How Many Miles Does It Take?

Last week I answered a reader question about collecting miles for a trip between the US and Southeast Asia. As part of that I included a chart giving a general “range” of the miles required by different mileage programs, and there were several requests for charts for other regions as well.

So I thought I’d go through how many miles you need for first class or business class, the flexible points transfer partners, and will try to highlight some of the best redemptions as well.

Probably the most common request for award help I receive is from people wanting to travel to Europe or Asia who have miles spread across multiple programs. Fortunately, many of the airline programs offer one-way awards, so if you can get by without a stopover, booking your trip as two one-ways can open up availability in different alliances, and make awards more approachable given you don’t have to accrue quite as much of a particular currency.

So all of the rates listed are for one-way awards, unless a program doesn’t allow one-ways, or charges the same price for a round trip, and I’ve designated those with an “*” to make it simpler. You can click on the program names below to access the award charts as well.

Europe

There are hundreds of flights a day between North America and Europe, so if you’re flexible with your routing or schedule it’s typically not too tough to find award availability, particularly if you’re booking well in advance.

Business Class to Europe

Airline ProgramMiles Required - BusinessTransfer Partners
Air Canada AeroplanEurope 1: 45,000
Europe 2: 52,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Air France FlyingBlue62,500American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Citi ThankYou Points
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAir France: 62,500
American: 50,000
British Airways: 60,000
Delta: 125,000*
Emirates: 105,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alitalia MilemigliaAlitalia: 100,000†
SkyTeam Partners: 80,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantage57,500 Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMiles75,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance Based
37,500-75,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Delta SkyMiles
No longer publishes award charts
~62,500 American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Korean Air SkyPass80,000* Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & More52,500Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerSingapore Only: 48,875
(includes 15% online booking discount)
Partners: 65,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusUnited: 57,500
Partners: 70,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Virgin AtlanticDistance Based
40,000-50,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest

Singapore-Business-Class
Singapore Airlines business class A380

One note on Alitalia. They changed their award chart for their own flights back in 2012, but have been offering a “promotional” chart that matches their SkyTeam chart since then. That has technically expired, but whether you pay the promo rates or the “correct” rates really depends on the agent you get.

First Class to Europe

Airline ProgramMiles Required - FirstTransfer Partners
Air Canada AeroplanEurope 1: 62,500
Europe 2: 72,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAmerican: 62,500
British Airways: 70,000
Emirates: 180,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantage85,000 Starwood Preferred Guest
ANA Mileage ClubDistance Based
90,000-140,000*
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMiles87,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance Based
60,000-75,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & More85,000Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerSingapore Only: 57.375
(includes 15% online booking discount)
Partners: 80,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusUnited: 80,000
Partners: 110,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards

Lufthansa-First-Class
Lufthansa first class 747-400

Aeroplan has hands-down the best value for business class travel, particularly if you can redeem miles on carriers that don’t levy fuel surcharges. Even with the fuel surcharges Aeroplan is still my favorite way to redeem for Lufthansa First Class nowadays, given they allow either two stopovers or a stopover and open-jaw on a round trip, and you can always get reimbursed for the fuel surcharges.

Singapore KrisFlyer also has fantastic rates for awards on their own metal. You receive a 15% discount by booking online, which lowers the price of those awards dramatically.

Central and South America

For some reason, every airline seems to divide this region up differently, so there’s not really a way to make a clean and easy chart here. This should give you a general idea, but if you’re planning award travel to South America you probably want to look at the specific award chart for the program you’re interested in so you know which zone your destination country is in.

Business Class to Central and South America

Airline ProgramMiles Required - BusinessTransfer Partners
Air Canada AeroplanCentral America: 30,000
Northern South America: 37,500
Southern South America: 47,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Air France FlyingBlueCentral America: 30,000
Northern South America: 43,750
Southern South America: 62,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Citi ThankYou Points
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAeromexico: 35,000 - 45,000
American: 30,000 - 50,000
Delta: 60,000 - 125,000*
LAN: 45,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alitalia MilemigliaCentral America: 60,000*
Northern South America: 60,000
Southern South America: 75,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantageCentral America & South America 1: 27,500 - 30,000
South America 2: 57,500
Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMilesNorth of Central America: 36,000
South of Central America: 36,0000
North of South America: 40,000
South of South America: 60,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance BasedAmerican Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Delta SkyMilesCentral America: ~30,000
Northern South America: ~45,000
Southern South America: ~62,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Korean Air SkyPassKorean only: 52,500
Latin America 1 SkyTeam partners: 75,000*
Latin America 2 SkyTeam partners: 110,000*
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & MoreCentral America: 30,000
South America: 52,500
Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerCentral America: 30,000
South America: 50,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusCentral America: 30,000
Northern South America: 35,000
Southern South America: 55,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards

LAN-Business-Class
LAN business class 767-300

First Class to Central and South America

Airline ProgramMiles Required - FirstTransfer Partners
Air Canada AeroplanCentral America: 42,500
Northern South America: 52,500
Southern South America: 67,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAmerican: 80,000 - 125,000 Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantageCentral America & South America 1: 52,500 -55,000
South America 2: 85,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
ANA Mileage ClubDistance Based
90,000-140,000*
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMilesNorth of Central America: 46,000
South of Central America: 46,000
North of South America: 50,000
South of South America: 70,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance Based
~75,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Korean Air SkyPassKorean only: 70,000Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & MoreCentral America:42,500
South America: 85,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerCentral America:40,000
South America: 70,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusCentral America: 40,000
Northern South America: 45,000
Southern South America: 70,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards

American-First-Class
American first class 777-300ER

In general, unless you’re redeeming Korean Air SkyPass miles for travel in Korean First, I’d probably stick to business class here.

I’m typically a huge advocate for first over business given the low mileage premium for the upgraded product, but the vast majority of the aircraft flying to South America don’t offer a first class to begin with. So it’s probably not worth dealing with the reduced availability and frequencies in this case.

The Middle East, Africa, and Indian Subcontinent

This is another region where there is a wide range of geographical definitions, particularly as many mileage programs seem to have rather arbitrary ways of dividing Africa.

In general, when redeeming miles for travel to India or Africa I like to look at routing through Europe or the Middle East whenever possible. You’ll make some additional connections, but will generally get a better product in exchange.

Business Class to the Middle East, Africa, and Indian Subcontinent

Airline ProgramMiles Required - BusinessTransfer Partners
Air Canada AeroplanMiddle East & North Africa: 82,500
East, West, & South Africa: 75,000
India: 75,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Air France FlyingBlue100,000 American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Citi ThankYou Points
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAir France: 70,000
British Airways: 70,000
Cathay Pacific: 62,500
Delta: 140,000
Delta South Africa: 160,000*
Emirates India/Middle East: 82,500
Emirates Africa: 120,000
Korean India/Middle East: 140,000*
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alitalia MilemigliaIndia/Middle East: 120,000*
North Africa: 80,000*
Central/Southern Africa: 120,000*
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantageAfrica: 75,000
India/Middle East: 70,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMilesSouth Africa: 78,000
North Africa: India/Middle East: 78,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance BasedAmerican Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Delta SkyMilesAfrica/India/Middle East: ~70,000
South Africa: ~80,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Korean Air SkyPassPartners: 120,000* Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & MoreMiddle East/North & Central Africa: 67,500
Southern Africa/India: 92,500
Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerAfrica/Middle East on Singapore: 80,750
West Coast to India on Singapore: 76,500
East Coast to India on Singapore: 87,125
Middle East/North Africa on Partners: 57,500
Central/South Africa on Partners: 72,500
India on Partners: 97,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusUnited: 70,000
Partners: 80,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Virgin AtlanticMiddle East/North Africa: 80,000
India/South Africa: 90,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest

IMG_0946
Etihad business class A330-300

First Class to the Middle East, Africa, and Indian Subcontinent

Airline ProgramMiles Required - FirstTransfer Partners
Air Canada AeroplanMiddle East & North Africa: 115,000
East, West, & South Africa/ India: 105,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanBritish Airways: 80,000
Cathay Pacific: 70,000
Emirates India/Middle East: 150,000
Emirates Africa: 200,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantageAfrica: 120,000
India/Middle East: 115,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
ANA Mileage ClubDistance Based
Varies
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMilesMiddle East/Africa: 105,000
India: 111,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance BasedAmerican Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Korean Air SkyPassPartners: 120,000* Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & MoreMiddle East/North & Central Africa:105,000
Southern Africa/India: 145,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerAfrica/Middle East on Singapore: 110,500
West Coast to India on Singapore: 106,250
East Coast to India on Singapore: 112,625
Middle East/North Africa on Partners: 75,000
Central/South Africa on Partners: 110,000
India on Partners: 132,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusAfrica on United: 85,000
Middle East/India on United: 90,000
Africa on Partners: 130,000
Middle East/India on Partners: 140,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards

Emirates-First-Class
Emirates first class A380

For business class, United offers a great value to these regions. You won’t pay any fuel surcharges, and can have open-jaws and a stopover on a round-trip itinerary. Combined with the sheer numbers of Star Alliance partners, there are possibilities for great redemptions. US Airways is another good option, but watch out for transatlantic flights on British Airways, as the fuel surcharges can add up quickly.

First class is a bit trickier, as there really aren’t many “sweet spots” on the award charts for this region. I do like redeeming American AAdvantage miles here, given they partner with Etihad, Qatar, and Jet Airways. Alaska is also a good choice for awards on Emirates or Cathay Pacific.

Asia

I love traveling to Asia, and have probably redeemed more of my own miles to various places in Asia than to anywhere else. Keep in mind many programs will allow you to route from the US to Asia via Europe as well, which can be a great way to maximize your miles.

Business Class to Asia

Airline ProgramMiles Required - BusinessTransfer Partners
Air Canada AeroplanAsia 1: 75,000
Asia 2: 77,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Air France FlyingBlue 100,000American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Citi ThankYou Points
Alitalia MilemigliaNorthern Asia: 90,000*
Southeast Asia: 95,000
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAmerican Japan/Korea: 50,000
American China: 55,000
Cathay Pacific: 50,000
Delta: 140,000*
Emirates: 105,000
Korean to North Asia: 105,000*
Korean to Southeast Asia: 120,000*
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantageAsia 1: 60,000
Asia 2: 70,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMilesNorth Asia: 75,000
South/Central Asia: 78,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance BasedAmerican Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Delta SkyMiles~70,000 American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
EVA Air Infinity MileageLandsNorth Asia: 87,500
South/Central Asia: 97,500
Citi ThankYou Points
Korean Air SkyPassKorea/China/Japan on Korean: 62,500
Southeast Asia on Korean: 75,000
Southwest Asia on Korean: 85,000
Northeast Asia on Partners: 140,000*
Southeast Asia on Partners: 155,000*
Southwest Asia on Partners: 170,000*
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & More67,500Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerWest coast to Southeast Asia on Singapore: 68,000
East coast to Southeast Asia on Singapore: 72,250
West coast to South China: on Singapore: 63,750
East coast to South China: on Singapore: 78,625
East coast to North China: on Singapore: 87,125
West coast to Japan/Korea: on Singapore: 65,875
East coast to Japan/Korea on Singapore: 89,250
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusUnited Japan: 65,000
United Central/South/North Asia: 70,000
Partners Japan: 75,000
Partners Central/South/North Asia: 80,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Virgin Atlantic 90,000 - 110,000 American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest

EVA-Air-Business-Class
EVA Air business class 777-300ER

First Class to Asia

Airline ProgramMiles Required - FirstTransfer Partners
Air Canada AeroplanAsia 1: 105,000
Asia 2: 107,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAmerican Japan/Korea: 62,500
American China: 67,500
Cathay Pacific: 70,000
Emirates: 180,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantageAsia 1: 80,000
Asia 2: 110,00
Starwood Preferred Guest
ANA Mileage ClubDistance Based
Varies
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMilesNorth Asia: 90,000
South Asia: 99,000
Central Asia: 111,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance BasedAmerican Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
EVA Air Infinity MileageLandsNorth Asia: 105,000
South East Asia: 112,500
Central/South Asia: 145,000
Citi ThankYou Points
Korean Air SkyPassKorea/China/Japan on Korean: 80,000
Southeast Asia on Korean: 95,000
Southwest Asia on Korean: 105,000
Northeast Asia on Partners: 180,000*
Southeast Asia on Partners: 200,000*
Southwest Asia on Partners: 230,000*
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & More105,000Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerWest coast to Southeast Asia on Singapore: 91,375
East coast to Southeast Asia on Singapore: 93,500
West coast to South China: on Singapore: 70,125
East coast to South China: on Singapore: 104,125
East coast to North China: on Singapore: 112,625
West coast to Japan/Korea: on Singapore: 74,375
East coast to Japan/Korea on Singapore: 116,875
Southeast Asia on Partners: 225,000*
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusUnited Japan/North Asia/South Asia: 80,000
United Central Asia: 90,000
Partners Japan: 110,000
Partners North Asia: 120,000
Partners South Asia: 130,000
Partners Central Asia: 140,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards

Korean-Air-First-Class
Korean Air first class A380

There are so many good business class redemption opportunities here it’s hard to pick a favorite. There is a bit of a balance between things like stopovers and fuel surcharges, but for the most part I think most of the business class prices are pretty reasonable, so it’s hard to go wrong here.

For first class, however, there are some standouts. Korean Air and Singapore Airlines offer fantastic value when booking through their respective programs, particularly as the only way to redeem for first class is through their native mileage programs.

Alaska, American, and US Airways have great rates for first class travel on Cathay Pacific, which is one of my favorite products, and there are pros and cons to each program. American, for example, doesn’t allow stopovers, while domestic connections on an Alaska award can be tricky — particularly if you don’t live in a city served by Alaska. And US Airways is US Airways. ;p

Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania

Award travel to the South Pacific is complicated — there isn’t a ton of capacity compared to other regions, and availability is generally poor on the few direct routes between North America and Australia. Given that, my favorite programs are the ones that allow you to route via Asia, as that expands options dramatically and gives you access to better products as well.

Business Class to Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania

Airline ProgramMiles Required - BusinessTransfer Partners
Air Canada Aeroplan80,000 American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Air France FlyingBlue 120,000American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Citi ThankYou Points
Alitalia Milemiglia150,000*American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAir France to Tahiti: 60,000
Cathay Pacific: 60,000
Delta: 160,000*
Fiji Airways: 55,000
Korean Air: 125,000
Qantas: 55,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantage80,000Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMiles80,000
British Airways Executive ClubDistance BasedAmerican Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Delta SkyMiles~80,000 American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands97,500Citi ThankYou Points
Korean Air SkyPassKorean: 97,500
Partners: 185,000*
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & More92,500Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerWest coast to West Australia on Singapore: 80,750
East coast to West Australia on Singapore: 87,125
West coast to East Australia /New Zealand on Singapore: 85,000
East coast to East Australia /New Zealand on Singapore: 91,375
Partners: 97,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusUnited: 70,000
Partners: 80,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards

IMG_2274
Virgin Australia business class 777-300ER

First Class to Asia Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania

Airline ProgramMiles Required - FirstTransfer Partners
Air Canada Aeroplan110,000American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanCathay Pacific: 80,000
Qantas: 70,000
Starwood Preferred Guest
American Airlines AAdvantage110,000Starwood Preferred Guest
ANA Mileage ClubDistance Based
Varies
American Express Membership Rewards
Starwood Preferred Guest
Avianca LifeMiles92,500
British Airways Executive ClubDistance BasedAmerican Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands145,000Citi ThankYou Points
Korean Air SkyPassKorean: 120,000
Partners: 260,000*
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Lufthansa Miles & More145,000Starwood Preferred Guest
Singapore KrisFlyerWest coast to West Australia on Singapore: 114,750
East coast to West Australia on Singapore: 112,625
West coast to East Australia /New Zealand on Singapore: 119,000
East coast to East Australia /New Zealand on Singapore: 116,875
Partners: 127,500
American Express Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Citi ThankYou Points
Starwood Preferred Guest
United Mileage PlusUnited: 80,000
Partners: 130,000
Chase Ultimate Rewards

