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TPG Readers Share Their Best Flight Redemptions of Summer 2018

September 23 2018
9 min read
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We recently asked our TPG Lounge readers to share their best award flight redemptions of the summer. As always, there was a wide range of responses, from folks who flew all over the world — and in some pretty impressive seats. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).

European Vacations

Whether our TPG readers were taking advantage of special promotions or choosing to redeem their hard-earned miles for long-awaited dream trips, they definitely took some amazing flights to Europe this summer...

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"I would have to saying [sic] booking British Airways first class with my points from the Iberia promo, I spent $473 and got a first-class ticket from Copenhagen (CPH) to Seattle (SEA). Also used 27,000 miles for an open-jaw ticket from Orlando (MCO) to Frankfurt (FRA) and CPH to MCO with the 60,000 Delta sign-up bonus. It was pretty nice to get two round-trip tickets to Europe out of it." — Kevin B.

"That insane Iberia promo that seemed too good to be true wasn't. I booked two round-trip business-class flights to Spain with it and had more than enough miles left over for some domestic trips booked via AA, all for the cost of about two one-way economy tickets. The timeframe I was looking at was off-peak so the business-class round-trips only cost me 68,000 miles each, I believe." — David K.

"Round-trip from Omaha to Amsterdam this April for only 60,000 miles and $57! Then, I used my free companion fare from my Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Card from American Express for my buddy and I to go to San Diego in July. I also redeemed for a trip from Omaha (OMA) to Munich (MUC), then MUC to Amsterdam (AMS) and AMS to OMA for 85,000 miles and $125 and depart in a month!" — Chris B.

"Three tickets from Austin to London for 60,000 miles apiece on United." — David H.

"60,000 + $20 for United Polaris from Newark (EWR) to Barcelona (BCN), and 60,000 + $42 for Lufthansa Business Class / United Polaris from Naples to Newark." — Adam G.

"Hartford, CT, to Paris, Barcelona to Hartford for two people for 120,000 AAdvantage miles and $117 all in. Leaving in three weeks." — Robert T.

"80,000 Chase UR points for Delta Comfort from New York to Rome." — Charlie B.

One TPG Lounge member cashed in 80,000 Chase UR points for a dream trip to Rome. (Photo by @mkibirev via Twenty20)
One TPG Lounge member cashed in 80,000 Chase UR points for a dream trip to Rome. (Photo by @mkibirev via Twenty20)

"30,000 Membership Rewards points for round-trip economy on Air France from Atlanta to Paris. I originally managed to buy one of the La Premiere mistake fares from LAX-LHR [Los Angeles-London] but after the airline canceled the reservation without notice and without a trace, I called to ask about it. They credited my account with 20,000 FlyingBlue miles for the inconvenience, making a 50,000-mile redemption only cost 30,000 miles!" — Andrew B.

"LAX to Rome (FCO) one-way for two in AA business for 115,000 miles and $11.20. The return flight was Zurich (ZUR) to JFK in SWISS business for 110,000 miles and about $180 in taxes for two." — Branden B.

"Los Angeles-Portland-London in Delta One, one-way for 70,000 miles and $5, ticketed a few days in advance." — Jeff G.

"Your site snagged me a United round-trip from Newark to Madrid for $455, plus two GPUs means business class all the way!" — Eric S.

"53,000 SPG points each for my wife and I to fly Emirates in business class to Milan. We're going in less than three weeks!" — Chris A.

Adventures in Asia

There's nothing like flying long-haul to Asia in style. This group of TPG Lounge members opted for first-class flights on ANA, JAL and Korean Air, among others, while another cashed in Asia Miles for an upcoming flight on Cathay's A350-1000...

"Chicago (ORD) to Tokyo (NRT) round-trip in AA business class for 120,000 miles." — Benjamin W.

"Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Bangkok (BKK) in Korean Air first class for 95,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, then Dubai (DXB) to IAD in business class for 65,000 AAdvantage miles." — Dan F.

"Upcoming: Washington, D.C. to Phuket, Bangkok to Washington, D.C. (via Hong Kong) in business class on the new Cathay Pacific A350-1000 for 170,000 Asia Miles." — Jonathan N.

