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Gulf Air is set to be the newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner operator, featuring a rather amazing business class product. The airline’s version of the 789 Dreamliner is arranged 2-2-2 with Apex Suites seating.

The Bahrain-based airline announced that the launch of this new aircraft would be on June 15 between Bahrain (BAH) and London’s Heathrow (LHR). But, according to Routes Online, that inaugural has been moved up almost a month and changed to a new route. The new inaugural is set for Bahrain (BAH) to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on May 16, 2018.

Passengers already booked on those BAH-CDG flights are in for a treat. Instead of an Airbus A320 with older angle-flat seats, they’re going to get an excellent new lie-flat business class product:

For those of us not booked on this flight (yet), there’s good news. Switching from a 14-seat A320 business class cabin to a 26-seat business class cabin just days before the inaugural means that there’s empty space. And Gulf Air has opened up award availability to fill those empty seats.

Unfortunately, the easiest way of booking Gulf Air awards just ended. As of April 30, American Airlines AAdvantage no longer partners with Gulf Air.

As far as I can tell, that leaves just one major airline mileage program for you to book Gulf Air awards: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. For the 2,996-mile direct flight between Bahrain (BAH) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Gulf Air awards cost:

  • Economy, one-way: 25,000 miles
  • Business, one-way: 45,000 miles
  • Economy, round-trip: 45,000 miles
  • Business, round-trip: 80,000 miles

If you don’t have Asia Miles in your account, you’ve got options. Three transferable point currencies can be converted into Asia Miles at a 1:1 ratio: American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and Starwood Starpoints. The normal SPG 5,000-mile bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred applies.

However, time is of the essence here so it’s important to know how long miles take to transfer. In TPG testing, Citi ThankYou Points take less than 24 hours to transfer. Amex Membership Rewards take about 48 hours. Transferred Starpoints take 3 days to reach Asia Miles.

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