Lucky’s Lucky 7th: Best Mileage Redemptions

Filed Under: Awards, Contests

To celebrate seven years of blogging (and reading) here on One Mile at a Time, I’m looking over past posts and having a giveaway every day this week.


To start, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite mileage redemptions from each year I’ve been writing the blog. These aren’t necessarily my absolute best redemptions (because there are so many ways to define “best”), but they’re certainly among them. The pictures and general quality vary greatly, so go easy on me. 😉

2008 — ANA To Asia

This was one of the first trip reports I wrote on the blog, so it’s a little rough to read now. A friend and I flew from Tampa to Chicago to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Singapore to Bali to Singapore to Shanghai to Toronto to Chicago to Tampa.


At the time United charged just 90,000 MileagePlus miles for such an award ticket, not to mention they allowed much more liberal routings than they do now. Not only was it a heck of an award redemption, but it was one of the first major trips I took abroad without my parents. Suffice to say it was a blast!

2009 — Quest to Istanbul and Hong Kong

I love my family more than anything, and one of my favorite trips in the early days of this blog was taking a round the world trip with my brother. I rarely get to spend time with him (even less so now that he’s married with a baby), so it was fun to travel together, particularly in first class.

This was also back when Turkish Airlines leased 777-300ERs from Jet Airways, so we had two flights in a row (from London to Istanbul and then Istanbul to Hong Kong) where we were the only first class passengers.


At the time, Aeroplan didn’t levy fuel surcharges on award tickets, and had among the most generous routing rules of any airline, given that they let you route from the US to Asia via Europe. For 120,000 miles per person in first class, this was a dream award.

2010 — Christmas in Germany

I know I rag on Delta SkyMiles, but they have a strong network of partners in Europe, and have historically offered a great value.


This trip required just 100,000 for the round-trip flights in business class, and I got to visit the Christmas markets with my mom.

2011 — Four Continents and 37,000 Miles in Two Weeks

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan, which was doubly the case on this trip. Due to a lag in system updates, I was able to book business class on Singapore Airlines on the Airbus A380, which is otherwise blocked for partner award redemption. The irony is that aircraft was eventually downgraded and I ended up on a 777 anyway. But that was okay because it also featured the new business class product, which was otherwise blocked to partners as well.


This was a bit of a piecemeal award, so the value wasn’t as much in the redemption value as in experiencing products that at the time were tricky/impossible to book, like Air New Zealand, Singapore, and Qantas.

2012 — Bling it on

This might be one of my “best” redemptions ever. I had a British Airways companion certificate expiring (from spending $30,000 on the Chase British Airways Visa a couple of years ago), and ultimately decided to redeem it for a trip to the Middle East.


The twist? My flight was canceled, and British Airways rebooked me into Emirates first class — a product that at the time was seemingly unattainable on miles. I have to say, the fact that I had only a couple of hours to anticipate my first Emirates experience made it all the more exciting.

2013 — Another round the world for 90K

Until last year, US Airways charged just 90,000 miles for travel to North Asia, with a stopover in Europe allowed along the way. US Airways agents are notoriously bad at geography, and pricing awards in general, so I was able to stop in Nice and Zurich on my way to Taipei.


Best of all, from a travel perspective I got to visit four cities for the first time, which was exciting!

2014 — Rounding Out The A380s

In my never ending quest to try the world’s best first class product (all for you guys, of course 😉 ), I wanted to be sure that I’ve tried every A380 first class product in the world.  Prior to this there were two airlines currently operating the A380 that I hadn’t yet flown on the whale jet — Korean Air and China Southern.


As luck would have it, both of them can be redeemed for using Korean Air SkyPass miles, so I could try them both on a single award for just 160,000 miles roundtrip in first class.

2015 and beyond

While I’m as addicted to flying now as I was over four million “butt in seat” miles ago, my enjoyment of flying has actually grown in many ways. Why? Because I get to share my experiences here. Nowadays I’ll take a comically bad flight over a perfectly executed Cathay Pacific or Lufthansa flight, because I realize it’s more fun for you guys to read.

In 2015 my focus will be on reviewing more unique airlines, both in business and first class. And maybe given how popular it’s becoming, I should take the plunge and finally review premium economy as well. Thanks again for making my flying more enjoyable with every mile!


I’ve taken some incredible trips, and redeemed a ton of miles along the way, so would like to help one of you do the same! As part of that, I’m giving away an award booking consultation for two people (or $300 in credit towards something else) from my travel consulting service.

To enter, just leave a comment below sharing your best mileage redemptions. You have until 11:59PM Pacific today! The winners of each of the daily contests will be announced on Sunday, February 8th.

  1. I haven’t had the chance to do a whole lot with miles, but my family has booked a Hawaii first class with AA miles. I have found ability, however, and would love to go to Abu Dhabi in Etihad first class. We’ll see

  2. My 2014 Europe trip which took me to 3 amazing countries: Switzerland, Greece, and Czech Republic, was one of my best mileage redemptions. Great award with a stopover and openjaw!

  3. Thanks to PointsPros a First Class trip from Frankfurt to Sydney, with a 24h layover in Beijing on a Lufthansa A380.

  4. I have had one and only one award redemption and that was last September from ORD-NRT-BKK-SYD-CNS-SYD-PEK-IAH-CLT-ORD in business class on ANA, Thai, Air China, and US Air. It was fun to plan both the flights and the hotels!

  5. AA awards to Africa! You can’t beat the price to fly Qatar biz to get you there!

    Adding to this trip… a great paid fair returing via Cairo (that I would never have know about except your blog) that will bump us to Platinum

  6. Whenever Flying Blue have the Promo Awards, I always find a good award redemption opportunity to fly around the world. One of my favorites.

  7. My favorite (and currently only award redemption since I’m just getting into the game) has been using Rapid Reward points to book a trip for my wife and son down to Orlando. It was the first time my son (who was 2 1/2 months at the time) had his feet in the sand of a beach! 🙂

  8. At the end of 2013/start of 2014 I was able to use 140,000 MileagePlus miles to do DEN-FRA-KIX/PEK-FRA-IAD in Lufthansa First along with KIX-BKK-HKG in Thai Royal First. Great trip, amazing value.
    My trip last week JFK-FRA-SIN-HKG round trip (5 Suites, 1 77W First) was amazing, but at 209K miles, not the greatest value.

  9. Boston to Paris, then Barcelona to London to Boston for my husband and I – AA 40k each. Also used Marriott points for the hotel stays so all we paid for was the train from Paris to Barcelona. And the food. 🙂

  10. I have a trip this April using Southwest Companion Pass to Jamaica. Also using my Hyatt 2 nights free with their credit card and my points + suite upgrade to stay at the all new inclusive resort. Southwest expanding their destinations along with the companion pass is awesome

  11. Using UR for an around the world trip highlighted with stops in Paris and Tokyo on Turkish, EVA, and ANA ….with point and award stays at Park Hyatt Vendome and Tokyo

  12. At the end of 2013/beginning of 2014 I flew:

    JFK-NRT-ICN-KIX-BKK-SIN-CGK-SIN-HKG-TPE-NRT-FRA-JFK in NH F/OZ F/OZ J/TG F/SQ J/SQ Fx2/SQ J/BR J/LH Fx2 for 180K Aeroplan miles. First time ever flying first class and boy am I addicted!

  13. I was on a trip in Nepal and India with my brother who was homesick and starting to get ill. He was a really good travel companion, never complained. I decided to surprise him and forgo his coach tickets and booked him home on business class Lufthansa (Mumbai – Frankfurt – New York). He had never flown business before and was sooooo excited! Now he brags about how we had the best trip ever. I was just happy to send him home with a smile! I completely wiped out all my UR points but now I’m inspired to start building out my mileage portfolio in 2015!

  14. Anywhere southwest flies plus the companion pass….i hate the product but we have flown so many fun weekends so cheap!

  15. DCA-JFK-YVR in CX F – that was the trip that comvinced my fiancée there is something awesome in this miles game!

  16. My best mileage (and and points) redemption was a trip to the Maldives:

    Business JFK-VIE-IST-MLE all with Do&CO with Mileageplus staying at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island both before their respective devaluations. Way back was MLE-CMB revenue on Emirates Business, then CMB-HKG-JFK on Cathay business then First Class.

  17. I was able to book my wife and my mother-in-law from PHL-MUC-BCN/LIS-PHL on United and Lufthansa all in business last summer for 100k each. And I was able to cover their hotels for 2 of the 3 weeks they were gone. It was a trip they’ll never forget.

  18. My best redemption is actually a trip that I had with my girlfriend last year:

    LAX-NRT on SG A380 first class
    NRT-ICN-JFK on KA first class

    I know this might not be the best redemption I can have, but my girlfriend had a great time and this is all it matters!

  19. First class to Rome. I was trying to convince hubby that Europe would be great. I failed the first time in coach, but I won him over on this one!

  20. My best is ORD-NRT on JL F, NRT-PVG-PVG, PVG-SIN, SIN-BKK, BKK-DPS, DPS-HKG, HKG-DXB-JFK all in F/suites where available, and J where there’s no F!

  21. I don’t remember the exact mileage amount, but it was in 2010, just before they stopped allowing it, I redeemed US Airways DM for LH F. I want to say it was 120,000 miles. It was my first redemption and I used it for miles to go to Sweden to see a (distant) cousin be married. We had a stopover in Germany where I dragged my DH to the spas in Baden Baden. We giggled like school girls as we had a porsche transfer to the plane.

  22. Mine was taking my two daughters to Nepal for a trekking trip JFK-FRA Lufthansa business, FRA-IST and IST-KTM RT. We were the only 3 passengers on all 4 Turkish flights! This was done using your blog tips on united miles before devaluation

  23. My best was my first. Later half of March 1993 to France and Britain for 22 days. It wasn’t because it was a “great score” (redeemed TWA miles on AA), nor because it was in a premium cabin (economy into Orly and out LHR). It was because I still consider it the most wonderful trip that I have ever taken in my life. It was my first real trip to Europe, and I met so many wonder people and had so many wonderful experiences – it was a trip that simply oozed serendipity. You should see the huge smile on this old face right now as all those memories come flowing back…………….

  24. Thanks to all of your great advice Lucky, in 2014 I was able to redeem two Global First Saver awards on United from the US to Australia! Not to mention the free nights at PH Sydney:-) Thanks so much for all of the great info you share and here is to 7 more years of doing what you love.

  25. 3 years ago I booked RTW trip in SQ F with 120k US airways miles. It was when SQ was transitioning to their new reservation system snd the flood gates to their award seats opened. I enjoyed SQ F from SFO-ICN-SIN-HKG-SIN-DME-IAH along with the private room in SIN. It was an awesome experience.

  26. My best redemption yet was flying Royal Jordanian’s business class on their 787 between BKK and HKG for mere 15.000 avios

  27. One of my first *big* redemptions was still one of my best values. Ex-HKG I routed through Guam, Palau, and Yap with month long stays in the latter two for something like 35k United miles for the whole thing. It was a fantastic trip of diving, sea kayaking, exploring rarely-visited islands in the Pacific, and generally marveling at how this little hobby allowed it all to happen.

  28. Hi Lucky,
    My best redemption to date (please keep in mind that I am relatively new to the mileage game) is 2 F class Cathay Pacific ORD – HKG and 2 J class on the same flight using American miles for my family of four. Now I could really use the award consulting as I am struggling with figuring out the rest of the trip! Love your blog!!

  29. I’d say some of our best redemptions are memorable “around the world” but on paper CUN-JFK for 10k in business class isn’t bad 😉 (mistake of course)

  30. Using Delta points to fly my wife and I to London & Paris for our 10 year anniversary, and redeeming 4 free hotel nights, in each city, thanks to Club Carlson card.

  31. Not anywhere in the caliber of redemption’s on here but it was our first time in international business class for our honeymoon to Europe. Nothing can beat the excitement not only of the wedding but anticipating the flight/trip. Unfortunately, it was on Lufthansa’s old business class but given the exciting time in our lives it didn’t diminish the joy we felt. Routing was ATL-FRA-FCO and BCN-FRA-ATL.

  32. 140K United in F on United/Thai to CNX from EWR, and then 135K (minus 10K back from the AA Credit Card) in F from HKT to JFK

  33. Any redemption which would cost a lot to buy, but credit very few miles. I have redeemed Seattle to Kalispell, MT multiple times (Denver to FCA as well). The tickets are nuts, like $450-$500 and you would earn about 500 miles if paid. Those in my mind are the best. Then when you can fly 20k for $800-$1200 internationally, those are the best to fork out the money for. Of course this was all PRE devaluations!

  34. Looking forward to my first major redemption for our honeymoon this May. Cathay Pacific business class to Bangkok with Alaska miles and SPG points.

  35. 200k US Air miles for 2 persons, Europe to HK to Beijing in F, 5 flights in F class (2x CX, 2x KA and JAL for the flight back home)…

  36. My best redemption was giving my friend my usairways miles to book a ticket from JFK to HKG. He couldn’t book it online, but I had to call and work with an agent. I don’t know how I finally did it, but it with limited availability and his flexibility, I got it done. He then had to call to change and confirm the itinerary with the agent, and somehow she manually reconfirmed his ticket. Somehow, throughout this process, the miles were credited back my account, and so my good deed cost me zero miles. In fact, I eventually used those miles to get my sister a first class ticket from LGA to PHX. Talk about maximizing those miles!

  37. My favorite redemption so far was Detroit to Frankfurt in LH first class. I had the entire cabin to myself!

  38. My best redemption was finding two available saver awards on Singapore (Suites) JFK-FRA. We won’t actually take the flight until May – it’ll be my first time in Int’l first class. I was all set on business class, but after I read many of your Suites reviews, when I saw Suites available I jumped on it immediately.

  39. I’ve only redeemed for domestic flights but being able to use points instead of paying outrageous prices for walk up fares is wonderful and allows flexibility to my schedule. Often I find so close to departure the saver award availability is excellent due to spoilage management.

  40. AA economy for 20k miles from Maui to JFK in March 2013 – 5 month layover – JFK to Paris in August 2013. I miss AA stopovers.

  41. I am new to this game so haven’t donecany big trips. A couple cross USA trips have been done on miles while trying to save money.
    Thanks lucky and happy birth week!

  42. This past summer, Thai airways had a promotion of allowing a child under 12 to have a 50% off for mileage use to anywhere. My mom also had a birthday gift from Thai where she also received a 50% off for using mileague. So, the whole family, me, my mom, my brother, my grandmother, and my aunt flew, in business class, from Taipei to Bangkok and then to Auckland. It was truly a bargain.

  43. OMA-WLG in DL domestic F and VA J, with an open jaw return HKG-OMA flying DL J on the 777 to NRT and upper deck on the 747 after the reverse herringbone seats were installed. (135K SkyPesos) Closed the open jaw by using AA miles to fly QF AKL-SYD-HKG with SYD-HKG in F on the A380. (45K AA) Used HHonors at old Axon rates to state at the Conrad in Hong Kong.

  44. Headed to Europe with my wife this summer. No specific plans at all yet, except two Songapore Suites on the way there and two Singapore suites on the way back. I presume you would agree that an award redemption can’t get any better than that!!!

  45. Honeymoon to Paris with my wife. EWR – CDG for 30k + 5$. Return flight CDG-FRA-JFK on Lufthansa Business for 50k + 100$ prior to devaluation. Stayed with cash + points at Hyatt Madeline (and signed up for promo for 8k points) Easily could of been 8-10k trip but ended up only spending 1k.

  46. Jfk-gru-eze one way in Tam First for 45k eurobonus miles and 3usd tax must have been my best redemption in terms of bang for the buck since I got a free ride to jfk and 2 flights in F

  47. BOM-MUC-FRA-YVR-SFO in Lufthansa first class, post devaluation but with a pre-devaluation cancelled award. Best part was that the agent decided to leave the price at 67,500 instead of upping it to 80K

  48. I took a mileage run intra-Germeny on LH last year, as a result and using some miles from previous trips on LH. I was able to book a trip for me and my Dad to Asia on LH via Germany. It was the best trip of my life, and my favorite mileage redemption ever.

  49. I used my ua miles during the predevalustio news period to book a rtw flight to Bali with a stopover in Paris. I flew 3 lh f segment and 2 tg f segments all in one award booking l. I also used Hyatt points for all my hotel booking and stayed the grand Hyatt in Bali and the park Hyatt vendome. The best part was 4 of us got to fly together. The stars just aligned right close to the book in date, where I was able to make changes so we were able to fly together. Thank you so much lucky.

  50. i’ve booked more complicated itineraries since, but i’m esp proud of my first oneworld business class redemption (back when they existed): LGA-MIA-LIM-IPC-LIM-LPB-(open jaw)-MVD-MAD-SVQ-MAD-BUD-LHR/LGW-HEL-JFK

  51. My “best” mileage redemption is always the next one successfully booked…because it’s getting harder and harder to score them 🙂

  52. Probably my best redemptions were likely in 2005 using UA miles with the following itineraries SFOHKGSINKIXSINHKGSFO in SQ F and NRTLHRDUBCPHARNGOTLHRNRT in NH F for the longhaul sectors.

  53. My favorite redemption was taking my family to Bali in First/Business last year, even if I did route us the long way through Europe to get to fly Lufthansa and Thai First.

  54. i guess my best mileage redemption would be the one i did last year, right before united devalued their miles, i burned all of them. i booked a trip for myself, ord-fra-kix-bkk-pek-icn-jfk, tried lh,tg,oz first class. a dream trip

  55. My best redemption will always be my first. My mom was visiting us in mke for the holidays. There was bad weather and she missed her connection. Why they let get on the first flight without rebooking her I don’t know. Anyway she was stuck in mci for the night and crying because she had an important meeting at work (dal) that started at 10pm. WN

  56. Best redemption ive had was using US airways miles the day before star alliance awards were going to be discontinued…First class and Business class from iad-ord-nrt-tpe-hkg-icn-lax-msp-iad on United, ANA, EVA, Thai and Asiana. Also celebrated the longest birthday ever flying back to the states in first class! Twas the best!

  57. My best redemption is actually a upcoming one. I spent 12,000 US Airways miles for a 7 segment RTW trip in first class. Flying PHL-MAD-LHR-HND-HKG-DXB-LHR-PHL. Fortunately, I was able to make two long connections in MAD and TYO for a chance to visit the city. I also like this a lot because I’ll be able to sample the highest cabin of service in 6 different OneWorld airlines

  58. so far the best was using UA miles on TK to fly LEX/ORD/IST/CMH, getting a free one-night stopover in beautiful Istanbul

  59. We’re fine in coach, and have loved the off-peak 40,000 mile Europe redemptions with American. We traveled mid-October right when “off-peak” started and will travel early May right before it ends!

  60. My best redemption will always be my first. My mom was visiting us in mke for the holidays. There was bad weather and she missed her connection. Why they let get on the first flight without rebooking her I don’t know. Anyway she was stuck in mci for the night and crying because she had an important meeting at work (dal) that started at 10pm. The earliest flight WN had was 10am. They also promised to put her up in a hotel but she had been waiting for an hour. I told her id call her back. So I looked online and found an AA fight that left at 7am, used 4500 avios and booked her a ticket. Then I used my spg points and got her a room and arranged a pick up from the airport. I called her back and she was elated. Best redemption ever!

  61. My favorite was using United’s previously generous open jaw and stopover rules to visit multiple cities in Europe for 60k miles — and then tagging on a free transcontinental for later.

  62. Booked my wife to RAK with friends of hers. This was my my first one that was anything other than single carrier, domestic RT.

  63. 120K USDM SFO-LHR-PVG award in BA+MH A388 and CX 77W F. My first time on any of these 3 carriers, in any cabin!

  64. Living in North Dakota I don’t have access to many airlines but I can get from Fargo to Chicago for 9,000 miles through british airways

  65. Mine? A US F award to Australia. LH F from JFK to BKK (night in FRA), then TH to SYD. SYD to FRA in TH F then LX F to YUL.

    Those were the days.

  66. My first redemption ever is still my most memorable: a US award from the east coast that included a stopover in SF (where I proposed to my now-wife), our first trip to Asia (OZ C with a couple days in Seoul, 5 nights in Tokyo and 4 nights in Kyoto) and the long way home with a couple of days in Frankfurt?

    How’d we end up with so many stopovers?

    All I’ll say is many thanks to the US Airways call center team for not knowing the rules 🙂

  67. Definitely not as close, but an unexpected accident routing from SYD to HKG via BKK for just 40K UA miles in Thai first with massages included in both ways!

  68. Flying using our first award miles later this year. PRG – AMS (Layover) AMS-YVR all in business for 62.5K AS miles and aoubt $70 in taxes. Very excited as this is our first business class trip as well.

  69. A recent trip to Japan with my husband! Chase Ultimate Rewards (Sapphire Preferred + Freedom) –> Korean, first class on the A380 from NYC-Seoul-Osaka. AA (multiple Citi cards) –> JAL, business class on the 787 Tokyo-NYC. Awesome trip in Japan and awesome adventure trying out the brand new planes!

  70. My best redemption was my first Big redemption IAD-MUC-BKK-SYD in LH Nnd TG FC. It showed me what was possible and that airport spas can be relaxing.

  71. not the best in relative terms, but a redemption that sticks out for me is my first ever award redemption – AMS-YYC on KLM in Y, return for 50k Flying Blue miles (really). Worth it because I really needed to be there at specific dates. I got to see the Canadian Rockies in early fall, very nice.

  72. Lufthansa first class round trip to Germany for 100k united miles… One week after I decided to leave united, with 100,412 miles left in my account.

  73. My best redemption was probably last year’s trip to the Maldives to swim with whale sharks on my birthday. SFO-HKG-SFO in Cathay first and HKG-MLE-HKG in Cathay business using a combination of AS and AA miles along with pre-devaluation point stays at both the Conrad and Park Hyatt Maldives.

  74. My best award redemption was the around the world trip your service booked for me in 2013 using the AA Explorer award. So sad it’s no longer available.

  75. My first big redepemtion was also my best yyc-yul-zrh-cdg-bkk-hkg-icn-sfo-yyc. It was on an aeroplan screwup sommy first first class redemption only cost business class miles. Got to try lx f which is now off limits. The Thai f spa.
    This redemption also started me down a dangerous addiction for miles.

  76. December 2013, my girlfriend (now fiancée) and I visited Thailand, Paris, and Amsterdam on LH and TG F through a pre-devaluation UA award of 140k each. The amount of time I spent on the phone for that one…

  77. My best redemption was in November to the Maldives. We used us air miles: CLT-PHL-DOH-MLE : CMB-DOH-MIA-CLT, all in business class on us air and Qatar! We used hilton points prior to devaluation to stay at the conrad. All bc I learned some much from ur blog.

  78. My best redemption was on with 110 000 US miles HAM-FRA-ICN-HKG-BKK-FRA-HAM in F on OZ and TG and then being rebooked to LH F.

  79. Conrad Rangali Island in Maldives for 50,000 Hilton points. I converted my AA points at a 1:2 ratio and got 8 nights there for free.

  80. A few memorable trips.

    1. My first ever F redemption (treated myself for my 40th). LAX-ICN(OZ F)-HKG(OZ C)-BKK-MUC-FRA(TG F)-SFO(LH C)-LAX(UA F) 140k US Airways miles.

    2. Treating my brother to London for his 50th last year. I flew him BNE-BKK-PEK-CDG//LHR-PEK-SIN-BNE, 140k US Airways miles (redeemed Club Carlson points for 4 nights at Park Plaza London). I flew LAX-IST-LHR (TK Business), 50k United miles. Then LHR-FRA on BA Business (9k avios), and finally FRA-ZRH-LAX, 85k LH miles for the opportunity to try LX F, booked before LX eliminated F redemptions in F for non LH HON members.

    3. Last year, I really want to try EK F. I flew LAX-NRT-SIN-DXB(SIN F – 127k SQ miles)-LAX(EK F – 144k QF miles).

  81. 140k miles for first class seats on United’s direct flight from IAD to HNL. We arrived rested and ready to…rest some more in Hawaii!

  82. Many great redemptions over the years; hoping my best will be the one still yet to come – LAX-SIN (and SIN-LAX on the return) in SQ A380- Suites class, and ‘suffering’ through regular SQ First on a 777 SIN-PVG and PEK-SIN! 🙂

  83. When United First was 120K miles for F to Asia, I was able to book a quick F trip to the Singapore Do. The reason this was a good redemption is because as I changed my dates, in the subsequent days, all flights were available, or at least to WAITLIST. As a 1K, the waitlist to F ALWAYS cleared. 🙂
    Those were the days.

  84. FIRST CLASS TO THAILAND VIA FRANKFURT (2014) — 70k UA miles each for my wife and I fly First Class to Thailand through Frankfurt for our honeymoon, getting to experience our first A380 (Thai).

  85. My best yet was probably DXB>ATL>AUS>ATL>EZE with the Austin stop lasting 6 months. Finally figured out one method of stopping over and added an extra trip out of an overpriced Delta award!

  86. During the United 4-mile error I managed to book 4 seat LGA-ORD-HKG rt for 16 miles. They ended up charging me saver level for 1 seat when the system came back online so they basically were stuck honoring the entire PNR. 4 of us for NYC to HKG for the price of 1.

  87. My best by far was 160k UA to Australia JFK – ICN – NRT – BKK – SYD – AKL // SYD – PEK – NRT – IAD. JFK – ICN in OZ F, NRT – BKK on TG A380 F, BKK – SYD on TG 747 F (was the only F passenger), and NRT – IAD on NH F.

  88. My favorite redemption ever was my first international First Class flight which was also my first experience with partner redemption. We flew First Class on British Airways from Newark to LHR to CDG. Seemed impossible to believe but those seats were 90,000 miles each via Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles but would have required 150,000 each on BA back then. Ended up transferring Starwood miles and with the bonus, the two FC tickets came out to 72,000 Starwood points each. I simply could not believe my good fortune and stick snicker when I look back!

