Saudia’s current first class product on their Boeing 777s is an antiquated six seats across, but with a huge cabin of 24 seats.
Their business class on that aircraft is angled. It’s not terrible as far as such things go on a dry airline, but hardly a modern product.
You can use Delta miles to redeem for Saudia business class. You cannot use Delta miles for international first class on Saudia (or any other airline). Fortunately miles in other SkyTeam partner programs can be used for Saudia first class.
And even better, Saudia appears to be getting a new first class for their Boeing 777. Via @SultanALFuraih1 it appears to be suites with doors somewhat reminiscent of Etihad’s first class on their Boeing 777s.
Now that government-supported Saudia will join Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar in offering superior premium cabin products, will Delta lobby the U.S. government to block their SkyTeam partner from flying to the U.S. or offering discount fares?
While you’ll need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia, you can generally transit up to 18 hours inside the airport without a visa.
Saudia can be a useful partner to fly to a variety of destinations, although it’s not yet clear where the new product will be flying or how many planes will be equipped with first class suites.
First class awards between the US and Middle East or Africa are just 160,000 Korean Air miles roundtrip. (Korean is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.)
And while Korean Air Skypass adds fuel surcharges onto awards where those are included in paid fares, Saudia doesn’t have fuel surcharges. For example, here’s the breakdown of a Los Angeles – Jeddah first class fare: