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Bucket list destinations: One week in Jordan on rewards points

After a last-minute detour to Jordan, a weeklong trip turned into a checked off bucket list item – thanks to a plethora of rewards points

Summary

Making the most of an unplanned situation, Jordan offers beautiful sights and unique experiences. Here’s how to get there on rewards points.

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If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting the lost city of Petra, diving in the Red Sea or floating along the lowest point on the earth, it’s time to add the country of Jordan to your travel bucket list.

When I wound up visiting Jordan at the last minute this month, I showed up without any plans but plenty of points. I wasn’t sure how easy or how cheap it would be to spend a week exploring the country, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Jordan is an incredibly easy destination for paying with rewards points. The country is stable and safe, and relatively easy to get around. The landscape is breathtaking, the people are so friendly and there are tons of different places within the country to explore, including Petra – one of the seven modern wonders of the world.

To stay six nights and seven days in Jordan, I spent 40,000 Hyatt points, 20,000 IHG points, one Marriott anniversary night certificate and $14 for one night in a hostel when all the hotels were sold out. Turns out that not only did I show up at the last minute, I also showed up at the height of tourist season!

One week is certainly not long enough to explore all the wonders of Jordan, but here’s how I covered a lot of ground and saved a lot of money with rewards.

See related: Making the most of hotel anniversary nights

Tips for one week in Jordan for 85,000 points (or fewer)

Amman

My first and last stop in Jordan was the gateway city of Amman. I arrived and departed on a Royal Jordanian flight booked with American Airlines points from my AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard.

I chose the Grand Hyatt Amman as my home base for its central location to explore the historic citadel and amphitheater, Amman’s downtown and the cafes of Rainbow Street. At only 8,000 World of Hyatt points per night, it was an absolute steal – especially when they surprised me with an upgrade to the Royal Terrace Suite on my final night (a room that books at a $3,490 nightly rate).

If you’re looking to make Amman your base with day trips to the sites (nothing is more than four hours away in Jordan), another good rewards option is the Intercontinental Hotel Amman. It’s the oldest 5-star hotel in Jordan, bookable for 25,000 IHG points, and is a pickup point for JETT bus day trips to the Dead Sea and Petra.

Aqaba

From Amman, I hopped a JETT bus for 18 JOD (about 24 USD) to Jordan’s sunny southern city on the Red Sea. Once there, I went on a scuba adventure with Aqaba Pro Divers to explore coral growing on a sunken airplane!

I stayed two nights at the new Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayala Resort for 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night – a $425 value. The pool and spa were almost as amazing as the breakfast on the sunny terrace, but the hotel was a bit far from town.

A good tip is to sleep closer to the beach action using IHG points for the Intercontinental Aqaba in the city center.

Petra

My highlight in Jordan was the two days I spent exploring the lost city of Petra just like Indiana Jones.

A great tip to keep in mind is before you arrive in Jordan, purchase the Jordan Pass online to save tons of money. The pass covers your visa entry fees to places like Petra if you stay a minimum of three nights in the country.

In Wadi Musa, Petra’s hometown, I stayed one night at the Marriott Petra where I cashed in my 25,000-point anniversary certificate from my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. The room rate was over $500 per night – a great value for redeeming a category 4 certificate! It’s a bit out of town but does have a pool and a nice sunset view.

My second night in Petra was a high-season weekend night and everything was booked solid. I opted for the last $14 dorm bed I could grab from Booking.com at the locally owned Nomads hostel. And I honestly had as great of a stay as I did in every one of my upgraded suites because the people in Jordan are incredibly hospitable, no matter what the room rate is.

Dead Sea

The last stop on my whirlwind tour of Jordan was the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea for some saltwater floating and mud bathing at the lowest point on earth.

I booked a standard room for 20,000 IHG points and was pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to a sea-view suite as an IHG Platinum member – the complimentary status I get by having the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

All the Dead Sea hotels are on the same small strip. The Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn (IHG), Marriott and Hilton are all bookable with points. But definitely check the cash price for hotels before committing your points for award stays in Jordan. In the low season, some of these nice hotels charge well under $100!

Getting to and around Jordan

Plenty of airlines pass through Amman (AMM), allowing you to arrive in Jordan using points from any alliance via miles from a co-branded card or points from a flexible rewards earning card – like the American Express® Gold Card.

Royal Jordanian, the national carrier, is a oneworld partner and easily bookable with American Airlines miles that you can bank with either the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard or any of the Citi / AAdvantage credit cards.

See related: Best credit cards for oneworld alliance flights

One thing I didn’t know before I went was that international flights land in Aqaba as well as Amman, which gives you lots more options.

A week of wonders in Jordan for 85,000 credit card rewards points is a bargain you can’t beat – or maybe you could with a little advance planning!

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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