This post is part of the Travel Hacking 101: First Class in 90 Days series.
If you’ve met the spending requirement on the cards outlined in the last post, you should have somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 Ultimate Rewards. Now what?
Below are some award options that either start or end in the USA and are bookable using your Ultimate Rewards points. Keep in mind these are just some suggestions and there are more options than what’s listed below!
An important part of redeeming Ultimate Rewards is taking advantage of the great award flight options available through transfer partners. Ultimate Rewards transfer to the following airlines at a ratio of 1:1.
You will transfer your Ultimate Rewards to one of these programs before redeeming them for your first class flight.
Luxury Flights Using Your Ultimate Rewards Points
Here are some of the possible ways you could use you Ultimate Rewards for first class flights:
Hawaii in First Class from anywhere in the USA for 45,000 Korean Airline Miles (Round Trip)
Europe in Business Class to/from anywhere in the USA for 57,500 United Miles (One-Way)
Europe in Business Class to/from the USA with AirFrance Flying Blue Miles for up to 50% off the Normal Miles Price (One-Way)
Every month, AirFrance releases what they call Promo Awards, which are discounted award prices for flights. At the time of writing this I found the following Business Class promo award on their site for 25% off:
NYC to/from Frankfurt in a Suite for 76,000 Singapore Miles (One-Way)
While this award will cost you a few more miles, it is an amazing experience that many travel hackers aspire to book. Also, you don’t necessarily need to spend your trip in Frankfurt. Frankfurt Airport has many cheap intra-Europe flight options, so you can just use it as a starting point if you wish. Suites are only available on Singapore’s A380 aircrafts. If you want to book this trip, make sure the aircraft listed for your flight is the A380.
Anywhere in the USA to/from the Middle East or North Africa for 57,500 Miles in Business Class or 75,000 Miles in First Class (One-way)
Singapore Miles can book any of the above airlines. Just go to singaporeair.com, search their award availability and all of the above airline options will be included. First class cabin quality varies a lot from airline to airline. Before you book one of these, make sure the airline’s first class cabin is what you are expecting.
Anywhere in the USA to/from Southern South America in Business Class for 50,000 Singapore Miles (One-way)
Singapore airlines groups South America into North and South. 50,000 miles is a good price to Southern South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia), but I would avoid using Singapore miles to book an award to northern South America since there are better options for doing so. Try to find award availability on a United Flight (still using Singapore Miles to book it). United offers lie-flat beds on these flights, while Copa and Avianca Airlines do not.
Anywhere in the USA to/from Northern South America in Business Class for 70,000 United Miles (Round Trip)
Try to find award availability on a United flight when booking this award. Copa and Avianca Airline award availability is much more common, but United’s Business class offers lie-flat seats while Copa and Avianca do not.
How to Book These Award Flights
- Go to the site of the miles you want to use. For example, if the award uses United Mileage Plus Miles, go to united.com.
- Use the site’s search tool, select use miles, and try to find availability of the flight you are interested in.
- Only once you have found an available award, go to your Chase Ultimate Rewards account and transfer your points to the miles program you need for the award. Be sure that the award you want is available because once you transfer points out of Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can not transfer them back.
- Book your flight!
If you are uncomfortable doing this on your own, I will be writing posts in the future that will document step by step, exactly how to book some of these trips using your points.
Your “action items” for this post are:
- Start to think about where you want to go with your Ultimate Rewards!
- Try to find award availability for the flight you think you want to take. Remember to go the site of the miles you will be using, and make sure you have checked off the box that indicates you want to use miles. Not every flight is bookable with miles. Airlines release a limited amount of award availability which are bookable with miles.
- If you find the flight(s) you want and feel confident in booking them, go for it! Otherwise stay tuned for future posts where I’ll go over the booking process step by step.
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