"I'm flying in Delta One from Detroit to Nagoya, Japan, which I booked through Virgin Atlantic with the 30% bonus from American Express. I also have a domestic connection in first class to get to Detroit, so they tack on a little extra charge for that. Just over 60,000 Membership Rewards points and $5.60 in taxes." — Henry B.

"Chicago-Hong Kong-Manila on Cathay First using 100,000 AA miles and $31.70. The cash fare would have been $11,800. As per the AA chart, one-way is 110,000 but I got a 10,000 discount because of the Barclays Aviator Card." — Chie M.

"Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Tokyo (NRT) round trip in ANA first class for 165,000 miles transferred from American Express." — Tim J.

A first-class seat on ANA's 777-300ER.
A first-class seat on ANA's 777-300ER.

"Two tickets from New York (JFK) to Tokyo (NRT) in JAL First Class for 75,000 AAdvantage miles. The cash fare is more than $13,000 per person. I bought miles during the AA June promotion — 100,000 bonus miles + discount — and used that purchase to get the 60,000 bonus on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. All told, I acquired 323,000 miles for $4,317 so these two tickets effectively cost me $2,000.87, or about 92% less than the cash fare! For comparison, the cash fare for economy on this same flight is about $2,600 for two people." — Kyle P.

"A round-trip first-class flight from California to Tokyo on ANA! I transferred 110,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which made the reservation for us on ANA. Booking the same flight with United would have cost us 220,000 UR points. Additionally, we got our points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve sign-on bonus. The fuel and taxes came to about $50 per person, which was reimbursed via the CSR travel credit. In a way, we almost didn’t pay anything for first class revenue flights that were normally $22,000 each." — Darrick H.

Trips to Africa and the Middle East

Some TPG Lounge readers used their precious points and miles to head to dream destinations like South Africa, Dubai and the Maldives. Here's how they did it...

"Los Angeles to Paris to Nairobi for 65,000 miles in Air France business class for next summer. Then Dar es Salaam to Dubai to Los Angeles in business on Emirates with private car service to/from the complimentary hotel in Dubai and a private car home when we hit LAX. Not great at 117,000 miles per person, but that's for a six-hour flight and a 17-hour flight in biz on Emirates. Woohoo!" — Paul L.

"140,000 miles round-trip on Qatar to the Maldives in business class." — Christine S.

"Round-trip in SWISS business class from New York to South Africa for 160,000 United miles." — Noah P.

This could be you rejoicing at the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, if you put those points and miles to use. (Photo by 4FR / Getty Images)
This could be you rejoicing at the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, if you put those points and miles to use. (Photo by 4FR / Getty Images)

"Purchased my first-ever business-class ticket using miles. 84,000 Delta miles for a one-way flight from Detroit to Dubai on Air France." — Robin T.

"One-way in business class from Seattle-Toronto-Istanbul for 70,000 United miles plus $9.10 in taxes." — Torn S.

"160,000 from St. Louis-Cape Town-Mauritius-St. Louis in business class with a free Category 5 stay in Cape Town almost all with the Marriott travel package." — Jim H.

Getting Tropical in Hawaii and the Caribbean

And finally, the only way to make an island getaway better is to get there for free — or for almost free. These TPG readers did just that.

"Los Angeles to Honolulu in United First Class, booked for $5.60 + 30,000 Krisflyer miles, transferred from American Express." — Michael N.

"Trip to Hawaii on Delta via Korean Air... RIP Chase transfer partner." — Randall C.W.

"2,500 Avios to Maui, one-way." — Steve S.

"A first-class flight to Jamaica for our annual romantic trip. I, of course, don’t use miles for my flights, so I got MQMs from Delta." — Regina P.

"Two round-trip first-class tickets on Delta to Grand Cayman for 50,000 with five nights at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort for 125,000 and taxes and resort fees totaling $450. Not too bad." — Joe V.

"Baltimore (BWI) to Havana (HAV) round-trip for 12,000 Delta Skymiles and $78 in taxes." — Renny B.

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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
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Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees