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The past couple of years we’ve seen some consistently great business class fares. On one hand this makes miles less valuable for premium travel (since those tickets are often now fairly reasonably priced), but in many cases it opens up good new opportunities to redeem points as cash towards the cost of a ticket.
For those looking to go from the west coast to Asia, Air Canada has some great business class fares at the moment.
You can fly Air Canada business class roundtrip from Vancouver to Taipei for ~1,953USD roundtrip.
Meanwhile you can fly from Vancouver to Seoul Incheon for 2,074USD roundtrip.
These fares are valid for travel early September through the end of November, though in some cases there are great fares this spring as well. Summer is marginally more expensive. I recommend using ITA Matrix or Google Flights to look up these fares.
Both of these routes are operated by Air Canada’s 787s, which feature a great reverse herringbone product in business class.
Air Canada’s soft product is solid as well, with pretty good food, bedding, friendly/Canadian service, etc. Here’s a review I’ve written about Air Canada’s 787 business class from Vancouver to Toronto and also Toronto to Frankfurt.
If you’re booking this ticket and paying in cash, be sure you use a card that maximizes the points you can earn from the purchase, like The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers 5x points on airfare.
Another great option is to use Membership Rewards points in conjunction with The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. When you use the “Pay With Points” option for premium cabin tickets you get 35% of your redeemed points back.
In other words, the ~1950USD ticket from Vancouver to Taipei would cost you ~195,000 Membership Rewards points, but then you’d get 35% of them back, meaning that in the end it would cost you 126,750 Membership Rewards points (though you need to have all the points upfront).
On top of that, you’d earn miles for the ticket. Here’s a page that shows you the program with which you can earn miles for “P” class fares on Air Canada — you can earn as many as 200% of flown miles for some programs, like Aegean.
So if you value the miles you earn the same as Membership Rewards points, that means your real “out of pocket” would be 102,750 points (126,750 points minus the 24,000 miles you’d earn). That doesn’t even account for the value of any elite qualifying miles you earn.
You can potentially earn even more points if you have both The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, as I outlined in this post.
Hopefully some of you can take advantage of these great fares!
(Tip of the hat to Jimmy)