10 Amazing Award Redemptions From The “Good Old Days”

10 Amazing Award Redemptions From The “Good Old Days”

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I think people spend too much time focused on the past, at least when using selective memory. It’s like when people talk about “the good old days of flying,” when service was good, people dressed up to fly, etc.

What they selectively forget is that flying is a fraction of the price it used to be, and that in many ways getting on a plane isn’t that different than getting on a bus. The way I see it, it’s a net positive that flying has become so accessible. Similarly, while some elements of flying are less luxurious than in the past, that’s not the case across the board — there weren’t showers on planes 30 years ago.

The same concept is probably true when redeeming miles. My goal with this post isn’t to say that “the good old days” of award redemptions are behind us (there are still many amazing award sweet spots), but rather to look at some of the award redemption possibilities from past years that I miss.

I’ll share these roughly in chronological order of when they were pulled, and I’m curious how many OMAAT readers remember these deals. For those who have been around miles & points for a long time, I hope you’ll share any deals that come to mind as well. Here we go…

Aeroplan first class awards from the US to Asia for 120,000 miles

Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent flyer program used to offer the best premium cabin redemption rates of any program out there, in my opinion. For 120,000 miles you could fly roundtrip from the US to Asia with no fuel surcharges. Best of all, you could have two stopovers in addition to your destination, and you could route via Europe.

San Francisco to Munich to Zurich to Bangkok to Hong Kong to Seoul to Frankfurt to Seattle for 120,000 miles in first class with no carrier imposed surcharges? Yes please.

In 2011 Aeroplan devalued its award chart, and shortly thereafter Aeroplan also added carrier imposed surcharges on most partners. The Aeroplan program has been completely reinvented since then, and still has some great award redemption opportunities.

Lufthansa opening 4-8 first class award seats in advance

Lufthansa used to be one of the most generous airlines in the world when it came to releasing first class award space, even in advance. That’s because Lufthansa used to have Boeing 747-400s with 16 first class seats, so it was perfectly normal to see four to eight first class award seats in advance. It was actually one of the easiest first class products to book with miles.

Then in 2011 Lufthansa shrank the size of its first class cabin, and the 747-400 went from having 16 first class seats to having eight first class seats. That caused a huge reduction in the amount of first class award space, and then shortly after that Lufthansa implemented a policy where the airline would only release first class awards to partner frequent flyer programs at most 15 days before departure.

Lufthansa first class Airbus A330 (back in the day)

Earning British Midland Diamond Club miles for award flights

British Midland (bmi) is my favorite airline that I almost never flew. The airline had one of the best frequent flyer programs in history, though unfortunately British Midland was eventually taken over by British Airways.

Not only did bmi make it super easy to qualify for Star Alliance Gold status, but the airline was known to credit miles for award flights. As if that’s not cool enough, Diamond Club had among the most lucrative mileage earning rates of any program — under some circumstances, Lufthansa first class tickets would earn 600%+ miles. You could basically earn back as many miles as you redeemed.

Unfortunately the British Midland Diamond Club program was discontinued in 2012. I can’t imagine why. 😉

Oneworld Explorer awards with wild rules

American AAdvantage used to offer oneworld Explorer awards, which were distance based rather than zone based, and allowed unlimited stopovers. American ended up discontinuing them in 2014 (with no notice), though at that point they weren’t even as useful as they were originally.

Back in the day — a couple of years before they were discontinued — the Explorer award cost was based on where you chose to have stopovers, rather than the cumulative distance you flew. Traveling continuously from Tampa to Chicago to Hong Kong to Sydney to Los Angeles to Miami without any stopovers? Well you’re just going from Tampa to Miami — you’ll be charged based on your ~200 mile flight from Tampa to Miami. Yes, that’s actually how this was enforced.

Obviously that was too good to last.

Being able to book SWISS first class with partner airline miles

SWISS used to be one of the airlines that made first class so readily available to anyone redeeming miles. I remember that back in the day when SWISS’ A330s had eight first class seats, I’d often see flights with six to eight first class award seats. Being able to redeem US Airways miles for those flights was a heck of a deal.

Unfortunately as of 2014, SWISS went from one extreme to the other. SWISS went from making first class awards wide open for members of partner programs, to restricting them exclusively to Miles & More Senator members and above, meaning that first class awards are off limits for most of us.

There have been some limited opportunities to redeem partner miles for SWISS first class since then, but that was generally when there were glitches.

SWISS first class Boeing 777

Star Alliance first class from the US to Asia via Europe for 70,000 United miles

In 2014, United MileagePlus devalued its award chart. While this wasn’t quite as good of a value as some of the above redemptions, using 70,000 miles for something like Los Angeles to Frankfurt to Bangkok in first class was tough to beat.

Thai Airways first class Boeing 747

US Airways business class awards from the US to North Asia for 90,000 miles

I sure do miss US Airways Dividend Miles, and specifically, the ability to redeem just 90,000 miles for roundtrip business class from the United States to North Asia. The best part was that you could route through Europe. The even better part was that Dividend Miles agents were geographically challenged, so you could get away with even more than that. Is Madrid in Spain or Argentina? Frankfurt is really in Kentucky, right? 😉

I have so many amazing memories of Dividend Miles redemptions, like New York to Warsaw to Zurich to Beijing to Addis Ababa to Frankfurt to Washington. I don’t think there’s an award I’ve ever booked more of than this one. Given that US Airways used to sell miles for 1.1 cents each, you could basically book these for $1,000 each. Not a bad deal.

This award redemption was discontinued in 2014.

Ethiopian Airlines business class Boeing 787

Domestic US awards via Europe on Lufthansa

Back in the day, LifeMiles’ website would let you book domestic first class awards within the United States on Lufthansa. But wait a second, Lufthansa doesn’t operate flights within the US. That’s correct, so you could do something like Los Angeles to Frankfurt to San Francisco for 25,000 miles in first class, the same price you’d pay for flying United first class from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

There are still many great uses of Avianca LifeMiles, but nothing like this.

Lufthansa first class Boeing 747-400 (back in the day)

25,000 British Airways Avios for transatlantic business class on Aer Lingus

Sometimes distance based award charts work in our favor, and other times they don’t. With British Airways’ old award chart, the program charged just 12,500 miles for economy or 25,000 miles for business class on flights of up to 3,000 miles one-way. As luck would have it, Boston to Dublin covered a distance of ~2,990 miles.

Flying across the Atlantic for the price of a domestic ticket was a steal. Unfortunately British Airways devalued its award chart in 2015, and at this point that award will cost you 13,000-20,000 Avios in economy or 50,000-60,000 Avios in business class.

Aer Lingus Airbus A330

Cathay Pacific first class for 67,500 American miles (with two seats in advance)

Up until 2016, American charged just 67,500 miles for first class between the United States and Asia in Cathay Pacific first class.

But what I’m really looking back longingly on is when Cathay Pacific used to make two first class award seats available in advance. Now that was awesome. Unfortunately for the past several years Cathy Pacific generally only releases one first class award seat in advance, making it more challenging to book this as a couple.

In terms of redemption rates, Alaska Mileage Plan continues to offer great value when redeeming on Cathay Pacific.

Cathay Pacific first class Boeing 777

Bottom line

There’s no denying that over the years airline award redemption rates have been devalued, and many sweet spots have been discontinued. At the same time, miles are easier to earn than ever before, and there are still some amazing sweet spot opportunities out there.

Nonetheless I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the best award values over the years. There are many more I can think of, but the above are some of my favorites, and sure bring back some fond memories.

Anyone have exprience with any of the above, or have any other great deals from back in the day to share?

Conversations (51)
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  1. NathanJ Gold

    VIE-LHR in BA Eurobusiness, LHR-SIN in BA First on their A380. Just over AU$400 in taxes/fees & 70,000 AAdvantage miles.

    Plus, JFK-LAX on American's A321 in First, LAX-SYD on Qantas' A380 in First & domestic J SYD-MEL on Qantas for 72,500 AAdvantage miles plus US$33 taxes/fees.

    Good times...good times.

  2. Bill Guest

    Back in the early 80’s I used 50,000 Eastern miles for two TWA RT first class tickets to Germany. Plus it came with a car rental and hotels nights!

  3. khatl Guest

    Redemptions has to be Concorde lhr to jfk for 80k. Virgin a couple of years back over thanksgiving doing half price miles redemptions was wonderful.

  4. R H Guest

    In 1994 or so, Continental stopped offering many of its best award redemptions. But it allowed those of us who already had miles to designate a redemption we wanted grandfathered in our accounts. I nominated the award providing two round-trip Businessfirst seats USA-Europe, at 75K miles total, and flew LAS-FCO with my then-girlfriend in 1997.

  5. Alpha Golf Member

    In 2003, I flew Concorde JFK-LHR, then 744 F to SIN and SYD; same itinerary back. 165,000 BA miles.

  6. John Sousa Guest

    You forgot being able to use AA points (and not many) to fly the Concord. What a thrill

  7. Alex Guest

    Alaska awards on Cathay? Good luck actually booking an award seat these days!

  8. Paul Guest

    SWISS First Class on the A330-200 had not 8 but 12 seats. That‘s probably the reason for the generous award seat availability in the past…

  9. iamhere Guest

    What's the point of this article? You just list the good deals that are no longer available and you wish would be back.

  10. Stefan Guest

    BMI Diamond Club never "awarded" miles for award tickets automatically. They did so when a member fraudulently retro-claimed these flights by sending in the boarding passes. To make this out as a feature of the program is probably a stretch here. BMIDC was already extremely lucrative in and of itself even without fraud, for example by renting with Hertz or the double award miles after a member passed 55k status miles for the year. Let...

    BMI Diamond Club never "awarded" miles for award tickets automatically. They did so when a member fraudulently retro-claimed these flights by sending in the boarding passes. To make this out as a feature of the program is probably a stretch here. BMIDC was already extremely lucrative in and of itself even without fraud, for example by renting with Hertz or the double award miles after a member passed 55k status miles for the year. Let alone their cheap award chart. Booking a flight with the Indian call center however was pure insanity. I always had to get two strong drinks before I called them or I'd lose my patience.

  11. eponymous coward Guest

    US didn’t just do North Asia J “mini-RTWs” for 90k.

    They did F for 120k.

    Got LX and LF on the same RTW trip.

    And CO used to do South Asia regional awards with stopovers round trip for 30k, I flew SQ J, TG J and EK J on the same trip I flew LH F and LX F (EK and CO were partners).

    HKG, DPS, BKK and FRA on the same trip for 150k miles, not bad. Some of those US miles were insanely cheap because of Grand Slam promos…

  12. Jeremy Guest

    Didn’t BA used to have an insane award chart? I seem to recall loads of people discussing doing Easter island via South America in business class for some ridiculously low price possibly even adding to PPT on LAN.

  13. Keith Lehr Guest

    In 1999, I recall using 120,000 miles to fly my parent round trip in business class on United from Chicago to United. That round trip would normally have cost 80,000 miles each, but if you booked two tickets, they gave you a discount. Times have changed.

  14. Dooley139 Guest

    Besides the Delta first class upgrade for 2,500 miles and then double earning was my second favorite. TWA First class anywhere they flew for 50,000 RT for one and a free upgrade for your companion. Any fare basis. Many trips to Europe for both for pennies. Great food on TWA also.

  15. Jay Guest

    It depends on your perspective, but domestically I think it's still the good old days! Last year I flew Southwest round trip to Maui from the West Coast for 20,0000 points, (and since it's SW, got two free checked bags for snorkel stuff, a cooler, camping gear, etc,). Plus my partner used the companion pass and flew free—which makes SW an awesome way to get to Hawaii, in my book. If you time it right,...

    It depends on your perspective, but domestically I think it's still the good old days! Last year I flew Southwest round trip to Maui from the West Coast for 20,0000 points, (and since it's SW, got two free checked bags for snorkel stuff, a cooler, camping gear, etc,). Plus my partner used the companion pass and flew free—which makes SW an awesome way to get to Hawaii, in my book. If you time it right, the bonus points for SW cards can be great deals. If you're interested, more info is at bit. ly/southwest50 for the different card options. No first class, of course—but I just care about getting from point A to point B without too much hassle :)

    1. Caleb Guest

      Nothing sounds good about flying SW, period. But especially across an ocean.

    2. Jay Guest

      Yes, like I said, it really depends on your perspective. I'm just in a plane to get somewhere. In my experience, flying SW feels equivalent to economy on other major airlines (definitely a step up from Spirit or Frontier). But the flexibility with SW points—you can easily cancel, rebook, etc. without any penalties up until your flight takes off—also makes it worth it for me.

  16. sbams Guest

    Similar to bmi, Swissair (the predecessor of SWISS) had a program named Qualiflyer. They also awarded miles on flights bought with miles. Many times I have taken a European Business Class return flight (also on Crossair, their regional subsidiary) booked with miles and had almost as many miles posted back to my account.

  17. Scott Guest

    Back in the 90s, if you had Diamond status with Delta, you could get a domestic first class round trip for 25,000 miles. That was only 5,000 more than coach. And it was almost always available. I’d call to book an economy award and they’d say sorry, we don’t have availability. But we do have first class available for 25k. Miss that!

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      Might you be thinking of platinum or another tier? Diamond didn’t start until 2010.

      https://news.delta.com/delta-2010-skymiles-medallion-program-launch-industry-first-rollover-elite-qualification-miles#:~:text=SkyMiles-,Delta%202010%20SkyMiles%20Medallion%20Program%20to%20Launch%20Industry%2DFirst%20Rollover,Qualification%20Miles%2C%20Diamond%20Medallion%20Status

      Either way, you were getting a great deal!

  18. Reno Joe Guest

    Pan Am was the top of the top. In first class, passengers were treated like royalty. I knew a pilot and a flight attendant who were with Pan Am and they said that as employees they were treated like royalty. In September 1989, I flew my parents round-trip SFO to CDG in first class . . . for 100k points. On the flight to Paris, they sat next to Bette Davis, which was an absolute...

    Pan Am was the top of the top. In first class, passengers were treated like royalty. I knew a pilot and a flight attendant who were with Pan Am and they said that as employees they were treated like royalty. In September 1989, I flew my parents round-trip SFO to CDG in first class . . . for 100k points. On the flight to Paris, they sat next to Bette Davis, which was an absolute thrill for them. (Bette died in Paris weeks later.) My parents always said that it was their trip of a lifetime. Yep, the good ol' days.

  19. DavidO New Member

    My favorite use of miles ever ... 5K Continental miles to upgrade any coach seat in any fare bucket to First, as long as a seat was available.

  20. mangoMan Guest

    AAdvantage used to offer discounted redemption rates for 2 tickets. My favorite was 2 r/t business class tickets to Europe for 140K miles, IIRC.

  21. Mike Guest

    Here’s my take on it (as an Australian)
    Miles are probably much easier to earn in the US. For us, non Americans, the options are not all that great. The credit card market is controlled by a small number of large players with terms that don’t even get close to what I see on this blog.
    At the same time, we are seeing the same limitations, drop in award availability, and the general...

    Here’s my take on it (as an Australian)
    Miles are probably much easier to earn in the US. For us, non Americans, the options are not all that great. The credit card market is controlled by a small number of large players with terms that don’t even get close to what I see on this blog.
    At the same time, we are seeing the same limitations, drop in award availability, and the general devaluation of the reward programs you describe. It must be a decade since my last qantas upgrade request cleared. Possibly more.
    That means that for non-Americans (apologies if I group us all in the same bucket) - the concept of loyalty programs is losing a lot of its allure. Personally I am not getting the impression that it bothers the airlines too much.
    Keen to hear the views of other readers and whether these is some magic earning technique that I am unaware of.

