Points and Miles For Suites and First Class (Part 1 of 2)

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While flying economy class using points and miles is a piece of cake. Low-cost carriers such as Norwegian, WOW, Ryanair, EasyJet, Jetstar, and AirAsia X have increased the competition and reduced the price of international flights, making it harder to justify using your precious travel bank for flights in economy.

We tend to agree, and in many circumstances, the best value you'll receive from flexible travel rewards is redeeming for international business, first class, and suites class travel. These travel experiences afford the opportunity to cash in a relatively small amount of points and miles for what would otherwise be an excessively expensive cash outlay

It all comes down to your goals and if you want to experience travel in this manner. If you do, here are some of the best-rated flight experiences and how you can snatch them up. Of the seven experiences, we'll cover, I've been lucky enough to experience all but the first two. While they're on the list, I let the destination dictate my travel. Given the opportunity to try any of these flight experiences out I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Etihad First Class Apartment (A380)

Regarded by many as the most luxurious first-class travel experience commercially available (we can't object). While the apartment is dwarfed by its big brother, The Residence, the Etihad First Class Apartment provides more space and privacy than you could reasonably conceive having on a commercial airliner. Bigger than a suite, but still smaller than a Residence.

If you're flying from New York/JFK or Sydney to Abu Dhabi, you could have an opportunity to cash in miles for a seat in an apartment. Make sure you find seats on the A380 and not the Boeing 777 if you want the apartment and an opportunity to shower in the sky!

How Many Miles Will It Cost?

From New York to Abu Dhabi you can cash in 80,000 Asiana Miles or 115,000 American AAdvantage Miles for one-way in the Apartment. From Sydney, it'll cost you 100,000 AA miles and 110,000 Asiana Miles.

How Can You Get These Miles?

Both Asiana and American are Marriott Bonvoy Transfer Partners. Remember, for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer you get a bonus 5,000 points added to your transfer total — 60,000 Marriott Points = 25,000 miles with AA or Asiana.

Singapore Suites (A380)

Singapore has the honor of introducing the first suites class product available. Impressively, they did it almost a decade ago in 2008! Known for fantastic service, meals and a “double bed” option if you're traveling with a companion in center seats, it set a standard for suites in the air. While many products now are competitive with Singapore Suites, there is no reason to turn a nose at it. Singapore Suites at SingaporeAir.com

Singapore Suites are available on over a dozen routes, most originating in Singapore, but there is one: New York/JFK to Frankfurt (and then on to Singapore). If you wanted to try a route within Asia, you could look at Singapore to Hong Kong as well.

Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suites
Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suites

How Many Miles Will It Cost?

From New York to Frankfurt you could skirt by with just 50,000 Asiana miles (120,000 Marriott points transferred!). On the Singapore / Hong Kong route, you could use 40,000 Asiana miles or 40,000 United miles.

How Can You Get These Miles?

A transfer from Marriott Bonvoy is easy with Asiana, and for United, Ultimate Rewards would be the way to go:

Lufthansa First Class (Any Aircraft)

Lufthansa's First Class product is solid. It isn't as over the top as other airlines, but it is excellent and provides a superior ground experience, especially if you're traveling through Frankfurt. The First Class Terminal at Frankfurt Airport is available solely to Lufthansa First Class passengers and is an experience in and of itself — especially if you like whiskey and gummy bears :). Lufthansa First Class Terminal.

Lufthansa has lots of First Class service from the US through Frankfurt, and if you time your connections right (6+ hours isn't unheard of), you'll have enough time to visit the first class terminal.

How Many Miles Will It Cost?

Look no further than the price paid to fly Singapore Suites from New York/JFK to Frankfurt if you're staying within Europe. Keep in mind there are a few conditions that have to be followed if you want to access the first class terminal.

If you're loaded up on miles with United, it'll cost you a hefty 110,000 miles, but at least you won't get hit with the hefty surcharges that you'll otherwise have to pay.

How Can You Get These Miles?

A transfer from Marriott Bonvoy is easy with Asiana, and for United, Ultimate Rewards would be the way to go:

What About Other Airlines?

In Part two we'll cover Emirates First Class (A380), Japan Airlines First Class (777-300ER), Cathay Pacific First Class and Qantas First Class (A380). All of these products are excellent and are worth the miles if you're looking to try out a super-premium experience.

If you want to try out one of these amazing products and need a hand, just reach out to our award booking experts for a hand.

Other than the three airlines we've covered here and the four additional that we'll cover, would you add something to the list?

