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There’s nothing quite like the thrill of cashing in on a truly remarkable redemption, except maybe getting the chance to humblebrag about it later. A few weeks ago, we asked our TPG Lounge members to tell us about the best flight redemptions they’d been able to score in 2018. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).
Epic European Vacations
From flights to Barcelona (BCN) and Amsterdam (AMS) to experiences in fabulous first and business class products, our TPG Lounge members never fail when it comes to impressing us with their favorite flight redemptions to Europe.
“My first points redemption ever: Raleigh-Durham (RDU) to Rome (FCO) in first class via Toronto (YYZ) on Air Canada, then a return trip in Emirates First Class from Milan (MXP) to New York-JFK. I’m addicted now.” — Brandon H.
“Four of us ladies got the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard and flew to Barcelona — and back to Knoxville (TYS) from Amsterdam — on 60,000 miles.” — Vickey A.
“32,000 SkyMiles from RSW-VIE [Southwest Florida to Vienna] round-trip during ski season in February.” — Arie V.D.
“Singapore Suites: 76,000 KrisFlyer miles each from Frankfurt (FRA) to JFK. Epic experience!” — Jason B.
“220,000 United miles for Lufthansa First Class round-trip from Houston (IAH) to Frankfurt. [We took the] A380 there and the 747-8 back via Washington-Dulles (IAD). [We visited the] Polaris Lounge on the way there and the holy grail Lufthansa First Class Terminal and First Class Lounge in Frankfurt. It was a lot of miles but I priced it out and at cash, it was almost €20,000.” — Adam P.
“Originally booked SAS from Bologna, Italy (BLQ) to Newark (EWR) for 70,000 United miles each for wife and myself. On the main leg from Copenhagen (CPH) to EWR, the plane was switched for the Torfinn Viking. I called SAS and they refunded 40,000 UA miles each, so [we flew] BLQ-EWR in business class for 30,000 miles per person.” — Larry S.
“Round-trip from Los Angeles (LAX) to Barcelona in September 2019 for 11,700 AAdvantage miles. Yes, you’re reading that right — under 12,000 miles and $50 round-trip! AA web specials were available for about three hours.” — Robby M.
“100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for two Delta One seats from Detroit (DTW) to Amsterdam. Booked through the Virgin site but actually heard about the sale from TPG. [This was] for two tickets one-way.” — John L.
“United: 50,000 miles + $5.60 for a one-way flight from Denver (DEN) to Munich (MUC) in Polaris business class! We returned five weeks later on a military hop for $39.” — Deb C.
“87,500 United miles for the following: Cleveland (CLE) to London-Heathrow (LHR) in business class with a two day layover in London, LHR to Shannon, Ireland (SNN) and then SNN to Canton, Ohio (CAK).” — Dawn D.
“DFW-IAD-FRA-BLR [Dallas-Fort Worth to Washington-Dulles, to Frankfurt, to Bengaluru, India) for my stepmother. All long-hauls in Lufthansa First for 140,000 United miles.” — Bert W.
“112,000 Skymiles for Delta One round-trip from Atlanta (ATL) to Ireland.” — Jade M.
Adventures in Asia, Africa and the Middle East
Several TPG Lounge readers said they’d cashed in their precious points and miles for epic first class flights aboard Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and JAL, among others, while some treasured taking a shower in the sky in Etihad’s Apartment.
“100,000 miles for Cathay Pacific First Class from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Hong Kong (HKG), $18,215 in cash value.” — Alex F.
“99,000 LifeMiles for ANA and Thai First Class from Houston to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) to Bangkok (BKK).” — Suprotik P.
“Hands down, Cathay First from Tokyo (NRT) to Hong Kong (HKG) with a three-day stopover, then to Chicago (ORD). 21 hours in top-notch first class for 70,000 Alaska miles that I earned almost entirely without flying.” — Alex B.
“70,000 Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific First Class from JFK to Hong Kong and business class from Hong Kong to Bangkok.” — William D.Y.
“320,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points + $300 for two Korean Air first-class [tickets from] JFK to Hanoi via Seoul (ICN), a $0.112/UR redemption.” — Brent L.C.
“82,500 AAdvantage miles for Sydney-Tokyo-Bangkok-Hong Kong all in J on Qantas, JAL and Cathay Pacific.” — Aaron N.
“60,000 SkyMiles for Delta One from Los Angeles to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) one-way.” — Yan Y.C.
“JAL First from JFK to Tokyo (NRT) for two people for 150,000 AAdvantage miles that were all from bonuses. Cash fare was $13,000 each.” — Kyle P.
“A tie between 155,000 JAL miles round-trip from JFK-DXB-BKK (New York to Dubai to Bangkok) in Emirates First and 70,000 Alaska miles from Johannesburg (JNB) to Hong Kong to JFK, [with the] first flight in J (no F) and second flight in F.” — Inga K.C.
“Taking a shower at 35,000 feet in Etihad’s Apartment from Abu Dhabi to New York for $140.” — Pranav M.
“JFK-BOS-DOH-NBO [New York to Boston to Doha to Nairobi, Kenya] in business for my wife and I on our honeymoon. 150,000 miles one-way, with a return route from Abu Dhabi (AUH) to JFK in Etihad business class — 140,000 for two!” — Ted D.
“Detroit to Dubai on Delta/Air France in business class for 84,500 SkyMiles.” — Robin T.
“60,000 AA miles for business class in Etihad from Abu Dhabi to Washington, DC, plus 10% miles back for having the AAdvantage card, so 54,000 total.” — Dan F.
Trips to the US, Mexico and South America
Some members of our TPG Lounge recalled memorable first-class flights to Hawaii on Delta, while others were able to take the family to Argentina or get engaged in their favorite city thanks to points and miles.
“15,000 Delta miles for a round-trip [flight from] Boston (BOS) to Aspen during ski season.” — Mark E.
“Probably 25,000 Southwest points [for a] round-trip [flight from] Boston to San Jose — for two, since I used my Companion Pass — because we ended up getting engaged on that trip.” — Kristen L.
“12,000 SkyMiles round-trip from Boston to Cancun (CUN). With my status, I got upgraded to first class both ways.” — Jay F.
“125,000 [SkyMiles] for Delta One from Milwaukee (MKE) to Argentina for three people.” — SantiHolly S.
“Los Angeles to Lima, Peru (LIM), on United. Six family members for 20,000 each way. [To get] home, we did Delta One with Virgin miles to Atlanta at 50,000 per person.” — Sarah V.
Featured image of Lufthansa First Class by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel