightly rates significantly in order to take advantage of the Mardi Gras crowds. And because of that, you can take advantage of some good deals by using your hotel loyalty points for a free stay. Here are some of the best deals we’ve found.

This boutique hotel, located two blocks from the French Quarter and three blocks from the Warehouse Arts District, offers a stylish place to stay. The hotel itself is built within nine warehouses that look distinct from the outside, but inside, were made to be a uniform hotel. For a four-night stay over Mardi Gras, the hotel costs 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night — or 60,000 points for the full stay. Alternatively, the hotel is charging $1,716 for the same four-night stay. That gives you great value for your Hyatt points at 0.28 cents each, which is far more than what frequent flyer website The Points Guy currently values them at.

It’s entirely manageable to score an entirely free stay on points from a single credit card sign-up bonus. In fact, you can get up to 60,000 Hyatt points from The World of Hyatt Credit Card. You’ll earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of holding the card. Plus, you can get up to 30,000 additional points by earning 2 bonus points per dollar spent in the first six months, up to $15,000 spent. If you’re able to take full advantage of the sign-up bonus offer, you can get a free four-night stay at The Eliza Jane for Mardi Gras weekend.

The Troubadour Hotel New Orleans is a member of the Hilton Honors program. It’s located a few blocks away from the French Quarter in the Central Business District. A three-night stay over Mardi Gras weekend, including on the night of Fat Tuesday, costs 150,000 Hilton Honors points — or 50,000 points per night. The hotel is charging $1,254.47 for the same three nights, giving you a value of 0.83 cents per Hilton Honors point on this redemption. That’s more than Honors points are typically worth, according to frequent flyer website The Points Guy.

While you likely won’t have time to apply for and meet the minimum spending requirements for Mardi Gras, the welcome bonus offer that’s currently available with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card could almost get you a stay like this for free. The welcome bonus offer on the Surpass Card allows you to earn 130,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of holding the card. Plus, you’ll earn a free night reward certificate, which you can use to cover a free night at virtually any Hilton property.

If you want to splurge for a luxurious five-star hotel to rest your head during a weekend of Mardi Gras celebrations, the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans is a solid option. It’s located in the French Quarter, just a short walk from many attractions, including Bourbon Street. Over Mardi Gras weekend, the hotel costs 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. For a four-night stay, it’ll cost you 280,000 Bonvoy points, which will save you from paying $1,968 for the same stay.

You can earn Marriott points quickly by considering one of the chain’s credit cards. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card currently has a welcome bonus offer of 75,000 Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Plus, you can earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants within the first six months of holding the card.

This boutique property located in the Banks Arcade offers 84 guest rooms with New Orleans’ signature Creole-Caribbean influence. For a three-night stay over Mardi Gras weekend, including Fat Tuesday, the hotel is charging 46,000 IHG Rewards points per night. Alternatively, you could pay cash for the same three nights, which would cost you $1,012.79.

You can earn IHG Rewards points via the chain’s credit card. The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 125,000 points plus a free night after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. The bonus points are nearly enough to cover the cost of this three-night hotel stay in full.

The Hyatt Regency New Orleans would make for a comfortable stay over Mardi Gras weekend. In fact, it has seven dining options at the property, as well as an outdoor saltwater pool, in-room massage services and more. Over Mardi Gras weekend, the hotel is charging 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night. If you were to opt for a three-night stay, it would cost you 36,000 points. Alternatively, over the same three nights, it would cost you $813 for the stay. Ultimately, by using points to cover the cost of the stay, you can save that cash to spend on the delicious food that New Orleans has to offer.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is your best option for earning points to cover the cost of a stay quickly. Currently, it comes with a sign-up bonus of up to 60,000 bonus points. You’ll earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of holding the card. Plus, you can get up to 30,000 additional points by earning 2 bonus points per dollar spent in the first six months, up to $15,000 spent.

If you’ve got to travel by plane, you’ll want to book your flights soon. The good news is that there are still deals out there. Here are some of the best deals we’ve found from gateway cities around the country to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

This itinerary with JetBlue is nonstop in both directions. For less than $100 round trip, you can travel from Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans.

This round-trip fare for just more than $200 from New York City is a good deal. You’ll depart from LaGuardia but return to New York’s JFK Airport.

Fly with ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit from Los Angeles to New Orleans. While the outbound is nonstop, the return flight requires a stop.

You can fly with American Airlines nonstop from Dallas to New Orleans for a quick Mardi Gras trip — Monday to Thursday — for just more than $200 round trip.

This round-trip deal from Baltimore for less than $100 is a steal. You’ll fly with Spirit nonstop in both directions.

Boston (BOS) to New Orleans (MSY) for $183.20 round trip with JetBlue Airways and American Airlines

This itinerary is operated by JetBlue on the outbound and American on the return. But for less than $200 round trip from Boston to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, it’s a good deal.

United is offering round-trip airfare from its base in Chicago to New Orleans for just $187.20 for Mardi Gras. Fly nonstop both ways.

If your mind is now set on the idea of heading to the Big Easy for a Mardi Gras celebration, make sure you book your flight the right way in order to maximize what you’re getting for your purchase. For instance, there are a number of credit cards that earn extra rewards or perks when you book travel with them.

Widely considered the best card for booking flights is The Platinum Card® from American Express. You’ll earn a whopping 5 points for every dollar you spend on flights booked directly with an airline or via Amex Travel when you use the Amex Platinum. So if you book the $205.20 round-trip flight from Dallas to New Orleans directly with American Airlines, you’ll earn 1,026 points from Amex, plus miles in American’s AAdvantage program.

Alternatively, you could book these flights with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earns 3 points per dollar on travel, including flights, and 5 points total on air travel if you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

And if you’re planning to book with an online travel agency like Priceline, remember to book your flights with a credit card that earns points on all travel, not just travel booked directly with airlines or via an issuer’s booking portal. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns a general 2 points per dollar on travel purchases.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

Looking for a new travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.

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