In This Article
How to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for business and first class flights.
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Chase Ultimate Rewards are a relatively easy flexible reward currency to earn. And for good reason too – they offer a ton of great uses for premium cabin award redemptions.
Chase Ultimate Rewards offers a number of transfer partners which will allow you to book award flights in premium cabins on all three of the main airline alliances: Oneworld, Skyteam and Star Alliance.
Within each of those alliances lies some terrific sweet spots for premium cabin redemptions. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of those sweet spots in order to help you plan some great redemptions for premium cabin flying with your Chase Ultimate Rewards.
How To Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards quickly due to the vast number of credit cards that Chase issues that earn Ultimate Rewards points. These cards include:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Freedom Flex
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
All of the above cards offer not only terrific welcome bonuses, but almost all offer a variety of lucrative bonus categories to reward your ongoing spend. You’ll have a large stash of Ultimate Rewards points in no time!
Chase Transfer Partners
Chase Ultimate Rewards currently has ten airline transfer partners across all of the major airline alliances. There are also a few non-alliance partners which gives you a ton of flexibility in redemption opportunities with your Ultimate Rewards points.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partner
|Aer Lingus AerClub||JetBlue TrueBlue|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||Singapore KrisFlyer|
|British Airways Executive Club||Southwest Rapid Rewards|
|Emirates Skywards||United MileagePlus|
|Iberia Plus||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
All of the above partners are 1:1 transfer partners with Chase.
But it’s important to note that all of the above award currencies are not equal in value. One British Airways Avios point is not equal in value to One JetBlue TrueBlue point.
And further, each program offers some great redemption options and some not so great redemption options. Knowing the ins and outs of each program will help you get the most value out of your Chase Ultimate Rewards redemptions.
Now, let’s get into it. Here are some of the best ways for you to maximize the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for premium cabin redemptions such as business class and first class, broken down by transfer partner.
Chase Travel Portal
In most cases, you’ll get more value from your points by transfering points to an airline partner if you want to book business or first class. With a fixed rate redemption of 1.5 cents per point on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, 1.25 cents per point on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred, or 1 cent per point with the other Ultimate Rewards earning cards, the Chase Travel Portal is really simple to use and easy to access.
Generally speaking, for premium cabin award flight redemptions, you’ll very often get a better deal by transfering points to a partner than booking through the Chase Travel Portal.
However, with low cash fares for premium cabins, you might be surprised how often the portal is good for business class. Especially when you also factor in the amount of miles you earn since booking through the Chase Travel Portal counts as a cash fare even though you’re redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which means you’ll earn miles on the booking.
Before you decide whether to book your award ticket by utilizing a Chase Transfer Partner or by booking in the Chase Travel Portal, you’ll need to run an award search with the transfer partners to see what award space is available and what the cost is mileage wise. Once that is done, you can then go to the Chase travel portal and check to see how many points you’d need to book it there.
If the cash price is low enough, it can make more sense to book via the Chase Travel Portal than it does transferring to a transfer partner because the total amount of points required may be lower.
For example, let’s take a look at a round-trip business class flight from Cairo, Egypt to New York on Turkish Airlines.
Your best bet currently to book this flight with a Chase Transfer Partner would be to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United MileagePlus. This route would then cost 187,000 miles roundtrip plus $104.05 in taxes and fees.
In comparison, the cash fare for this flight at the time of writing is extremely reasonable at just $1,830.66. Booking this in the Chase Travel Portal with a Sapphire Reserve would run you just 122,044 Ultimate Rewards points, a savings of nearly 65,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
But, since booking in the Chase Travel Portal is considered a cash fare, you’ll earn miles on this redemption.
You’ll want to use WhereToCredit.com to decide where you want to credit those miles, but in this example, you’d earn about 17,000 miles if you credited your flight to Turkish Miles&Smiles.
Coincidentally, a one-way business class flight from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii costs just 12,500 miles when booked with Miles&Smiles. So you’d also have this as an option with the miles earned from the cash flight, further adding to the value in this example.
For more info, check out our Guide to using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.
Aer Lingus AerClub
Similar to how British Airways prices their award flights for their version of Avios, Aer Lingus AerClub prices award flights using the following 3 criteria:
- Flight distance per segment
- Peak/off-peak dates
- Fare class
I often find Aer Lingus AerClub to be the more complicated of the Avios programs to book compared to their counterparts British Airways Avios and Iberia Avios. And, I often find that their counterparts offer more enticing award redemptions.
But nevertheless, Aer Lingus AerClub can provide some great redemption options if you’re able to navigate some of the programs’ complexities.
When working to create an award flight itinerary with AerClub, keep in mind that award redemptions are priced per segment based on distance, as well as categorized as peak and off-peak dates. They publish their peak and off-peak calendar annually so that you can see what pricing is in effect and when.
Fly off-peak from the U.S. to Ireland in Business Class
Probably the best premium cabin use of AerClub would be to book business class flights from the East Coast of the U.S. to Ireland for just 50,000 Avios one-way. This redemption rate is on par with other programs, and Aer Lingus has a solid business class product. However, as soon as you book an itinerary that extends beyond Ireland, the pricing quickly deteriorates in terms of being on par with other programs.
Remember, Ireland is closer than you might think and most flights from the East Coast clock in at around 6 hours. So it’s barely enough time to settle in for a quick nap after dinner.
If you’re on the West Coast, off-peak pricing will run you 62,500 Avios. Still a nice option, but not necessarily a great deal.
The highlight of booking an award in Aer Lingus business class is booking the “throne” seats. The business class rows alternate between 2 seats per row, and 1 seat. The 1 seat has no one to your side, and has been dubbed the “throne” seat.
Aer Lingus’s A330’s that generally operate these routes have just two of these “throne” seats, so they can be hard to snag. But you don’t have to worry about any neighbors and will have tons of space if you’re lucky enough to snag one.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Flying Blue is the joint loyalty program of both Air France and KLM. Flying Blue offers a number of great uses for premium cabin flights, and the award pricing is determined by origin and destination pairs versus a more traditional award chart.
Don’t worry though, as you can easily calculate award pricing using the Flying Blue Miles Price Estimator.
It’s easy to use and you’ll quickly see the minimum number of miles required for your desired route. It’s worth noting, the Miles Price Estimator doesn’t show actual award space, but rather the minimum number of miles required to book a saver level award for your city pair.
Please note that partner flight rates aren’t always included in the Miles Price Estimator. Fortunately, some routes operated by partner airlines are included.
Flying Blue Promo Rewards
Arguably the best ways to use Flying Blue miles is by taking advantage of Flying Blue Promo Reward. Flying Blue runs 20-50% off award flights monthly which can be flown in the subsequent two months. These regularly published promo rewards are only available on flights operated by Air France and KLM, but they routinely offer some terrific opportunities to stretch your miles to some often fun and unique destinations.
As a U.S. based flyer, you can often find awards between North American cities and various Europe destinations discounted up to 50%. This translates into pricing as low as 25,000 miles each way per person in business class for these destinations, which is often cheaper than most carriers charge for economy awards.
Fly to Europe On Air France or KLM
You can use your Flying Blue miles to actually fly on Air France or KLM and get a good deal if you have some flexible travel dates. You can regularly find business class flights from the US to Europe for as low as 53,000 Flying Blue miles one-way per person from places like New York, Washington D.C. and more. This is a great price if you can find it, and both Air France and KLM have pretty solid business class products, so you’ll have a great in-flight experience.
If you’re looking to book travel to Israel, Flying Blue considers Israel to be a part of Europe in terms of their award pricing. Having this sweet spot means that flights to Tel Aviv price out at 53,000 Flying blue mile one-way from the U.S.
Even better, this rate stacks with Flying Blue Promo Awards. So if you found this rate and it coincided with a Flying Blue Promo Award of 25% or even 50% off, you’d be looking at 39,750 miles with a 25% sale, or even 26,500 Flying Blue miles with a 50% off sale. This is nuts when you consider that United charges at least 30,000 miles to fly one-way to Europe in economy, and you can do it for less than that, but in business class.
