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Cleared for Takeoff: Miami to Singapore and Mumbai in business class

April 20, 2021
7 min read
Bird eyes view of Singapore City skyline in Singapore
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Cleared for Takeoff is a weekly series showing readers like you the best ways to book post-pandemic adventures using points and miles.

Reader Mark R. reached out to us recently for advice on booking an award ticket for next year. He's headed to Singapore, where he is taking a cruise to Mumbai. With a stash of AAdvantage miles and Citi ThankYou points, he wants to know the best option for premium cabin airfare.

I am planning a cruise next march from Singapore to Mumbai. I would like to use either my 550,000 AA miles or my 300,000 Thank you points or a combination if necessary. First or business class. Do you have any tips for getting the most out what I have now?
We will be flying out either Miami to Orlando. The cruise is in March of 2022 so the weather is good in either place. The cruise is with Crystal so I don't think it would be possible to use points, but what do I know! We will be sailing out of Singapore going to Mumbai where we plan on a 3-day side trip to Taj Majal before flying home. Thanks!! - Mark R.

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Current points stash

Mark currently has 550,000 AAdvantage miles and 300,000 Citi ThankYou points. That's more than enough for two round-trip business class tickets within the same frequent flyer program.

  • 550,000 AAdvantage miles
  • 300,000 Citi ThankYou points

Related: 4 easy strategies I use to earn over 500,000 points and miles a year

Airfare to Singapore

(Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

Route: MIA-SIN, BOM-MIA

Miles needed: 140,000 miles + $120.12 per person

Mark's best option is to redeem his AAdvantage miles for two one-way tickets. Why not an open-jaw? Because those price out at 150,500 miles round-trip rather than 140,000 when you book two one-way awards.

American Airlines partners with Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific, which offer terrific business-class products with plenty of availability. On the return flight from Mumbai, Mark can fly either Cathay Pacific or Etihad. He'll be redeeming the same number of miles. Booking this far in advance gives him the added advantage (no pun intended) of having access to lots of award space.

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AAdvantage miles might get devalued this year as travel demand picks up. So putting them to use on a trip like this is really ideal because he'll get to use his miles before they devalue while getting lots of value out of them. Citi ThankYou has 16 transfer partners, so there is no fear of devaluation and plenty of opportunities to put them to use in the future.

Related: Here’s how to get to Singapore using points and miles

How to book this award with points

The best thing about using his AAdvantage miles for this award to Singapore and Mumbai is that Mark can book these tickets online. The process is simple: Head to aa.com and type in the first segment of your trip (MIA-SIN) and check off the "redeem miles" box. I don't know Mark's precise travel dates, so I'm entering a random date in March 2022:

(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

On the search results page, you can filter your results by cabin class and redemption rate. Keep in mind that even though some awards price out as business class, they may contain multiple segments in economy. Be on the lookout for a message in orange that says, "The class of service you searched may not be available on one or more flights."

(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

I managed to find an all-business-class itinerary, with the first two segments operated by American Airlines and the last one in Cathay Pacific business class.

(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

Next, you'll need to hit the "login" button on the lower right side of the page and type in your AAdvantage credentials. You'll have the opportunity to choose your seat and pre-order meals (within 30 days of travel).

Once you've booked this segment, you'll want to head back to aa.com to book your return flight out of Mumbai. The award will cost the same number of miles, though the taxes will be around $81.22 if you're flying back on Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong.

Related: How to fly round-trip to Europe in business class for 88,000 miles

How to earn enough miles for this award

Mark has more than enough AAdvantage miles for this award to Singapore and Mumbai. However, if you're looking to replicate this award for your own post-pandemic adventure, you can earn AAdvantage miles with a co-branded American Airlines credit card.

AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard: Earn 65,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Additional 10,000 miles when an employee card is used for a purchase.

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 65,000 American Airlines bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening.

AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard: Earn 60,000 bonus miles and a $99 companion ticket awarded after making a purchase within the first 90 days of card opening.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select, AAdvantage Aviator Red and the AAdvantage Aviator Business cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Cleared for Takeoff: A post-pandemic trip to Spain with a backup plan for Colombia

Hotel and cruise expenses

Mark isn't using points for the hotel and cruise portion of this trip, but he certainly can. Assuming he hasn't prepaid the cruise, he could charge it to his Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. He will earn 2 miles per $1 spent and could redeem those miles at a rate of 1 cent each towards his cruise booking.

The card currently has a welcome bonus of 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

India's Taj Mahal (Kriangkrai Thitimakorn / Getty Images)

India is one of those hotel markets where you can book really nice hotels for relatively few points. Mark is spending three days exploring the Taj Mahal in Agra, where he'll have several options. There's the Doubletree hotel, requiring just 10,000 Hilton points. Since nightly rates are around $100 and TPG values Hilton points at 0.6 cents each, this is a great redemption value.

For a luxury option, Marriott's ITC Mughal is a solid choice that's located near the monument. It's a Category 3 property requiring 15,000-20,000 points per night. In my search of March 2022, most dates price out at 15,000 points per night. With nightly rates of around $150 per night, you'll get more than TPG valuation out of each point.

Related: 3 reasons why you should visit Mumbai

Bottom line

If you have a destination in mind and need help figuring out your points strategy, send us an email to be featured in the next installment of Cleared for Takeoff.

Featured photo by May_Lana / Shutterstock

Featured image by Bird eyes view of Singapore City skyline in Singapore (photo by May_Lana / Shutterstock)
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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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
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 unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023