Best First And Business Cabin Mileage Award Tickets (Originating Outside The US)

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:

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?


  1. Let me add the Aegean Miles & Bonus award from Khabarovsk (yes in the middle of Siberia) to Male (Maldives) in Business Class for 42,000 miles Round Trip (or 21,000 miles one-way).

  2. With those 45k AA miles, you can start anywhere in China – like PEK-HKG on CX’s 747 in F – and connect to the QF flight on to Sydney. If you wanted to start in Japan, 55k UA miles will get you two legs Thai/F with spa time in between. Another UA bargain is 60k from Africa to Japan. You can do JNB-FRA-NRT all LH/F, although very little availability.

  3. Booked MEL-SYD-HKG-BKK for 45k AA miles, with miscalculated airport taxes of just $38.10… Don’t know how AA misprices it 😀 but well, it’s through the booking engine!

    Also, CA runs SYD-PEK, SYD-PVG-PEK and MEL-PVG-PEK for the US Airways 30k roundtrip hacks to GUM/SPN (not sure how they’d classify ROR!)

  4. One of my favourites is 30K Dividend Miles for Roundtrip in Business in South America, and because of what we all know about their agents, we can say it includes Central America and of course stopovers and open jaws.
    My second favourite is 20K AA Miles for travel within Europe in Business and 10k in Couch. This would not be in comfortable Premium cabins but its super funny how you can basically go from TFN to VVO for that price and be just 7500 Avios away from NRT.
    I have many more, but I kinda don’t think I should tell.

  5. Until 2/1/2014, UA’s South Asia award in C for 35K.

    HKG-SIN-DPS(destination)//CGK-BKK-CNX-(stop)-BKK-MNL is a legal itinerary on that award…

  6. @lucky, you are correct, I was shopping the JNB-SIN-BKK route at Business class, but I think at 38250 Krisflyer and ~$300 taxes is a very nice redemption in my book.

  7. If one wanted to do the 63.5k Krisflyer Suites HKG-SIN-MEL/SYD (and rt.) award can you stop in SIN to visit the city or can you only transit?

  8. GUM also flies to lots of other cities in JPN including FUK, NGO, KIX, and also HKG, MNL. Making it the sweetest for these 30k redemptions =)

  9. Smiles from GOL has a very generous award chart.
    75k roundtrip business class from South America do North America with Delta Airlines
    60k roundtrip first class between Europa and Middle East with Qatar Airways.
    60k roundtrip business class from North America to Europe with Delta, Air France, KLM or Iberia.

  10. 40K UA miles for a roundtrip in business from Japan to the South Pacific. Took advantage of this little gem a year or two back to fly NRT-SIN-SYD-RAR//RAR-AKL-HKG-NRT… all in business (SQ,NZ,NH).

  11. @ Lucky – could you tell me what is my best bet – in terms of which award miles to purchase – to travel r/t from Singapore – Tokyo – Orlando – LA – Singapore?

  12. Thanks for this. I live in Vienna (Austria, not Virginia), so any and all posts about award travel originating outside North America are much appreciated.

  13. 90k US Air miles from South America to South Asia in business class, with a stopover in North America or Europe (or South Africa possibly).

  14. Lucky – if I were to book in F now with one of the flights in J, will AA charge me a fee to switch from J to F on that flight when the F seat becomes available? I saw this on AA dot com, so I am guessing the redeposit and reticket applies but not sure: “Changes to the itinerary which involve different AAdvantage award(s) than originally ticketed require a reinstatement of the original award ticket, payment of the applicable award reinstatement charge”

  15. I have 6 tix in economy for 25k round trip each. From china to Bali. I’m will have a layover for night in Taipei. Used UA points

  16. Lucky (or anyone else)-

    Ever have any problems from Australia (or other S. Pacific) to Guam thru SE Asia with a stopover?

    US Airways agents (get something new with them everytime I call) keep trying to tell me that if I do a stopover in SE Asia on the way to Guam, it will price at the S. Pacific to SE Asia price (90,000 in biz instead of the 30,000 in biz for Perth to Guam)

    My itinerary is PER-BKK-TPE-GUM-TPE-SIN-PER.
    Stopover for 10 days in BKK, less than 24 in TPE both times and 5 days in GUM.

    Any suggestions?

  17. @ Cody — Yep, the agent is technically correct, as we don’t get it both ways per the rules. If you want it to price as an award within a region a stopover isn’t allowed, since US Airways only allows stopovers on awards between regions.

  18. Their explanations:

    1) No stopover if you are transiting the same region. Since I’m S. Pacific to S. Pacific that means no stopover

    2) Their rules say my itinerary is PER-BKK (destination-TPE-GUM (stopover)-TPE-SIN-PER. rather than PER-BKK (stopover)-TPE-GUM (destination)-TPE-SIN-PER

    I’ve done 2 hang up call backs and they put me on hold for ~15-20 each time to go to the rate desk.

    Hope you can help with some advice…I have 6 biz class tickets on hold for the same itinerary across 3 different confirmation numbers (and 2 of the flights on the itinerary are Hello Kitty – my 4 kids will love it…TPE-GUM and GUM-TPE) and would love for this to price at 30,000 plus tax.

  19. @ Cody — The agents are correct, so you can call back a dozen times and hope you’ll find an agent that doesn’t know the rules, but if you want to do this for 30,000 miles you’ll have to axe the stopover unfortunately.

  20. Thanks for the replies. You are quick! You’re either in Asia/Australia (like me) or having trouble sleeping due to jetlag. I appreciate your advice.

  21. Should that price at 90k in biz or 60k in biz?

    Looking at the chart it looks like 90k R/T, but they are quoting me 60k.

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