Ever since we flew our first first-class flight a few weeks ago, I have been obsessed with figuring out the cheapest ways to fly in first class using miles and points. I’ll present my finding for the region-to-region routings where a first class redemption is cheap, and actually has a plane with first class that flies between those regions. I will not take into effect the boomerang concept I discussed a few days ago. These will be the cheapest prices if you do not boomerang. I’ll break it down by the loyalty programs I have found these redemptions in. Here are the cheapest first class redemptions.
To fly first class between the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent and Asia 1/Asia 2 costs 50,000 miles. That could be a lot of flying in first class! Problem is, not many of American’s partners fly a first-class plane between these regions. The only one I could find is Ethiad Airways flying between Abu Dhabi and Tokyo on an Airbus A340. This may be the best redemption on this entire list.
To fly first class between Asia 1/Asia 2 and the South Pacific is 60,000 miles, which is another great deal. The only partner I’ve found where this is possible is flying Japan Airlines between Tokyo and Sydney. This would be on a Boeing 777; be on the lookout for my review in the coming days!
To fly first class between Japan and Australia/New Zealand is 60,000 miles. There is no direct flight between these regions that you could use to make this work. There will be at least one connection. You could do Tokyo – Bangkok – Sydney with Thai Airways on an Airbus A380 or Boeing 747 to Bangkok and then a Boeing 747 to Sydney. Another option would be to do Tokyo – Singapore with All Nippon Airways on a Boeing 777 and then Singapore – Bangkok – Sydney with Thai Airways (the Singapore – Bangkok segment would “only” be in business class).
North America to Asia/Africa is 70,000 miles in first class while flying on Cathay Pacific. This can even include a stopover in Hong Kong! This is something I hope to book someday once I have more miles in my Alaska Account. The piece that certainly will be in first class is the Hong Kong to North America segment on a Boeing 777. You may be able to find a connection to somewhere else in Asia in first class, but most likely you will be in business class for that segment. The cities they serve with a first class cabin in North America are Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Boston.
Europe to Asia is 70,000 miles in first class while flying on Cathay Pacific. Cathay has a few routes to Europe. The cities they serve with a first class cabin are Paris, London, Rome, Milan, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Zurich. This would be on a Boeing 777. Not quite as much flying as the example above, but still a decent use of miles.
JAL (Japan Airlines)
JAL has a distance-based chart so this isn’t based on regions. One interesting flight I have found is first class on Emirates between New York and Milan. It would cost 60,000 miles one way or 100,000 miles round trip. This would be on an Airbus A380. I’ve always wanted to try the legendary Emirates first class and if I ever do, this may be how I do it.
Too many to mention in this post. Head over and read my in-depth post on Singapore airlines to learn more about this.
All redemptions are not created equally. If you want to fly first class most easily, then you still have to be strategic with how you use your points. These are the best redemptions I have found.
Have you found any other great cheap first class redemptions? I’d love to hear them!