In the past several days I’ve written about the best first and business class mileage redemptions originating in the US, as well as the best economy class mileage redemptions originating in the US.
I figured I’d write a third part of the series, specifically about the best first and business class mileage redemptions originating outside the US. To make this content new I won’t include redemptions to the US, since all of the redemptions I listed from the US can also be flown in reverse.
As I’ve prefaced both of the previous installments, it goes without saying that a good value for your points is one that gets you to a place you want to go, so there are no “absolute” best redemptions. But I figured I’d share some really, really good deals.
63,750 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class between Hong Kong and Australia
Singapore’s A380 Suites Class is one of the most aspirational first class products out there. The biggest selling point of the product is that the center seats turn into a double bed, meaning two people can sleep together. The catch is that on their A380 routes out of the US they only release a single saver Suites Class seat per flight.
However, on their routes to Australia they often release two seats per flight. If you’re originating in Hong Kong you can fly the A380 from Hong Kong to Singapore, use The Private Room during your layover, and then connect in Suites Class from Singapore to Sydney or Melbourne. The total one-way cost per passenger is 63,750 KrisFlyer miles, accounting for the 15% online booking discount. The taxes and fuel surcharges are also extremely reasonable, at ~$240USD.
45,000 American AAdvantage miles for Qantas A380 first class between Asia and Australia
Qantas A380 first class between the US and Australia is one of the two toughest award tickets to snag, though availability is a bit easier to come by on their routes to Asia. For example, Qantas flies the A380 between Sydney and Hong Kong on most dates, and several dates have nonstop first class award availability for next August/September:
Qantas A380 first class is a spectacular product, and it’s tough to beat 45,000 AAdvantage miles (without any fuel surcharges) for a a first class flight of this length.
30,000 American AAdvantage miles for business class between Europe and the Middle East
There are quite a few options for redeeming American AAdvantage miles for travel between Europe and the Middle East. The most tempting are:
- Qantas on the A380 between London and Dubai
- Etihad Airways
- Qatar Airways, now that they’re in OneWorld
Alternatively, first class costs just 40,000 AAdvantage miles, which is also a good use of frequent flyer miles. Qantas offers a first class product on their London flight, Etihad offers a first class product on several flights out of Europe, and Qatar offers a first class product on all their Paris flights and select London flights.
30,000 US Airways Dividend Miles for business class between Australia and Guam
US Airways has a pretty quirky award chart, and one of those quirks is that Guam is considered to be in the South Pacific. An award within the South Pacific region costs just 30,000 miles roundtrip in business class. The “catch” is that the only Star Alliance airlines that fly to Guam somewhat directly from Australia are Asiana through Seoul Incheon, EVA Air through Taipei, and United through Tokyo Narita.
You get the idea…
100,000 US Airways Dividend Miles for first class between Europe and North Asia
The biggest “sweet spot” on US Airways’ award chart originating in the US is for travel to North Asia, which costs just 90,000 miles in business class. Meanwhile I think one of the best values for travel originating outside the US is for travel between Europe and North Asia, which costs just 80,000 miles in business class or 100,000 miles in first class.
Typically US Airways will let you route via South Asia enroute to North Asia, so for 100,000 miles you could potentially fly something like Frankfurt to Bangkok to Tokyo Narita, in A380 first class the entire way.
85,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for business class between Hong Kong and Europe
I love Alaska’s Mileage Plan program, though one of the major downsides is that they only publish awards for certain regions. Given that they’re a fairly small US airline, it’s not surprising that their chart is pretty US-centric, meaning many of the best redemptions are only available for travel to/from the US.
Alaska does publish an award chart for travel on Cathay Pacific between Europe and Hong Kong, and the rates are quite good at 42,500 Mileage Plan miles one way.
The thing that especially makes this worth mentioning is that unlike other airlines Alaska doesn’t limit the number of miles you can purchase through a promotion. They’re presently offering up to a 35% bonus on the purchase of miles, which means you can purchase miles for less than 2.2 cents each. That means a one-way business class award ticket between Europe and Asia would run you ~$930, which is pretty tough to beat.
85,000 Japan Airlines MileageBank miles for roundtrip business class between Europe and Asia
Japan Airlines is transfer partners with Starwood Preferred Guest, and has a distance-based award chart for travel on Emirates. They charge just 85,000 miles for up to 14,000 miles of travel on Emirates in business class.
Flying Munich > Dubai > Hong Kong > Bangkok > Dubai > Munich (which can be flown on the A380 the entire way) is just 13,461 miles, so could be done for just 85,000 miles. You’d get chauffeur service at each stop along the way, and would be allowed one stopover of more than 24 hours in addition to your destination.
Keep in mind that Starpoints transfer to Japan Airlines at a 1:1 ratio, and for every 20,000 points transferred you get a 5,000 point bonus. That means you really only need 70,000 Starpoints for such a redemption.
130,000 American AAdvantage miles for a zone 6 business class distance based OneWorld Explorer Award
While I also mentioned this award in the post about first and business class redemptions originating in the US, it’s equally applicable for travel from other regions.
I recently covered the basics of OneWorld Explorer awards, which are American’s distance-based awards. One of the most compelling values on the chart is for zone 6, whereby you fly up to 20,000 miles in business class for 130,000 AAdvantage miles. You can fly up to 16 segments and make as many stopovers as you’d like.
20,000 flown miles will cover you from Europe to the Middle East and over much of Asia, just to give an example. You could fly Frankfurt > Doha > Tokyo > Seoul > Hong Kong > Bangkok > Singapore > Doha and back to Frankfurt, with stops at each city. And that’s only ~18,700 miles, meaning you’d have an extra 1,300 miles to spare.
What are some of your favorite premium cabin award redemptions for travel originating outside the US?