This is a new section of Life, Tailored where we cover the ins and outs of how to live a Tailored life in the sky. We would never pay $12,000 for a first class experience like this, but rather, we want to know how we can get this experience for 1/10th of the cost. Enjoy your First Class Flight the Life, Tailored way.
We’ve covered how to earn your award miles, now here comes the more enjoyable part – how to spend them. Since we’re all about the best service for the least of costs, we selected first class and business class flights in the most luxurious suits you can fly for free to the Old Continent – Europe.
Pamper yourself on the number one rated Singapore Airlines, enjoy a glass of Dom Perignon on Emirates, visit the amazing Amsterdam, get comfortable in award-winning Swiss Air suites or have a delicious gourmet meal on Etihad, all for free (or drastically reduced) via airline miles.
These are the best first class flights to Europe you can redeem for miles and points.
1. Lufthansa First Class to Frankfurt and Munich
Fly first class in full luxury and just recently updated seats on Lufthansa planes from Washington to Frankfurt, Detroit to Frankfurt and Charlotte to Munich using only your United miles or Ultimate reward points. Lufthansa is one of the airlines with the utmost best service and will pamper you with caviar and soft slippers during your flight to Germany.
You want to fly on the 747-400 which comes with a recliner and bed, pictured above. To grab the flight, you can redeem via Miles and More, which is Lufthansa’s frequent miler program or United (SWISS and Austrian Airlines are also part of Miles & More). United recently went through a devaluation in February of 2013.
If you wanted to fly one-way from US to Europe on Lufthansa, pre-devaluation, the cost would be 67,500 miles. Now, it is 110,000 miles each way. These flights cost ~$12,000 for roundtrip, so at 220,000 miles roundtrip, you’re looking at $.05 per mile. If you can acquire miles for $.01, this is still a pretty great deal.
The following credit card programs are transfer partners of Lufthansa’s Miles and More:
- Starwood SPG 1:1 ratio (when you transfer 20k points, you get 5k in bonus)
The following credit card programs are transfer partners of United:
- Starwood SPG 2:1 ratio (when you transfer 20k points, you get 5k in bonus)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards 1:1 ratio
There are targeted offers for 50,000 bonus miles with signup of the United credit card. The best way to receive the offer is to setup your United account, and update your mailing address.
Booking Lufthansa first class can be tough on United, it’s reported they release first class inventory 2 weeks prior to departure, so if you are flexible, you are in luck. Earning your United miles, however, is easier than is seems, here are 23 ways to rack up United miles.
2. Singapore Airlines Suite Class to Frankfurt
One of the most charming cabin crews will pamper you with champagne and five star meals during your first class flight from Singapore to Frankfurt. The cabins on Singapore Airlines don’t look as lux on the first sight but the polished crew definitely makes up for it. One way flight economy class from Singapore to Frankfurt costs 35,000 KrisFlyer miles, 80,000 miles for business class and 107,500 miles for first class experience.
Singapore Airlines is a partner with Star Alliance which means you can transfer your miles from Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. Just use the mileage calculator to see all your options. Another option is American Express Membership which is partnered with Singapore Airlines and transfers at 1:1 ratio. SPG transfers at 2:1 ratio, so obviously not the best redemption.
When you signup for the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card, you get 25,000 miles and 3x on flight purchase.
3. Swiss Air First Class to Europe
Award-winning first class seats on Swiss Air will cost you 125,000 US Airways miles on their round-trip flights from Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami and Montreal to Europe. Great news is that US Airways frequently runs promotions where they sell miles for 2 cents per piece, making the first class up to 3 times cheaper that usual. An even better news are all the promotions that Swiss airlines run regularly.
For instance a round trip business flight from Detroit to Naples will cost you only 55,000 miles.
If you signup for the US Airways credit card, you get 40,000 US Airways miles.
4. British Airways First Class to London
British Airways offers more first class award space between US and Europe than any other airline, making it the top of our list. The only downside is that British Airways charges fuel which can cost up to $500 for a round trip. Still, it can be a great alternative when other airlines don’t have available space. Best available routs for first class fliers are from Washington, New York and Vancouver to London.
One way first class trip to London will cost you around 60,000 miles. Just to compare, one way flight from New York to London costs 20,000 Avios miles and business class 40,000 miles.
