By reader request, here’s my take on the very best airline mileage award values. I’ll offer my top five.
New York-JFK – London Heathrow roundtrip in Virgin Upper Class for 63,000 ANA points. What’s more, they don’t hit you with the extortionate fuel surcharges that Virgin does with their own program when you redeem the same flights. (Theirs is a distance-based chart, from other nearby East Coast cities the roundtrip award is 68,000 points). The award would cost the same on other Star carriers as well.
East Coast of the US to Europe in business class, 4 stopovers in addition to destination, for 80,000 Asiana points using Star Alliance partners. Even better if you earn those miles for $40,000 in spend on the Bank of America-issued Asiana American Express. The Asiana chart is distance-based, the total mileage of the award needs to be kept under 10,000 at this price.
Air Canada Aeroplan 120,000 miles for first class from North America to South Asia (as far as Singapore — Malaysia and Indonesia bump the price significantly) using their Star Alliance partners. The real value here is the ability to route via the Atlantic or the Pacific or one ocean in each direction, as well as to have two stopovers in addition to the destination. And arguably even better:, it’s just 140,000 miles from the US to Australia and you can route via Asia (with stopover) so add those Bangkok – Sydney – Bangkok first class flights on Thai for an incremental 10,000 miles each way!
Alaska Airlines’ North America to Africa in first class for 140,000 miles via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. Same mileage as US to Asia only.
US to Israel for 80,000 miles in business class on Turkish via Turkish Miles & Smiles. The trick here is that Israel is in their ‘Near East’ zone rather than Middle East..
Surely there are other outstanding awards out there that I’m missing in my top five, that are better than the ones I’ve listed, what are they?