Fly Saudia Business Class To Saudi Arabia
Saudia Business Class. Image Credit: Saudia
Saudia is a dry airline, meaning it wont serve alcohol on its flights. Also, while Saudia first class is available when booking with cash, theres no simple way to book it using points.
Business class is easy to book, though! Business class consists of reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, and a solid overall experience minus the absence of alcohol.
In this case, the best frequent flyer program to leverage is Delta SkyMiles. You can book nonstop Saudia flights on the following routes:
- Washington D.C. Jeddah one-way in Saudia business class for 85,000 Delta SkyMiles
- Washington D.C. Riyadh one-way in Saudia business class for 85,000 Delta SkyMiles
- New York City Jeddah one-way in Saudia business class for 85,000 Delta SkyMiles
- New York City Riyadh one-way in Saudia business class for 85,000 Delta SkyMiles
Jetblue Amex Airline Credit
Even More Seats
This makes things a bit more interesting for me because I can put the Even More Seat on my Amex card and receive a credit for the full $70. Jetblue is a great choice for your preferred Airline Choice because of the way they charge to upgrade to premium economy. I find that its incredibly easy to use the fee credit with them every year because you pay the Even More Space fee separate from your ticket, which means it counts as a fee. Several other airlines do not let you upgrade separately for cash or at all if you booked initially in economy.
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For changes to a higher fare you can call Jetblue and theyll charge you the difference, which has worked for me in the past and should work here since Jetblue crediting cancelled flights to members travel banks.
Cash + Points Bookings
Cash + Points is a redemption option offered to TrueBlue members during the online booking process that allows members to pay for JetBlue-operated flights using a combination of monetary payment and TrueBlue points, you can split the payment between points and put the balance on your American Express Card. Ive attempted this twice and its triggered the fee credit both times.
Last Ditch Effort: Cheap Airfare Many people have reported that airfare under $150 often works to trigger the credit.
What Is Amex Pay With Points
The Amex Pay With Points program essentially lets you directly redeem your points towards purchases. The value is fixed depending on what youre looking to redeem for, and the value ranges from very bad to potentially pretty decent, if you know what youre doing.
Just to give some examples of redemption rates you can expect through Amex Pay With Points:
- Amex points can generally be redeemed for 0.6 cents each towards credit card charges
- Amex points can generally be redeemed for 0.5-0.7 cents each towards gift card purchases
- Amex points can generally be redeemed for 0.7-0.85 cents each towards car rental and hotel purchases through Amex Travel
- Amex points can generally be redeemed for 1.0 cents each towards airfare purchases through Amex Travel
As you can see, the value there varies significantly. For context, I value Amex Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, and thats thanks to the ability to transfer Amex points to partner airlines, where you can book very expensive first & business class tickets at a reasonable cost with points.
I do think there are circumstances where it can make sense to use Amex Pay With Points, but please dont use points to wipe our charges or for gift cards, because you shouldnt settle for just 0.7 cents of value per point. Rather the potential value comes from using Amex points towards airfare purchases, as you can do much better than Ive outlined above.
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Fly From Los Angeles To Tokyo Maybe Even In First Class
Flying from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Japan Airlines puts you right in the 25,750 Avios distance bracket. If you want to fly the same route in first class, it will set you back 103,000 Avios plus $160.90 in taxes and fees each way.
Business class could be a happy medium for this itinerary, and would cost 77,250 Avios plus $160.90.
Hot Tip: Ultimate Rewards also partners with British Airways and transfers at a 1:1 ratio. Use your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card to earn tons of Ultimate Rewards.
Amex Airline Fee Credit: Non
Before we get into the options that have worked for me the last few months I want to point out these options preserve the value of your airline credits for future travel. These are not charges that would be refunded since Amex loves to unfairly claw back refunded transactions. If youre not traveling you should be able to get the following charges reimbursed for Delta, JetBlue and American Airlines. In the past I spread the love for the Amex Platinum Airline Credits between Jetblue and Delta and never had any trouble maximizing my credits between seat upgrades and gift cards but as we all know gift cards are no longer an option. WOMP.
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Vouchers for Changed or Cancelled Flights actually provide us with a unique opportunity to lock in the value of your credits for future travel.
While most people are not thrilled with getting a travel voucher in lieu of a refund for flight changes and cancellations they may actually be a good thing when it comes to your incidental credits because youre receiving the travel voucher in lieu of a refund. If theres no refund theres no chance of the credit being clawed back by Amex This means you are probably safe booking award tickets with substantial taxes and fees since those are usually reimbursed by Amex and the taxes and fees will be credited to your airline account, not your credit card.
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Other Ways To Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points
AmEx doesnt have a traditional online bonus mall, but you can enroll in individual AmEx Offers when you log in to your account, either online or via the American Express app. By adding these offers to your card, you’ll earn extra Membership Rewards points for a limited time when you use the card at the featured retailer.
You can also earn additional Membership Rewards through the following partners:
Rakuten is a cash-back shopping website, but users can opt to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash.
Fly El Al Business Class To Israel
El Al 787-9 Business Class. Image Credit: El Al
If you want to have an unapologetically Israeli experience to or from Israel, El Al business class is your best bet. In fact, it offers the only nonstop service to a couple of cities.
Youll pay a premium in points, but it might be worth it for a nonstop itinerary. The best transfer partner to utilize is Qantas Frequent Flyer, and you can book the following tickets:
- Los Angeles Tel Aviv one-way in El Al business class for 119,200 Qantas points
- Miami Tel Aviv one-way in El Al business class for 104,500 Qantas points
- New York City Tel Aviv one-way in El Al business class for 90,000 Qantas points
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Spend 3 Nights At A Category 1 Hotel
Up until this point, we have only talked about American Express airline transfer partners, but youll also have access to booking hotels by making use of their hotel transfer partners.
Generally, you wont get as much value from your Membership Rewards points by booking a hotel compared with a flight, but there are still some deals worth considering if you really need a hotel stay.
For example, one good option is booking a Category 1 Hilton hotel like the Hampton Inn in Florence, Alabama.
With Membership Rewards, you can transfer 10,000 points to get 15,000 Honors points good for 3 nights at a Category 1 hotel. Thats 5,000 points per night an exceptional deal!
Your options are a little more limited with Category 1 hotels than Category 2, but youll still have options domestically and internationally. So how about a stay at the Hilton in Alexandria, Egypt or the DoubleTree by Hilton in Anhui, Suzhou?
Hot Tip: Use The Amex Platinum to get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status! You can also check out the various Hilton credit cards to find more ways to earn a bunch of Hilton Honors points, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Card.
Amex Addresses A Major Shortcoming
For years, flyers had to weigh the bonus points when booking a flight against a major flaw with the Amex Platinum: It didnt offer any travel insurance for flights booked with the card. That made for an interesting debate between the Amex Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has long offered some of the best travel insurance of any premium card.
But times have changed. Back in 2020, American Express added some robust trip coverage policies to the Amex Platinum and some of its other top-tier cards. While you could argue that the Chase Sapphire Reserves coverage is stronger, its a moot point.
With bigger bonus earnings when booking flights and nearly equal trip protection policies, we think the American Express Platinum card is the clear winner when it comes time to pay for your flights.
In short: Amex has put the debate to rest.
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Transfer To Virgin America
Another option to fly to Hawaii would be to transfer your Membership Rewards points to Virgin America.
Note however that the transfer rate is 2 Amex Membership Rewards Points to 1 Virgin America Elevate Point. Not great.
Virgin America also operates a revenue-based frequent flyer program, which means the cost in miles is based on the flight cost in dollars.
So this could be a decent option for cheap Virgin America flights from the West Coast but not so much for longer-distance flights.
You might even consider using miles from another airline such as Southwest to reposition yourself for one of these West Coast to Hawaii flights.
Also, keep an eye out for transfer bonuses from Amex Membership Rewards to Virgin America Elevate.
Fly Etihad Business Class To Abu Dhabi
Etihad 787-9 business class. Image Credit: AuPACS
Etihads business class is a perfectly fine way to fly to Abu Dhabi, too. This is especially true if you care about spending fewer miles and are satisfied with business class.
The best business class product is on the 787-9, and this is known as the Business Studio. If you fly on the 777-300ER, youll get a staggered business class seat, which is perfectly fine, but probably not as luxurious as the Business Studio.
Here are the best redemptions to book:
- Chicago Abu Dhabi one-way in Etihad business class for 85,000 Aeroplan miles
- Los Angeles Abu Dhabi one-way in Etihad business class for 100,000 Aeroplan miles
- New York City Abu Dhabi one-way in Etihad business class for 85,000 Aeroplan miles
- Washington D.C. Abu Dhabi one-way in Etihad business class for 85,000 Aeroplan miles
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Amex Upgrade With Points
Membership Rewards Points can be used to place an offer towards a seat upgrade with more than 20 airlines.
After you’ve purchased your ticket with a participating airline, you can jump to the American Express Travel Site to enter your reservation details. If the itinerary is eligible for an upgrade, you can then use points to make an offer.
