Vietnam should be on every traveler’s must-visit list. The country is blessed with delicious (and cheap) food, beautiful beaches, amazing culture and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
Visiting Vietnam is easy too: getting around is not a problem, English is widely spoken where most tourists go, and local flights are very cheap.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) is Vietnam’s biggest airport and has the most international flights. It’s easier to find award space flying into SGN than other airports in Vietnam. It’s also possible to fly to other airports, such as Da Nang International Airport (DAD) or Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (HAN).
Unfortunately, there are no direct flights between the U.S. and Vietnam, so a connection in Asia is necessary.
Here are six of the best ways to fly to Vietnam on points and miles:
- How To Book With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles
- How to Earn Alaska Airlines Miles
- Cards To Help You Earn More Alaska Miles
- How To Book With ANA Miles
- How to Earn ANA Mileage Club Miles
- Cards To Help You Earn More ANA Mileage Club Miles
- How To Book With American Airlines Miles
- How to Earn American Airlines Miles
- Cards To Help You Earn More American Miles
- How To Book With JAL Mileage Bank Miles
- How to Earn JAL Mileage Bank Miles
- Cards To Help You Earn More Japan Airlines Miles
- How To Book With United Mileage Miles
- How to Earn United Airlines Miles
- Cards To Help You Earn More United Miles
Air Canada Aeroplan
Aeroplan is Air Canada’s loyalty program. Air Canada, one of Star Alliance carriers, doesn’t have direct flights to Vietnam, but you can fly on several Star Alliance partners to get there. Unlike United, Aeroplan doesn’t charge more miles for partner awards in business and first class.
These are one-way award rates:
|Economy Class||45,000 miles|
|Premium Economy||65,000 miles|
|Business Class||77,500 miles|
|First Class||107,500 miles|
Aeroplan does pass on fuel surcharges with some partner awards, but there are still a few carriers that don’t charge fuel surcharges. Your total taxes and fees will depend on a particular partner and available flights.
How To Book With Aeroplan
It’s very easy to search for award travel on Aeroplan. After you create your account, log in and click on Book Travel, then select Flights. You can search for one-way or round-trip award availability.
On the next page, you can uncheck the box next to Display Mixed Cabin, which is a very useful feature if you want to fly all the way in a premium cabin. However, if you leave the box unchecked you might miss some itineraries that include short connecting flights in economy.
You can easily flip back and forth from economy to business/first cabins on the results screen.
Here’s a sample itinerary on ANA that has pretty high surcharges, about $160 U.S.
How to Earn Aeroplan Miles
There are several ways to earn Aeroplan miles.
Aeroplan doesn’t have a good mileage-earning credit card. However, Aeroplan is a transfer partner of American Express and you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. Keep an eye out for transfer bonuses that pop up from time to time. Amex points can be earned with an array of personal and business cards.
Recently, Capital One announced a list of airline transfer partners that includes Aeroplan. Miles earned with the Capital One Venture Card and the Capital One Spark Miles Card can be transferred at a rate of 2:1.5.
Aeroplan is also one of Marriott’s transfer partners. For every 60,000 Marriott Rewards, you will receive 5,000 Aeroplan bonus miles for a total of 25,000 miles.
Cards To Help You Earn More Aeroplan Miles
There are a few great American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points. Amex has a generous sign-up bonus as well as bonus categories, making it easier to earn a good stash of Membership Rewards points.
credit cards page.
American Express Business Gold Card
Earn 4x points on 2 select business categories. Terms Apply.Learn more
After the SPG and Marriott merger, all American Express SPG cards earn points that can be transferred to Aeroplan. Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Card also have a solid sign up bonus.
Capital One’s recent addition of transfer partners can also help you earn Aeroplan miles.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 monthsLearn more
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
One of the best ways to get to Vietnam is to use Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. Alaska has different award charts for each partner and you can’t fly two different partners on one route. However, you can include a stopover on one-way awards.
Here’s a breakdown of the miles required for one-way awards on Alaska’s partners that have the best redemption rates:
|Airline||Economy||Business Class||First Class|
|American Airlines||35,000 miles||70,000 miles||110,000 miles|
|Cathay Pacific||30,000 miles||50,000 miles||70,000 miles|
|Japan Airlines||40,000 miles||65,000 miles||75,000 miles|
As you can see, redeeming Alaska miles for Cathay Pacific business or first class offers the best value. In the first class, you can expect expensive champagne, caviar, amazing food, and impeccable service.
Because you can’t include two different partners on an award booking, you won’t be able to include a connection on American Airlines when flying Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines.
Since Alaska allows stopovers, you might as well include a stopover in Hong Kong when flying on Cathay Pacific. You get to see two destinations for the price of one!
Fuel surcharges are very reasonable, even for business and first class awards, which will help keep the cash cost of these awards to a minimum.
How To Book With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles
There are two ways to search for award tickets with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. You can search on Alaska’s own site for all partners except Cathay Pacific. Just enter your departure and destination and you will be presented with a grid showing available award space.
Beware of mixed cabin awards. There might be award seat available in a premium cabin for only part of the itinerary, which is usually the shortest segment. However, you will be charged the higher amount, as if you were flying the whole way in a premium cabin.
Alaska doesn’t show Cathay Pacific availability, but it’s easy to search for award space with Qantas or British Airways. My favorite way to search for Cathay Pacific flights is on Qantas. The website is very easy to use and there’s a neat calendar view. You can search for award space right from the homepage. Make sure you click on Use points – Classic Flight Rewards only before running your search.
To see a whole month, click in the date box and the option will appear in the upper left-hand corner.
On the next page, make sure the boxes for your preferred class of service are checked.
Click on your desired date to see available flights. The Qantas search engine displays available flights on all Oneworld partners, but when you click on the date you should be able to see available Cathay Pacific flights.
Pay attention to mixed cabin awards indicated with an“i”. In the example above, the short segment Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City is in business, not first, because it’s a two-cabin aircraft.
To search for Cathay Pacific award space on British Airways log into your account and navigate to Book → Book a flight with Avios and enter your dates and destinations.
British Airways’ site will display all Oneworld partner award availability, including Japan Airlines (JAL).
Once you have found award space on British Airways or Qantas, it’s always a good idea to verify that Alaska phone agents can see it too. Before I move any transferable points, such as Marriott points, I always call to make sure the agents see the same award availability.
This is important as Alaska doesn’t always have access to the same award space as Cathay Pacific’s Oneworld partners.
How to Earn Alaska Airlines Miles
Bank of America has co-branded Alaska Airlines personal and business credit cards while Marriott is a transfer partner with Alaska.
Marriott points transfer to Alaska at 3:1 ratio. If you transfer 60,000 Marriott points you will receive 5,000 bonus miles. So effectively, you can transfer 60,000 Marriott points for 25,000 Alaska miles.
Cards To Help You Earn More Alaska Miles
Alaska Airlines has personal and business credit cards that offer 3X on purchases made directly with Alaska and 1X on everything else.
American Express SPG and Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Business Card are great cards that earn valuable points that can be transferred to Alaska Airlines.
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.Learn more
All Nippon Airways (ANA)
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is one of Japan’s flagship carriers and is a member of Star Alliance. ANA doesn’t have direct flights to Vietnam from the U.S. but you can book flights on any Star Alliance carrier through ANA. Just keep in mind that only round-trip awards can be booked with ANA miles.
ANA has seasonal zone-based international award chart for its own flights. There are three seasons (low, regular and high) and the dates change every year. Vietnam falls into Asia 2 zone.
These are the round-trip award rates using ANA miles:
|Class of Service||Low Season||Regular Season||High season|
|Economy||55,000 miles||65,000 miles||70,000 miles|
|Business||100,000 miles||110,000 miles||115,000 miles|
|First||195,000 miles||195,000 miles||210,000 miles|
ANA’s partner award chart covers flights on ANA’s Star Alliance partner airlines. Partner awards are not seasonal and you can fly on more than one partner.
|Economy Class||80,000 miles|
|Business Class||136,000 miles|
|First Class||240,000 miles|
How To Book With ANA Miles
To search ANA awards you’ll first need to create an account. After you sign in and select “Award Reservation”, you’ll be able to enter your dates of travel. See a screen that looks like this:
Plug in your dates (remember to search for a round-trip award) and your desired class of service. If you are flexible on dates, check “Compare seat availability +/-3 days availability”.
The next screen will show a seven-day calendar.
On the next screen you’ll see the type of awards available:
- 1 or ANA Award – only includes flights on ANA is on ANA’s own flights
- 2 or Star Alliance Award – can include ANA flights, but will include partner flights
Choose your desired flights and click Next. You’ll see the total number of miles required and the surcharges on the next screen.
Please note that ANA passes on fuel surcharges on many partners.
In order to book award space on ANA’s own flights, you’ll need to fly out an ANA’s U.S. gateway cities from which ANA operates flights. These cities include:
- Chicago (ORD)
- Houston, (IAH)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- San Jose (SJU)
- New York (JFK)
- Seattle (SEA)
- Washington D.C. (IAD)
If you don’t live near one of these airports, taking a positioning flight to take advantage of lower award rates is always a good option.
How to Earn ANA Mileage Club Miles
ANA doesn’t have any good credit card options in the U.S. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to ANA at a 1:1 ratio. These transfers often take 2-3 days and ANA will not hold award space so keep that in mind before you transfer.
First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) also issues a co-branded ANA credit card that earns miles directly, but the earning rate is pretty weak. You’re better off sticking with Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards.
Cards To Help You Earn More ANA Mileage Club Miles
Any American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points is a great option if you want to book an award flight on ANA. The Platinum Card from American Express or American Express Gold Card have a good sign up bonuses and bonus spend categories.
American Express SPG card will also help you earn valuable points that can transfer to ANA.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express
Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000, an extra 25,000 points after an additional $10,000 all in the first 3 months. Terms apply.Learn more
American Express Gold Card
Earn 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.Learn more
American Airlines is part of Oneworld, and while American doesn’t have any direct routes to Vietnam, you can fly on AA’s partners, such as Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines or Malaysia Airlines.
|Economy Class||32,500 miles||35,000 miles|
|Business Class||N/A||70,000 miles|
How To Book With American Airlines Miles
The best place to look for Oneworld partner award space is on Qantas.com, as described above. You aren’t actually booking a flight on Qantas, we’re just looking for award availability. Once you find availability, call American Airlines and give the agent the flight details.