  89. I’ve done a couple but the best two were last year before devaluation of MileagePlus:
    120K MileagePlus
    DCA-LGA(on US)-JFK-TPE(on BR)-SIN-MLE(on SQ) and return
    120K MileagePlus
    IAD-PEK(on UA First)-TPE(on BR)-DPS(on BR)-openjaw-HKT-BKK(on TG)-BRU(on TG)-IAD(on UA)

  90. It’s certainly not the best but I like how easy it is to get LAX to CDG in Business on Air Tahiti Nui with American miles .

  91. My favorite redemptions involve spending the least miles on the most First class flying on different airlines (on nicer product/aircraft) and get a chance to see as many cool places.

    My #1 should be 70000 miles UA one way F award in Dec 2012

    SEA-EWR UA 737-800 Domestic F
    EWR-YUL UA ERJ-175 J
    YUL-MUC LH A340-300 New F
    MUC-FRA LH A320-200 J
    FRA-NRT LH A380-800 New F
    NRT-ICN OZ 747-400 F
    ICN-HKG OZ 747-400 F
    HKG-BKK TG A380-800 F
    BKK-SIN TG A340-600 F
    SIN-CGK SQ B777-300 F
    with 24 hrs stops in NYC, YUL, MUC, ICN, HKG, BKK and use LH FRA FCT, SQ Private room, TG F spa etc.

    My #2 was 22500 miles CO one way J award between IST and AMM (merger in progress Feb 2012)

    IST-LHR TK A330-200 J
    LHR-DXB VS A340-600 J
    DXB-VIE OS B767-300 J
    VIE-MUC OS F70 J
    MUC-TLV LH A340-300 J
    TLV-IST TK A321-100 J
    IST-AMM TK A321-100 J (throw away to make it round trip in/out of IST)
    with 24 hrs stop over in LHR, DXB, TLV

    My #3 was 72500 AA one way award between PER and YVR with stop over.

    PER-SYD QF 747-400 New J
    SYD-LAX QF A380-800 F
    LAX-JFK AA A321-200 F
    JFK-YVR CX B777-300ER F
    24 hrs stops in SYD and NYC, 2 months stop in LAX.

    Also had a few good ones like 80k UA miles SEA-SFO-ICN-SIN-SYD-AKL (SQ F, NZ 77W J), or 60k AA miles AKL-SYD-DXB-DEL-KTM (LA J, QF F, 9W J), or 100k AS miles LIH-SEA-IAH-DXB-PEK (EK F)

  92. In 2012 starting out with DFW-BNE-MEL and MEL-LAX in business on Qantas for 100K of Alaska Miles. Booked the original trip on New Year’s day. Due to Qantas dropping AKL-LAX and award space opening up I was able to get LAX-SYD and MEL-LAX in first on the A380. There was a change fee or two for upgrading to first but it was totally worth it then. The Qantas first class lounge in MEL was rather nice. This has been my best in flight experience so far.

  93. My best redemption was JFK-FRA-BKK-NRT-ICN-JFK on LH/TG/OZ. It might not seem amazing for some out there but it was a chance to take my mom on a special trip. It was our first time in First and we had a blast.

  94. 110000 us airways miles to Johannesburg in J via Buenos Aires and Frankfurt on United, South African, and Lufthansa.

  95. Around the world in first class with my wife using aeroplan before they added fuel surcharges. We were able to experience Lufthansa, Swiss, Thai, and Asiana. A trip we will never forget!

  96. Using Avios for CX business from SIN-HKG. My first taste of international business (on the upper level of a 747-400 to boot), and now there’s no turning back!

  97. I just recently got into gathering and redeeming miles. One of the first and best redemptions was flying with my wife from Dusseldorf to London, just using 9.000 Avios and a couple Euros.

  98. Have an upcoming booking for 2 in the Apartment on Etihad’s AUH-SYD route for my honeymoon. The look on my fiancee’s face as I told her about it / showed her your recap of the experience was something I’ll never forget.

  99. My best mileage redemption so far was JFK-ICN-PEK-PVG-NRT-JFK all in business class for 120,000 Delta skymiles and $63 in fees. Enjoying 1 Korean Air A380, 1 Korean Air 777, 2 China Eastern A330’s, and a newly acquired Delta 747 left for some nice space, good food, and great service. Great trip to great cities for outstanding value.

  100. Definitely a round-the-world JFK-BRU-GVA (stop) on Brussels; GVA-ZRH-NRT-CTS (stop) on Swiss/ANA; CTS-HND/NRT-ORD-EWR on ANA/United, using the US Airways 90,000 business award to North Asia via Europe. Went skiing in Switzerland and Japan!

  101. DFW-BNE-SYD in QF J. First flight to Australia after our wedding, and neither of us has flown internationally outside of Y.

    This was the trip that introduced me to the power of ExpertFlyer and BoardingArea… Never would have been able to snag the J seats without it!

  102. SEA – LHR For 80k round trip in 2013 biz class. The United booking agent simply didn’t charge me the correct any of points I even asked twice and she just said nope that’s the right amount I said thank you and moved on. Wonderful flights and great trip.

  103. Oh sorry to post a second comment… I saw some post above combine a few awards as 1 trip.. if you talk about combining a few award as one trip.. mine best has to be:

    SEA-SFO UA A320-200 Domestic F
    SFO-FRA LH A380-800 F
    FRA-PRG LH A320-200 J
    PRG-CDG AF A321-100 J
    CDG-JNB AF A380-800 F
    JNB-CPT SA A340-600 J
    CPT-JNB-SA A320-200 J
    JNB-DOH QR B787-8 J
    DOH-SIN QR B787-8 J
    SIN-SYD SQ A380-800 F
    SYD-HKG QF A380-800 F
    HKG-BKK CX B777-300ER F
    BKK-HKG CX B777-300ER F
    HKG-HND CX B747-400 F
    NRT-JFK JL B777-300ER F
    JFK-LAX AA A321-200 F
    stopped in PRG, CPT, SIN, SYD, BKK, and 24 hrs stop in CDG, HKG, NRT …. this involve UA global F lounge SFO, FRA FCT, AF CDG FCL, QR DOH J lounge, SIN Private room, QF SYD Lounge, HKG CX F lounge, JL NRT F Lounge, AA JFK F lounge.

    I was quite proud of this one since it has many nice lounge and F product and is for Xmas/NY so it is hard to do and I planned since January to fly in Dec

  104. Although I loved getting LH A380 F last minute over the summer, my favorite redemption would probably have to be LAX-NRT in SQ F on the old 747 a few years ago for like 110,000 miles. It was my first trip to Asia, first international trip by myself (or at least where I wasn’t meeting family when I got there) and I had an amazing time in Tokyo and Kyoto. There was something magical about the flights though, even though the hard product was a little old.

  105. My round the world trip in business class on USAir/Star Alliance for 90K miles. I chose cities that an average call center person wouldn’t know on which continent they were. I got it ticketed and even made a change and neither call center person blinked.

  106. 60,000 United Miles from IAD to SEZ in business. Was originally routing through DXB and ADD with a 12 hour daytime layover to explore Dubai, but Etihopian canceled their service to SEZ (has since been reinstated), removing all Star Alliance routings there. After much HUCA, I was able to get United to put me on a revenue Emirates flight direct from DXB to SEZ. So ended up with a better routing, earned AS miles on the DXB-SEZ segment, and got to use Emirates chauffeur back to DXB after my day exploring.


    62,500 Lifemiles for SQ business, TPE-SIN-DME-IAH.

  107. Points from credit cards are pretty awful on this side of the world, but I’ve flown enough to redeem a great business class flight from Dubai to Delhi via Dubai (3d’s heh) on Business class.

    Can’t say I didn’t enjoy every minute of it! Not the longest, but Emirates can be damn expensive but I had a good time.

  108. Points from credit cards are pretty awful on this side of the world, but I’ve flown enough to redeem a great business class flight from Istanbul to Delhi via Dubai on Business class.

    Can’t say I didn’t enjoy every minute of it! Not the longest, but Emirates can be damn expensive but I had a good time.

  109. 5000 IHG points for a night at the Jerusalem Crowne Plaza – the management was kind enough to upgrade us to a top floor suite for free (and I am not even IHG elite!) – great view!

  110. My most outstanding redemption to date: FRA-LAX in F on an LH 747

    Highlights: Using the F Terminal in FRA … and the separate seat and bed

  111. Got into collecting points for some aspirational trips but haven’t had the time so far…instead have been able to take my wife and mother in law to see ailing grandparents twice and home for christmas when we couldn’t afford a cash ticket. Like you say, it’s not always the fancy ones that mean the most.

  112. I redeemed my AA points for two tickets to Tahiti on Tahiti Nui from IAD-LAX-PPT roundtrip. This was back in 2003 when I didn’t know much about this hobby of ours but still had sense to accumulate points for every dollar I spent. This was my first ever redemption so kind of special to me. Wish I had the knowledge then what I have now to convert that redemption into something more special. Alas, there was no Lucky then! Nevertheless, it was a beautiful trip with lots of fond memories.

  113. Hi Ben

    Firstly congratulations on completing another year of blogging. Absolutely love every bit of it.

    My favourite redemption may not be the greatest but it was very nominal and the service and quality I got from it was absolutely amazing. I redeemed 75000 Virgin Atlantic flying club miles for myself for a return trip in first class with Air China between London and Beijing. For me that was an amazing deal beig able to travel long haul first class on a great product for just 75000 miles return trip.

  114. A trip to Hawaii with my wife where we were able to spend time with my brother (my only sibling) and his wife, who was renting a house. We don’t get to see each other as often as we would like due to distance so if was a very nice week. Also was our first time in Hawaii.

  115. US air Y for 3 to the World Cup in rio last year and back from EZE. Took advantage of some timing discrepancies between mileage plan and USair own access to the seats.

  116. we had british avios points and we redeem abt 80000 miles for trip within us for abt 15 flights .it was so far best redempion tht we had.we had save almost abt 2500-3000$ or may be more then tht

  117. 120k UA miles for LH 747-400 F, TG A380 F, BR 77W J, with lots of ‘free’ connections and stops in Germany, Taipei, and Napa for the holidays.

  118. Being able to redeem 25,000 Amex membership rewards points for a one way ticket from the U.S. to Europe, on Air France, even last minute without penalty, is one of my favourite uses of points.

  119. So I’m semi-new to the points game. I’ve done my share of collecting, now it’s time to burn! My best redemption so far had been my MAD-LHR-AUH-MLE for my wife and I. The actual trip will happen in August, but I have 2 major problem. I have no clue how I’m getting to MAD from the US for cheap (my wife and I) and I have no clue how I’ll get back from MLE. My hope would be to go MLE-HKG-ICN-NRT with 24 hour connections at HKG + ICN so we can at least spend a day there, then go back from NRT to the US….but…I’m having a hard time finding award space or I don’t even know if I’m making the right decisions. The 1st of Lucky’s Lucky 7th would definitely come in handy to help!

  120. My best was the round the world us airways like yours. We got time in Brussels, Zurich, and Tokyo while experiencing Brussels, Swiss, and ANA. At the last minute I was also able to get in the new Andaz Tokyo the week after it opened. A great trip!

  121. My best redemption was flying to Siem Reap, Krabi & Beijing on miles for my honeymoon. The reason it was the best because not only was it my honeymoon, but I was able to get off of work for 3 weeks! Our next dream booking will be to transit all around South & Central America 🙂

  122. My favorite redemption was JAL first class from HND-SFO last Christmas. We flew out on Dec 26, and arrived in SFO on December 25 thus we got to experience Christmas twice in two different time zones. I found out about the award space through your blog and it was our first first class flight ever. Such a wonderful experience and we are looking forward to trying other products in the future.

  123. Best mileage redemption on my end, SFO_LHR_BOM,,DEL_LHR_SO all in british airways first class. This was back in January 2010, cost was 230K for one ticket and then used the special BA Chase visa 2-4-1 for the second ticket. 1600$ all in all taxes and fees, got to use the concorde lounge out and back, WONDERFUL service (okay, a couple flights were ‘old first’ but they were still great!)

    What a treat, never in a million years would I have spent the 30,000$ for those two tickets.

  124. 140000 AAdvantage miles for a family of four roundtrip from JFL to HNL. Economy might not be the awesomest but when you need miles for 4 people it’s better than not going! This was thanks mostly to the awesome 100K citi credit card last year.

  125. 140 RT in F to Thailand. Getting to Experience Asiana, ANA, and Thai F all in one trip! Koh Samui wasn’t that bad either….

  126. one of the first trips I booked was after hearing of “stopovers”; LAS-DFW (6-month stopover) -FCO then PRG-DFW (3-month stopover) -SJD in business/first for 100k miles on AA

  127. Christmas 2009, 2 days before Christmas we were able to find availability in Cathay First to Hong Kong. On the spur of the moment we booked and had a fantastic 7 days in HK. Thank you Avios.