Fly to Europe On Virgin Atlantic
This might seem confusing since Virgin Atlantic is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, but in 2020 Flying Blue announced a trans-Atlantic partnership with Delta and Virgin Atlantic.
This partnership opens up a ton of redemption opportunities, and if you can’t find availability on some of the other options to get to Europe using Ultimate Rewards this Flying Blue sweet spot for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class may just be the ticket.
Pricing will be dictated by your travel origin, but flights from the East Coast to Western Europe on Virgin Atlantic will price in at 60,000 Flying Blue miles one-way in business class, and flights from the West Coast to West Europe run 72,000 Flying Blue miles one-way in business class.
The real win is that by booking Virgin Atlantic with Flying Blue miles, fuel surcharges will only run ~$200 on the one-way ticket. When you compare that to booking the same Virgin Atlantic operated flight with Virgin Points, you can expect to pay upwards of ~$700 in fuel surcharges, so this represents a terrific savings.
Fly to Hawaii On Delta
Hawaii is always a hot destination to travel to. And award pricing can be all over the place on various carriers.
You can use your Flying Blue miles to book domestic first class flights from the mainland US to Hawaii on flights operated by Delta for just 43,000 Flying Blue miles one-way. You’ll find booking U.S. airlines with partner programs to be a recurring theme. Since Delta doesn’t use an award chart, this is substantially less than Delta would charge if you were booking with Skymiles as they routinely price flights to Hawaii at 100,000+ Skymiles one-way per person in domestic first class.
Fly to the Caribbean On Delta
The theme continues – you’re often better off booking flights on U.S. airlines with partner programs like Flying Blue rather than that particular airlines’ own program. This is no different, so if you’re looking for a warm and tropical getaway to the Caribbean, consider booking with Flying Blue for flights operated by Delta to the Caribbean.
Make sure you understand the basics of booking partner awards.
It’ll take 43,000 Flying Blue miles to book one-way first class flights from the mainland U.S. to the Caribbean on flights operated by Delta. Yet again, this is significantly less than Delta SkyMiles often requires to book these same flights.
Fly from the Caribbean to Hawaii with Flying Blue
Here’s a fun one. Why not start and end your Hawaiian vacation in the Caribbean? You can use 12,500 Flying Blue miles to fly from the Caribbean to Hawaii in economy. Yes, you read that right. It’s cheaper to fly from the Caribbean to Hawaii or vice-versa than it is from the mainland US to Hawaii or the Caribbean on their own. How awesome is that?!
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways uses a distance-based award chart for its Avios program. This means that their award flights are set based on the distance of each segment flown, so the best value in terms of redemptions will be on nonstop flights.
However, because of this, British Airways Avios traditionally aren’t a great currency for booking long-haul premium cabin flights. There are often better programs to use to book the exact same flight at a much reduced mileage cost.
Learn more about maximizing British Airways Avios redemptions.
Fly from the U.S. to Japan on Japan Airlines
One sweet spot that is often overlooked is booking Japan Airlines business class with British Airways Avios miles from the West Coast.
From West Coast destinations like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and Vancouver, you can book this flight for 77,250 Flying Blue miles one-way in business class. Or, you can splurge and book it in first class for 103,000 Avios.
If you’re not located on the West Coast, it’s not as great of a deal for most. Flights from Dallas and Chicago will run 92,750 Avios one-way, and flights from the East Coast in places like Boston and New York clock in at 108,250 Avios one-way in business class.
Even though you can book Japan Airlines flights with American Airlines miles for much less (as low as 60,000 AAdvantage miles), British Airways Avios are so much easier to earn than AA miles since they have a wide variety of transfer partners. So if you’re on the East Coast, use AA miles, but if you’re on the West Coast, maybe consider British Airways Avios and save your AA miles for other redemptions.