Points and Miles For Suites and First Class (Part 1 of 2)
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Comments

  • Prashant Gangwal says:

    Great info for flying first class!

  • Someday, I will have to try this. Thanks for the info.

  • I am trying to find two business saver awards from LAX/SYD using AA miles. No availability for the next 11 months. This is an exercise in frustration.

  • I think that A380 Apartment is definitely on my official bucket list. Kind of a lot of miles for some diminishing returns if you’re travelling with a spouse, though. Still, what fun if you’ve got the miles to spend…

    • Definitely do it! The wife & I flew the First Apartment MEL to AUH, and it was absolutely fantastic. Hands-down the most comfortable I have even been on an airplane. We’re looking forward to booking it again!

    • Yeah definitely worth it. I booked a ticket using aa miles using advice from TravelSort (had to buy their maximum amount at the beginning of the year). Flew from JFK to Mumbai with my wife. Absolutely fantastic experience. Cost 360,000 miles roundtrip for both of us. Now my wife doesn’t want to fly any other way…

  • Great article! I want to try all of those.

  • EY’s A380 is also flying to LHR and CDG (announced today) so one can enjoy the apartment suites on these routes as well.

  • Wow, just thinking about traveling like this gives me the goosebumps.

  • Brian Gallagher says:

    Applying for that SPG card today.
    That’ll go nicely with our Chase points & we can transfer all that to do a nice trip to Asia this winter.
    The kicker is to actually get the seats!

    • You should br able to get business
      Class on singapore from lax to
      Singspore and to bangkok.
      I book this flight in jan 2017 for
      Departiute last week of nov 2017.
      Open a singapore account. You need
      To be aware when singapore open
      Their seats. Also flying from Hong
      Kong to Sydney on cathay pacific
      Business class for 60k which was a
      Bargain for two. Use Alaska Air to
      book cathay pacific.Went to thailand
      Last year and returning again. Great
      Country to visit and prices very
      Reasonable for first class hotels.
      Good luck

  • Quite a few of these are on the bucket list! Now to save some miles and pray for availability.

  • Good to know. I won’t be flying with most of those airlines though but Luftansa is a great airline so I will look into this. Looking forward to part 2 and I hope there are more airlines I like to fly with.

  • main issue is: to get a hand on theses tickets – close to no chance at Singapore without the highest status there….

    • I got confirmed on a Suites flight to LA. Sure it didn’t happen until a week before departure but my request cleared. I didn’t end up taking the flight due to a change in plans but it does work.

  • Singapore Suites for 40k United Miles to Singapore? Really!? I’m all over that.

  • Howie, great article! I looked at the 5 rewards cards you mentioned. I’ve already gotten the 2 Starwood cards. Do you know if I can transfer rewards from either of the 2 Chase cards, or the Ink card into AA miles?
    Thanks.

  • Is it possible to do Singapore Airlines Suites out of Singapore to US? I’m interested in visiting The Private Room. Is it worth it? Which route to the US makes for longest in flight time? Is the Itihad Apartment a better experience? I have a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards to use and want to cash in for an amazing experience! Great article! Thanks!

    • Yes. It’d be Singapore to Frankfurt and Frankfurt to New York. I’ve got a friend that did the reverse this past week. As for Private Room, I can’t speak personally to it. Nor can I speak to the Etihad apartment … but it’d be higher on my list.

    • Flew back from Singapore in February in Suites and flying back in April. Suites are wonderful- very comfortable bed, but I was COMPLETELY underwhelmed by Private Room in Singapore. Lufthansa and Emirates first class lounges MUCH BETTER.

    • TheBigEasyTraveler says:

      Visited The Private Room in November. Found it to be very nice but food and service wasn’t impressive. It was a bucket list item. Enjoyed first class lounge at the bar more.

  • Niraj Patel says:

    Just wonderful. Appreciate all this good information. Looking forward to part 2.

  • Jason Logan says:

    Wow! Great post- I would love to be able to do that sometime. I need to spend more money 🙂

  • All good info for using points on very expensive flying experiences. Be strategic. Last time I used for FC the tix were $6k each. I’m also in love with Starwood card.

  • I don’t know.. that’s still a lot of miles.

  • How do we use Chase Ultimate Reward Points to fly first class on Lufthansa?
    I do not see that they are a transfer airline. In the good old days, we could use United Miles to fly first class on Lufthansa from US to Europe. Now they don’t even list a Lufthansa flight from US to Europe.
    All suggestions welcome.

