TPG readers’ best award flight redemptions so far this year

Oct 20, 2019

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We recently asked our TPG Lounge readers to share their best award flight redemptions of 2019 so far. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).

Redemptions to Hawaii, Nassau and Europe

When it comes to redeeming airline miles, our TPG Lounge members certainly know how to get the biggest bang for their buck, whether it’s scoring (nearly) free flights to Hawaii, the Bahamas or all over Europe.

“Two round-trip Delta One tickets from Detroit to Honolulu for 150,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for tickets that were $2,800 a piece.” — Ryan W.

“Five round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Nassau (via Fort Lauderdale) on Southwest for 76,000 Rapid Rewards points plus $56 in taxes. We volunteered for the Bahamas Red Cross, helped triage evacuees from islands affected by Hurricane Dorian, and packed supplies to send.” — Shey M.T.

“52,500 miles one-way in business on American Airlines from Los Angeles to Madrid. Absolute best redemption ever was 36,000 miles for a round-trip flight from LAX to Paris on American Airlines. It was in economy but for round-trip, I’ll take it.” — Soroya G.G.

“Chicago to Shanghai in United Polaris business class, then Shanghai to Zurich and Zurich to Chicago in SWISS business class, for 150,000 United miles.” — Bradley O.

Have you flown in SWISS Air business class yet? (Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
Have you flown in SWISS Air business class yet? (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

“57,500 AAdvantage miles plus $5.60 each way [to fly from] Los Angeles to Paris up front in a lie-flat seat on Air Tahiti Nui.” — Darin L.

“77,000 SkyMiles for two Delta One tickets from Los Angeles (LAX) to Paris (CDG). Works out to more than $0.24 per point.” — George W.

“20,000 Avios and $80 for an American Airlines flight from New York to Barcelona booked three days before departure.” — Yevgeny K.

“100,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles and $17 to fly round-trip from Seattle to Budapest in business class on American Airlines.” — Maria B.

“I used United’s Excursionist Perk earlier this year, to fly in economy from Boston to Geneva, Zurich to Santorini and New Delhi to Boston for a total of 72,500 miles and $125 in taxes. I drove through beautiful Switzerland from Geneva to Zurich, and spent five days there. For the Greece to New Delhi leg, I used 20,000 AA miles on flights operated by Etihad.” — Karan B.

Related: The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles

Adventures in Asia, Australia and the Middle East

Our TPG Lounge readers never fail to impress us with their airline award redemptions, allowing them to reach their final destinations in style aboard some of the best business- and first-class products in the skies.

“So far, I’ve had redemptions from Auckland to Taipei in Air New Zealand business class for 55,000 miles and Taipei to New York via Tokyo in ANA business class for 80,000 United miles. I have flights coming up from New York to Seoul in Korean Air business class for 62,500 SKYPASS miles transferred from Marriott, then Chengdu to New York in Hainan Airlines business class for 50,000 Alaska miles.” — Alex Z.

“Booked ANA first class from Houston (IAH) to Tokyo (NRT) for March 2020 back when American Express had the 30 percent transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic. Transferred 70,000 American Express Membership Rewards points and 29,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a $20,000 ticket.” — Josh M.

“Recently redeemed 120,000 miles for ANA first class from Chicago to Tokyo. It’ll be my first time going in first class on a long-haul flight. April can’t come soon enough!” — Chau T.

“JAL from Chicago to Tokyo for 60,000 miles there in business class and 80,000 miles back in first, with American Airlines miles.” — Tim S.

“80,000 United miles to fly from San Francisco to Taipei in EVA Air’s Royal Laurel business class, then 50,000 Alaska miles for the way back from Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific business class.” — Peter L.

“Houston to Tokyo in ANA first class for the Olympics next year for my wife and daughter. 90,000 miles each using Avianca Lifemiles made even better with the transfer bonus of points into the program.” — Jan S.

“65,000 United miles [to fly in] business class from Singapore to Bangkok and Royal first from Bangkok to Sydney on Thai Airways.” — Kevin L.

Related: How to travel to Japan using points and miles

You can once again use United miles to fly Thai's excellent first class. (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy).
You can once again use United miles to fly Thai’s excellent first class. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.)

EVA business class is definitely one of the best-kept secrets for Star Alliance redemptions with good availability. Redeemed 70,000 Aeroplan miles [to fly from] Singapore to New York and would do so again in a heartbeat.” — Eric L.

“Transferred 63,000 Citi ThankYou points to Avianca LifeMiles when the 20 percent transfer bonus was offered, then redeemed 78,000 LifeMiles to fly in business class from Chicago (ORD) to Taipei (TPE) to Bali (DPS) on EVA Air. I’m going to ride a Hello Kitty plane on both legs two weeks from now!” — William T.

“I snagged what was supposed to be a mixed-cabin award trip for 55,000 miles and $120 in fees via Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. The trip was from Cairns (CNS) to Brisbane (BNE) to Melbourne (MEL) to San Francisco (SFO) to Los Angeles (LAX) with a two-day stopover in Melbourne. Somehow the leg that would have normally been in coach, MEL-SFO, was in business class, so I ended up in business class from CNS-BNE, BNE-MEL, MEL-SFO, and in first class from SFO-LAX. That 14-hour trip from MEL to SFO in a lie-flat seat was heaven! I slept for eight or nine hours.” — Glen M.

“140,000 AAdvantage miles to fly back with my wife from the Maldives in Qatar Airways Qsuites the whole way from Male (MLE) to Doha (DOH) to Chicago (ORD). Great end to our honeymoon.” — Bryan D.

“Flown this year would be two QSuites from Shanghai to Doha to the Maldives at only 40,000 AAdvantage miles per person. I also booked two Etihad A380 Apartments from Seoul to Abu Dhabi to the Seychelles for next February for only 50,000 AAdvantage miles per person!” — Ethan S.

 “40,000 AAdvantage miles for three legs in Qatar business class from Phnom Penh (PNH) to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Doha (DOH) to Amman (AMM).” — Hamzah A.

“Booked a round-the-world ticket through for the wife and I. Flying from San Francisco to Madrid in Air Canada business class, Madrid to Paris in SWISS business class, Paris to Colombo in Turkish Air business class and Colombo to San Francisco in Thai Airways and United business class for 125,000 American Express Membership Rewards points each. It was my first rewards booking and I’d say I’m pretty happy with it.” — Ryan B.

Featured photo of EVA Air Royal Laurel business class by The Points Guy staff. 

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