Put Your Parents on a First Class Flight, Part Two

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If you haven’t read the first part, read it here: Put Your Parents on a First Class Flight, Part One.

I am not trying to round up all possible redemptions for first- and business class travel, and I am trying to keep it simple. I am going to presume that you don’t have millions of miles; otherwise the world is your oyster. And please–you don’t have to book the most extravagant tickets on earth for your parents like Emirates or Singapore Suites. Believe me, a good international business class lie-flat seat will make your parents–and anyone else who mostly fly economy–very happy.

Delta Airlines is another surprisingly good option nowadays to send your parents in the front of the plane to Europe if you’ve got enough miles. Getting enough miles with Delta, however, is tough, as Delta is notoriously stingy with credit card sign up bonuses. They do, occasionally, offer 50- and even 70,000-mile bonuses, so my advice is grab it when you see it, right away.

How to Get Delta Miles

Tickets on Delta Airines are pricey; a business class award seat to Europe, for example, will cost you  125,000 miles per roundtrip. However, Delta availability to Europe for the next summer looks terrific (plenty of two seats availability in August 2015 in business class). And there is, currently, a trick to trigger a 50-75,000-point bonus that reportedly works for most people. So, how can you get Delta miles?

  • AMEX Delta Platinum personal and AMEX Delta Platinum business credit cards. Bonuses vary.
  • AMEX Gold and AMEX Platinum business and personal credit cards. These cards offer proprietary Membership Rewards points that you can transfer to Delta, sometimes with an additional bonus.
  • Transfer from SPG program at 1.25 ratio for 20,000 miles or more (get up to 50,000 SPG points by applying for AMEX SPG personal and business credit cards).

Specific Examples of Terrific First and Business Class Redemptions

If your parents are interested in traveling in the United States consider yourself lucky. There are great ways to travel between the East and the West coasts in an international-quality first or business-class cabin.

American Airlines has great premium class cabins with lie-flat seats between New York and LA and San Francisco in their new A321T planes. A business class seat will cost you 50,000 and a first class seat 62,500 miles roundtrip. Both offer lie-flat seat, and we are talking about a 6-hour flight. You can use either American or US Airways to book your flight. Your parents might be better off with two business seats, anyway. Because the seats and service in both cabins are virtually identical, the only difference being that you have individual “pods” in the first class cabin. Not only will it save you the miles, but your parents might want to sit together anyway.

When you book, make sure the code you are getting reads 32B.

Note: Delta and United also have a decent lie-flat seats in a first class cabin on these routes.

Cathay Pacific has great first class and business class cabins between New York and Vancouver. It costs 50,000 miles in American Airlines AAdvantage miles or British Airways Avios. The Cathay business class product is exceptional, and the flight is under six hours, so booking more expensive first class flight might be completely unnecessary.

If your parents want to visit Ireland, use British Airways frequent miles called Avios. It’s only 50,000 Avios between Dublin and Boston or 80,000 miles between Dublin and New York or Chicago in a business class seat on Air Lingus (no first class is available). Yes, they are installing lie-flat seats in their fleet, too.

Getting 50,000 Avios is as easy as applying for a Chase British Airways card. To get enough for two tickets, apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card and use the resulting 45,000-point bonus to transfer your points to your Avios account.

ANA 63,000-68,000 business class award will take you to some cities in Europe and Latin America. You would need to redeem your flight on United or other Star Alliance airlines that don’t have or have lower fuel surcharges. ANA has a distance-based chart until April 2015, which is absolutely terrific. I recommend Travel Is Free excellent guide to using ANA miles if you decide to go down this route.

The above sweet spots are in no way exhaustive, but you’ve got an idea.

Have any other suggestions for an affordable first class or business class flight? Share them here.

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Photo By: Richard Moross

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