    • Alice, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards to United and redeem for Lufthansa with United. You could do the same with transferring to Singapore. I just searched for flights from Chicago/ORD to Frankfurt and found both business and first class award space available this month on many days.

      • Thanks for suggesting Singapore Airlines. I will check that out.
        My problem has been that when I search for flights on the united site they offer NO nonstop US to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. And one cannot directly transfer chase points to Lufthansa. So I am stuck with United.

  • Hi!

    I live in Japan, and I need some advice: I’m trying to book TYO-PARIS with United miles, but for some reason I can’t book any non-stops, even though ANA and others fly it. Do you know why? No non-stops to Frankfurt, AMS, etc. also….it’s a big problem. I have to make 1-2 stops. Any ideas? thanks!

    • Serina, you can’t book it as in you cannot find award space? I just searched for flights this month and found availability on ANA non-stop in business class out of Haneda to CDG on their 789 aircraft (Dreamliner)

  • All I need is good food and drinks.

  • Great post. Thanks for taking the time; your knowledge of this is quite amazing and Im really looking forward to the next part. Whats your suggestion for LAX (or west coast) to Thailand for a nice flying experience at a good value?

    • Brian, there are LOTS of great opportunities. What points/miles do you currently have? Some airlines I’d consider are Asiana, ANA, Cathay Pacific, Air China, EVA, and Japan Airlines (JAL). It all depends on what your travel bank looks like, but being on the west coast you’ve got a nice set of options.

  • I would love to do this someday!

  • Nice to dream about doing this if we won some miles 🙂

  • Love the concept. But not at all convinced that you can ever find a Singapore Suite using partner miles.

  • These are great tips, but I don’t earn enough points and/or miles to play the game of business or first class travel. I’m lucky enough just to get coach once in a while.

  • Etihad Apartment is a great use of AA miles. We’ve flown it twice and really enjoy it.

  • Trying to book first class award space far in advance is much tougher than it used to be.

  • I love blog posts like this! These tidbits and numbers help me plan SO much better! My hubby is German and would love to wait like a celeb while eating gummy bears and drinking whiskey! Imagine how much my mil would love me too…and let’s face it we’re all trying to impress the in laws, right?

    Now I noticed some restrictions on other ways to transfer points to airlines. Do these options you give have limits per year, etc?

  • Hmm for Lufthansa first I thought that they only make availability via united only super last minute or has that changed?

  • Very helpful. Appreciate the breakdown.

  • If SQ is changing the online Award Bonus, will SPG Points still be as valuable as they are today?

  • Stephen Burman says:

    Singapore Suites will do very nicely for me

  • Howie, any tips/guidance on clearing the Singapore Airlines waitlist?

  • Something to aspire to.

  • Flying in the residence is definitely on my to do list. Thanks for another great article.

  • Good overview – thank you. The apartment has to be the height of luxury and possibly even better than if you had your own plane.

  • Bertrand Say says:

    I am green with envy for those that can try this out.

  • wow. nicer than home.

  • Joshua Johanning says:

    So can we have a post with tips and how to book these premium award travels? 🙂

  • This is one of the best benefits of any points lifestyle.

  • Some day I’d love to say I slept in a bed on a plane!

  • I need to do the apartment at least once in my life. Gotta save up a ton of miles and cash them on one great trip

  • Paul Davis says:

    I’ve now flown on first class in Lufthansa a380, Emirates a380 and Singapore 777, American 777 and British Air 747. I missed out on flying suites when they changed routing for their a380. I was waitlisted to come back from Singapore in suites. Flight was supposed to depart 11:55p.m. 9p.m. was my last call to check on waitlist status. It never cleared. I don’t know if they ever filled the seats or chose not to. So, don’t hold your breath on Singapore waitlists.

    Singapore 777 was the best 1st class experience so far. Only 4 first class seats, 35″ (or so) wide seat, great bed, incredible service and food. I’m still yearning to try suites class. That and Etihad are my bucket list flight dreams.

    We lucked out on Lufthansa from LAX to Frankfurt in 1st class in 2016 using United miles. They released some first class seats 335 days in advance. I completely lucked out. I was trying to fly AA or Delta and there was nothing. checked United and the Lufthansa seats were there waiting for me. Saw internet postings later that day sharing the info.

    The Private Room I found to be wonderful. Very sedate. The absolute best eggs benedict we have ever had. Impeccable service. It is only available for first class or suites class flying out of Singapore. Emirates first class in Dubai I think was best first class lounge experience so far. Incredible food and free 15 minute massage.

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