To search with American Airlines just plug in your dates and your destination and the next screen will look like this. Click on Show Full Calendar link to see 30-day award availability.
American won’t display Cathay Pacific award space on its site but will show availability on its own flights and select partners.
How to Earn American Airlines Miles
American Airlines miles are fairly easy to earn. Both Barclays and Citi offer co-branded credit cards that earn American Airlines miles directly. American Airlines is also a Marriott transfer partner. Marriott points transfer to American at 3:1 ratio. For every 60,000 Marriott points, you will receive 5,000 bonus miles for a total of 25,00 AAdvantage miles.
Cards To Help You Earn More American Miles
Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard offers 50,000 miles bonus after first purchase. The annual fee is not waived the first year but there’s also no minimum spending requirement.
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard
50,000 AAdvantage miles after first purchaseLearn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is another great way to earn American miles.
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard
40,000 miles after $2k spend in 3 months, an additional 10,000 miles after $6k total spend in the first year.Learn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank
Japan Airlines is part of Oneworld alliance and you can use JAL miles to book award flights to Vietnam on its own flights or one of the partners, such as Cathay Pacific.
Japan Airlines has two different award charts, one for its own flights and another for partner flights.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank uses a region-based award chart for its own flights. These are the one-way rates:
|Premium Economy||45,000 miles|
Japan Airlines also offers limited days of the week awards for first and business class. The number of miles needed will depend on the day of the week and the direction you are flying (to or from Japan). Blackout dates apply and the dates change every year.
If you want to book on Oneworld partners, a distance-based partner award chart will apply. Partner awards are distance based and Japan Airlines has a nifty calculator on its site to help you determine the total trip distance.
Once you calculate the total mileage, you can look up award ticket cost on this chart.
How To Book With JAL Mileage Bank Miles
Try searching for award space on Japan Airlines website. However, not all partner award space can be found and booked on JAL site. If you are looking for Cathay Pacific award space bookable with JAL miles, try searching on British Airways or Qantas. Once you found award space, call Japan Airlines to book.
British Airways and Qantas websites will show both partner and Japan Airlines own award availability.
How to Earn JAL Mileage Bank Miles
Unfortunately, JAL Mileage Bank miles are pretty hard to earn. There’s a very mediocre JAL credit card, but the only other way to earn JAL miles is by transferring Marriott Rewards points. For every 60,000 Marriott Rewards, you will receive 5,000 JAL Mileage Bank bonus miles for a total of 25,000 miles.
Cards To Help You Earn More Japan Airlines Miles
American Express SPG Luxury card and Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express earn valuable points that you can transfer to JAL.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
100,000 bonus points after $5,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card
Earn 100,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.Learn more
United Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world. Partners include ANA, EVA Air, Asiana, Lufthansa, Swiss and more. You can use United MileagePlus miles to book award tickets on any of United’s partners.
|Class of Service||United Flights||Star Alliance Flights|
|Economy||40,000 miles||40,000 miles|
|Business||75,000 miles||90,000 miles|
How To Book With United Mileage Miles
It’s very easy to look for and book award tickets with United. You don’t even have to log into your account to run a search. Just enter your travel dates, origin, destination and class of service.
You can search for a specific date which will show results for 7 days and allow you to expand the results to 30 days. If your schedule is more flexible, you can select “calendar shop” to see two months’ of availability.
Click on the desired date and United will display available flights. Mixed cabin awards are easy to identify, United marks them with a red text that says “Mixed cabin” and a question mark. Put your mouse over the question mark and you can see which segments are in the economy and which segments are in premium cabins.
If you have United Explorer credit card or have elite status with United MileagePlus, such as Premier Silver or Premier Gold, United will show more economy award space on the short connecting flights in the U.S. In that case, log into your account before searching for award space. Sometimes, because United releases limited award space on its own flights, these are the hardest awards to find.
United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges so taxes and fees are very reasonable.
This is an example of an itinerary on ANA, one of United’s partners. Because there are no direct flights to Vietnam from the U.S., a connection in a major city in Asia is unavoidable.
Chase offers United personal and business credit cards. United Airlines is also a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and transfers are usually instant. If you don’t have enough United miles for an entire award, you can top off your MileagePlus account by transferring some Ultimate Rewards points.
Cards To Help You Earn More United Miles
United miles are fairly easy to earn. United Explorer Card earns United miles. Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve both have a great sign up bonuses and earn extremely valuable Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to United.
Chase Ink Business Preferred
80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $5,000 in 3 monthsLearn more
Vietnam is an amazing country and is definitely worth a visit. When you go, you will meet wonderful people, learn about a new culture and eat the most delicious food.
Have you booked a trip to Vietnam with miles and points? Tell us in the comments how you’ve done it and what you thought of Vietnam. Enjoy your trip!!
Chase Sapphire Preferred
50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn more
Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.