You will find out where or not the offer has been granted usually within 5 days of the flight.
The following airlines allow you to make an upgrade offer using Membership Rewards Points:
Book An Around The World Trip
A lot of airline programs have gotten rid of their Around the World award charts, but ANA basically turned their old distance-based program into an Around the World chart when they made their program changes.
If you have time and want to make a bunch of stops on your trip, this is a fantastic redemption! When making an ANA partner redemption, you can make up to 8 stopovers on a round-the-world trip.
There are some restrictions to consider, such as only 3 stopovers in Europe and 4 in Japan, and you must choose only 1 direction in which to travel .
Also, you cannot return to your home country in fewer than 10 days. Finally, you cant use an open jaw in North America, South America, or Latin America.
However, you can put together some incredible trips if you have the time, flexibility, and patience to plan them out! The cost is calculated based on the mileage flown. Itineraries start at 20,000 points in economy and go up to 450,000 points in first class .
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Fly Cathay Pacific First Class
Want a chance to experience Cathay Pacific on a route that wont break the bank? Check out a flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong.
Even one-way flights in economy class tend to be quite expensive, but you can experience first class on this route for only 33,000 Avios and $40 in taxes and fees.
A business class redemption on the same route would cost 16,500 Avios but why not splurge for first when it only costs a little bit extra?
Hot Tip: American Express occasionally offers bonuses of up to 40% when transferring points to British Airways. Wait for one of these to come up to get an even better deal on the awards listed above!
Need help booking? See our step-by-step guide for booking Cathay Pacific first class.
Program Overview And History
The American Express Membership Rewards program was launched in 1991 and initially called Membership Miles. According to American Express, its the worlds largest credit card rewards program.
You can earn Membership Rewards points with any of these 9 personal and business credit cards:
Keep in mind that to get approved for a credit card in the Membership Rewards program, you typically need to have good or excellent credit, which starts at a FICO score of 670.
Also, American Express allows only one welcome offer per card per lifetime. So if youve had one of its cards in the past, earned the welcome offer, and later dropped the card, you wont be eligible for the offer again if you apply a second time.
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Book Delta Flights With Virgin Atlantic
The new Delta One Suites are an excellent way to fly in comfort to Europe, but with Deltas dynamic award pricing it can be nearly impossible to book these seats at a reasonable price. This is where Virgin Atlantic once again comes to the rescue. You can book transatlantic business-class partner awards for as little as 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles plus taxes and fees.
Thats a steal, keep in mind, you will have to find Delta saver award space which can be difficult outside of Deltas SkyMiles deals. The other drawback is that Virgin Atlantic charges per segment, so if you cant fly nonstop youll have to pay more.
Check out this post for more details on how to search for Delta flights on the Virgin Atlantic website.
Should You Book Flights Through Amex Travel
You can earn 5x points on flights either when booking directly with airlines, or when booking through Amex Travel. What are the pros and cons of booking through Amex Travel, which is Amexs online travel booking platform?
In general, Id consider using Amex Travel when youre trying to use the Amex International Airline Program, Amex Insider Fares, or the Amex Pay With Points program, since these are exclusively available through Amex Travel. All of these can potentially be a great deal on airfare.
However, other than that, personally, Id highly recommend booking travel directly with airlines when possible, especially in this era. Why?
- Airlines have so many schedule changes nowadays, and its much easier to change flights if youre working directly with an airline rather than through a third party
- With tickets being easily changeable without fees nowadays , its easier to manage your reservations, travel credits, etc., directly through an airline website
- In some cases youll earn more points when booking directly with an airline than when booking through an online travel agency
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How To Redeem Membership Rewards Points
One of the programs strongest features is its flexibility with redemption options. That said, most of these redemption options will give you less than 1 cent per point in valuea figure thats a standard minimum for many credit card rewards programs.
Redemption options include:
- Transfers to other rewards programs
Booking With American Express Travel
Head to the American Express travel website and browse for flights. You’ll find the flight search box at the top of the webpage, where you can enter your departure point, destination and desired trip dates. From there, choose whether to search for flight and hotel packages or flights only. Your results will show you a host of flight options with AmEx’s partner airlines, organized by price, duration and departure time.
Choose the deal that works best for you, and select “Use all or some Membership Rewards points” at checkout. You can then choose the number of points you want to redeem , and select “Apply.”
On average, American Express Membership Rewards points are worth one cent each when redeemed through AmEx’s travel site meaning that if you’ve accumulated 50,000 points, it should be enough to cover a $500 flight. That said, you can often score better deals when you transfer your points directly to a partner airline.
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