The British Airways Visa Signature credit card offers 50,000 bonus Avios points on signup (the offers have been as high as 100,000 miles), and if you spend $30,000 in a single year, you get a companion pass that allows you to book the same flight (even one booked with miles) for free for a companion, you just pay the fuel charges. The card also offers 1.25x points on all purchases, which is a great kicker for using this card on everyday spend.
5. United Airlines First Class to Brussels
First class on United (the airline ranked on 35 place of worlds most amazing first class airlines) is not as lux as the ones on Singapore or Etihad but at least it’s easy to get. For 170,000 Ultimate reward miles you can book a round trip flight from Washington to Brussels and have your warm waffles within hours.
If you prefer uncomfortable seats and canteen food then you can book the economy flight for 65,000 miles or pimp it out a little bit with business class for 150,000 reward miles. To earn additional Ultimate reward miles use your Ink Bold and Ink Plus Business card or Sapphire Preferred Card and transfer your points 1:1 to United.
6. Emirates First Class to Milan
The VIP treatment you always dreamed of is the first class treatment on Emirates airline. After popping a bottle of Vueve Clicquot and putting on some comfy slippers on the No. 3 best rated airline in the world, it’s time to sit back and relax. A return ticket from New York to Milan will cost from 45,000 miles on a economy flight and an upgrade from economy or business class will cost you another 75,000 reward miles. Definitely worth the mini-bar and the pampering.
When you fly Emirates, they offer free chauffeur service to and from the airport.
Emirates is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfer), and you can also book Emirates via Alaska Airlines miles (transfer part of Chase Ultimate Rewards at 1:1).
7. Etihad Airways Diamond First Class via Abu Dhabi to Europe
If you don’t mind a little detour then Etihad Diamond first class experience is definitely a great possibility. Their suites are very private and chauffeured service to the airport is also a big plus. For economy class return ticket from New York to Abu Dhabi Etihad charges 94,000 AAdvantage miles, 132,500 miles for business class and 180,000 for first class return flight.
From Abu Dhabi you can take a flight to your European destination with no more than 25,000 Avios points for a business class fight with Air Berlin.
8. Singapore Airlines Suite Class to Amsterdam
Another great destination with number 1 rated first class airline according to Zagat – Singapore Airlines is the Amsterdam flight that can be redeemed with 35,000 KrisFlyer points on a one way economy class flight. For a better experience you can book a business class ticket for 60,000 miles or enjoy the full VIP treatment totaling 85,000 for a one way first class flight.There’s an additional fee for taxes, surcharges and fees that adds up to $80.
Singapore Airlines is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.
9. Emirates First Class via Dubai to Paris
With Alaska Mileage Plus you can redeem your miles for a flight on Emirates to Paris via Dubai. First class indulgence will cost 100,000 miles for a one way flight from Los Angeles to Dubai and forward to Paris.
For comparison the economy class on same flight costs 47,500 miles and around 75,000 miles on business class. If for nothing else than the first class experience on Emirates if most worth it for the on-board shower. Can’t count all the times I wish I had one on my flight.
10. SAS, Swiss, United and US Airways First Class to Europe
For 90,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles you can fly business class with SAS, Swiss, United and US Airways from US to Europe. Not only that, you’re allowed one or even two stopovers, which means you can visit 3 destinations using 90,000 miles. Obviously the business class flight won’t be as comfortable as the first class experience, but it’s worth the try if you’re out of other options.
Aeroplan is a 1:1 transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards.
Best First Class Flight for Miles?
So, what is the best, most luxurious way to travel across the Atlantic for literally pennies on the dollar?..
Our top first class suite you can fly for free is without a doubt the Singapore Airlines A380 Suite Class. There’s just no beating the suite with a full-sized bed that looks more relaxing than my own bedroom. Not to mention the level of privacy, exquisite dining on designer Givenchy tableware and meals on request, this is the can’t miss experience.
The indulgence will be yours for 170,000 miles on return flights from Singapore to Amsterdam, which is the best deal for the extravagant flight.
Our top pick for business class flights is the bargain price of 125,000 award miles which allows you to book an award-winning first class seat on Swiss airline. It’s not as lux as Singapore or Emirates but it sure beats crowding in economy class.