Qantas-First-Class
Qantas first class A380

For business class, Delta, US Airways and United offer some of the best values, in my opinion. Both US Airways and United will allow you to route via Asia, and don’t levy fuel surcharges. Delta will allow routing via Asia as well, but more importantly they partner with Virgin Australia, which actually releases award space on routes to the US.

For first class, Alaska and US Airways have great charts for travel on Cathay Pacific. Singapore and Korean have good rates for travel on their own metal as well, so that’s another good option.

Bottom Line

Obviously award availability is going to be the determining factor in many cases, but hopefully this gives you a general idea of how many miles you’ll need as you’re building up your balances.

Comments

  1. Great summary. Really appreciate this. Any chance you plan on keeping it updated as changes come and go? If so I can see myself referring to it quite often

  2. Good stuff. Nice post.

    Can you add or do you have same list for USA->Hawaii, that would be interesting to compate. Also the Oceania routes show Alaska miles in Business on a bunch of carriers but not so much in First. Is that because of the aircraft, limits on awards or routes?

  3. Great post and extremely useful for those living in/travelling to the US. I just wish we had a UK travel blog that’s more than a 1/10th as useful as yours Lucky!

  4. Now if you could post one on availability … because if a flight costs 1000 miles, its no good if there’s no space!

  5. Fantastic reporting! These charts help me out great in planning where to go and deciding which miles to earn! Thanks!

  6. Thank you for compiling this altogether in on place! If possible could you also add an economy section for us mileage newbie family guys trying to shuttle four people around?

  7. @ DaninMCI — That’s because Alaska has a lot of partners which either don’t have a first class cabin, or on which you can’t redeem Alaska miles for first class.

  8. It would be great to do this same comparison for economy travel as well. As much as I would love to fly business or first class, the allure of getting 2 trips for the same amount of miles is too great to turn down 🙂

  9. Hi Ben,

    Your blog is absolutely fantastic. Keep up the good work!

    If I want to fly SQ from JFK-FRA-SIN-BKK in 1st how do I book it on the Singapore Airlines website.?Since the segment from SIN-BKK is in business when I run the search it says the itinerary is only available in business. How did I get around this so the rest of the itinerary is is 1st and only the last segment is in business?

    Thanks!

  10. @ LUCKY:

    Very very great post and info! We can always refer to this and it’s also very useful for people who always have questions pertaining to this in the Ask Lucky section.
    Would you please compile a ultimate guide for tips/tricks on searching and booking award availability for each of the above? Since I notice that a lot of people ask about this too in Ask Lucky section, so it would be useful and helpful for them and for you too, when there are new people asking about this question you can always give the link to this ultimate guide on how to search and book the award availability so they can read, learn and be informed about it (including me too!) 🙂

  11. Nice detailed information.

    But in the real world, utterly useless. And – frankly – dishonest.

    Redemption levels mean NOTHING. What matters is availability. Sure, in THEORY you can go from X to Y on airline Z for N miles. Whoopdie-fracking-doo. Go try and get seats for you and your family on that route, and you will usually find that the detailed info presented above is completely meaningless.

    Of course, you can’t tell the rubes that – it would eat into your credit card referral fees.

  12. @ Taylor — Yup, taking hours on end to compile a dozen charts of redemption rates is both useless and dishonest. You got me!

