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The 5 best business-class seats for traveling solo

Sept. 15, 2021
8 min read
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Airlines have been getting increasingly innovative with their business-class products over the last several years. Business-class seats have become more luxurious and more private across the board. Gone are angled lie-flat seats and eight-across, “dorm-style” business-class cabins. Fully flat beds, direct aisle access and some form of storage are the norm nowadays for long-haul aircraft. Plus, many business-class products even offer closing doors for additional privacy.

Still, some seats are better than others, and some are better suited for certain types of travelers. Many airlines offer "honeymoon-style" seats which are ideal for couples. There are also some seats that are better for tall people.

In light of solo travel week at TPG, today we're going to look at the best business-class seats for solo travelers — think seats with maximum privacy. We'll focus on ones regularly found on flights out of the U.S. and only consider the "hard product," so not things like food and service.

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ANA’s The Room business class

The Room seat. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Shortly before the pandemic started, ANA quietly began rolling out new premium cabins on select Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. In addition to an updated first-class cabin dubbed The Suite, ANA launched a new business class called The Room. It's an incredible product too — in fact, TPG’s Zach Griff said it sets the gold standard for the industry in a recent review.

Aside from closing doors that provide excellent privacy, it's the most spacious business-class seat in the sky. It's 38 inches wide, which is wider than many first-class seats.

Related: How to travel solo — and why you absolutely should

Where to find it: Select Boeing 777-300ERs flying from Tokyo (HND) to cities like New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX).

How to book: Business-class awards start at just 75,000 miles round-trip through ANA Mileage Club during the low season. If you're looking to book one-way, you can book with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club from 45,000 miles each way. Other programs to consider include Avianca LifeMiles and Air Canada Aeroplan.

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Qatar Airways Qsuite

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Another favorite among the TPG team is Qatar's Qsuite, found on most of the airline's U.S. routes.

This was the first suite-style business-class seat with closing doors. And despite being first to market, it remains one of the best business-class products today. All seats provide a good amount of privacy but solo travelers will want to select window seats in odd-numbered rows.

These are rear-facing seats, flush against the window, and offer more privacy than those against the aisle. If you prefer the center section of the cabin, you'll want to select an even-numbered row. This is because seats in odd-numbered rows are the honeymoon-style seats that convert into a "double bed." All of the seats offer stylish finishes, large screens for inflight entertainment and plenty of storage.

Related: What are the differences between business class and first class?

Where to find it: Select Boeing 777-200LRs, 777-300ERs, Airbus A350-900s and all A350-1000s, on flights from Doha, Qatar (DOH), to cities like New York (JFK), Seattle (SEA), Miami (MIA), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and others.

How to book: The best way to book these awards is through American Airlines AAdvantage, which charges just 70,000 miles for a one-way business-class flight to Doha (DOH) or the Indian subcontinent (including the Maldives). You could also connect to anywhere in Africa for just 5,000 miles more.

JetBlue Mint Suite

A Mint mini-suite. (Photo by Benji Stawski/TPG)

Aside from the new A321LRs flying to London (which offer even better seats), JetBlue offers a consistent business-class cabin across its Mint-equipped fleet.

There are 16 Mint seats spread across five rows, with each row alternating between a 2-2 configuration (odd-numbered rows) and 1-1 configuration (even-numbered rows). Solo travelers should select the even-numbered suite-style seats as they have two large tables and a sliding door for privacy.

Regardless of which row you end up in, your seat will have a massage function, power outlet, USB port and seatback entertainment.

Related: The best premium cabin seats in the US and how to book them

Where to find it: Select A321s on a growing number of transcontinental routes and some to the Caribbean and Central America.

How to book: With paid fares starting as low as $300 each way, paying cash is often your best bet. However, you can also redeem JetBlue TrueBlue points for a Mint award at a rate of about 1 cent per point. Alternatively, you may be able to get decent value booking JetBlue Mint with Emirates miles. Awards to the Caribbean cost 40,000 Skywards miles while cross-country flights will set you back 52,000 miles.

Delta One suites

Delta One on the A350. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Delta stands out from the other big three legacy U.S. carriers for being the only one to offer fully enclosed business-class suites.

You can find these private suites on its Airbus A350s and A330-900neos flying to select Asian and European destinations. Plus, you'll occasionally find them on some domestic routes.

Although the cabin is arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, all of the seats offer an equal amount of privacy. The suites have 18-inch, high-resolution screens for inflight entertainment, high-powered USB ports, universal power outlets and ample counter space.

Where to find it: All Airbus A350s and A330-900neos, which are normally found on long-haul flights to Asia and Europe.

How to book: While you could book your awards directly through Delta SkyMiles, if there's saver-level availability, you can sometimes save a ton of points by booking through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Just to give you an idea, nonstop Delta One awards to Europe cost a flat 50,000 miles each way, while those to Asia will set you back at least 105,000 miles, depending on the distance. Another perk is that Virgin Atlantic is a partner of several transferable points programs.

Related: How to save thousands of miles on Delta One awards to Europe

United Polaris

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

United now offers its true Polaris business-class cabins on almost all long-haul aircraft.

The seats are fairly spacious, offer direct aisle access and feature some classy touches like a lamp, a marble-like side table and a cabinet with a mirror.

More importantly, they are quite private, despite not having closing doors. That said, some of the seats are better for solo travelers than others. Specifically, you'll want to pick an odd-numbered window seat (A or L). These seats are closer to the window and offer much more privacy than the even-row window seats.

Related: Everything you need to know about United Polaris business class

Where to find it: All Boeing 777-300ERs (also referred to as 77Ws), internationally equipped 777-200ERs, 787-10s and 787-8s. United is also in the process of retrofitting its 787-9s with the new seats.

How to book: With United no longer publishing award charts, you'll usually be best off booking your Polaris flights through one of United’s partners like Avianca LifeMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan. For instance, LifeMiles charges 63,000 miles for business-class awards from the U.S. to Europe, while United might charge double that.

Bottom line

If you're a solo traveler redeeming your points, miles or even dollars on a business-class ticket, you'll want to make sure you're booking the most comfortable experience possible. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with some tips and inspiration on how to do exactly that.

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more