Experience the Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha
One of the most luxurious lounge experiences in the world is the Al Safwa First Lounge at the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. You can only access this lounge if you’re flying Qatar Airways’ first class. Even top OneWorld elite members don’t get access to this lounge unless they’re flying Qatar Airways first class.
For the ultimate #AvGeek move, consider booking a quick first class flight on a short-haul leg such as Doha to Muscat, Oman. This flight is blocked at 1:40, but only covers 436 mi. But it’s enough to qualify you for access to the Al Safwa First Lounge. So in essence, you’re paying 24,000 British Airways Avios for access to the lounge. And if you show up to your flight 8 hours ahead of time, you can make great use of this experience.
Fly from São Paulo To Buenos Aires in Qatar QSuites
Qatar Airways’ fifth freedom flight from São Paulo, Brazil (GRU) to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE) might be the cheapest way to experience QSuites on points. This three and a half hour flight will run you just 16,500 Avios. If you’re exploring South America, and need a fun way to fly from Brazil to Argentina, this is a great option.
Surprisingly, Qatar isn’t the only airline operating this route as a fifth-freedom – Turkish Airlines as well as Ethiopian Airlines also operate fifth-freedom flights on this route and can be booked with another Chase transfer partner: United.
When you think of outlandish premium cabin experiences, Emirates is almost certain to be one of the first to come to mind. Let’s not forget, they were the first to put showers on commercial airplanes.
Historically, Emirates Skywards has not been a terribly great award program compared to other programs. They used to charge very high fuel surcharges on award flights. And to top it off, they used to charge a ton of miles to go along with those fuel surcharges, so in almost every scenario, you were better off booking with other programs.
Recently, this has changed as Emirates has drastically reduced their fuel surcharges on award flights, as well overhauled their award pricing. And since they’re now a transfer partner of all major currencies – Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, ThankYouPoints and Capital One, they’re easier than ever to earn.
Similar to Flying Blue, Emirates Skywards prices their awards based on origin and destination pairs versus a more traditional award chart. They provide an easy to use miles calculator to help to determine pricing.
And while on the surface the award pricing for roundtrip business class and first class may seem high, we do see transfer bonuses from time to time that can really stretch your miles even further.
Fly Business or First Class to Milan, Italy
Emirates has long operated a unique fifth-freedom flight from New York (JFK) to Milan, Italy (MXP). If you’re headed to Italy, you won’t find a better experience to fly.
At 90,000 Skywards miles round-trip for business class, or 135,000 Skywards miles round-trip for first class, this route is on par or even better than some of the competition in terms of pricing, but likely extraordinarily better in terms of the overall flight experience, as Emirates is known for.
Fly Longhaul Luxury to the Maldives
Almost every points and miles enthusiast seems to want to make a pilgrimage to the Maldives at some point in their journey, and what better way to do it than in roundtrip business class or first class on Emirates.
From the East Coast, roundtrip business class flights price in at 170,000 Skywards miles, and roundtrip first class flights price in at 255,000 Skywards miles.
From the West Coast, roundtrip business class flights price in slightly higher at 180,000 Skywards miles, and roundtrip first class flights price in a bit more at 280,000 Skywards miles.
Note: if you choose to book just a one-way flight on Emirates, the price isn’t exactly half of the roundtrip price. It’s 117,500 for one-way business from the East Coast (123,750 from the West Coast) and 160,000 for one-way first class from the East Coast (168,750 from the West Coast).
Adventure to the Seychelles
If you might be more interested in a slightly different destination than the Maldives, but a similar experience, then the not-so-distant neighboring islands of The Seychelles might fit the bill for you. Flights from the U.S. to the Seychelles are priced the exact same as flights to the Maldives.
From the East Coast, roundtrip business class flights price in at 170,000 Skywards miles, and roundtrip first class flights price in at 255,000 Skywards miles.
From the West Coast, roundtrip business class flights price in slightly higher at 180,000 Skywards miles, and roundtrip first class flights price in a bit more at 280,000 Skywards miles.
Korean Air Business Class Between the U.S. and Korea
Korean Air used to be a Chase Transfer Partner. They offered a great option for transit to and from Asia and beyond with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
But have no fear – you can still book Korean Air business class flights with Emirates Skywards miles. For just 105,000 Skywards miles, you can book a round-trip business class ticket to South Korea from the U.S. This is a great redemption option as pricing is in line or better than some of the best redemption options. Taxes and fees will set you back about $350, but it’s still a solid option.
Sample Emirates First Class or Business Class on Flights to Hong Kong
If you just want a sample of what all of the fuss is about with Emirates premium cabin options, you can book a short 3 hour flight between Hong Kong (HKG) and Bangkok (BKK) on Emirates. Don’t worry, even though the flight time is shorter than some of the long-haul options, you’ll still get the great service that Emirates is known for.
Pricing for this route is 40,000 Skywards miles roundtrip in business or 60,000 Skywards miles roundtrip in first class.
Additionally, you can book it as a one-way for 27,500 Skywards miles in business and 37,500 Skywards miles in first class.
Fly Business Class from Hawaii to Australia on Qantas
If you’re interested in taking a more creative route down under, or maybe you’re just trying to connect two vacations in one, using Emirates Skywards miles to book a Qantas business class flight from Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL) to Sydney (SYD) is a great redemption option.
It’ll run you 72,000 Skywards miles one-way for this business class flight. While you can book the same flight for just 55,000 Alaska miles, Skywards miles are much much easier to earn than Alaska miles with all of their transfer partners. The real challenge for you will be finding award space. But if you can find it, Skywards miles are a great option to book it with.
Find more great Emirates Skywards miles redemptions options.
Iberia Plus, like British Airways and Aer Lingus, is also a part of the Avios program. While all three of these Avios programs have a number similarities amongst them, there is one aspect of the Iberia Plus program that stands out – Iberia prices some of their award redemptions by total distance flown, not by segment.
Just like its Avios counterparts, Iberia breaks up their calendar into peak and off-peak dates which gets published annually. Generally, the peak dates include most of the summer season and holidays, and a majority of the remaining dates are considered off-peak.
The main difference is that your award ticket will be priced based on the total flight distance of your itinerary. The number of Avios you need when booking with British Airways or Aer Lingus is based on the distance flown per segment.
Iberia has different award charts depending on what airlines you’ll fly. There’s different award charts for flights operated just by Iberia and British Airways, Air Italy, and Vueling. Another chart exists for just British Airways and is charged per segment. Finally, there’s an award chart for OneWorld partner airlines.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to utilize Iberia Avios for booking premium cabin flights below.
Off-Peak Business Class Flights From the East Coast or Chicago to Spain on Iberia
Attention east coast and Chicago residents: one of the absolutely best flight redemptions using Ultimate Rewards is to fly business class from Chicago or the East Coast to Madrid during off-peak dates.
During peak dates, you can book a one-way ticket business class ticket from Chicago and other nonstop East Coast destinations for 50,000 Iberia Avios. This is a pretty good deal, but it gets exponentially better during off-peak dates, when the pricing drops to 34,000 Avios one-way per person in business class.
Because Miami is just a little bit further distance wise from Madrid, it falls into the next distance zone on the award chart, and so it prices out at 62,500 Avios one-way in business class during peak dates, and 42,000 Avios one-way in business class during off-peak dates.
Los Angeles and San Francisco are a bit more. You’ll need 75,000 Avios one-way in business class during peak dates, and 51,000 Avios one-way in business class during off-peak dates.
Book Round-Trip Flights with Connections on American Airlines
In most cases, you’re usually better off booking multi-segment itineraries on Oneworld partners with Iberia rather than British Airways or Aer Lingus.
The reason for this is because British Airways and Aer Lingus calculate the total cost of your one-way flight based on the distance per segment flown whereas Iberia looks at the entire distance flown and ignores segments.
So if you have a connection, British Airways will count the flight from your origin to connection as segment #1, and then the flight from your connection to your destination as segment #2. They’ll then add the cost of segment #1 and segment #2 together to get the total cost in Avios.
Iberia on the other hand only looks at the total mileage flown of the trip, regardless of the number of segments. So in most cases, you’ll come out ahead by booking flights with connections on Iberia vs booking with British Airways or Aer Lingus. And this savings is only magnified when booking premium cabins.
It’s worth noting that Iberia Plus requires a round-trip booking when booking flights on American Airlines. So, if you need to book a one-way, nonstop flight, British Airways will be the way to go. However, Iberia Plus could save you some points if you need a round-trip with connections.
If you have questions about the British Airways award chart or want to see more ways to use BA Avios, check out this article.
JetBlue TrueBlue prices award flights operated by JetBlue based on the cash price of the tickets.
Translation: the amount of JetBlue TrueBlue points needed for a ticket is directly correlated to the cash price of the ticket. So there is no award chart to be able to reference, and so award pricing will likely be all over the place. But, the positive news here is that low cash fares means you’ll need very few points to book.
Fly in Style in JetBlue Mint
JetBlue’s Mint first class product is consistently rated as one of the top first class products, especially here in the U.S. Launched in 2015, it was initially introduced on the transcontinental routes to compete with some of the legacy carriers. Since then, JetBlue has added a number of additional routes with aircraft containing the Mint first class product.
Now, you can fly on a number of the transcontinental routes from New York and Boston to Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angeles in Mint. But you can also fly to a number of Caribbean destinations from New York and Boston in Mint as well.
Some of the highlights of Mint are the “throne” seats, as well as rave reviews of the catering.
Since TrueBlue prices awards based on the cash price of tickets, award prices for flying in Mint will be all over the place depending on when you travel and where. But if you can find a reasonable price for Mint, you should definitely book it.
Fly Hawaiian Airlines Business Class
JetBlue has a partnership with Hawaiian Airlines. Through this partnership, you can book Hawaiian Airlines business class flights to the U.S. or internationally. This is a great way to get extra value from your TrueBlue points, because JetBlue’s Hawaiian Airlines award chart is fixed based on your destination, rather than the cash price.
If you’re flying between Hawaii and the West Coast, you’ll use 45,000 TrueBlue points. Flights to the East Coast and internationally cost 70,000 TrueBlue points. To fly from the East or West Coast to international destinations isn’t as beneficial, requiring 120,000 TrueBlue points.
A unique route is Hawaiian Airlines’ flight between Honolulu and Seoul, South Korea (ICN). You can book this for only 70,000 TrueBlue points. A great way to extend your Hawaiian vacation to Asia.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer offers a few great sweet spots for premium cabin award redemptions.
Krisflyer miles are super easy to earn. Not only are they a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, but also American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Thankyou points as well as Capital One.
Keep in mind, transfers to Singapore aren’t instantaneous and tend to take a few days to show up in your account.
Experience Singapore’s Famous First Class Suites From the U.S. to Europe
It’s well known that Singapore offers one of the best first class products in the sky. And one of the best ways to experience that is on Singapore’s fifth freedom routes – either from Houston, Texas (IAH) to Manchester, England (MAN), or New York (JFK) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA).
Singapore flies their signature A380 on these routes, which features their first class suites.
And amazingly – this incredibly luxurious experience will only set you back 86,000 Krisflyer miles to experience it for both routes. Talk about a great way to get to Europe.
Fly From the U.S. to Japan in Singapore’s Other First Class
This route doesn’t typically offer Singapore’s signature A380 with first class seats as it’s generally operated by 777’s and not the A380’s. But it’s still an incredible way to fly complete with Singapore’s signature service.
Flying one way in first class from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT) will run you 107,000 Krisflyer miles. It’s a great way to cross the Pacific.
Fly From the U.S. to Hong Kong or Singapore in Business Class
Maybe you’re trying to stretch your miles, or can’t find first class availability. Either way, you can book one-way business class flights from San Francisco (SFO) to either Hong Kong (HKG) or Singapore (SIN). The one-way business class flight to Hong Kong will run you 89,000 Krisflyer miles, and the flight to Singapore will run you 95,000 Krisflyer miles.
If you want to fly the actual world’s longest route, you can fly from Newark (EWR) to Singapore (SIN) for only 99,000 Krisflyer miles in business class.
95,000 Krisflyer miles to fly one of the longest nonstop flights in the world, or 99,000 for the actual longest flight in a stellar business class product? Sign me up!
Experience Southern South America
If you’re headed to South America, whether Chile, Argentina or Brazil, Krisflyer miles can be a great option for booking Star Alliance partners from the U.S. to these destinations.
Nonstop United routes such as Houston, Texas (IAH) to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE), or Chicago, Illinois (ORD) to São Paulo, Brazil (GRU) can be booked for just 57,500 Singapore Krisflyer miles one-way in business class.
Fly United’s Domestic First Class for Less Miles
Using Krisflyer miles to book United operated flights is a great way to save a few miles here and there, especially if you’re transferring from Ultimate Rewards to complete the booking. United charges as little as 25,000 United miles to book one-way domestic first class flights. These same exact flights can be booked for just 23,000 Krisflyer miles.
2,000 miles may not seem like much, but roundtrip that’s 4,000 miles and that’s when it can slowly add up. Why spend more miles than you have to?
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards is a unicorn amongst all of the Chase Transfer Partners: it doesn’t offer any sort of premium cabin product. All seats on Southwest flights are economy.
Now, this might be confusing since Southwest offers a Business Select fare. However, the seat you will get is the standard economy seat on all Southwest flights. Business select is simply a fare type that allows a few features:
- Priority boarding – you’ll get guaranteed A1-A15 boarding on your flight and be the first on the plane.
- Free Premium Drinks – you’ll get a drink coupon by booking Business Select for a free drink
- Extra points – you’ll earn 12 Rapid Rewards points per $1 of spend for your ticket.
- Refundable fares – your fare is 100% refundable back to the original method of payment.
So it’s not possible to use Ultimate Rewards points for either business or first class flights on Southwest. Because it doesn’t exist.
Booking award flights with United MileagePlus miles, whether on United-operated flights or on other Star Alliance partners usually isn’t the cheapest way in terms of mileage cost to book that particular flight.
One key component to consider can make it really worthwhile – United MileagePlus doesn’t pass along fuel surcharges on any award tickets. This is really important because some airlines can charge upwards of $500 in addition to the mileage cost for these fuel surcharges.
So even though it might take more United miles to book an award flight, be sure to factor in these other costs like fuel surcharges. It often makes sense to pay more miles in exchange for less out of pocket cost in certain scenarios, and this is an area where United MileagePlus can shine.
United’s Excursionist Perk
Not only does United MileagePlus present a compelling argument to redeem their miles on your next award flight due to the lack of fuel surcharges, they also include one other incredible feature in their loyalty program: the Excursionist Perk.
The Excursionist Perk allows you to include a free one-way flight on a round-trip award.
Make sure you check out our 2-part guide to The Excursionist Perk.
The guide above explains this in greater detail, but in short, if you’ve got a flight from San Francisco (SFO) to London and then another flight home from Zurich (ZHR) back to San Francisco on the same itinerary, you could use the Excursionist perk to fly from London to Zurich for no extra miles when booked all together.
This benefit can save you a ton of money, and there are some more advanced redemption options and strategies of using the Excursionist Perk that can save you tons of money and build some super creative routes!
Fly to Northern South America on United
If you’re looking to explore Machu Picchu in Peru, escape to Medellin, Colombia, or just enjoy any of the other Northern South American countries, you’re in luck. United divides up the continent of South America into two regions: Northern South American and Southern South America. Countries like Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela make up the northern region.
One-way flights between the U.S. and the northern region of South American price in at just 35,000 United miles in business class. You can fly on United operated flights from Houston (IAH) and Newark (EWR), or on other Star Alliance carriers such as Avianca and Copa from a number of U.S. destinations.
Fly to Europe on United
While United no longer publishes award charts, you can expect to pay 60,000 United miles for a one-way business class flight from the U.S. to Europe. This certainly isn’t the cheapest redemption option for a Star Alliance flight to Europe, but as a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, United miles are easy to earn, and you won’t pay any fuel surcharges on your redemption, so they’re relatively straight forward so long as you can find saver availability.
Plus, if you’re utilizing the Excursionist Perk on your redemption, it might be worth paying more in miles to still come out ahead on your Excursionist portion of your flight depending on the specifics.
If you’re booking your flight 7-21 days from your departure date, you’ll pay a 2,500 miles surcharge, and your one-way business class flight will run you 62,500 United miles.
Flights booked within 7 days of departure will require you to pay an additional 500 mile surcharge, and your one-way business class flight will run you 63,000 United miles.
Fly to Europe on Partners
If you’re booking a flight to Europe on a Star Alliance partner-operated flight from the U.S. to Europe with United miles, United prices these differently than United-operated flights.
You’ll pay 77,000 United miles for a one-way business class flight from the U.S. to Europe on a Star Alliance partner-operated flight.
If you’re booking your flight within 21 days of departure, you’ll pay a surcharge and your Star Alliance partner-operated flight will run you 80,500 United miles one-way in business class.
Fly Intra Europe
When looking at United’s region classification for Europe, it’s quite clear to see just how much the European region stretches from Scandinavia and the United Kingdom all the way to Turkey.
And since business class flights intra Europe run just 25,000 United miles one-way, you can really stretch your miles flying from the furthest end of one side of the region to the other. Flights from destinations such as Oslo, Helsinki, Dublin, London and more to Istanbul on Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines clock in close to or well above 4 hours, which really allows you to stretch your miles.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
There are countless great ways to use Virgin Points to book tremendous flying experiences in business and first class.
Fly to Japan on All Nippon Airways (ANA)
Arguably the best use of Virgin Points involves booking round-trip first class flights on ANA from the U.S. to Tokyo, Japan.
If you’re departing from the West Coast, your ticket will cost just 110,000 Virgin Points round-trip.
Yes, you read that right, 110,000 Virgin Points round-trip for a flight often costing $16,000+ if you were to pay for it in cash.
And if you’re not located on the West Coast, your pricing is just an extra 10,000 miles, totalling 120,000 Virgin Points round-trip in first class for the same great experience.
If you’re short on miles, or can’t find availability in first class, you can still take advantage of this great redemption by booking business class. Business class will run you 90,000 Virgin Points from the West Coast, or 95,000 Virgin Points from anywhere else in the U.S.
If you are flying business class, be on the lookout for flights offering ANA’s new “The Room” business class for your flight. It’s only offered on the New York (JFK) – Tokyo (NRT, HND) route in the U.S. currently, so if you’re able to book it, you won’t regret it!
Fly to Europe on Delta
One of the best ways to fly Delta operated flights to Europe is by redeeming Virgin Points for flights in Delta One. One-way flights to non-UK destinations price in at just 50,000 Virgin Points. Flights to the UK on Delta booked with Virgin Points use standard and peak rates as well as a distanced based pricing.
You can fly routes such as Boston (BOS) to Amsterdam (AMS), Atlanta (ATL) to Paris (CDG), New York (JFK) to Brussels (BRU), and many more.
Even though Delta no longer publishes an award chart, we generally see these flights price at or above 105,000 Skymiles one-way per person in Delta One, so this represents a tremendous savings in the number of points required, even though Virgin Points and Delta Skymiles aren’t terribly close in average value.
Final Thoughts On Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points For Business and First Class Flights
By now you can see a ton of examples of how you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for business and first class flights. And, you can also see some of the unique nuances of award programs in which it makes sense to use certain programs to book certain airlines, often over using that airlines’ own loyalty program.
Regardless of where you’re headed, Chase Ultimate Rewards points provide you a ton of great premium cabin options to get you to any corner of the world.
Keep earning those points and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to flying in style at the front of the plane thanks to Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
Cards in This Article
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
after you spend $4,000 in 3 months
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
Editors 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.