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Qatar Airways has begun flying its A380s from Doha to London and will begin service to Paris and Bangkok soon.

There are a lot of luxury options between the Middle East and Europe, so I want to focus on the route between Doha and Bangkok that begins December 1.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 3.40.15 PM
from gcmap.com

Award space is wide open on the Qatar A380 between Doha and Bangkok for two people in Business Class. Best of all, the award costs only 30,000 American Airlines miles one way!

Business Class passengers have fully their own fully flat beds and access to an onboard lounge that looks like it’s the nicest in the sky.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 3.52.00 PM
Onboard bar for First and Business Class passengers
  • How is Qatar First Class on the A380?
  • How is Qatar Business Class on the A380?
  • What is the award space picture on the plane?
  • How can you book the award space?
  • How can you make Doha to Bangkok part of a larger trip?

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Emirates is releasing two First Class seats on its A380 flights from San Francisco and Houston to Dubai on a ton of days in Winter 2015.

My flight in Emirates First Class was my favorite ever because of the over-the-top service and amenities, like two onboard shower spas.

At the MileValue dinner, when I shared these five tips, a reader (wish I could remember a name for credit here) shared the tip that Emirates First Class award space on its A380s was wide open from San Francisco and Houston.

You can search Emirates award space at alaskaair.com and book it with Alaska Airlines miles with no fuel surcharges. You can get Alaska miles by opening the Alaska Airlines credit cards or by transferring SPG Starpoints to Alaska Airlines miles.

  • How good is award space on the Emirates A380s?
  • What if you don’t live in San Francisco or Houston?
  • How many Alaska Airlines miles do you need?
  • What about free stopovers on the award?

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You can take up to three showers in the First Class Shower Spa onboard Emirates A380s on a single award that costs only 100,00 Alaska Airlines miles. Emirates Airlines First Class is the standard for luxury as the only airline with two showers onboard in which the 16 First Class passengers can freshen up.

In January 2013, I flew Emirates First Class from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia–one of three tag flights between New Zealand and Australia.

I enjoyed the chauffeur service, lounge, onboard bar and meal service, suite, and the shower.

I have wanted to get back into Emirates First Class on a longer flight since then, so I started collecting Alaska Airlines miles, which are the means by which Americans can take a 7-mile-high shower.

Since opening three Alaska Airlines personal cards and two business cards, I have 140,000 Alaska Airlines miles.

Alaska charges only 90,000 miles one way in First Class from the United States to the Middle East or India and only 100,000 miles one way to Africa, East Asia, or Europe. It’s quite simple to book over 24 hours worth of Emirates First Class flights on a single one way award, and I’ve even found a routing that gets you three Emirates A380 First Class flights on a single award.

  • How can you get Alaska Airlines miles?
  • Where can you search Emirates award space?
  • How can you maximize an Emirates First Class award with Alaska miles?
  • What routing features three Emirates A380 flights?
  • What are the stopover rules for Alaska awards?

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Etihad has announced that its new A380s, which will begin flying this year, will have a three-room Residence for up to two passengers. This will be the nicest cabin on any commercial airline by quite a bit.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 2.51.09 AM

In addition, the A380 will have nine First Class Apartments, which are about 75% larger than their current First Class Suites.

  • Where will the Etihad A380s fly?
  • What does the First Class Residence look like?
  • What do the First Class Apartments look like?
  • How can you get into the Residence and the Apartments with frequent flyer miles?

I nabbed a scarce First Class award from Australia to Los Angeles on Qantas during peak travel season and added a first class segment on American’s new Airbus A321T from Los Angeles to New York-JFK, both in fully flat beds.

I’m incredibly excited to try out another First Class product on the Airbus A380, especially after my great experience on a Thai flight from Paris to Bangkok.

Qantas A380

Relative to other Anatomy of Award posts, this one was simple to construct and even easier to book online. However, Qantas premium cabin award space isn’t widely available. You have to find the rare space and plan your hotel reservations around it, not the other way around. That’s one of the eight tenets of Highly Effective Award Bookers, after all.

How do you nab this tough to find award space? Can you add a stopover on a one way AAdvantage award? How am I getting to Australia?

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British Airways has just announced that it will operate Los Angeles <-> London Heathrow twice daily with A380s starting April 10, 2014.

British Airways First Class looks awesome, and its Club World Business Class is awesome. The award space on the route is incredible too with two first class seats and business class seats available frequently.

BA First Class Bed

But for most people, booking the awards would be a big mistake.

Why should most people not book the awards? Should you? What’s the award space and surcharge picture?

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Last week, I reviewed Qantas Business Class on the A380 and lamented not getting into First Class on my trip to Australia.

I’m not one for empty laments, so let me show you how to get into Qantas First Class on its A380–which is one of the coolest things you can do with your American Airlines miles.

I’ll break down which routes have the best award space, and what your cheapest option is to test out the product.

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The 50k mile bonus offer is back on the Lufthansa card mentioned in this post until 6/30/14. Get it now!

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchases or balance transfer
  • Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Cardholders receive a companion ticket after first use of the account and annually after each account anniversary
  • No Foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance member airlines and on other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee. Please see Terms and Conditions for complete details

Application Link: The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard


One of the best and most easily accessible First Class awards for an American is Lufthansa First Class with United miles.

If you’re going to fly Lufthansa First Class, you might as well fly the newest Lufthansa planes, right?

Check out Tahsir’s trip report of Lufthansa First Class, which is enough to make me jealous, though note that neither the A380 nor the 747-8 have the seat-plus-bed design.

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I continually fail to enforce a moratorium on award booking for myself. I want to finish flying all the awards I have lined up and have no more scheduled. Not only would I have the freedom to spontaneously plan my next trip on a moment’s notice, but I could take advantage of last-second-only deals like Lufthansa First Class with United miles.

But sometimes I can’t help myself. Four months ago I booked my favorite award to date, using 100k US Airways miles to string together 4 longhaul business class segments and four continents. Add in the trips I plan to take in South America over the next few weeks, and I had my next five months of travel planned.

from gcmap.com

But then a chance to book new oneworld partner Malaysia Airlines First Class on an A380 presented itself, and I jumped on it, even though the date is in the middle of my planned time in Europe. Then I thought, “Well I really have to book another award to get back to Europe to continue that trip.”

from gcmap.com

This is the story of that last award: 65,000 United miles for 12 hours in First Class on a Thai A380. This award describes segment-by-segment searching, which is the hallmark of many successful award searches, and maximizing region-based miles in an advanced way.

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