  22. Luke Guest

    My best redemption ever, back in 2016 an itinerary of JFK -> DXB -> BKK -> MXP -> JFK all on Emirates first class on a380 planes and with stopover for few days at each point, for 155k japan mileage bank miles obtained by transferring 125k SPG points. Sadly no longer possible!

  23. Scott Guest

    @Ben - How about the UA MP intra-Asia redemption where you could connect via the US? If I recall correctly, didn't you do 8 Transpacifcs in 7 days?

    (Really dating myself here...clearly been a reader for a long time!)

  24. Nima New Member

    Oh wow, these bring me way back. Great post, Ben!

  25. Bob Guest

    NW RTW in J for 110k utilizing stopover and open jaw rules.

  26. JOhn Guest

    Ahhhh. I remember when I took 3 rt flights in a row from ewr to bkk through NRT for less around 220,000 miles on United. Than almost earned enough miles by doing that for another flight. Good times.

  27. avgeekagent New Member

    Some of the best awards I recall from the 80s (before I started flying often)...

    AA offered 2 first class tickets to Hawaii for 75,000 miles that came with either a free or significantly discounted (maybe 75% off) 7-night hotel stay and even a car. Flight awards always came with hotel/car rental vouchers of material value.

    Delta's "Royal Medallions" received 20 confirmable first class upgrades for 2,500 miles roundtrip--with no inventory restrictions. Upgraded flights earned...

    Some of the best awards I recall from the 80s (before I started flying often)...

    AA offered 2 first class tickets to Hawaii for 75,000 miles that came with either a free or significantly discounted (maybe 75% off) 7-night hotel stay and even a car. Flight awards always came with hotel/car rental vouchers of material value.

    Delta's "Royal Medallions" received 20 confirmable first class upgrades for 2,500 miles roundtrip--with no inventory restrictions. Upgraded flights earned the 100% FF mileage bonus for flying first class as well.

    The best deal I was actually able to take advantage of was Diners "Club Rewards" 100% transfer bonus. That came around periodically for BA Exec Club into the early 00s and once or twice with DL, IIRC. My best redemption with that was two first class tickets to Brazil on AA for the equivalent of 100,000 miles.

  28. iv Member

    Ahhh yes Lifemiles back in the day.... My Lufthansa First Class NRT-FRA-BKK for 40K points or My Air Canada/United Business Class YYZ-NRT-GUM for 25K points

    1. Ann Guest

      These were great until Jeff Kwok (blogger) ruined Lifemiles tricks by complaining about denied boarding by EVA.

    2. iv Member

      Yeah, I remember the entire FF community banished him! LOL.

    3. iv Guest

      Jeff Kwok's blog was removed from BoardingArea and he was torched on FlyerTalk.

    4. eponymous coward Guest

      My first big redemption combined a bunch of these:

      - US not only had North Asia for 90k in J but had it for 120k in F.

      - HKG was in North Asia, so I could use it as a stopover (couldn’t do it with NRT out of SEA).

      - LX and LH were easily bookable in advance.

      - CO was still alive and kicking, though about to be merged to UA. They allowed stopovers...

      My first big redemption combined a bunch of these:

      - US not only had North Asia for 90k in J but had it for 120k in F.

      - HKG was in North Asia, so I could use it as a stopover (couldn’t do it with NRT out of SEA).

      - LX and LH were easily bookable in advance.

      - CO was still alive and kicking, though about to be merged to UA. They allowed stopovers and open jaws on cheap regional awards AND had a partnership with EK (no

      So the US F *A booking for 120k was:

      SEA-SFO-NRT, UA F (SFO-NRT on the 747, I know, UA F but it was still pretty special, and they had Dom Ruinart in the F lounge at SFO, so not terrible bubbly)
      NRT-HKG, NH J (nothing amazing but I enjoyed the ramen bar for the NH F lounge)

      Stop for a few days, CO South Asia J award for 30k miles:

      HKG-SIN-DPS, SQ J, really nice even though it was the regional seats
      A week in Bali
      DPS-BKK on TG J
      Visiting Bangkok
      BKK-HKG on EK A380 J, so no shower, but the bar
      A few days in Macau
      HKG-ZRH-FRA on LX so I could hang out at BOTH the ZRH and FRA F lounges
      A week in Germany
      FRA-SEA in LH F, FRA FCT

      Not terrible for 120k US miles and 30k CO miles (the CO miles were from DEBIT card signups, that’s how ancient this was).

