Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles. You can earn these miles to redeem on the current chart with the current rules, which are in effect until March 21, 2016. On March 21, 2016, you can book travel through February 16, 2017 that is “locked in” at current prices and will not be affected by the subsequent devaluation. Starting March 22, American Airlines will have a new worse award chart.

American Airlines miles are currently the most valuable airline miles for ultra-luxury awards because Delta and United devalued their award charts in 2014, but American’s has been the same for several years. For example, a roundtrip in First Class to Southeast Asia costs:

  • 135,000 American Airlines miles
  • 260,000 United miles on United partners
  • Delta miles cannot book First Class (160,000 Delta miles in Business Class)

That means you and a companion can travel to Bali or Bangkok in First Class with almost the same number of American Airlines miles (270,000) as one person using United miles would need (260,000).

What are six great ways to use the 106,000 American Airlines miles you’d have after meeting the minimum spending requirement on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® for ultra-luxurious First Class?

“Redeeming American Airlines Miles” Series Index

The Deals

I’ll give the miles price of a one way award because American Airlines allows one way bookings (we’ll cover that later), and I’ll give the price after a 10% rebate in parentheses. That’s because the American Airlines personal card offers 10% of the miles back on all American Airlines redemptions up to 100,000 miles redeemed per calendar year.

1. Cathay Pacific First Class for 67,500 (60,750) miles

Trip Report: New York to Hong Kong

You can book Cathay Pacific First Class one way for 67,500 American Airlines miles between the United States and Southeast Asia.

Cathay Pacific First Class is a throne…

IMG_0031

…that turns into a large and comfortable bed.

IMG_0051

Cathay Pacific First Class comes with some of the best food, fanciest wines and liquors, and most attentive service in the sky.

IMG_0045

And best of all, award space is widely available from the United States to Hong Kong and from there to the rest of Asia.

2. Etihad First Class for 40,000 (36,000) miles

Etihad First Class costs only 40,000 American Airlines miles between Europe and the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, or Maldives. From the United States to those destinations is 90,000 miles.

Etihad First Class on its newest A380 has a couch that seats several people and a separate bed.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.27.11 PM

Etihad’s fully enclosed suites are the most spacious in the sky, and there’s a shower onboard that you can use in flight.

Award space is widely available on the A380 between London and Abu Dhabi and Sydney and Abu Dhabi. First Class award space between the United States and the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent is now available within a few days of departure. I booked Abu Dhabi to New York for later this month.

3. Qantas First Class for 40,000 (36,000) miles

Qantas First Class costs only 40,000 American Airlines miles between London and Dubai. From the United States to Australia, the cost is only 72,500 miles on flights of over 14 hours!

Qantas First Class features an open suite that converts into a bed…

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 11.25.48 AM

…or a table for two.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.33.16 PM

Qantas First Class is widely available between London and Dubai, Dubai and Sydney, and London and Sydney for low mileage prices. It is not widely available between the United States and Australia, but there is some availability if you can plan your trip one year in advance.

4. Malaysia Airlines First Class for 70,000 (63,000) miles

Trip Report: Paris to Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia Airlines First Class on its A380 costs 70,000 miles between Kuala Lumpur and London.

Malaysia Airlines is a very large and comfortable seat that converts into an extremely long and wide bed.

The all-you-can-eat satay cart was the best food I’ve ever had in the sky.

And the attentive service–that included kneeling down to seat level for interactions–was way better than you’d ever get from a US-based airline.

Malaysia Airlines First Class is widely available between Kuala Lumpur and Europe.

5. Japan Airlines First Class for 62,500 (56,250) miles

Japan Airlines First Class is among the best in the world.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.37.20 PM

It combines a mostly enclosed suite with a wide, fully flat bed and impeccable service and food.Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 2.37.30 PM

Japan Airlines First Class between the United States and Japan costs 62,500 American Airlines miles one way.

6. British Airways First Class for 50,000 (45,000) miles

British Airways First Class on the A380 from London to South Africa is only 50,000 miles. Between the United States and Europe, the price is only 62,500 miles. The A380 flies to Los Angeles and Washington-Dulles.

British Airways First Class is a partially enclosed seat that turns into a fully flat bed.

There are fuel surcharges when you use American Airlines miles to book British Airways–the only fuel surcharges for any bookings in this post–but if the schedule is convenient, they may be worth paying. British Airways First Class is moderately available between the United States and Europe and between London and the rest of the world.

Also check out First Class on the British Airways 787-9 from 40,000 (36,000) miles one way on a ten hour flight.

Bottom Line

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles. You can earn these miles to redeem on the current chart with the current rules.

You can use these miles to book ultra-luxurious First Class awards on several American Airlines partners. Book by March 21, 2016 and fly by February 16, 2017 to get the prices quoted in this post. If you plan to book March 22 or later, read this post.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

According to Airline Route, British Airways has begun operating its 787-9 Dreamliner on three routes from London-Heathrow:

  • Delhi
  • Abu Dhabi/Muscat
  • Kuala Lumpur

In 2016, it adds a ton of 787-9 destinations including several in the United States:

  • Austin from February 1
  • Newark from April 2
  • Philadelphia from April 9
  • San Jose from May 4
  • Houston from August 1
  • Boston from October 1

The British Airways 787-9 Dreamliner is exciting both because it is a brand new plane and because British Airways features First Class on the plane, which the British Airways 787-8 doesn’t have.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.56.30 PM

These flights have fuel surcharges, but in some case, the fuel surcharge is low enough that I just might bite on an award with American Airlines miles before the American Airlines devaluation on March 22, 2016.

The Product

British Airways’ 787-9 has 8 First Class beds in two rows on 1-2-1 seating, meaning direct aisle access for all passengers. Business Class has 42 flat beds in a 2-3-2 layout.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.56.15 PM

Here’s how the First Class cabin looks on the British Airways 787-9. You can find a lot more photos at Aviation Week.

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 9.43.25 PM
Source: http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/whats-new-bas-boeing-787-9-first#slide-1-field_images-1367021

There are nicer First Classes, like several Asian and Middle Eastern Airlines, but First Class on the British Airways 787-9 looks very nice overall.

The Award Space

Delhi <-> London

To me, Delhi to London is the most intriguing route.

For one thing, American Airlines charges only 40,000 miles one way between the Middle East or Indian Subcontinent and Europe even though Delhi to London is a 10 hour flight. For another, fuel surcharges are almost bearable at $273 one way on the route.

Award space is excellent and predictable in First Class on the route in both directions.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.28.31 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.29.08 PM Unfortunately much of that award space is on a British Airways 777, not 787. You can see the aircraft on aa.com by selecting a flight and clicking Flight Details.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.31.29 PMLuckily Business Class on the Dreamliner, also flat bed is wide open for only 30,000 American Airlines miles one way.
Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.28.42 PM And this space is on the Dreamliner.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.31.35 PMAs with all the routes in this post, fuel surcharges are high. Taxes are only high leaving London, so you save a lot of money by flying to London on a Dreamliner instead of flying out of London.

For instance, London to Delhi in Business Class is 30,000 American Airlines miles + $501.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.07 PM The other direction is an extra hour of flying for the same 30,000 miles, but only $273, a savings of $228.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.32.59 PM

Kuala Lumpur <-> London

This is the longest route, though I am tempered in my enthusiasm for flying British Airways First Class when Malaysia Airlines First Class on its A380 is nicer and widely available on the route for the same number of American Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.37 PM

First Class award space costs 70,000 American Airlines miles one way and is widely available if you have flexible dates.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.33.53 PM

In First Class, on British Airways’ Dreamliner, you’d pay 70,000 American Airlines miles + $279 from Kuala Lumpur to London.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.10 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.34.42 PM

Muscat/Abu Dhabi <-> London

I didn’t even check. I’d so much rather use 40,000 American Airlines miles to fly Etihad First Class on its A380 from Abu Dhabi to London.

American Routes

The first American route to see 787-9 Dreamliner action will be Austin from February 1, 2016 on. Award space is pretty good in February 2016 on the route.

In the first month, Austin to London has First Class award space on 13 days.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.36.48 PM London to Austin also has award space on 13 days in the first month.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.36.42 PMUnfortunately, there isn’t much of a break in out-of-pocket costs for flying to London instead of out of it. Flying out of Lodnon has $538 in taxes and fuel surcharges in addition to the 62,500 American Airlines miles.

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.40 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.37.59 PMFlying to London has $480 in taxes and fuel surcharges.Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.46 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 7.38.51 PM

Other American Routes

Check out your favorite routes yourself to see the award space picture and the fuel surcharges. Here are the routes again and when they start.

  • Austin from February 1
  • Newark from April 2
  • Philadelphia from April 9
  • San Jose from May 4
  • Houston from August 1
  • Boston from October 1

Round the World Awards

These awards don’t require you to live in London, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, or Austin to partake. Like all region-based miles, you can add connecting flights within the region of departure and arrival for zero extra miles. So Dallas to Paris, including the 787-9 segment from Austin to London, would cost zero extra miles.

The other way to take advantage of these awards, and my preferred way, would be to use them as part of big, round-the-world trips, which in 2016, you should book as a series of one way awards. Delhi to London for 40,000 miles in First Class is really attractive as part of a big trip.

Getting American Airlines Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.44.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.59.13 PM

Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles. That is enough to fly two segments in British Airways First Class.

Bottom Line

British Airways has added its 787-9 Dreamliner with First Class to the schedule for three routes already and adds several American routes in 2016.

Book First Class on the Dreamliner for as little as 40,000 American Airlines miles each way plus fuel surcharges. Right now, you can get a boatload of American Airlines miles from opening the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®.

Use the flight as part of a round-the-world trip if you like to think big with your trips.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

Thai 647
Central Japan International Airport (NGO) – Bangkok (BKK)
Depart: 12:30 AM on Friday January 1, 2016
Arrive: 5:10 AM
Duration: 6:40
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
Seat: 15F Royal Silk (Business)

Last month I booked myself Thai Business Class for 36,000 LifeMiles + $47 to get from Japan, where I spent five days, to Thailand to meet my friend.

I woke up the morning of my flight in Kyoto and took a train to Nagoya. Unfortunately all the sites I wanted to see in Nagoya were closed for New Year’s Eve. I still enjoyed a lot of walking around the city and stopping for chicken katsu to compare it to how the dish is served in Hawaii. After sunset, I watched Star Wars at a Nagoya mall, and then five hours before my flight, I was pretty much out of things to do, so I took a train to the airport.

Unfortunately Thai Airways only opens check in two-and-a-half hours before its flights in Nagoya, so I was stuck sitting on the floor of the airport with free wifi for about two hours. (I had checked in online hoping that I could print my boarding pass, get through security, and wait in the lounge before the flight. Unfortunately, although I was checked in, I couldn’t get a boarding pass without a passport check at the check in counter.)

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.31 AMBy the time, check in started, over 60 people were in line.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.36 AM After check in, security was a breeze, and I headed to the Star Alliance lounge, which was a long, narrow room with seating by the windows…Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.43 AM …travel quotes on the wall…Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.50 AM …a second, less comfortable seating area…Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.34.58 AM …and a buffet. The buffet had takoyaki (octopus balls), pasta, rice balls, sushi, sandwiches, croissants, and cup of noodles.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.15 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.26 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.33.28 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.33 AM There was a self-serve bar that included beer, wine, liquors (Japanese and Western), and some sort of whiskey-based drink on tap.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.40 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.35.46 AMBoarding was slated to start at 11:55 PM, but I didn’t leave the lounge until almost 12:15 AM. I was happy to see that there was a separate boarding line for Business Class and a separate boarding door from the jetway, so even though I boarded when the main line was 100 people long, I was at my seat in just a few seconds.

As I entered the plane, I was greeted by a flight attendant with a big smile and a deep bow, very different than the non-greeting one expects from American airlines.

Thai Business Class on the Dreamliner consists of 30 seats spread across five rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. I chose a middle seat, so that I had aisle access, and I wasn’t blocking anyone else’s aisle access. I didn’t want any disruption to my sleep on such a short redeye.

My seat was in the last row of Business Class. When I arrived, my pillow and blanket were on the seat, my headphones were in the little cubby by my headrest, and my slippers and the amenity kit were by the footrest.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.36.20 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.36.29 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.33.12 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.33.20 AMI sat down and stretched my legs out to the ottoman under the television. Unfortunately, the Thai Dreamliner has the tiny foot cubby that many Business Class beds have. It can be a tight squeeze that is less than ideal for lounging and sleeping, but it isn’t a total deal breaker for me.Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.36.43 AM

The television was working from the moment I got on the plane until the moment I got off. This is the way that all entertainment systems should be, but somehow in 2016 some systems don’t work until you are airborne. I started watching an episode of Modern Family with the hope that I would be asleep before it finished.

The flight attendants were a flurry of activity before take off.

First, one attendant brought a tray of apple juice, orange juice, Veuve Cliquot champagne, and water. I went with a water. I prefer when orders are taken individually, which United manages to pull off in Business Class, but at least Thai gave us a pre-departure beverage.

Next, another flight attendant brought a piping hot towel, which was refreshing right before bed.

Later, a third flight attendant brought the menu, artfully presenting it by bending down and opening it for me to the page of entrees.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.36.51 AMThe menu read as follows:Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.01 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.30 AM

The drinks menu read as follows:Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.37 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.51 AMI asked the flight attendant if the meal would be served after take off, and she said that it would be served 90 minutes before landing, which was 6 AM Japan/4 AM Thailand time, which makes the chicken, fish, and sushi a little strange but very welcome, since I am not a big breakfast guy.

I ordered the chicken, but I specifically asked not to be woken up for the meal. I said, “I will take the chicken if I am awake, but please do not wake me up.”

Right before take off, the captain welcomed us to the flight. He even made a few cute jokes about the fact that we were taking off at 12:30 AM on New Year’s Day. He said we could ask a flight attendant to check bad spirits though they would not be delivered to us in Bangkok, and that we would be flying to Bangkok but also to prosperity and a happy new year.

We took off at 12:40 AM. I was exhausted, so as soon as we left the ground, I put the seat into bed mode and curled up under the blanket on the fully flat bed.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.32.55 AM

The plane was a bit cold, but with my jacket and the blanket, I was comfortable. The medium-sized pillow was also comfortable for sleeping.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.03.23 PM
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR9fhagkepE

I was very happy with the bed overall. I wish it were a little wider than 21″ and that it didn’t have a cubby for the feet, but at 6’6″ long and fully flat, it is a solid bed. I fell asleep immediately.

I was awoken 90 minutes before landing by a flight attendant pushing a cart full of food, despite specifically requesting not to be woken for breakfast. I consider this a major problem. Airlines need to develop a 100% accurate system, so that premium cabin passengers are woken for or allowed to sleep through meal service. Maybe all airlines should copy the system Avianca uses: you are given a sticker to put on your seat if you want to be woken for the next meal. If you don’t use it, you aren’t woken.

Luckily, I was so tired that I fell back asleep immediately.

I woke up at 6:30 AM Japan time, meaning I got about 5:45 of sleep. Flight attendants had put water and immigration forms at my seat while I slept. Twenty minutes later, I had to put the bed back into its upright position for landing, and we were on the ground at 7:02 AM Japan time/5:02 AM in Bangkok.

During the last bit of the flight and the taxiing I watched the first half of another TV episode, though it was frequently interrupted by announcements being made in three languages (English, Thai, Japanese.) It got me thinking, what flight has announcements in the most languages? Does Emirates flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok have announcements in English, Arabic, Thai, and Cantonese?

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.33.03 AM

I didn’t have any use for my amenity kit during the flight. Here’s what it looked like:
Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.37.57 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.38.05 AM

After the Flight

I really wanted to hit the ground running on the first day, since I only had the weekend in Bangkok before flying to Chiang Rai. My friend was arriving to Bangkok at 11:30 AM, so I had about six hours to kill, and I wanted to get the rest of my full eight hours of nightly sleep.

The Bangkok airport has a hotel where you can rent day rooms, but they are $122 for six hours. You can get a nearby hotel for much cheaper. Look for hotel employees inside the airport on the arrivals level just to the right of exit door 4. Tell them how long you want a room and negotiate a price with them. They should be able to get you an immediate shuttle to the hotel, and then you can get a shuttle back though possibly not on demand.

I thought I could get a room for about $15 – $20, but the best offer I got was $30 (all negotiations were in baht, but I am converting them for ease) during my first round of negotiations with the employees. I walked a few feet away to airport information, which had a list of hotels in the vicinity, which I called with my new Thai SIM card (also available inside the airport on the arrivals level.) Many were sold out, and the others wouldn’t go below $33.

I went back to the bullpen of hotel employees and struck a deal for five hours for $25. Ten minutes later, a shuttle took me 10 minutes to an acceptable hotel. I slept a few hours and used wifi for a few hours before returning to the airport.

Between the flight and the airport hotel, I got a full night sleep and felt great on day one in Bangkok, during which I visited the Golden Mount temple, walked through the downtown area, and threw a frisbee in Lumphini Park before a delicious Thai dinner and a trip to the rooftop pool at the Park Plaza Sukhumvit.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 7.39.02 AM

Bottom Line

My experience flying Thai Business Class wasn’t perfect because check in started too late, and I was woken up when I had requested not to be woken up.

However, overall I had a positive experience. The bed was comfortable, and I slept over 90% of the flight, with the rest spent watching TV. Thai’s flight attendants provided excellent service, and I arrived ready to immediately tackle Bangkok.

Because I slept so much, I didn’t get as many pictures as usual. Check out this tour of the Thai Dreamliner for more.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

I have a big Asia trip coming up in January. I’m going to go from Hawaii to Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and India before returning to Los Angeles.

I need to get from Japan to Thailand to meet a friend there, but I wanted to beat her to Bangkok by as little as possible, so I didn’t have a lot of date flexibility.

Since I am flying into Tokyo, I wanted to fly out of a different Japanese city, preferably one near Kyoto since that is where I want to spend several days.

The closest international airports to Kyoto are Osaka-Kansai (KIX) and Nagoya (NGO), which are both about two hours away by train. Both have direct flights to Bangkok on Thai Airways, which I discovered on Wikipedia.

Searching on United.com

I searched for award space on united.com because united.com displays Thai award space, and any space I find there I should be able to book equally with all partners.

Award space was good on the Osaka-Bangkok route in First Class on a Thai 747. I’ve flown that cabin before for one hour from Phuket to Bangkok, and it was very nice.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.47.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.47.50 PM

I couldn’t find economy or Business Class space on the Osaka flight on the day I needed to fly.

On the Nagoya route, I found Business Class award space on the two daily Dreamliner flights. I have never flown Thai Business Class or the Thai Dreamliner.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 3.44.23 PM

Deciding Which Miles to Use

Thai Airways award space can be booked with any Star Alliance miles. I compared the award charts with United miles, Avianca LifeMiles, Lufthansa miles, Singapore miles, Asiana miles, Copa miles, and Aeroplan miles, all of the big eight Star Alliance miles except ANA since ANA requires a roundtrip award.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.14.50 PM

The best award option was to pay 36,000 LifeMiles and no fuel surcharges to fly Thai Business Class. Thai First Class was only 50,000 miles, but I have flown it on the 747 and A380, so I wanted to try out Business Class on the Dreamliner instead.

I went to lifemiles.com to make the booking. I searched for the award space I had already found on united.com and brought it up easily.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 3.43.07 PM

The award costs 36,000 LifeMiles + $47, $22 in taxes and a $25 award booking fee.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.31.47 PM

I had the option to pay fewer miles by paying more cash at a rate of $15 per 1,000 miles or 1.5 cents each.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.31.13 PM

That’s a bad option because you can currently buy LifeMiles for 1.32 cents each. If you bought 36,000 miles for 1.32 cents each, the award would cost $522.31 all in after taxes and fees. That’s well below the retail price for nearly seven hours in a flat bed on a Dreamliner.

I paid the award taxes and fees with my Citi Prestige® Card to earn 3x points on the airfare purchase. If I hadn’t already used up my $250 Air Travel Credit in 2015, the $47 would have even been refunded to me. No worries, that credit resets for me in January. The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open

I booked the award and got an email confirmation. I went to thaiairways.com to confirm that they saw the booking and to select a seat. It is always smart to contact the operating carrier after making an award booking to make sure they see the booking on their end. I was able to input the Avianca Reservation Code on thaiairways.com. Putting in the booking carrier’s code does not always work, and when it doesn’t you may need to call the booking carrier to get the operating carrier’s code.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 12.44.56 PMSince thaiairways.com recongnized my reservation code, I was able to select a seat. Because its Dreamliner is 2-2-2 in Business Class, I went for a middle seat, so I had aisle access and no one would have to climb over me in flight.
Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 12.46.28 PM

Bottom Line

I will be flying Business Class on a Thai Dreamliner from Nagoya to Bangkok. I hope to sleep most of the flight and to show up relatively refreshed to meet my friend in Bangkok.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 1.26.22 PM

The award cost 36,000 LifeMiles + $47. I searched on united.com and booked with LifeMiles because they offered the best deal among Star Alliance carriers on Business Class from Northern to Southern Asia.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

British Airways is launching a new route from San Jose to London on May 4, 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.59.50 PM

The new route will be flown by a 787-9 Dreamliner with flat beds in Business and First Classes. I wrote about the British Airways Dreamliner product and award space on its first four announced routes here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.56.30 PM

The new route has excellent Business Class award space at the moment (not quite as good as a few days ago), and this is extra relevant because for a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. That’s more than enough for a roundtrip to Europe with one way in Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 2.52.22 PM

You’re probably thinking, ‘Yeah, but what about the fuel surcharges?” They’re not nearly as bad as you think. Frankly most people look at British Airways award space wrong. For instance, this post by The Points Guy shows the price of a roundtrip in British Airways Business Class from San Jose to London costs 100,000 American Airlines miles + $1,258.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.45.58 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.46.02 PM

That’s true, but that’s also literally the worst way to book this award space. British Airways award flights have fuel surcharges when booked with all types of miles, but there are ways to greatly minimize these fuel surcharges.

For instance, just booking that exact same roundtrip as two one way awards will drop the fuel surcharges a couple hundred bucks.

The outbound one way is $480.Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.12.12 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.12.16 PM

The return one way is $565.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.10.56 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.10.50 PM

That’s $1,045 roundtrip, which is $213 cheaper than booking a roundtrip.

But even better than that, just book a one way from Europe to the United States and start it from a low-tax, low-surcharge city.

How to Save a Ton on British Airways Fuel Surcharges

There is no way to save on fuel surcharges when departing from the United States to Europe on British Airways flights, so don’t fly those flights. Use United miles or another type with no fuel surcharges to get to Europe.

There is a way to save a lot on fuel surcharges and taxes when flying home from Europe though.

Taxes vary greatly by city of departure in Europe, and so do fuel surcharges, which British Airways changes based on competition in the market and other factors that have nothing to do with the price of fuel.

Book yourself a one way award home from Europe on British Airways flights, but don’t start in London. London has the highest departure taxes. Return from a lower tax country, which might also have lower surcharges.

Remember that just London to San Jose cost $565.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 3.10.50 PM

Berlin to London to San Jose is $148 cheaper. Taxes drop $170 though the fuel surcharges actually rises.
Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.47.54 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.47.59 PM

Oslo to London to San Jose is $308 cheaper than starting in London. Taxes are $228 cheaper and fuel surcharges are $80 less too.
Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.48.47 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.48.53 PM

If you want to go to multiple cities in Europe on one trip, play around to see how much money you can save by returning from the city with the lowest taxes and fuel surcharges.

I would gladly pay 50,000 American Airlines miles plus $257 for a one way award from Oslo to San Jose. United wants 70,000 miles for a comparable Business Class product, and Delta wants 62,500 miles. Saving all those miles for only about $200 more than the taxes on United and Delta awards would be is a fair trade off.

Award Space London to San Jose

Having said that the way to book British Airways award space is to book the return from Europe only, let’s look at award space from London to San Jose next Spring and Summer on the new direct flight. Remember that you will not start in London, but in another European city. Award space intra-Europe is excellent.

Award space from London to San Jose is widely available from May 4 until June 30. Then it abruptly ends, with no award space in July.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.42.29 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.42.48 PM

Contrast that with San Jose to London space (which you probably don’t want to book because there is no way to lower the fuel surcharges dramatically), which is most available in July 2016.Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.43.10 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.43.35 PM Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.43.56 PMEconomy award space is also widely available, though I cannot justify the fuel surcharges since United and Delta charge the same price as American for economy awards to Europe. First Class space is almost non-existent, though I did spot one day.
Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.50.07 PM

Getting the Miles

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® offers 75,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. That’s more than enough for a roundtrip to Europe with one way in Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 2.52.22 PM

The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® also offers Admirals Club lounge membership, meaning you can access over 90 American Airlines Clubs in airports around the world whenever you’re flying–even if you’re not flying on American. Plus you can bring in any two guests for free OR your spouse and all children under 18 for free on each visit. This is why the card has a $450 annual fee; new membership in the Admirals Club usually costs $500.

Bottom Line

Award space is widely available on British Airways’ new San Jose <-> London flight that launches May 4, 2016 on a 787-9 Dreamliner.

Here’s how to save a grand: Instead of paying 100,000 miles + $1,257 for a roundtrip in Business Class on the direct flights, pay 50,000 miles + $257 for a one way return from Oslo to London to San Jose, and book a one way to Europe for just $6 in taxes with another type of miles.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

United is offering tons of Business Class award space for the next 11 months on its flights to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Santiago, Chile.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.39.01 AM

Both routes will soon be flown by United’s brand new 787-9 Dreamliners with flat beds in Business Class. You can book either route for as little as 35,000 miles one way.

United 787-9 Dreamliner

The United 787-9 Dreamliner has 48 beds in Business class in a 2-2-2 configuration. I would choose a middle seat, since both have direct aisle access. If you choose a seat on either side of the plane, you’ll either need to climb over your seatmate or be climbed over during the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.14.20 PM

Each seat converts to a fully flat bed with 6’6″ of sleeping space.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.14.40 PM

Miles Price

Between the United States and Argentina, United charges 30,000 miles each way in economy and 55,000 miles in Business Class.

But you don’t have to book the United award space with United miles. You can book the space with miles from any Star Alliance partner. If you want to book with another partner, search united.com without signing in. Note the date, cabin, and flight number of any Star Alliance flights with a blue button in its Saver award space column; then call the airline whose miles you’re using to book the award.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.13.14 AM

Here are the prices charged by some other Star Alliance partners (economy/Business one way) with their transfer partners in parentheses:

UR = Ultimate Rewards, MR = Membership Rewards, TY = ThankYou Points, SPG = Starpoints

  • Asiana (SPG) : 25k/35k
  • Air Canada Aeroplan (MR, SPG): 30k/47.5k
  • Singapore (UR, MR, TY, SPG): 30k/50k
  • Lufthansa Miles & More (SPG): 30k/52k
  • United (UR): 30k/55k
  • Avianca LifeMiles (none, must buy): 30k/60k

United flights to South America do not have fuel surcharges, so no matter what miles you use you’ll just pay taxes of $53 roundtrip to Chile and $60 roundtrip to Brazil.

Award Space Picture

All the calendars below are for direct flights to and from Houston for two people. It is zero extra miles to start your award anywhere else in the continental United States, Alaska, or Canada and connect to Houston as long as you find Saver award space on united.com for those connecting flights.

Yellow dates have Saver award space for two passengers in economy. Blue dates have Saver award space for two passengers in Business Class. Green dates have Saver award space for two passengers in both cabins.

Houston to Rio de Janeiro

The 787-9 Dreamliner starts flying on August 18, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.19.28 AMBusiness Class award space is available over the whole schedule except Christmas, New Year, and Carnaval (February 5-9, 2016). Award space is particularly good in March and April , 2016.
Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.19.15 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.20.08 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.20.27 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.20.49 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.21.05 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.21.23 AM

Rio de Janeiro to Houston

The northbound flight is a slightly longer redeye.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.28.10 AM

Return dates show similarly excellent award space in Business Class.
Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.27.47 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.28.19 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.28.32 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.28.46 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.29.00 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.29.13 AM

Houston to Santiago

The 787-9 Dreamliner takes over this route on January 5, 2016. Just like Rio de Janeiro, both directions are redeyes.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.26.21 AM

Award space is fairly available in January, February, and March 2016, summer down there. April through June have plenty of economy award space.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.26.09 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.26.32 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.26.45 AM

Return space is more widely available in Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.31.39 AM

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.31.15 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.31.45 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.32.01 AM

More People

All the calendars above were for two people. I did one search for eight people from Houston to Rio in April and May 2016. Many of the dates have award space for eight people in flat beds!

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.33.45 AM

Other Houston Dreamliner Routes

United is also placing its 787-9 Dreamliner on several other routes from Houston over the coming year: Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires. None have very good award space in Business Class with Buenos Aires space particularly abysmal.

Bottom Line

There is excellent award space for two people in economy and Business Class from Houston (or elsewhere in the United States) to Rio de Janeiro and Santiago. United puts its 787-9 Dreamliner on the Rio route in a few weeks and on the Santiago route in January.

Just because the space is on United planes doesn’t mean you should use United miles to book. You can use any Star Alliance miles.

  • Asiana charges only 35,000 miles one way in Business Class, compared to United’s 55,000 mile price. You can transfer SPG points to Asiana miles in about two weeks.
  • Promiscuous transfer partner Singapore Airlines, a transfer partner of Chase, AMEX, Citi, and SPG, offers the routes for 50,000 miles one way in Business Class.

The best cards to get Singapore miles?

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also earns 3x points on travel and gas and 2x points on dining and entertainment. The Citi Prestige® Card also offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also comes earns 3x points on airfare and hotels and has a host of benefits like lounge access and $250 in free airfare per year.

 

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

1

American Airlines will start flying its 787-8 Dreamliners with economy and Business Class seating from Los Angeles to Shanghai on October 5, 2015 and Sao Paulo on November 5, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 5.27.37 AM

Award space is dismal in Business Class on both routings, which is a bummer since the product and Saver mileage price are fantastic. Unfortunately this is a pattern for American Airlines, which has been very stingy on its first three Dreamliner routes also.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.25.12 PM

The Product

American’s Dreamliner product has four seats across, all with aisle access.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.35.57 PM

Rows alternate between forward and backward facing.Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.36.07 PM

Seats turn into fully flat 6’5″ beds.Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.36.17 PM

The Award Prices

American Airlines has the cheapest award chart right now (until its probable devaluation in a few months.) You can book awards up to 11 months in advance to lock in the following Saver award prices from North America:

  • to Sao Paulo and Southern South America: 30k/50k each way in economy/Business
  • to Shanghai and Southeast Asia: 35k/55k each way in economy/Business

The Award Space

The problem is that those prices are for Saver award space, which is almost non-existent on the Dreamliner. In fact, I see zero Business Class MileSAAver award seats between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo in either direction from November 5 until the end of the schedule.

Between Los Angeles and Shanghai, space is a little better. Heading to Asia, there is Saver award space for one person on certain Monday flights.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 4.44.51 AM

In the Spring, Business Class award space is available every Monday from Los Angeles to Shanghai on the American Airlines Dreamliner.Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 4.50.05 AM

But from Shanghai to Los Angeles, I see award space only on May 26, 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 4.44.38 AMThe theoretical price for a roundtrip in Business Class is 110,000 American Airlines miles + $38 in taxes. (Note that neither route is showing the 787 yet on aa.com, but that will undoubtedly be updated soon.)
Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 4.51.43 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 4.51.49 AM

Sao Paulo has $60 in taxes roundtrip.Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 4.56.28 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 4.56.36 AM

Getting American Airlines Miles

Right now the Citi Executive American Airlines card is offering 75,000 bonus miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months.

You can also buy AA miles for 2.01 cents each.

Bottom Line

American’s Dreamliner is fantastic, and I’m excited they are adding it to more routes, including two this Fall from Los Angeles. But award space on the plane in Business Class, the highest cabin is dismal. Hopefully this improves going forward.

 

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6

United is putting a 787-9 Dreamliner on its only route to Argentina, from Houston to Buenos Aires, starting October 25.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.13.29 PM
source: gcmap.com

 

The United 787-9 Dreamliner has 48 beds in Business class in a 2-2-2 configuration. I always choose a middle seat, since both have direct aisle access. If you choose a seat on either side of the plane, you’ll either need to climb over your seatmate or be climbed over during the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.14.20 PM

Each seat converts to a fully flat bed with 6’6″ of sleeping space.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.14.40 PM

Some days that the Dreamliner operates have 18 awards seats!

  • How many miles do you need? 
  • What’s the award space?
  • How can you get United miles?
  • How can you book the awards?

Miles Price

Between the United States and Argentina, United charges 30,000 miles each way in economy and 55,000 miles in Business Class.

But you don’t have to book the United award space with United miles. You can book the space with miles from any Star Alliance partner. If you want to book with another partner, search united.com without signing in. Note the date, cabin, and flight number of any Star Alliance flights with a blue button in its Saver award space column; then call the airline whose miles you’re using to book the award.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.13.14 AM

Here are the prices charged by some other Star Alliance partners (economy/Business one way) with their transfer partners in parentheses:

  • Asiana (SPG) : 25k/35k
  • Air Canada Aeroplan (MR, SPG): 30k/47.5k
  • Singapore (UR, MR, TY, SPG): 30k/50k
  • Lufthansa Miles & More (SPG): 30k/52k
  • United (UR): 30k/55k
  • Avianca LifeMiles (none, must buy): 30k/60k

Award Space Picture

For over a year, award space on United routes to Buenos Aires has been terrible. That’s probably because United cut its Argentina flights to one per day from Houston, when it previously operated daily flights from Newark and Washington-Dulles also and also because Argentines want to travel to America to take out dollars at a cheaper rate than the “blue market” rate at home.

Award space is pretty weak for the next few months also, but after United puts its 787-9 on the route, award space picks up consistent mid-week award space for up to 9 people in each cabin.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.31.03 PM
When United 787-9s are rolling out. Source: http://airlineroute.net/2015/05/09/ua-iah789-s15/

Houston to Buenos Aires

All the calendars below are for Houston to Buenos Aires. It is zero extra miles to start your award anywhere else in the continental United States, Alaska, or Canada and connect to Houston.

Normally United opens up a lot of last minute award space, and it has opened some from Houston to Buenos Aires in the next month, though almost exclusively in economy.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.25.03 PM

Look when award space picks up and starts to include a lot more space in Business class: right after the Dreamliner starts flying on October 25.Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.26.04 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.26.38 PM

All those calendars just show award space for one passenger. That’s all I expected there to be, considering how sparse award space has been on the route historically.

But I decided to see if there was more award space on a day like November 4 when the calendar had shown award space in both cabins.
Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.38.56 PM

I changed my search to two people, and all the Dreamliner days seemed to have 2 award seats.Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.39.27 PM

I changed to 4, 6, and then 8 passengers, and most days remained. That means that almost every day with one award seat has 8+. Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.44.34 PM Finally I signed in and searched for a flight on one day to look at United’s Expert Mode.

On November 4, you can see “I9″ and “X9.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.50.44 PM

“I” is Business Class Saver award space and “X” is economy Saver award space. The “9” means that there are nine seats in that fare bucket, or possibly more since nine is the highest number listed. That’s 18+ Saver award seats on the same flight.

Award space from Houston to Buenos Aires is bookable through mid-April 2016 at the moment, but the award space dries up March 24.
Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.53.31 PM

Buenos Aires to Houston

Award space from Buenos Aires to Houston is similar to what we just looked at, but a little worse.

For two people, there is a lot of award space in the next month from Argentina back home, almost all of it in economy.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 11.04.06 PM

After a dead period, there is award space that again starts right after the 787-9 comes into service on the route on October 25. All the award space is in Business Class.
Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.54.10 PM February and March also have some good award space for 2+ people.Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.55.46 PM

How to Get United Miles

Right now is a fantastic time to get United miles.

  • The United Explorer card offers 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months and 5,000 bonus miles for adding an authorized user.
  • The Ink Plus business card offers 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 instantly to United miles.
  • The Sapphire Preferred offers 40,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months and 5,000 bonus points for adding an authorized user.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 6.40.36 PM

Bottom Line

United is moving its newest plane the 787-9 Dreamliner to its Buenos Aires route in October. From then on, award space in widely available midweek, sometimes for up to 18 people on the same flight.

United’s Dreamliner features excellent flat bed seats, and the award space is open over the best time to visit Buenos Aires–its Spring through its Fall. What’s not to like? Only that this space might not last because historically United has offered very little space on the route.

Further Reading

 

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

8

Avianca recently began flying the 787 Dreamliner from Colombia to destinations in South America and North America. Soon it will also fly the Dreamliner to Europe!

This is exciting because Avianca’s fully flat Business Class looks very nice, award prices on the long intra-South American flights are super cheap, and this is be the most comfortable way to fly between the United States and Colombia.

The Product

I just flew Avianca’s angled flat bed on its A330 from Bogota to Buenos Aires. (Full trip report.) I was actually pleasantly surprised by the comfort of that bed, but the Avianca 787’s fully flat seats that are world-class would be a big step up.

The 28 Business Class beds are arranged 1-2-1 with direct aisle access from every seat. United puts six Business Class seats across its 787s, so not all seats have direct aisle access. Advantage Avianca.

Check the video above for a view of the Business Class cabin and bed.

The Routes

Currently the Avianca Dreamliner is flying between Bogota and:

  • New York-JFK
  • Buenos Aires
  • Sao Paulo
  • Mexico City
  • Santiago, Chile

In the summer, it begins flying between Bogota and:

  • London-LHR
  • Madrid

In the fall and winter, it adds flights between Madrid and:

  • Cali
  • Medellin

As always, I pulled this info from airlineroute.net.

The Price

Avianca is a member of Star Alliance. You can redeem United, Asiana, Lufthansa, Singapore, ANA and Avianca miles for its award space, and you can search the award space on united.com. There are no fuel surcharges on Avianca flights, so these flights can be a great use of your miles with programs that collect fuel surcharges on awards.

Here are some relevant award prices. I’ve put the best deals in bold.

United

United has a region-to-region award chart.

  • From the United States to Northern South America (including New York to Bogota): 35,000 miles each way in Business Class
  • From Mexico to Northern South America (including Mexico City to Bogota): 20,000 miles each way in Business Class
  • From the United States to Southern South America (including New York to Bogota to Buenos Aires, Santiago, or Sao Paulo): 55,000 miles each way in Business Class
  • From Northern South America to Southern South America (including Bogota to Buenos Aires, Santiago, or Sao Paulo): 40,000 miles each way in Business Class

ANA

ANA has a distance-based award chart. You can get its miles by transferring Starpoints or Membership Rewards.

  • New York to Bogota roundtrip is 63,000 ANA miles in Business Class
  • New York to Bogota to Sao Paulo/Buenos Aires/Santiago roundtrip is 85,000 ANA miles in Business Class
  • Bogota to Mexico City roundtrip is 43,000 ANA miles in Business Class
  • Bogota to Sao Paulo/Buenos Aires/Santiago roundtrip is 63,000 ANA miles in Business Class

Singapore

Singapore is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and Starpoints. Singapore considers all of South America one region, so the flights from North to South are underpriced.

  • Any one way within South America including Bogota to Sao Paulo/Buenos Aires/Santiago is 20,000 Singapore miles in Business Class

Award Space

Award space varies greatly by route. Avianca isn’t exactly protecting the 787’s Business Class cabin, but some routes are very tough to find space.

Bogota to Santiago has award space on by far the most days–blue and green on the calendar below.

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.59.22 PM

The short redeye would hopefully permit a nap.Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.59.28 PM

Award space is even wide open in the summer (South American winter.)

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.00.17 PM

But that’s all for one person. I didn’t see space for two people on any days.

Bogota to Buenos Aires has much less space, mostly on Wednesdays.Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.06.26 PM

Again, it is a short redeye heading south.Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.06.32 PMNew York to Bogota is a mystery. I actually can’t figure out when the 787 flies the route. It certainly flies it Wednesday, March 11 and has flown it in the past month, but when else?

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.51.15 PM

Award space on the route is basically Wednesdays, without much in the summer.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.51.09 PMBut most of that award space is on the A330 (reviewed here) not the 787.

Bogota to Mexico City is wide open with award space.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.58.13 PM

 

Most days have award space on multiple flights. On March 4, the Dreamliner has the 2 PM flight.Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.57.53 PM

How to Book the Award Space

  1. Search on united.com. Note the date, cabin, and flight number of the space you find.
  2. Consult your mileage balances and their award charts to figure out the best Star Alliance miles for you to redeem.
  3. Contact the airline whose miles you want to use to book the flights.

Bottom Line

The Avianca Dreamliner is a big step up for Avianca in terms of the Business Class product on board–fully flat beds with direct aisle access. The plane will fly routes from Colombia to North America, South America, and Europe.

Award space varies by route, but is generally good for one person in Business Class.

The best deals are with United, ANA, and Singapore miles though the space can be booked with any Star Alliance miles. Avianca flights don’t have fuel surcharges, so they’re a great way to burn miles in programs that collect applicable fuel surcharges.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

6

United is releasing economy and Business Class award space on its 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners from Asia and Australia, not so much to. I didn’t used to see any award space in the flat bed BusinessFirst (Business) cabin, and American Airlines isn’t currently releasing Business Class space on its Dreamliner, so I wanted to share the good news.

Routes

United flies its 787-8 Dreamliner between:

  • Denver and Tokyo-Narita (65k miles in Business)
  • Los Angeles and Tokyo-Narita (65k miles in Business)
  • Los Angeles and Shanghai (70k miles in Business)

United flies its 787-9 Dreamliner between:

  • Los Angeles and Melbourne (70k miles in Business)

The difference is that the 787-9 has 33 extra seats including 12 extra Business Class beds.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.05.34 PM

Award Space

When the Dreamliners made their way onto United’s schedule, award space was nearly impossible to find in Business Class. (The planes don’t have First Class.)

Over time, that has changed somewhat. Hopefully the same change happens with Business Class on the American Airlines Dreamliner.

In November, I wrote about some award space appearing on the 787-9 to Melbourne. I took a look at the award space now, and I found only one day in the next 11 months with award space from Los Angeles to Melbourne in Business Class on the direct flight–April 7.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.00.45 PM

Interestingly enough, using united.com Expert Mode, I found the flight has 9 Business Class award seats–“I” below.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.03.19 PM

The return from Melbourne to Los Angeles, though shows much more award space. There is award space in the next week, which is a common pattern in premium cabins on United flights. United is generally good about releasing unsold seats at award space at the last minute.
Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.03.56 PM

And there is also award space from Melbourne to Los Angeles in July, August, September, and October.Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.04.26 PM

This pattern is observed on all the United Dreamliner routes: award space is far better on the flights to America than from America to Asia and Australia. I’m not sure why that would be, but you can take advantage by using your United miles to fly home and using American or Delta miles to fly to Asia and Australia.

For instance, from Shanghai to Los Angeles on the smaller Dreamliner, there is award space 13 days in the next month in Business Class.
Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.07.44 PM

And from Tokyo to Denver, there is award space eight days in the next two weeks.Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.08.19 PM

The flights to Tokyo and Shanghai have far less award space.

Bottom Line

United is releasing more and more Business Class award space on its Dreamliners from Australia and Asia to the United States. Award space is far better on these eastbound flights than the westbound flights to Australia and Asia. Either fly a United partner, fly United economy, or use another type of miles to get to these places and then return in United Business Class on its new Dreamliners.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

5

I don’t think there’s a single MileSAAver award seat available in Business Class on the brand new American Airlines Dreamliner. (There is no First Class on the plane.)

American Airlines announced its first three routes this week for the plane:

  • Dallas to Chicago, beginning May 7, 2015
  • Dallas to Beijing, beginning June 2, 2015
  • Dallas to Buenos Aires, beginning June 4, 2015

In Award Space on American Airlines New 787 Dreamliner Routes, I noted that Dallas to Beijing and Dallas to Buenos Aires had no Business Class MileSAAver award space from June through the end of the schedule in either direction. I didn’t expect that to improve.

However I expected that we would see good award space from Dallas to Chicago in both directions when the space became bookable yesterday.

I was wrong.

Award space on the 787 is now loaded onto aa.com, but it is all at the AAnytime (much more expensive) price levels–even on the Dallas to Chicago route.

Award Space Picture

I scanned Dallas to Buenos Aires and Beijing in both directions from June until the end of the schedule. No MileSAAver Business Class award space, though plenty of economy.

Then I moved on to Dallas to Chicago.

There is plenty of MileSAAver First Class award space on the route (this is how the Dreamliner’s Business Class cabin will be sold domestically.) The question is: is any of it on the Dreamliner?

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 1.56.52 PM

The way to check is to select a date. For each flight, you have to manually click the + next to “Flight Details.” That lists the aircraft. This flight below is operated by an MD-80.

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.06.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.06.25 PM

The 787, listed as 788 because it is the 787-8 version, shows up on the schedule May 7 as promised. It appears to operate at a different flight time each day.
Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 1.57.51 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.01.44 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.02.20 PMI checked the first several days in both directions for MileSAAver award space and found none. Then I checked scattered dates–still none. I did not check award space every day for the space because of the time-consuming nature of the search, so I can’t say with 100% confidence that there is no MileSAAver award space in the forward cabin of the American Airlines Dreamliner. But I don’t think there is space.

If you find any, let us know in the comments.

Bottom Line

I’m surprised and disappointed. I grudgingly accept that on a lot of routes with their newest planes, American Airlines isn’t releasing longhaul international award space in flat beds at the MileSAAver level. But the 787 has a ton of Business Class seats, way more than all the other planes on the Dallas to Chicago route. I assumed American would release some of these seats for 25,000 miles one way–which would also make them bookable for 22,500 Avios. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

The cheapest way to fly American’s Dreamliner seems to be to 45,000 American Airlines miles for an AAnytime award ticket. For a 2.5 hour flight, that doesn’t interest me.

Getting the Miles

American Airlines miles are super easy to get.

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.

The business version, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, also comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This card comes with 2x miles on select business purchases and a 5% miles bonus on renewal. One person can have both cards.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

8

American Airlines has taken delivery of its 787 Dreamliners. It is the second US-based airline to do this–behind United.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.25.12 PM

Today on Twitter, American announced the first three routes for its Dreamliner.

To familiarize the crew with the plane, American will put it on a domestic route for a month before debuting it on two international routes:

  • Dallas to Chicago, beginning May 7, 2015
  • Dallas to Beijing, beginning June 2, 2015
  • Dallas to Buenos Aires, beginning June 4, 2015

The Dreamliner won’t be loaded onto the schedule until February 14, but I wanted to take a look at award space now on the routes. The international routes only operate once daily, so if you book Business Class award space on them now for travel in June or later, your flight will be operated by the Dreamliner.

Award Space

The American Airlines Dreamliner only features two cabins: economy and Business.

There is literally no MileSAAver Business Class award space between Dallas and Beijing or Buenos Aires from June 2015 to January 2016 in either direction. None.

That means my plan of booking Business Class award space now and having the plane change over to a Dreamliner with my reservation intact wouldn’t work.

I also took a look at the next few weeks on each route to see if award space opens up close to departure. If it does, maybe we can book the Business Class space later in the year when the routes are actually operating.

Dallas to Buenos Aires is showing no Business Class Saver space in either direction for the next few weeks.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.04.13 PM

Dallas to Beijing doesn’t begin as a route until May 7, so I can’t check last-minute award space.

I should note that both the Buenos Aires and, especially, the Beijing route do have good economy award space. But I’m not particularly interested in an economy award on such long flights.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 2.59.58 PM

Great Award Space Dallas <-> Chicago

Chicago to Dallas has great domestic First Class (Dreamliner Business Class) award space in May when the Dreamliner will ply the route.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.06.21 PM

The space is wide open in both directions.Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.06.31 PMUnfortunately there are many frequencies on the Dallas to Chicago route, and we won’t know until Saturday which one(s) will be flown by the Dreamliner. I expect award space to be great on this route, maybe even available for the inaugural flight, because the Dreamliner has a higher percentage of premium seats than the normal domestic aircraft that usually fly the route.

The Product

Business Class on the Dreamliner features aisle access from every 6’5″ long flat bed.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.35.57 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.36.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 3.36.17 PMI would fly this Business Class in a heartbeat.

Let’s hope we get the chance with more award availability. We’ll definitely have the chance on the domestic route in May, I think, but so far we aren’t being given a chance on the real prize–the flights to Beijing and Buenos Aires.

Getting the Miles

American Airlines miles are super easy to get, and will be useful when Saver space opens up on these routes.

  • Dallas to Chicago will cost 25,000 miles one way in First Class
  • Dallas to Beijing will cost 55,000 miles one way in Business Class
  • Dallas to Buenos Aires will cost 50,000 miles one way in Business Class

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.

The business version, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, also comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This card comes with 2x miles on select business purchases and a 5% miles bonus on renewal. One person can have both cards.

 

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Etihad First Suite on 787

I booked myself a First Class award ticket from Cairo, Egypt to Washington DC with 15 hours on the brand new Etihad 787-9 Dreamliner for 90,000 American Airlines miles and a few dollars in taxes. Take a look at the suite:

The Trip

I had already booked myself from the United States to Dubai to Bangkok on two flights in Emirates First Class on its A380. Read that Anatomy of an Award.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.24.04 AM

And from Bangkok to Luxor, Egypt in Business Class on a Qatar A380. Read that Anatomy of an Award. After a week in Thailand, I’ll head to Egpyt for a week.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.24.29 AM

I plan to spend a few days in Luxor and a few days in Cairo. Here is the trick I used to save 47% on my flight from Luxor to Cairo.

To get back from Cairo to Washington DC, I wanted to use American Airlines miles to fly Etihad Airlines. Etihad serves its Abu Dhabi to Washington DC route with a brand new 787-9 Dreamliner.

Award Search

To search for Etihad Awards, create a free Etihad Airways account, and go to the award search page.

My first search was from Cairo to Washington DC in First Class.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.05.36 PM Results look like this.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.06.05 PM

I’ve highlighted the GuestSeat column because that is the award space that American Airlines phone agents can access. They cannot access OpenSeat award space.

My first search showed no GuestSeat award space from Cairo to Washington DC in First Class. The problem is that Cairo to Abu Dhabi doesn’t have First Class, just economy and Business, and Etihad’s search screen won’t mix cabins.

It was time to search segment-by-segment. I started with the longer segment and searched Abu Dhabi to Washington in First Class. Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.08.36 PM
There was award space on my top-choice date. Note the calendar above the search result.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.08.17 PM

The calendar is useful because you can change dates without re-running the search. You can pretty easily tell which dates which will have award space on the calendar by the number of miles listed. OpenSeat prices are usually like 10 times the price of GuestSeat awards in Etihad miles, so on the calendar above, all the days that say “Miles 114650″ have OpenSeat award space and all the “Miles 949486″ or “942226” days don’t.

Of course, we are not going to pay the number of miles listed. Since I used American Airlines miles, I follow American Airlines routing rules and award chart. This is just a handy trick for figuring out quickly which days will have GuestSeat award availability.

I noted the date, cabin, and flight number of the award space I found from Abu Dhabi to Washington DC and moved on to Cairo to Abu Dhabi in Business Class.
Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.09.50 PM
There is award space on this route basically every day. There is a flight that connects in Abu Dhabi with only a two hour layover. I noted its date, cabin, and flight number.Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.10.04 PM

If You Don’t Live in Washington DC

I was done with my award search because I want to go to the Washington DC area. If you want to go somewhere not served directly by Etihad, you’d have another step. You’d want to go to aa.com and find award space from where Etihad flies to your home airport. Then you could move on to the last step, booking the award.

Award Booking

I called American Airlines at 800-882-8880.

I fed the agent the date, cabin, and flight number of the two flights I had found with Etihad GuestSeat availability.

She quickly put together my two flights.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.10.28 PM

As I mentioned in “Anatomy of an Award: Qatar A380 Business Class for 30k American Airlines Miles,” I booked my awards from Bangkok to Egypt and Egypt to Washington on one record locator to save $35 on the phone booking fee. (Usually you are only charged one fee per person, no matter how many awards you book at a time.)

The flights from Egypt to the United States cost 90,000 American miles. To the Middle East (including Egypt) and Indian Subcontinent, American charges:

  • 45,000 miles one way in economy
  • 67,500 miles one way in Business Class
  • 90,000 miles one way in First Class

The total taxes for both awards were only $72, so let’s attribute $36 to this award.

American only collects fuel surcharges on British Airways and Iberia award flights, so there were no other taxes, fees, or fuel surcharges.

Getting the Miles

American Airlines miles are super easy to get.

Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.

The business version, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, also comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This card comes with 2x miles on select business purchases and a 5% miles bonus on renewal. One person can have both cards.

We also know that The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered to new applicants as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate, some time before 2015. That means that the chance to earn 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase on this card will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.

All US Airways miles not redeemed on the US Airways chart by the time of integration will become American Airlines miles, and American Airlines has committed to not devaluing its award chart at the time of combination. The two types of miles are roughly equal in value. Getting all three cards now and meeting their spending requirements means you will have at least 156,000 American Airlines miles by June.

Bottom Line

American Airlines miles are ideal between the United States and the Middle East because American has several partners that fly the routes with excellent products like Etihad and Qatar.

I booked myself Etihad First Class on its brand new 787-9 for 90,000 miles one way plus low government taxes, no fuel surcharges, and a modest phone fee. I saved myself $35 in phone fees by booking this award at the same time as my Qatar Business Class award on the same trip.

The American Airlines personal and business cards are each offering 50,000 bonus miles after $3,000 spending in the first three months.

Etihad First Suite on 787
Etihad First Suite on 787

Searching for GuestSeat space on etihad.com and calling American Airlines to book the flight were a snap.

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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

4

United flies from Los Angeles to Melbourne directly with its newest plane the 787-9 Dreamliner.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 10.10.48 PM
15 hours 45 minutes

Award space on United’s Dreamliners in Business Class has been abysmal, but I wanted to check in and see if anything was different on this route.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.50.27 PM
We want to get into these flat beds up front

The good news is that there is award space on the route in both directions for two people in Business Class.

  • What is the award space picture? 
  • How many miles does the flight to Australia cost?
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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

Update 10/23/14: Commenter Jeremy finds the award space now on aeroplan.com, and I can confirm that the space on these Ethiopian flights is now bookable and is still excellent! (None of the rest of the post has been updated to reflect this information.)

Ethiopian Airlines will begin flying Los Angeles to Dublin to Addis Ababa in June 2015 with a 787 Dreamliner. Ethiopian will have fifth freedom rights, meaning you will be able to fly any single segment of the flight, including Los Angeles to Dublin.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 9.37.36 AM

This is an exciting addition to the Star Alliance’s transatlantic routes, especially if the route has awesome award space, since direct award space from the West Coast to Europe is tough to find. (Solution: route via Canada.)

The flight will be bookable with United miles and any other Star Alliance airline’s miles. Crucially, with United miles, you can connect Los Angeles to Dublin with the rest of Europe by using United’s non-alliance partner Aer Lingus.

Right now, Los Angeles to Dublin is showing 4 economy seats and 2 business class seats in both directions from June 2015 and beyond. But there’s a problem…

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 7.59.58 AM

  • What are the flight times?
  • How is Ethiopian Business Class?
  • Where does Aer Lingus fly within Europe?
  • What is the problem with the award space on united.com?
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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.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.

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