  13. Lucky,

    Just a bit of idea here…..can you please add additional column for additional info on stop over, open jaws, and fuel surcharges. So for example, in your chart you already have column for: Airline program, Miles Required, Transfer Partners……and then maybe add additional columns for “Stop Over” (can simply marked each airline by “yes/(qty of stop over allowed)” like “yes/2” , “Open Jaws” (same like the “stop over” section). And also “Fuel Surcharges” (high/low/no charges, etc.). This will be helpful for many to maximize and stretch the miles and points for travel and whenever someone ask you about this you can give the link to refer on it , and we can also bookmark this for our future reference.

  14. What a great compilation! Thanks. One thing that struck me is the Korean 120k in both business and first to India. This offer seems too good to be true. Any details? I didn’t even see India on the award chart, but have to admit to being intrigued.

  15. Really helpful post Lucky! Especially for helping beginners.

    You did mention that many programs will allow you to route from the US to Asia through Europe – other than US Airways, which programs let you do that?

  16. Thank you, Ben, this is invaluable. bookmarked. Quick question – I see offeres from LH for reduced miles flight to various places in EU but not yet from SFO. Ever noticed deals from there? Cheers.

  17. So, in many ways Alaskan and AA miles are move valuable (low cost) than I realized (I have been a *A guy). How difficult is it to book a flight to say SE Asia, Oz or Tahiti last minute. Tahiti is definitely a destination that I really want to visit. My travel schedule is mostly booked in the under 3 month window. Cheers, again!

  18. So super awesome! Thanks bunches.
    BTW, does your travel service only help arrange trips when people know where they are going? I have some general ideas for my first aspirational trip, some places I’d like to see, planes I’d like to fly, etc., and I’ve accrued a fair number of miles and points. I’m looking for someone who can (for a fee, of course) help me come up with some ideas. No time-frame, but aiming for Fall, 2015.

  19. Ben, let’s say you have Chase Ultimate Rewards – would you rather convert your points to Singapore or United? I have been collecting miles/points mainly through United for the past few years. My destinations are mostly SE Asia or Europe. I like United miles due to me living in the Midwest close to United hub in Chicago and can fly pretty much anywhere from here. However, you can’t really get award seats from better Staralliance partners such as Lufthansa, Swiss, Singapore through United anymore. Your chart also shows less miles needed for SG seats. What would you do?

  20. Agreed that as helpful as the list is, the availability is what needs to be kept in mind. Can you make a post on which routes actually have the best availability?

  21. @ TC — It all depends what exactly you want to do, but in general I prefer Singapore KrisFlyer miles. You can easily redeem miles for Singapore premium cabins when booking through them, which isn’t possible through United.

  22. @ Amanda — I’ll see what I can do. Compiling these lists is really time consuming and don’t have time for it this weekend, but will try to when I have a chance. Thanks for the feedback!

  23. @ Lucky : THANKS!!! Sure, when you get a chance! Understand that it took a lot of effort and time…we always really appreciate your hard work and posts, they are super helpful and we can bookmark it for reference!! This is why I love your blog and it’s a must on my daily reading!

  24. Hi Lucky,

    Just wanted to add a note to say Thank you for compiling this list. I’m sure it took you a gazillion hours to put it together and I appreciate the work. Even though it may be tough for the rest of us to actually book the seats due to availability (as some have noted but expressed in a less complimentary way), nonetheless it serves as a starting point in our journey (of discovery!). If nothing else, it lets us dream a little. 🙂

    Once again, your efforts are deeply appreciated and please keep up the good work!

  25. Ben, I never got a response for my earlier question. If you just either don’t know or don’t have the time to research it, that’s ok, but I’d love to know how to use the Korean 120K round trip in first to India award. even without a solid answer, this is a great piece of work. Thanks again.

  26. @ Christian — That’s the one-way cost, not the roundtrip (though you have to book a roundtrip if flying partners, so it’s 240K roundtrip). You could fly Saudia.

  27. @ Lucky – super useful chart, thank you! Quick idea — what about an FAQ-type of section to ease amount of type you have to respond to emails/Ask Lucky? I am sure you could hire someone to go through Ask Lucky section (perhaps last year or so), come up with frequent Q&As and then the only thing left for you would be to review it.

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