With the proliferation of transferable points like Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints, Americans have access to cheap awards through tons of foreign programs.
Here are five underpriced awards on foreign award charts and how to get the miles needed to book the awards.
1. Singapore Awards Between Hawaii and the Americas
Singapore Airlines puts Hawaii and Central America–you know, those two places that are thousands of miles apart–into one region. This leads to awards “within” the region to price out at a ridiculously cheap 17,500 miles each way and 30,000 miles in Business Class.
Similarly, Hawaii to South America is only 25,000 miles each way in economy and 40,000 miles in Business Class.
This is huge even if you don’t live in Hawaii because roundtrip Singapore Airlines awards allow for one free stopover and up to three more stopovers for $100 each.
That means you can book a roundtrip from Hawaii to South America with a stopover at your home airport in both directions for 50,000 miles + $100 + taxes. That would give you a roundtrip to South America plus two one ways to and from Hawaii on three separate trips.
- Singapore KrisFlyer Sweet Spot Central America/Hawaii
- Roundtrip to South America, Two Free One Ways to Hawaii for 50,000 Miles
Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints.
2. Virgin Atlantic Awards to Southern South America
Virgin Atlantic has a number of partners including Delta. On Delta, to anywhere in South America costs only 45,000 Virgin Atlantic miles roundtrip or 90,000 roundtrip in Business Class.
Compare that to the 60k or 125k Delta miles the same flights to Southern South America would cost.
People disparage Delta award availability, but I find decent economy award space to South America on the carrier.
Virgin Atlantic miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints.
3. Promo Awards to Europe, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, or the Canary Islands with Flying Blue Miles
Every month, Air France Flying Blue offers awards to Europe for 25% and 50% off from select cities. Here are the current offers to cities in North America.
Oddly Flying Blue also classifies Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and the Canary Islands as a part of Europe, so sometimes you can find award prices as low as 12,500 Flying Blue miles (50% off) to these distant destinations.
There are fuel surcharges, but I often think the deal is still too good to pass up in economy.
I also really like Promo Awards from Brazil to Europe because flights leaving Brazil have no fuel surcharges by law. These enable a THINK BIG trip like your home airport to Brazil to France to your home airport.
Full details on Promo Awards: Fly to Europeflying blue or Israel for 12,500 Miles
Flying Blue miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points, American Express Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints.
4. Alaska Awards to South Africa on Cathay Pacific
Alaska Airlines charges a very reasonable 70,000 miles one way between the United States and Asia in Cathay Pacific First Class.It charges the same amount to Africa from the United States in Cathay Pacific First Class.
Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific Hub) to Johannesburg is now served by a plane without First Class, but you can still get 16 hours in First Class from the USA to Hong Kong plus 13 hours in Business Class more to Johannesburg for only 70,000 Alaska miles. If you love flying, this is the deal for you.
Alaska miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints. You can also get Alaska Airlines miles from their churnable personal and business credit cards.
5. Virgin Atlantic Awards to Europe in Economy and Premium Economy
Virgin Atlantic economy class awards to Europe require far fewer miles than competitors’ charge. From Atlanta, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, or Detroit, you only need 17,500 Virgin Atlantic miles for a one way flight to the United Kingdom.
And taxes and fees on the one way from the United States to Europe are only $134.60!
Combine a one way from the eastern United States to Europe for 17,500 Virgin Atlantic miles plus $135 and return from a low tax country to the United States on a one way award with United or American miles for a very cheap European vacation.
You can also fly one way from Atlanta, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, or Detroit to London to in Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy for only 27,500 miles and $264.60.
I wrote more about searching Virgin Atlantic award space, the fuel surcharges you’ll see, and booking the space in Sweetspots with Virgin Atlantic Miles: Awards to Europe for as Little as 10,000 Points.
Premium Economy on Virgin Atlantic is more akin to United First Class on domestic flights than United Economy Plus. It’s not just a big seat; Premium Economy comes with all the amenities in this promotional video.
Virgin Atlantic miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints. Plus there is the “90k offer” on the Virgin Atlantic credit card.
Purchasing the Award
Pay the taxes and surcharges for these awards with your Citi Prestige® Card.
The card also comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, which can be transferred to 12 types of airline miles or used like cash toward the purchase of any ticket. And tomorrow (8/31) is the last day to get the Prestige to be eligible for the American Airlines lounge access benefit!
Did I miss any of your favorite awards on the obscure foreign award charts? Tell us about it in the comments.
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.
Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.