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Great News for Delta Mileage Runners: Vietnamese Airlines Can Now Fly to the US

Feb. 15, 2019
3 min read
Vietnam Airlines Airbus A350 XWB
Great News for Delta Mileage Runners: Vietnamese Airlines Can Now Fly to the US
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Vietnam Airlines voiced its support for a nonstop flight to Los Angeles (LAX) back in 2016. The only problem? International carriers need the Federal Aviation Administration's blessing to fly from their home nation into the United States.

This week the FAA announced that "Vietnam complies with international safety standards and has been granted a Category 1 rating under the agency’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program." In lay terms, that means that Vietnamese airlines that are able to secure the requisite FAA and DOT authority can establish service to the United States and carry the code of US carriers.

Bamboo Airways has aspirations of flying to the United States (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)

Vietnam-based Bamboo Airways — which our own JT Genter recently flew — has goals to fly to the US by 2021. Vietnam Airlines, already a member of the SkyTeam alliance, likely wants to do the same much more quickly.

Quite the haul between SGN and LAX (Render courtesy of Great Circle Mapper)

Vietnam Airlines became the second operator of the A350 in 2015 after Qatar Airways and has expressed interest in using an A350-900 to fly between Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) and Los Angeles (LAX). If that transpires, it'll become one of the longest flights in the world at 8,169 miles.

In fact, TPG himself reviewed the carrier's A350 on a jaunt between Paris and Hanoi.

The news is of particular interest for Delta and SkyTeam loyalists. One of our favorite ways to overcome Delta's lofty MQD requirements for top-tier Platinum and Diamond Medallion elite status is to book cheap business class fares on long-haul flights using SkyTeam partners. When booking on partners but crediting miles back to Delta, you earn MQDs as a percentage of distance flown rather than dollars spent.

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Vietnam Airlines is indeed a Delta partner, with its latest mileage accrual chart shown above. While the carrier isn't a Tier-1 partner, you can see that a hypothetical SNG–LAX flight would earn 1,633 MQDs (20% of 8,169 miles flown) if holding a business, premium economy or full economy ticket. If you're able to score a discounted fare, you could spend less than $1,633 each way and yet still earn 1,633 MQDs toward Delta elite status. You can dive deeper with our guide to maximizing Delta earnings when flying on SkyTeam partners.

Of course, you'll first need to wait for Vietnam Airlines itself to become cleared for nonstop travel into the United States, but it's definitely a carrier worth keeping on your radar given Vietnam's new ICAO safety rating.

Featured image by Vietnam Airlines Airbus A350 XWB (Photo courtesy of Airbus)
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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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees