Star Alliance

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Bank of America issues an Asiana Visa Signature Card, and it now comes with 30,000 Asiana miles after spending $3,000 on the card within three months of opening it. I bet you weren’t aware this card existed since the prior sign up bonus was a meager 10,000 Asiana miles. It’s actually worth some attention now. Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 5.43.00 PM

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 30,000 Asiana miles after $3,000 in spending in the first three months
  • Category Bonuses:
    • 3x on Asiana purchases
    • 2x on gas station and grocery store purchases
  • $100 rebate on Asiana purchases annually
  • Cardmember anniversary retention bonuses: 10,000 Asiana Mile Bonus Certificate and two Asiana Lounge invitations
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $99

This is a Bank of America Card

Before I dive into the specifics of the sign up offer, I want to point out that this card is issued by Bank of America, and Bank of America is known for relatively easy approvals. For example, people have been getting multiples of the same Alaska Airlines cards for years now. These type of loopholes tend to tighten over time, but at least for now the Alaska Airlines cards still look churnable. Does this mean the Asiana card is churnable? Maybe. We won’t know until we see more data points.

For those of you getting tripped up by Chase 5/24, Citi’s new sign up bonus rule, or Amex’s once in a lifetime bonus rule, getting the Asiana card should still be pretty easy.

Sign Up Bonus

You will earn 30,000 Asiana miles after spending $3,000 on the card within three months of opening it. Scott values Asiana miles very highly at 2 cents each, making this sign up bonus worth approximately $600.

Asiana has the best award chart in the Star Alliance. That means that you can book any of the 27 Star Alliance airlines, including United, for fewer miles on many routes with Asiana miles than with better known programs like United, Lufthansa, LifeMiles, Singapore, and Air Canada.

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Unfortunately some Asiana awards have fuel surcharges. But not all of them do, and some are worth it anyways because of the dirt cheap mileage price.

Here are some examples of high value Asiana awards:

  • USA to Southern South America in Business Class for 35k Miles and no fuel surcharges. I love flying to South America, and no Star Alliance flights to South America have fuel surcharges, meaning I get the insanely good award chart without having to pay much cash out of pocket.
    • With the sign up bonus from this card + the spending it takes to unlock that bonus ($3,000) + at the most $2,000 more in spending, you’d have 35,000 Asiana miles. You probably wouldn’t even have to spend an extra $2,000 if your expenses are heavy on groceries and gas like most people, since there’s a 2x category bonus for those types of purchases. 35,000 Asiana miles is enough for a Business Class ticket to Southern South America (i.e. Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago, etc.).
  • USA to Europe in Lufthansa First for 50k Miles Plus Fuel Surcharges. To some regions, Asiana’s award chart is so under-priced that some awards are a good deal even after fuel surcharges.
    • With the sign up bonus from this card + the spending it takes to unlock that bonus ($3,000) you’d have at least 33,000 Asiana miles. Like I said above, if you spend a lot at grocery stores or at gas stations, you’ll probably earn miles at an even higher rate than that. You can make up the difference in what you’d need by transferring SPG points to Asiana at 1:1 (remember you get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred) and be flying to Europe in Lufthansa First Class by next month.

Read Scott’s post about Asiana Sweet Spots to learn more.

Category Bonuses

Category bonuses included 3 Asiana miles per dollar spent on Asiana Airlines purchases and 2 miles per dollar spent on gas and at grocery stores.

What merchants are included in the category of gas and grocery stores? The following is from the card offer’s terms & conditions:

Earn 2 miles (consisting of 1 bonus mile and 1 base mile) for every $1 spent on purchases at eligible gas and grocery store merchants. Eligible merchants for the Bonus Categories include:

  • (a) Gas (representing Service Stations & Automated Fuel Dispensers – please note that superstores and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not considered service stations)
  • (b) Grocery Store (representing Grocery Stores/Supermarkets, Freezer/Meat Lockers, Candy/Nut/Confection Stores, Dairy Product Stores, Bakeries, and Misc. Food Stores– please note superstores, discount stores and warehouse clubs are not included in this list).

$100 Rebate on Asiana Purchases

You will get a $100 rebate (credited back to your Asiana card after purchase) when you buy an Asiana Airlines ticket (purchased through Asiana) on your card.

It looks like it’s possible to get two $100 rebates before your second annual fee hits, as this user on Flyertalk commented that how often you get the rebate is based on the calendar year as opposed to card anniversary.

10,000 Asiana Mile Bonus Certificate

They should really call this benefit a 10,000 Asiana Mile Discount Certificate. The way it works is that you will receive a certificate in the mail during the month of your card membership anniversary every year, and you can choose to use the certificate for 10,000 Asiana miles off of an Asiana Airlines international or Korea domestic air ticket, cabin class upgrade, or excess bag allowance. You fax it Asiana Reservation center, 213-380-1688, and then they credit you back your miles if you choose to use it as a discount on an Asiana award or cabin class upgrade. If you want to use it to cover excess baggage costs you just present the certificate at the counter when you check in.

I tend to agree with Doctor of Credit that this annual benefit will most likely not be available the first year of card membership, because the terms and conditions state …”One (1) 10,000 Bonus miles Certificate every year in the month of your anniversary date.”

So this benefit is probably only valuable to you if you’re going to keep the card for a second year and you fly Asiana.

Two Asiana Lounge Invitations

You get two Asiana Lounge passes every year in the month of your anniversary date.

It’s not exactly clear whether you can get this benefit in the first year of card membership, but the wording in the terms and conditions makes me think that you won’t and that you have to wait until the first anniversary.

You have to present your card with the lounge pass, and terms state that “only one invitation per person per visit allowed to the Asiana lounge”.

Bottom Line

This Asiana Visa Signature Card card could easily be worth it to you if:

  • you value Business and First Class awards to Europe and Southern South America, because Asiana miles are extremely valuable to those regions.
  • if you fly Asiana often, because the annual $100 Rebate on Asiana Purchases and the 10,000 Asiana Mile Bonus Certificate more than negate the $99 annual fee.
  • you’re locked out of other sign-up bonuses on cards from other issuing banks.

BONUS tip: It requires some paperwork,  but you can actually pool Asiana miles between five family members for free.

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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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Award space is wide open in Austrian Airlines Business Class between the United States and Europe for EIGHT people per flight over the entire Summer.

This is amazing news because normally award space over the summer is the toughest to find– finding even four seats on the same flight in Business Class is almost unheard of.

You can book Business Class to Vienna for 70,000 United miles one way with no fuel surcharges.

Where Austrian Airlines Flies in the US

Austrian Airlines flies from Vienna to the following cities:

  • Chicago
  • Miami
  • Newark
  • New York JFK
  • Toronto
  • Washington Dulles

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Award Space

All these calendars show award space for eight people. Days with a straight line and dotted line have eight Business Class seats available in economy as well as Business on Austrian Airlines. Just a dotted line means only eight Business Class award seats, and just a straight line means only eight economy award seats.

June and July have solid availability, often every day for eight people in Business and economy. Some even have wide open award space in the spring as well (April/May ’17).

Routes listed below are only to Europe. I checked the return directions for the same months and they look equally as open in Business Class and economy.

New York (JFK) to Vienna

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Washington D.C. to Vienna

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Chicago to Vienna

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Miami to Vienna

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Product

Austrian Airlines Business Class features totally lie-flat beds on Boeing’s 767-300.
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All seats have aisle access.

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I flew Austrian Business class in the fall of 2013 between Chicago and Vienna– read my trip report here. The food was impressive with an onboard Chef that took orders.
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Searching, Connections, Booking

Search Austrian award space on united.com. Any Austrian award space you find there, you can book with any Star Alliance miles, but watch out for fuel surcharges if booking with anything other than United miles.

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If you don’t live in a city served by Austrian, that’s no problem. You can hook up any United Saver award space in economy or first class to get to an Austrian gateway (listed above) for no extra miles. If you want to connect to somewhere else in Europe or to Africa or Asia, you can definitely do that too, though other continents will cost extra miles.

Book online on the website of the airline whose miles you want to use, or if that’s not possible, by calling the airline whose miles you want to use.

I’d recommend booking with:

Options for less miles but with expensive fuel surcharges:

  • 55,000 Aeroplan miles + about $445 in fuel surcharges to Eastern Europe (if you connect to Europe 2 price rises to 57,500 miles). Aeroplan is a 1:1 instant transfer partner of AMEX Membership Rewards.
  • 40,000 Asiana miles + about $445 in fuel surcharges each way. Asiana is a 1:1 slow transfer partner of SPG, with 5,000 bonus Asiana miles for every 20,000 SPG points transferred.

See the prices to Europe in Business Class with all major Star Alliance miles here.

Bottom Line

There are no excuses for not taking your whole family to Europe this summer in Austrian Airlines Business Class.

Hat Tip One Mile at a Time

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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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We have seen a ton of cheap fares to Europe lately, like the $414 roundtrips to Zurich and Frankfurt at the beginning of the month. Now Star Alliance airlines are also running fantastic sales on roundtrip flights to Europe to keep up with the fare war. You can find fares as low as $425 roundtrip right now between many American cities and Europe.

How to Find the Fares

Use ITA Matrix or Google Flights to do a broad search over this fall and winter– both have calendars functions that will show you the price of a roundtrip depending on the span of your trip. Google flights has a more user friendly interface but you can get a lot more specific with ITA Matrix searches.

There are lots of city pairs with availability between the months of September and December (and a some with dates in early 2017) from the United States to Europe in economy for under $500 roundtrip.

Examples

Atlanta to Istanbul flying Air Canada- $425
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Chicago to Amsterdam flying Lufthansa- $466Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 2.17.45 PM

San Francisco to Istanbul flying United – $425

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Mileage Earning

If you’re flying United, check out my post about where to credit butt in seat miles. And no matter what airline you end up flying, just remember that you can enter your frequent flyer number with any partner instead. All of these cheap fares to Europe are classified in a discounted economy fare bucket so do a little research about which airline is most advantageous to credit miles to considering the fare class.

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

Your top choice should be the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will cover a large portion of this ticket. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy this fare with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement: a $175 roundtrip to Istanbul or a $216 roundtrip to Amsterdam!

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases.

See my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many components like it annual $250 Air Travel Credit, 40,000 point sign up bonus, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

Bottom Line

If you’re interested in a trip to Europe, check out these fares now as they won’t last! You can fly roundtrip to Europe from the United States for as little as $425, which in most cases is a better deal than using your miles or points.

Hat tip Secret Flying

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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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In light of the news that American Airlines is changing to a revenue-based award earning structure, and the fact that all three major US carriers now use a revenue-based award earning structure, I am writing a series of posts about when and where you should diversify the award miles you earn through paying for airfare. This post is Part 2, and discusses when and to where you should diversify your award earning when flying paid tickets on United flights. 

“When & Where You Should Diversify Revenue Ticket Miles” Series Index

In March of 2015, United switched to a revenue-based award earning structure that is much like the structure American Airlines’ is adopting come this August.  The amount of United miles you earn flying United flights is based on two things: the ticket price less any government imposed taxes or fees, and the elite status you have with the airline.

A revenue-based award earning structure is worse for folks who fly far, cheap tickets and better for people who fly short, expensive tickets. That is, at least, if we’re talking about crediting miles to United MileagePlus. But it is not obligatory to do that–you can enter your frequent flyer number with any United partner instead.

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In your mind, this fact should pose two questions.

  1. When should I choose to credit my award miles to United?
  2. If not United, then who?

I’m going to dive into both questions here to help equip you with the knowledge to make these decisions in the future.

Note that this post is specifically referencing the award miles earned from flying United flights. The amount of United miles you can earn flying a Star Alliance or other partner airline will be based on flight distance and the purchased fare class. See United’s Airline Partners and Global Alliances page for partner-specific information.

When Should I Choose to Credit my Award Miles to United?

The simple answer to this question: Not when you’re buying a cheap economy ticket, but maybe if you’re buying an expensive premium cabin ticket. United’s revenue-based award earning system rewards those who generate more revenue for United, point blank.

The more correct answer to this question is: when the math works out.

The Math

To figure out how many United miles you’ll earn flying their planes, use the following equation:

Status multiplier x (ticket price – government-imposed taxes/fees) = award miles earned

The status multiplier depends on what tier elite status you have with the airline:

  • 5x– MileagePlus member
  • 7x –Premier Silver
  • 8x – Premier Gold
  • 9x – Premier Platinum
  • 11x– Premier 1k

We know the ticket price is how much united.com tells us the flight costs.

But how can we isolate the government-imposed taxes and fees from that price? ITA Matrix. If you’re not familiar with ITA Matrix, here’s how to use it— it will show you the breakdown of a ticket by base fare, fuel surcharges, and government-imposed taxes and fees.

Look at this breakdown of a roundtrip United ticket between Dallas and Paris:

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This is a great example of the kind of cheap revenue ticket readers of this blog would buy, because it’s an example where you might be better off paying for the flight in cash rather than using miles that could be put towards higher value redemptions.

The dollar amounts outlined in the red rectangle are the government-imposed taxes and fees (sum = $129.86). Fuel surcharges are always labeled as either YR and YQ (in this case YQ). Fare 1 and 2 are the base fares in each direction on the roundtrip.

Now we can plug in our equation.

5 x (480.86 – 129.86) = 1,755

So, assuming you are just a normal Mileage Plus member without status, you would earn 1,755 United miles for flying about 9,900 miles on a United plane.

Even if you are a Premier 1k elite, you would only earn 3,861 United miles on this ticket.

But let’s say you purchased a Business Class ticket on the same flight, which costs $6,328.06 (oh yea, now I remember why I collect miles!). Your equation would look like this:

5 x (6,328.06 – 129.86) = 30,991

Then you would certainly want to credit those miles to United, because you cannot beat that crediting to any other partner. It is easy to see how this system rewards those that spend more. But I assume the majority of us will find ourselves with something closer to the first equation’s answer most of the time.

Conclusion

When it comes time for you to make this decision, plug your own numbers in.

When flying a discounted economy ticket:

If you get a number greater than 100% of the distance flown, then stick with collecting United miles. That is the maximum amount of miles you could get crediting to a partner (assuming you don’t have status with any of them.)

If flying a full fare ticket:

If you get a number greater than 150% of the distance flown (if flying economy), greater than 200% of the distance flown (if flying Business) or greater than 300% of the distance flown (flying First Class), than stick with United miles. If not, then credit them to Lufthansa.

Otherwise, read on to see your options for crediting to other partners.

If Not United, Then Who?

Listed below are the award earning structures for some of United’s partners. Loyalty programs that generally lack valuable award redemption opportunities have been left out. What you earn for crediting miles to these airlines is represented by the percentages in the tables below. To figure out the total, you multiply the percentage by the distance flown.

Members of Star Alliance

Copa Airlines

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to ConnectMiles here.

Asiana Airlines

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Asiana Club here.

Singapore Airlines

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Krisflyer here.

Avianca 

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to LifeMiles here.

Air Canada

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Aeroplan here.

LufthansaScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 7.12.39 PM

Read further detailed info about crediting miles to Miles & More here.

All Nipon Airways (ANA)

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Read further detailed info about crediting miles to ANA Mileage Club here.

Conclusion

Not considering any other incentives you might have for wanting to collect a certain kind of mile (like a particular redemption you have in mind, chasing a status, etc.), the best alternative airline to credit miles to when flying United is Singapore. It offers the highest percentages of distance flown, ranging from 100% for even the low economy fares (which are the most common types people like you and I buy) to 150% for First Class. The next best options are Air Canada, Avianca, Asiana, and Copa. Out of those, it depends on whose miles you value more. Click here to read about the top 11 most valuable miles to me.

The other options listed above offer similar ranges of percentages for distance flown, but with lower tiers for discount economy tickets that range from 0 to 50%. So if you’re flying a discounted ticket, like the one from the example in this post that is categorized as fare class “K”, then definitely choose to credit those miles to Singapore.

If your fare class is not one associated with a discounted economy ticket, then credit your miles to Lufthansa. Any full price fare will earn something in the 150% to 300% of distance flown range depending on whether it is full fare economy or First Class– those percentages blow all other partner options out of the water.

Best Card to Buy Airfare With

Your top choice for buying United tickets with should be the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that applies to airfare. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy the fare with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement.

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases, which is a higher category bonus than what United’s co-branded cards offer for buying their own plane tickets (2x).

See my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many components like its annual $250 Air Travel Credit, 40,000 point sign up bonus, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

Bottom Line

If you’re like me and only spend cash on the cheapest of airfares, then it is very likely you will not want to credit the miles you earn from flying United flights to MileagePlus due to the program’s revenue-based award earning structure. If you haven’t started an account with Singapore Airlines’ frequent flyer program Krisflyer, then do so today. Out of United’s partners, it is probably the most valuable program to funnel your miles into (unless you’re flying a full fare ticket, in which case definitely credit to Lufthansa!)

If you want to jumpstart that Krisflyer miles collection, sign up for cards that earn you Ultimate Rewards–they transfer to Krisflyer miles at a 1:1 rate.

  • Open an Ink Plus card and you can earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 within the first three months of opening the account.
    • While I can not directly link to the Ink Plus, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)
  • Open a Sapphire Preferred card and you can earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account.
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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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19

Aeroplan is Air Canada’s spun-off loyalty program. Aeroplan.com is an awesome search engine that displays award availability on almost all Star Alliance flights.

You should know how to use aeroplan.com whether or not you ever plan to redeem Aeroplan miles because you shouldn’t necessarily search the website of the miles you’re using. You should just search the website that is easiest and best at displaying award availability. Any award availability shown at aeroplan.com will be bookable with Aeroplan, United, Singapore, ANA, Lufthansa, and Avianca miles.

Aeroplan.com is usually my backup search engine. I start my searches for Star Alliance award space at United.com because you can search without signing in, its two-month calendar is useful, it shows most partners, and it’s pretty good at finding available space.

I also use the ANA search tool to if I want to be sure whether there is space on an award segment or not because it is the most accurate Star Alliance search engine. Complete guides on how to perform those searches can be found here:

There are a few instances, however, when it makes sense to search for Star Alliance award availability on aeroplan.com:

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Star Alliance members courtesy of staralliance.com

Aeroplan’s search engine has also been programmed better than United’s to find itineraries with multiple connections. I frequently find award space on aeroplan.com for two or three layover itineraries that I did not find on united.com. That’s why I always search aeroplan.com before moving on to more complicated segment-by-segment searching.

  • How do you go about searching for award availability on Aeroplan.com?
  • Are there any limitations when using Aeroplan.com?
  • If United.com is flawed, why shouldn’t you just use Aeroplan.com for all Star Alliance searches?

Searching for Award Availability on Aeroplan.com

If you aren’t already a member, the first thing you’ll need to do is enroll in the Aeroplan reward program, which you can do here or by clicking on the link shown below.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 8.17.05 PMThe process is no different than signing up for other rewards programs–just some basic information. Once you’ve completed the registration process, you’ll automatically be signed in, and you’ll want to hover over “Use Your Miles” and click “Travel.”

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You’ll then be on the Travel Reward Search page. Select roundtrip or one way, your departure and arrival cities, the dates you want to fly, the number of passengers, and the flight cabin of your preference.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I am going to search for a flight that isn’t displayed on united.com: Singapore to Bali, Indonesia on Singapore Airlines. For example, when I search on united.com, I am given the following result:Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 1.21.54 PMOn Aeroplan.com, I plugged in all my information and checked the little box beneath the dates that says “My dates are flexible.” This will bring up a calendar of availability above the results for a single day.

Once all the information is filled in, click “Search.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 1.22.38 PMNow on the Search Results page, you’ll see that award availability is wide open in both economy and business/first the entire month of November between Singapore and Bali. You can switch the calendar view to show Business/First availability instead of economy by selecting it in the drop down menu:
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Scrolling down the same page, you’ll see that there are multiple flights from Singapore to Bali on November 9 on Singapore Airlines.

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United.com didn’t show any of these flights!

If you’re planning on using Aeroplan miles for this trip, you would select your flight times and click “Book.”Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 1.39.58 PMIf you are not using Aeroplan miles, simply note down the flight numbers, dates, and cabins of all your flights.

Once you decide which Star Alliance member’s miles you want to use for this trip, you will simply call their rewards booking number and feed the agent all the information for your flights. In this case, the prices displayed on aeroplan.com are not the number of miles you’ll use. Consult the award chart of the airline whose miles you are using.

Aeroplan.com Limitations

There are a few things United.com does well that Aeroplan does not:

  • You can’t see a full two month calendar of availability in economy and premium cabins on Aeroplan.com like you can on United.

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Aeroplan just shows two weeks in a single cabin at one time. 

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  • You can’t search specifically for direct flights on Aeroplan.com like you can on United.com.
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On the Advanced Search page of United.com
  • You can’t see availability in all cabins at the same time on aeroplan.com. It’s as simple as toggling the drop down menu from economy to Business/First, but is an extra step nonetheless.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 1.49.55 PM

  • You have to sign in before searching for award availability on Aeroplan.com. The two extra clicks you need to get to the search screen is a big deterrent if you do a lot of award searches like me– not to mention the time it takes to register if you don’t already have an account.

Should You Always Use Aeroplan.com?

Despite United.com’s downfalls of being slightly worse at multi-segment searching and not showing any Singapore Airlines award space, I think it’s still the better search engine for finding the majority of Star Alliance award availability.

The bottom line is no search engine is perfect. As evidenced above, there are a few significant reasons why Aeroplan.com is not as useful as United.com when searching for Star Alliance award availability.

Yes, you can see more Star Alliance partners on Aeroplan.com, but the ease of searching on United outweighs that factor.

Bottom Line

While not the go-to search tool for Star Alliance flights, Aeroplan.com is a great backup to know how to use.

When looking for Singapore Airlines award space, use Aeroplan.com as it does not show up on United.com

When you do a search that you know will take many segments, like Las Vegas to Prague, and united.com shows no availability, search on aeroplan.com before beginning to search segment-by-segment.

Ultimately, both sites have flaws, but along with the ANA search tool, your arsenal for finding availability on Star Alliance flights just got more powerful.

CKANbanner_300x250_v6b

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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

Turkish Business Class award space is widely available from this summer through the beginning of next year to Europe. You can book award space for up to eight people in Business Class on routes from America to Turkey and beyond with United miles, Asiana miles, Aeroplan miles, Lifemiles (of Avianca), and many other Star Alliance miles.

Where Turkish Flies

Turkish currently flies from eight American cities to Istanbul, and adds Atlanta to the list in about a month: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Miami, Washington D.C (Dulles), Boston and New York.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 1.17.52 AM
Atlanta begins May 16, 2016

From Istanbul, you can connect to over 100 countries. Turkish Airlines has destinations in more countries than any other airline in the world.

The Product

Turkish’s long haul flights feature flat bed Business Class on a variety of planes that either have a 2-4-2 configuration or 2-2-2 configuration. The 2-4-2 configuration is not ideal since no seat has both aisle access and a guarantee that no one will climb over it during the flight. The 2-2-2 configuration is preferable as you can choose a seat in the middle aisle which would guarantee no one climbs over you. At the end of the day though, a fully flat bed and great catering should overcome the moderate inconvenience of the 2-4-2 configuration.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 12.16.10 PM

Read this trip report of Turkish Business Class from Washington D.C. to Istanbul to get a more detailed perspective on Turkish Airlines’ product.

Award Space

Award space is excellent July through February from most Turkish gateways in the United States to Istanbul in Economy and Business Class for up to eight people.

Chicago to Istanbul: for 8 people

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 6.10.46 PM

For the return flight back to Chicago, about half the amount of days are available in Business Class.

Atlanta to Istanbul: for 8 people (route starts 5/16/16)

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 6.14.38 PM

Space in Business Class for the return back to Atlanta is just as widely available.

Houston to Istanbul: for 8 people

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 6.48.34 PM

Space in Business Class for the return back to Houston is just as widely available except in July and August.

Miami to Istanbul: 8 people

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.03.35 PM

For the return flight back to Miami, about half the amount of days are available in Business Class.

Boston to Istanbul: 8 people

boston to istanbul

For the return flight back to Boston, the same amount of space is available in Business Class with the exception of August and September.

New York to Istanbul: 8 people

nyc to istanbul

For the return flight back to New York, about half the amount of days are available in Business Class.

The exceptions I see are:

  • the Los Angeles and San Francisco to Istanbul routes are spotty with Business Class seats up until September, but from September through February availability is wide open for up to 8people; for the return flight back to Los Angeles there is plenty of space in Business for up to 8 people, and for the return flight back to San Francisco September through February has tons of Business Class seats
  • the Washington D.C. to Istanbul route has few Business Class seats available except in August, January and February for up to eight people; for the return back to Washington D.C. there is plenty of space in Business from September through February

Best Miles to Use

Any Turkish award space you see on united.com is equally bookable with any Star Alliance miles. Here are the cheapest Star Alliance miles to Europe:
Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 5.24.03 PM

Aeroplan (loyalty program of Air Canada) divides Europe into two regions– the cheaper region is for Western Europe and the more expensive is Eastern Europe, so travel to Turkey is 57,500 Aeroplan miles each way in Business Class. United and United Partner are separate categories because United charges more miles to fly premium cabins on partner redemptions.

Asiana, ANA, Lufthansa, and Singapore collect fuel surcharges on Turkish award flights. Aeroplan, United, Avianca, and Copa do not. I would use Asiana miles or Aeroplan to book an award on Turkish Airlines to Europe. A roundtrip Business award between the US and Istanbul costs 80,000 Asiana miles + $412.66 ($340 in fuel surcharges). The same award would cost 115,000 Aeroplan miles + about $77 (only taxes and fees, no fuel surcharges).

If you want to book the Turkish space to somewhere outside of Europe, check out this comparison of Star Alliance award charts to all regions of the world.

United, ANA, LifeMiles (Avianca), and Aeroplan display Turkish Airlines award space on their websites. If you want to book with another type of miles, search united.com and call the airline whose miles you want to use in order to book.

Example Award

In 2011, I flew from Los Angeles to Entebbe/Kampala, Uganda on Turkish, then returned from Nairobi to Los Angles with a stopover in Istanbul. This was a cash ticket in economy, and the flight from Los Angeles to Istanbul was the most painful of my life because I couldn’t fall asleep despite exhaustion.

You could book the same trip with miles in Business Class at the moment.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 1.23.25 AM

It would cost 160,000 United miles + $79, or fewer miles with other types of miles.

How to Get the Miles

The Starwood Preferred Guest personal and business credit cards from American Express come with 25,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $3,000 and $5,000 respectively in the first three months of cardmembership. Starpoints transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Japan Airlines Mileage Bank.

Both Asiana and Aeroplan, my top two choices of miles to use to book Turkish Airlines, are 1:1 transfer partners of Starwood Preferred Guest.

Aeroplan is also 1:1 transfer partner of Membership Rewards, which you can earn from The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz. It comes with 50,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Membership Rewards transfer to around 20 hotel and airline programs including Delta, Singapore, and British Airways.

The card has a $475 annual fee in the first year. But it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, and hotel status. Be aware that the “regular” Platinum card is worse than this offer because it has a smaller sign up bonus and only a $25 lower annual fee.

For more info on setting up and maximizing the benefits, see Get the Most Out of Your Platinum Card.

Landing Page: Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz

Bottom Line

Turkish Airlines award space is wide open from the United States to the rest of the world from July 2016 through the February of 2017. You can book it with any type of Star Alliance miles, but some of the best deals are with Asiana and Aeroplan to Europe.

Hat Tip View from the Wing

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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

I use united.com for most of my award searches when redeeming Star Alliance miles because it shows most Star Alliance partners’ award availability, but it does have some drawbacks. Namely, it doesn’t show all partners and it sometimes displays phantom award space–award space will show as available but in reality, it doesn’t exist.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.14.50 PM
Star Alliance Airlines Whose Award Space I Want to Search

The best way to confirm Star Alliance award space is using the All Nippon Airways (ANA) search tool. ANA’s tool is trickier to use, but it’s the most reliable. The website and search tool’s interface has undergone some changes since the last time I wrote about how to use the ANA search tool three years ago, so I’m rewriting that post today to clarify any doubts.

First of All, Great News!

ANA no longer restricts members from using it’s award search tool for a lack of miles in their account. Anyone can search Star Alliance availability as long as you are signed up as a member of the ANA Mileage Club— no more annoying work arounds necessary!

Using the ANA Award Search Tool: Step-by-Step Guide

1. If you haven’t already, sign up for a ANA Mileage Club account here. Though this page looks like a credit card application (no annual fee!) simply click “Apply Here” at the bottom of the screen.

ANA mileage club sign up2. After filling in your pertinent information, you will be assigned a Mileage Club frequent flyer number and a password. Once you are signed up and logged in, you can access the award search tool directly from the ANA home page, just click Award Booking in the bottom right corner of the regular flight reservation box.

ANA homepage, award booking box

3. You will then be taken to the ANA Award search tool, where you can start searching for your desired Star Alliance award. Check the bubble next to “Compare seat availability +/- 3 days.”

ana search tool

4. Checking the bubble next to Compare seat availability +/- 3 days will show you a week’s worth of availability.

LAX to Tokyo ANA

5. Occasionally a search will turn up this ugly error message, but it only means the specific day and class you searched for doesn’t have a seat available. Click Confirm and the rest of the week’s availability will display.

Mia to Bue error, confirm anyways ANA

6. Choose your dates for both legs.

LAX to tokyo, day specific selection

7. And then select your preferred flight schedule for both legs.

If you don’t have the sufficient mileage in your Mileage Club account, a box will pop up like this:

lack of mileage ANA

8. Just click Confirm and it will allow you too see all the details anyways.

Displayed will be the summarized flight itinerary, the price of the award in miles as well as taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges….

ANA itinerary, payment breakdown

…and the award type descriptions, with convenient links to the corresponding award chart/rules. The baggage limitations are also displayed. (This is only important if you are redeeming ANA miles.)

award type bagge ANA

A Common Glitch

I received this pop-up multiple times while choosing the flight itineraries for my preferred days of travel:

wonky error ANA

It seems like you can ignore the error message if the previous screen said there were flights available on the day you’ve selected.

LAX to Tokyo ANA

Try to select the date again, and you may see the space and no error message.

In my experience, even if you keep getting the error message, there is award space on the flight. (You can check this by calling United and asking the agent if the flight has award space. I did that for the example of a Business Class seat from Los Angeles to Tokyo above, and there was indeed award space available.)

Can I Plug in my City Pairs and Expect ANA to Come up With Good Itineraries?

No. ANA’s search tool has improved somewhat over the years, but searching Kansas City <-> Mumbai likely won’t yield anything usable. You should search segment-by-segment (like Newark to Mumbai on Air India and Kansas City to Newark on United.)

How do I search multiple segments?

There’s no short cut to this with ANA’s search tool unfortunately. You’ll need to search every segment separately.

This seems tedious. Any shortcuts?

Searching United.com is faster but can sometimes display false positives and negatives as previously detailed in my post about phantom award space. United’s site is a great place to get routing ideas while confirming them using ANA’s tool.

Do ANA miles have any value?

This is outside the main scope of this post, which is how to SEARCH ON ANA.COM to USE ANY STAR ALLIANCE MILES.

But yes, since you ask, ANA miles have plenty of value.

Though ANA assesses fuel surcharges on all Star Alliance partner flights except United, their chart has some great sweet spots that allow for low mileage redemptions. Check out how ANA’s chart compares to other types of Star Alliance miles here: Comprehensive Spread Sheets of Eight Star Alliance Award Charts.

Bottom Line

ANA’s search tool is the final word on Star Alliance availability. If united.com displays the space but you don’t see it on ANA’s site, the award isn’t bookable.

The only requirements to use ANA’s search tool are a Mileage Club membership and a little bit of patience to do the segment-by-segment searching. Once you find award space on ana.com, you can book it with the Star Alliance miles that offer the cheapest award price to where you’re going. Find that out here.

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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

Updated 1/29/16 to reflect new Aeroplan award prices effective for awards booked 12/15/15 or later.
Updated 10/6/15 to reflect new ANA award prices effective for awards booked 10/15/15 or later.

In the last few weeks, I have published some comparative charts of Star Alliance award charts. I’m putting all of those charts into this post for easier reference.

You can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book almost any Star Alliance flight. (Swiss, Lufthansa, and Singapore hold back some premium cabin award space for their own members. United gives extra award space to elites and United cardholders.) The 27-member alliance has more than a dozen frequent flyer programs, many of which offer good or great deals on some routes.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.14.50 PM

I’ve taken the time to make a comprehensive spread sheet of eight programs’ award prices from North America:

  • United (on United flights and on partner flights)
  • Copa
  • Asiana
  • Singapore (on Star Alliance partner flights)
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Lufthansa Miles & More
  • ANA

These programs were chosen because they all have at least some awards that are really cheap. And other than Copa and LifeMiles, Americans can easily get all these miles through transferable points programs:

  • United: Ultimate Rewards
  • Copa: no easy way to get the miles yet, but the program is brand new
  • Asiana: SPG
  • Singapore: ThankYou Points, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, SPG
  • LifeMiles: buy miles for 1.5 cents each
  • Aeroplan: Membership Rewards, SPG
  • Lufthansa: SPG
  • ANA: Membership Rewards, SPG

There are other Star Alliance programs into which Americans can transfer miles–Citi ThankYou Points transfer 1:1 to EVA and Thai miles–but their charts don’t offer any value compared to the eight I’ve selected.

Of course, the charts below only captures one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Here are a few big things that applies to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

For specific information on fuel surcharges to each region and other important routing rules, click on the individual posts where I really analyzed awards to each region.

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

The Charts

Below the award charts show the one way price in thousands of miles from the United States mainland to the region listed for the eight types of miles listed. For information on slashes, click the links above to get more information.

Within Mainland United States and Canada

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.42.55 PM

Alaska

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.44.14 PM

Hawaii
Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.44.25 PM

Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.29.00 AM

Northern South America

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.29.12 AM

Southern South America

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.30.52 AM

EuropeScreen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.31.05 AM

Middle East

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.28.47 AM

Africa

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.29.08 AM

North Asia

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 7.41.47 AM

Southeast AsiaScreen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.30.44 AM

Indian SubcontinentScreen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.30.58 AM

Australia and New Zealand

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.06 AM

Oceania

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.16 AM

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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

5

Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska, the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean, the cheapest awards to Europe, the cheapest awards to Africa and the Middle East, the cheapest awards to North Asia, the cheapest awards to Southeast Asia, and the cheapest to the Indian Subcontinent.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to the Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.

Remember, the spread sheets in this post only capture one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to Australia and New Zealand

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to the Australia and New Zealand, these are the prices:

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.06 AM

United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.

Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada and Air New Zealand flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

The ideal award for an American would be to fly United flights from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Australia. These flights are surcharge-free with all the types of miles discussed here except Lufthansa miles.

For United flights, ANA has the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip) in economy and Business. United miles are the cheapest in First Class, but United will soon have Dreamliners with no First Class on all Australia routes.

Cheapest Awards to Oceania

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Oceania, these are the prices:

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.33.16 AM

United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.

Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air New Zealand flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

United has a lot of flights throughout Oceania. Here are its flights from Guam. It also has some from Honolulu.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.53.01 PM

For United flights, United has the cheapest economy awards and ANA has the cheapest Business Class awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip).

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

ANA miles and United miles are the best to the Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

United miles can be earned on the personal, business, and Club cards from Chase. United is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Bottom Line

ANA and United offer the best deals on United flights to Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.

 

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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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

7

Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska, the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean, the cheapest awards to Europe, the cheapest awards to Africa and the Middle East, the cheapest awards to North Asia, and the cheapest awards to Southeast Asia.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to the Indian Subcontinent.

Remember, the spread sheets in this post only capture one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to Indian Subcontinent

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to the Indian Subcontinent–the definition of which varies slightly by program–these are the prices:

Screen-Shot-2015-10-06-at-12.30.58-AM

United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.

Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on many partners with service to the Indian Subcontinent. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air India or United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

ANA has by far the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip), but you will pay fuel surcharges unless you fly United. United Business Class for 115,000 miles roundtrip from the United States to Delhi or Mumbai is a steal.

If you want to completely avoid fuel surcharges, book with United miles. United Business and First Class are very cheap at 70,000 and 80,000 miles one way. Or you can connect on partners for only 80,000 miles one way in Business Class.

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

ANA miles and United miles are the best to the Indian Subcontinent.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

United miles can be earned on the personal, business, and Club cards from Chase. United is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Bottom Line

ANA offers really cheap awards to the Indian Subcontinent that are all the more attractive if you can avoid fuel surcharges by flying United. Otherwise, United’s chart to the region is very good.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.

------------------------------------------------------------

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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska, the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean, the cheapest awards to Europe, the cheapest awards to Africa and the Middle East, and the cheapest awards to North Asia.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to Southeast Asia.

Remember, the spread sheets in this post only capture one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to Southeast Asia

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Southeast Asia, these are the prices:

Screen-Shot-2015-10-06-at-12.30.44-AM

I’ve only included the award chart for flying United partners since United only flies to Singapore in the region

Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, ANA, Thai, and Asiana flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air China, Singapore, and United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

ANA has by far the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip), but you will pay fuel surcharges unless you fly United. United Business Class for 115,000 miles roundtrip from the United States to Singapore is a steal. ANA’s prices are so low, fuel surcharges may even be worth paying. You can go to Southeast Asia for 115,000 miles roundtrip in Business Class, when the cheapest fuel-surcharge-free award is 156,000 LifeMiles.

If you want to completely avoid fuel surcharges, book with United miles. You can pay 80,000 miles one way in Business Class.

If you don’t mind buying miles, LifeMiles offers fair prices to Southeast Asia with no fuel surcharges.

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

ANA miles, United miles, and LifeMiles are the best to Southeast Asia.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

United miles can be earned on the personal, business, and Club cards from Chase. United is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

LifeMiles can be purchased. Right now, they are on sale for a very cheap 1.4 cents each.

Bottom Line

ANA offers really cheap awards to Southeast Asia that are all the more attractive if you can avoid fuel surcharges by flying United. Otherwise, United’s chart to the region in partner Business Class is fair, and there are no fuel surcharges on any United awards. If you want to fly ANA or Asiana First Class, I’d book with LifeMiles.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.

------------------------------------------------------------

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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

7

Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska, the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean, the cheapest awards to Europe, and the cheapest awards to Africa and the Middle East.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to North Asia. The award charts I’ll be comparing define North Asia very differently and sometimes split the area into more than one region, so if an award price intrigues you, search for its award chart to find its definition of North Asia.

Remember, the spread sheets in this post only capture one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to North Asia

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to the Middle East, these are the prices:

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 7.41.47 AM

 

Let me explain a few things:

  • United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.
  • The left of the slashes within United’s and Copa’s columns are prices to Japan. The right of the slashes are the prices to the rest of North Asia.
  • ANA has two separate prices for awards to Japan depending on your routing. Those are the first two numbers in each cell. The most expensive price in each cell is its price to Korea, China, Taiwan, and Philippines.
Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, ANA, and Asiana flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air China, Singapore, and United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

ANA has by far the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip), but you will pay fuel surcharges unless you fly United. United Business Class for 85,000 miles roundtrip from the United States to Japan is a steal. ANA’s prices are so low, fuel surcharges may even be worth paying. You can go to China for 95,000 miles roundtrip in Business Class, when the cheapest fuel-surcharge-free award is 150,000 LifeMiles.

If you want to avoid fuel surcharges on all airlines, United’s 80,000 mile price for partner Business Class is fair. If you want to fly partner First Class, like Asiana’s awesome First Class on its A380 (trip report), book with LifeMiles. You can pay 90,000 LifeMiles one way in First Class instead of 120,000 United miles.

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 7.39.00 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 7.39.04 AM

 

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

ANA miles, United miles, and LifeMiles are the best to North Asia.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

United miles can be earned on the personal, business, and Club cards from Chase. United is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

LifeMiles can be purchased. Right now, they are on sale for a very cheap 1.4 cents each.

Bottom Line

ANA offers really cheap awards to North Asia that are all the more attractive if you can avoid fuel surcharges by flying United. Otherwise, United’s chart to the region in partner Business Class is fair, and there are no fuel surcharges on any United awards. If you want to fly ANA or Asiana First Class, I’d book with LifeMiles.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

5

Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska and the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to Africa and the Middle East.

Remember, the spread sheets in this post only capture one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to the Middle East

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to the Middle East, these are the prices:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.28.47 AM

Let me explain a few things:

  • United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.
  • All the miles except Lufthansa allow transit in Europe for the same price as direct flights to the Middle East. Transiting Europe would trigger a more expensive “3 regions” award on the Lufthansa chart.
  • LifeMiles blocks Lufthansa First Class awards.
Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, Lufthansa, Austrian, TAP, and LOT flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air New Zealand, Brussels, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish, Egyptair, South African, and United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

ANA and Singapore have by far the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip), but you will pay fuel surcharges. You can eliminate those by flying United to the Middle East. United’s destinations are Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Tel Aviv. You can greatly lower fuel surcharges by flying United to Europe and connecting there to a different partner to the Middle East.

If you want to completely avoid fuel surcharges, book with United miles. You can pay 80,000 miles one way in Business Class or 70,000 if you fly United Business Class to Europe and connect to a partner in economy to the Middle East.

Cheapest Awards to Africa

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Africa, these are the prices:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.29.08 AM

 

Let me explain a few things:

  • United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.
  • Singapore, LifeMiles, Aeroplan, and Lufthansa divide Africa into North and South. Consult their charts for the exact region definitions.
  • LifeMiles blocks Lufthansa First Class awards.
Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, Lufthansa, Austrian, TAP, and LOT flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air New Zealand, Brussels, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish, Egyptair, South African, and United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

ANA and Singapore have by far the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip), but you will pay fuel surcharges. You can eliminate those by flying United to Africa, but its only destination is Lagos. You can lower fuel surcharges by flying United to Europe and connecting there to a different partner to Africa.

If you want to completely avoid fuel surcharges, book with United miles. You can pay 80,000 miles one way in Business Class or 70,000 if you fly United Business Class to Europe and connect to a partner in economy to Africa.

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

ANA miles, Singapore miles, and United miles are the best to Europe.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and Starpoints.

United miles can be earned on the personal, business, and Club cards from Chase. United is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Bottom Line

There are better options to fly Star Alliance flights to Africa and the Middle East than using United miles.

Singapore and ANA offer really cheap award charts that are all the more attractive if you can avoid or reduce fuel surcharges. Otherwise, United’s chart to the region is fair, and there are no fuel surcharges on any United awards.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.

------------------------------------------------------------

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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

23

Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska and the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to Europe.

Remember, the spread sheet in this post only captures one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to Europe

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Europe, these are the prices:

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.31.05 AM

Let me explain a few things:

Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, Lufthansa, Austrian, TAP, and LOT flights to Europe. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air New Zealand, Brussels, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish, and United flights to Europe. (And yes all those airlines fly from the United States to Europe.)

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

If you want to fly United, the cheapest way to book it (and with no fuel surcharges) is with Asiana miles. Paying 40k miles one way in flat bed Business Class or 50k in First Class is outrageously cheap. If you don’t want to burn SPG points/Asiana miles, you can book a cheap roundtrip with ANA miles in United economy or Business Class and pay no fuel surcharges. Singapore miles are a good option for a one way in United economy.

If you want to fly Lufthansa First Class to enjoy the First Class terminal, use Asiana miles. You’ll pay 50,000 miles and around $300 one way. Your backup plan is to use 62,500 Aeroplan miles plus the same fuel surcharges. United would not collect the fuel surcharges, but it would charge 110,000 miles one way, so I wouldn’t use United miles.

If you want to fly to Western Europe, Aeroplan miles offer a great deal at 45,000 miles each way, and several partners are surcharge-free. If you book a roundtrip, you can even enjoy two stopovers other than your destination.

My rich friends, who want to fly Business Class to Europe but don’t already have miles, use LifeMiles to buy a ticket each way in Business Class for about $1,000.

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

Asiana miles, ANA miles, Singapore miles, Aeroplan miles, and LifeMiles are the best to Europe.

Asiana miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints, which means you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Asiana miles.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and Starpoints.

Aeroplan miles area 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

LifeMiles can be purchased for as little as 1.35 cents each through September 15, 2015.

Bottom Line

There are much better options to fly Star Alliance flights to Euorope than using United miles.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.

 

------------------------------------------------------------

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.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

cc-reward-320x50

14

Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Remember, the spread sheets in this post only captures one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean, these are the prices:

Screen-Shot-2015-10-06-at-12.29.00-AM

The lower price in the Copa column is if you fly Copa metal. That is the best deal to the region overall. The lower prices in the LifeMiles column are for Mexico and the Caribbean. The higher prices are for Central America.

There are no fuel surcharges on any of the Star Alliance flights to these regions, and there’s very little variation in these charts, so I’d mostly burn the miles or transferable points I valued the least.

United States to Northern South America

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador, these are the prices:

Screen-Shot-2015-10-06-at-12.29.12-AM

The lower prices in the Copa column are if you fly Copa metal.

Again, no one collects fuel surcharges on these awards, so use Copa or Asiana miles. If you don’t have them, United miles offer a fair deal. Lufthansa and Singapore offer such terrible deals because they have all of South America in one region.

United States to Southern South America

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia, these are the prices:

The lower prices in the Copa column are if you fly Copa metal.

Again, no one collects fuel surcharges on these awards, so use Copa, Asiana, or ANA miles–ANA miles for roundtrips only remember.

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

Asiana miles, Copa miles, and ANA miles are the best to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Asiana miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints, which means you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Asiana miles.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

Copa’s new ConnectMiles program doesn’t have an associated credit card, nor does it partner with any transferable points, nor does it sell its miles cheaply. For the moment, you can only get Copa miles the hard way, butt-in-seat.

Bottom Line

There are much better options to fly United, Air Canada, Copa, Avianca, and TACA flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than using United miles.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, but there are no fuel surcharges on any flights in 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.

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months that you can transfer to United miles, Singapore miles, Southwest points, British Airways miles, or use for 1.5 cents each toward any flight, hotel, or car rentals.

Plus the card offers $300 in credits toward any travel purchase each calendar year, which is $600 in your first 12 months of cardmembership, $100 toward Global Entry, and worldwide lounge access. Basically it's the best credit card ever, even with a $450 annual fee.

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