    5. Max Guest

      Apart form the Cabotage issue with US tickets, it was also fun to book a flight from Europe to Khabarovsk or Vladivostok, but then magically not making the connection in Seoul.

  29. Dennis singh Guest

    One of the best redemptions was 90K Alaska miles for an EK first award from Maldives to Jfk with a free stop over in Dxb and no fuel surcharges.

  30. Stuart Guest

    I predate you in the game long before. As such. for me, the greatest ever redemption that was around for like two years and then vanished was USAirways when they were partnered and partially owned by BA. They had Concorde awards for around 150K points r/t (!) (can't recall the exact amount). This was in the 90's and was something else. Twice traveled for free on the Concorde, once to/from Dulles and once to/from JFK....

    I predate you in the game long before. As such. for me, the greatest ever redemption that was around for like two years and then vanished was USAirways when they were partnered and partially owned by BA. They had Concorde awards for around 150K points r/t (!) (can't recall the exact amount). This was in the 90's and was something else. Twice traveled for free on the Concorde, once to/from Dulles and once to/from JFK. Was certainly not what I would call cutting edge comfort but was still quite the flight. The BA pilots would leave the cockpit door wide open as well and you could wander up whenever you liked to have a look.

    1. Clem Diamond

      Fascinating stuff, thanks for sharing Stuart! I was actually wondering the other day if BA or Air France made award seats available on the Concorde (which would hardly make sense given the demographics they targeted but who knows).

    2. bill Guest

      One of the most famous early mileage deals is buying a bunch of magazines and using the miles to fly the Concorde -- https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/6356-goldpoints-fly-concorde-1111-a.html

    3. TravelinWilly Diamond

      Omg I did this (not for the Concorde) with Expert Flyer back in 1999 or so and gave away a couple dozen subscriptions to FT members.

      I got that magazine sent to me for at least 10 years…

    4. Stuart Guest

      @Clem, it was a crazy time for redemptions. I was in my 20's and getting flights on the Concorde for free. The second time I used it with USAir I invited a girl for a date to London and redeemed r/t's for the weekend. I recently heard from her year later recalling that it was by far the most memorable date she ever had, lol. She still can't believe she flew on the Concorde. Those were fun times.

    5. Clem Diamond

      Thanks for the insights Stuart and bill! Very jealous :) I wasn't living in the US when this was around and I was too young anyway.
      And that sounds like the most unique date ever, what a lucky girl hahaha!

  31. TOM Guest

    The last good use of Skypeso's, flying SQ from US to Singapore in F

  32. Jeff Guest

    You missed the best one ever. However, you would either have to be my age (65) or dig deep into the history of the American Airlines AAdvantage program. During the BA Concorde days, you used to be able to upgrade from a BA First ticket to Concorde for 20,000 miles. Those were the days that many companies flew their execs first class, so, luckily, I was able to upgrade to Concorde well over 10 times. Best upgrade ever!

  33. River in Sight Guest

    Probably the last really great award redemption I had was LAS-ORD-FRA-BKK-SGN in 2013, flying United the first leg, then LH first, then TG first, then TG business for the final hop.

    ORD-FRA was on the 747 configuration where you had the seat and the bed next to it which was extremely comfortable.

    FRA-BKK on a TG A380 which was also extremely comfortable.

    When we got to FRA, the jetbridge wouldn't work and everyone had...

    Probably the last really great award redemption I had was LAS-ORD-FRA-BKK-SGN in 2013, flying United the first leg, then LH first, then TG first, then TG business for the final hop.

    ORD-FRA was on the 747 configuration where you had the seat and the bed next to it which was extremely comfortable.

    FRA-BKK on a TG A380 which was also extremely comfortable.

    When we got to FRA, the jetbridge wouldn't work and everyone had to deplane from the most rear door in economy; when we got off the plane, a TG representative was waiting for us and whisked us through the airport to our TG flight. Very nice.

    All for 70k miles per pax.

    1. John Guest

      So many good ones - a trip down memory lane.

      My first award I ever booked was the AA 75k (I think) for two first class tickets to Hawaii. I got that one for my parents.

      I also took much advantage of the old US awards and their mileage sales.

      And one other that I didn't see mentioned was the old BA awards that somehow allowed unlimited stopovers. Booked something like Miami to Lima to...

      So many good ones - a trip down memory lane.

      My first award I ever booked was the AA 75k (I think) for two first class tickets to Hawaii. I got that one for my parents.

      I also took much advantage of the old US awards and their mileage sales.

      And one other that I didn't see mentioned was the old BA awards that somehow allowed unlimited stopovers. Booked something like Miami to Lima to Easter Island to Santiago to Mendoza to Buenos Aires on one and I think Brisbane to Ayers Rock to Alice Springs to Melbourne to Sydney on another.

      And when Qantas launched Dallas to Brisbane to Sydney flights there were massive amounts of award availability up front. Grabbed 5 business class seats on the same flight. And the first class seats were sold as business so was able to select then due to AA status.

    2. PanAm World Explorer Guest

      Before Oneworld Explorer, Pan Am had an anywhere in the world with unlimited stops award available in all classes if service, if I’m remembering correctly, possibly named PanAm World Explorer. My dad was told he was the first to redeem their First Class RTW for himself and my mother back in the 1980s, when PanAm still flew almost everywhere. As I recall, it was something like 200 or 250k miles per person, with unlimited changes...

      Before Oneworld Explorer, Pan Am had an anywhere in the world with unlimited stops award available in all classes if service, if I’m remembering correctly, possibly named PanAm World Explorer. My dad was told he was the first to redeem their First Class RTW for himself and my mother back in the 1980s, when PanAm still flew almost everywhere. As I recall, it was something like 200 or 250k miles per person, with unlimited changes permitted enroute and they had 30 days to use the award after the first flight. They were given a sort of credit card (charged to PanAm). to use enroute for any changes they might want to make. I might have gotten some details wrong, but I remember it was a pretty sweet deal back in the days when few people besides my dad flew much and when they did, they dressed up. Sadly, not even first class back then had lie flat seats.

    3. Scott Guest

      My best redemption was a OneWorld Explorer award in 2014.

      JFK-AMM-KWI-DOH-BAH-DOH-KTM-KUL-AKL-KUL-NRT-JFK

      Stops in Amman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur and Auckland.

      The price? 190K AA miles in business class.

  34. David Guest

    Northwest had some awesome promotions. Business class round trip to Auckland on a combination of Air Tahiti Nui, Korean, and NW for under 100K. They also once offered a free ticket to SYD for flying to Europe. And an elite promo once to Hong Kong for $299 round trip.

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bill Guest

One of the most famous early mileage deals is buying a bunch of magazines and using the miles to fly the Concorde -- https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/6356-goldpoints-fly-concorde-1111-a.html

4
Stuart Guest

I predate you in the game long before. As such. for me, the greatest ever redemption that was around for like two years and then vanished was USAirways when they were partnered and partially owned by BA. They had Concorde awards for around 150K points r/t (!) (can't recall the exact amount). This was in the 90's and was something else. Twice traveled for free on the Concorde, once to/from Dulles and once to/from JFK. Was certainly not what I would call cutting edge comfort but was still quite the flight. The BA pilots would leave the cockpit door wide open as well and you could wander up whenever you liked to have a look.

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Jeff Guest

You missed the best one ever. However, you would either have to be my age (65) or dig deep into the history of the American Airlines AAdvantage program. During the BA Concorde days, you used to be able to upgrade from a BA First ticket to Concorde for 20,000 miles. Those were the days that many companies flew their execs first class, so, luckily, I was able to upgrade to Concorde well over 10 times. Best upgrade ever!

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Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
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