  128. Our honeymoon in Bali in 2013. We started looking about 3 months in advance. We found PHX-LAX-ICN-KIX-SIN-DPS-BKK-ICN-LAX-PHX for 120,000 US miles + $53 each in business class on OZ, SQ, and TG. I didn’t want to stress my wife out by waiting for something last minute to open up.

  129. Taking my family of 3 to Kauai last summer for seven nights and paying only about $500 out of pocket for hotel and airfare has been our best redemption.

  130. My best mileage redemption so far – BOM-HKG in Cathay J, two nights at the IC Kowloon using IHG points, 1 night at the W Hong Kong using an SPG free night, and then HKG-JFK in Cathay First!

  131. Very simple because I was new to the game, but snagging 2 seats in Lufthansa’s new biz class on the 747-8 FRA-LAX was exciting.

  132. We lived in the UK last year, and being able to use avios to travel Europe with my family for pennies while I was a grad student was huge. Not the most lucrative of redemptions, but most memorable.

  133. The one i am having now… doh-hkg-doh for the whole family of 4 in business class on cathay, with access to the wing and al-mourjan in doh

    Kids were thrilled!

  134. Having seen just how many comments there are here, I doubt that my Avios redemption is even worth a mention. But since it has pleased me immensely , here goes. We have booked Avios redemptions to fly BA First from London to AbuDhabi then Sri Lankan Airways in business in July. Why is this so great? Well our original 2-4-1 redemption direct flights in BA Club to Male were cancelled when BA changed the route times. After no help ffrom BA we finally found flights that work and we are heading to our dream destination after all. And the best bit? Our best friend are coming too!

  135. Family of four in 2008 ORD-NRT-SIN-DPS-SIN-AMD-SIN-PVG-ORD on United/Singapore in Business at Christmastime

  136. I moved to France in 2013 for school and booked this reward in J for my first semester for 120,000 United MP miles:
    IAH-IST-CDG (TK) 4 month “stop over”
    CDG-FRA-KIX (LH) Destination
    FRA-IAD (LH 747-8)
    IAD-IAH (UA)

  137. @OneMileataTime 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 @Delta to TPA-OGG
    2011 @Delta TPA-LHR, 2014 @Delta TPA-LHR, 2014 @Delta MCO-MAD

  138. My around the world business class US Air Star Alliance for 90 K on my honeymoon this past Summer, with a stopover in Paris on the way.. Then booked two more 90K business classes to Asia so that our Moms could join us for the last two weeks!

  139. My best redemption was flying my stepson home from Ecuador after he got sick. 15K AA miles (or was it 12.5K?) made him and his parents very happy and saved him over $1000.

  140. My only redemption so far has been 2 economy tickets DCA to MUC last February (I think we left a year ago today) for 30,000 miles each on the off season lower miles on US Airways. We went to Berlin, Prague and Munich and had a blast. It was warmer in Europe than it was in the DC area. We had at least 2 days of 55+ degree weather.

  141. last year I redeemed 110k dividend miles per person for my wife and I to fly from IAD to JNB via Europe. I booked the award 2 months before US left the star alliance so we could use SAA and the European carriers to fly to and around Europe without fuel surcharges. We wanted all lie flat seats and we wanted to fly to geneva for a few days first, so our original routing was IAD-BRU-GVA, a 2 day stop in Zermatt, and then GVA-MUC-JNB. After 2 weeks in South Africa, we would then fly JNB-IAD to return home. By reading your blog, I knew that I could book this award, assuming I found the right US phone agent.
    However, our plans were thrown a curve ball when Brussels air cancelled their IAD-BRU flight over the summer. Since US had since left star alliance, I was, to put it lightly, SOL.
    HOwever, after a lot of persistence, and with the help of another miles expert, we were able to get Brussels air get us seats on the direct UA flight from IAD to GVA. All in all, it worked out great.
    And to top it all off, I used more AA miles and DM miles to fly my inlaws from MCO-DCA so they could watch our 2 young children. I got them into FC, and, even though it was only US FC, it was still their first experience in FC, and they loved every minute of it.
    None of that would have been possible without miles.

  142. My favorite recurring redemption is using AA miles to fly on HA from PHX to whichever Hawaiian island I want to go to. Most often it is for only 17.5k miles each way, which is often cheaper than using HA miles.

  143. My best redemption was in 2010. I was working in Shanghai and wanted to see friends in Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. I booked a 40,000 OW first class intra Asia award. SQ and TG First ticket PVG-SIN-BKK-HKG (all considered one way). I then picked up a revenue leg HKG-YVR in Biz first on AC for meetings in Vancouver.

    Those were the days.

  144. Flying business class from LAX to Hong Kong on Cathay then continued to Sydney and back to LAX on

  145. In late 2013 we flew Star Alliance business class to Bangkok with a three day stopover in Tokyo. The United flights to Tokyo were 747s and the a Thai flights were 380s so it was a comparison of the super jumbos. Got it ticketed before the devaluation.

  146. Not so exotic, but my best redemption was one of my oldest friends who I hadn’t seen awhile mentioning he had an extra court side seats to watch Lebron play in Cleveland. A few thousand avios later and we had a day we will never forget.

  147. Haven’t managed one of your awesome first class adventures yet, but for pure value BOS-DUB in Aer Lingus J using avios was a GREAT value….

  148. Etihad first class MFR-SFO-AUH-EBL. It’s not that impressive on an itinerary, but we needed to take it and with a crazy one year old who runs around having two first class suites made all the difference on a 16 hour flight.

  149. Every wtime my SO and I get out of Dodge using the Southwest Companion Pass. Traveling two using ‘Wanna Get Away’ fares and paying with points for just one of us is amazing.

  150. Best award redemption to date was booking my honeymoon to SE Asia last minute before the United massacre of 2014. 280,000 miles and got to take my wife on LH F (2x), TG F (2x), and SQ J.

  151. Thanks to your blog, my best use of points was initially traveling in First Class using Avios (some other name then) to fly from Atlanta to Great Britain and Ireland. After that, I became “hooked” on maximizing every day spending into points!

  152. LH F on the 744 and return on the A380 with the wife on our last trip to Europe. I know this isn’t that aspirational for some, but this was our first International F trip and our first time on a 747 and the A380. Many more trips like this to come for sure.

    Thank you for the advice you gave specifically with booking this trip, but also for all of the advice and TRs you post on a daily basis. Congrats on 7 years!

  153. Best mileage redemption for me is the US Airways 90k in business class class from north america to north asia via africa. Included were EVA (Hello Kitty flight), Turkish Airlines, EgyptAir, & Lufthansa (747-8i).

  154. My best use of points is taking my teenage daughter to Florida for spring break to Universal Studios for the full Harry Potter experience. They’re only kids for such a short time!

  155. Last year I redeemed AS, AA and UA miles for the following:
    KUL-LHR MH F A380
    FRA-MIA LH F A380

  156. Free one ways to from and to Hawaii in AA first class as part of a business class round trip from LAX to Europe. Used 12.5k avios for the other one ways to/from Hawaii.

  157. My best was an old AS BA F award to Australia (no longer available) SEA-SFO-LHR-BKK-SYD-SIN-LHR-SEA in F for 140,000 miles and no fuel surcharges.

  158. Thanks for all your amazing posts on this blog! My favorite redemption was:

    United Miles (pre-2014 devaluation) to fly LAX-ICN-TPE-KUL [open jaw] NRT-LAX all in First/Business Class with little surcharges.

    Asiana First LAX-ICN, Thai Business ICN-TPE, Eva Air Business TPE-KUL, United Dreamliner NRT-LAX. In between, I was able to book KUL-SIN (cheap ticket on Air Asia), SIN-MNL (cheap ticket on Cebu), MNL-Boracay (cheap ticket on Philippines Airways), Boracay-MNL (cheap ticket), MNL-NRT with Avios on Japan Airways.

  159. Two years ago we got to take a trip to Germany, Singapore business on the way there, and Lufthansa first on the way back. We were only able to book the Lufty flights because of you–in the middle of the trip I finally saw that first opened up and made my entire klan run back to our hotel that moment so we could book! Definitely worth it though to experience the first class terminal and the 747-400 bed / seat combo!

  160. It’s a tough call amongst several trips with my wife or with my wife and parents. I’ll just mention the most recent trips though. It was Skymiles with long-haul on VA (J): ATL-LAX-BNE-WLG, return CHC-BNE-LAX-ATL. It was our first time in NZ and came very shortly after my mom died. It was a well-timed distraction and kept me from having to trudge through work for a couple weeks.

  161. My favorite redemption was also my first redemption. 2009 business class on Air France flying into Munich and out of Bologna. For 100k Alaska miles per person. This was for our honeymoon and was an incredible experience.

  162. Mine was LAX-AKL in C on NZ with United miles in 2008. Not that the redemption was necessarily a spectacular use of miles, but because it’s such a difficult award to get and we had two seats in C both directions.

  163. US AIR NA to N Asia of course!!
    117,500 dividend miles
    NA to Europe in BA F
    Europe to N Asia in CX F
    N Asia to NA in JL J

  164. I favorite one of mine that I did was a few years ago, pre UA deval. Your award service actually booked it for me. It was US-Cambodia, using UA miles, all in F. AUS-IAD-FRA-NRT-ICN-Siam Reap. I got the new LH F on the 748, LH F on the A380, and a short Asiana f from NRT-ICN. It was an amazing trip!

  165. I actually have to say something as unsexy as a domestic trip here in Norway, with SAS EuroBonus.

    Take for example a roundtrip Oslo-Longyearbyen (Svalbard – 78 degrees North!) In peak season, tickets go for roughly 1000 USD roundtrip! In economy!!!!!!!! For a 3 hour flight!

    Insane. Yup. But that’s where EuroBonus and the domestic award comes in handy. Roundt trip in SAS Go is just 10 000 EB-points + about 40 USD in fees. The award also allows for positioning flights in Norway. So potentially, you could fly Bergen – Oslo – Tromsø – Lyngyearbyen – Tromsø – Oslo – Bergen for just 40 USD. One heck of a deal, if you ask me 🙂 Especially great, if you want to come north during the aurora borealis (northern lights) season in January-February-March

  166. Best mileage redemption was on the Aeroplan discount a few years back in December 2011. I flew from ORD-LHR-ZRH-DXB-BKK-TPE-NRT-ORD for pennies. It was my first round the world trip and I’ll never forget it.

  167. My best redemption was definitely new LH F from BOM-MUC-EWR with a stopover in MUC using just 70,000 UA miles.

  168. Happy 7th Ben!

    My favorite redemption was 70K United miles for a first class ticket on SQ from SFO to SIN (via HKG)that, from the time I booked to the time I was to fly, converted from a 777 to an A380. So “suite”!

  169. My best redemption has been EK First for all 4 of us from JFK to DXB on the A380. We had 3 tickets and one infant so it was a ton for her 10% ticket but oh well it was worth it. The crew was awesome they even got random polaroid shots of us and the kids. The Dom kept flowing for me. All of us except my infant daughter got ours showers in the sky too !!!!!

    Memories for years to come.

  170. Two redemptions stand out: my first ever on the old Canadian Airlines. Back in 1992 there was a special -75,000 points in Business class to Cairns, Australia. Coupled with a $200 pass from Ansa? Airlines I saw lots of Australia in 6 weeks. And I was the only backpacker in Business Class.
    I had just returned from an amazing trip to Venice and Prague when I happened upon an Aeroplan mistake rewards fare (or was it a promo – Flyertalkers can’t decide) in December 2011. I jumped on it and in April 2012 my partner and I went to Paris in First Class on Swiss for only 90K and $112 each. The first class lounge in Zurich and the limo ride to the plane were nice bonuses. Glad I jumped in then, because shortly after Swiss stopped allowing Aeroplan redemptions in F.

  171. Nothing that crazy but a couple years ago, I was able to book a RTW award starting in the states, to FRA, stopping in the FCT, continuing to NRT, all in LH F. Then the return was NH business in the 787. All on the old united award chart. Those were the good old days!

  172. I’ve only redeemed miles twice.

    Back in 1990 I used 100,000 miles for two first class tix from Boston to Bangkok on Northwest.

    Then in 2014 Matt at PointsPros got me two Delta Businesselite tix from Washington to London for 200,000 miles. The highlight was being “served” by the most grumpy, the most comically rude flight attendant I have ever experienced. I had FAs on Aeroflot in the USSR days that had more personality and charm.

  173. Hmm.. tough one, but I’d definitely say 67.5K TK miles for LH F AUH-FRA-ORD.

    16 glorious hours in LH F for only 135k TK miles roundtrip.

  174. SFO-DXB-SIN(AS miles)-NRT(UA/NH)/HND-FRA-YVR(Miles and More)-JFK-LAX(AA on CX) all in F. Burned a ton of miles, but was probably the trip of my life.

  175. San Francisco to Southeast Asia with a stopover in Munich and open jaw (outbound to Phuket, home from Singapore). First class on Lufthansa, Thai, Air China, burning miles before the United devaluation.

  176. Not as fancy as yours, but I did a trip on star alliance that was a week in London, a 1 night stopover in Munich and then another week in Tokyo – all for 65k United miles (coach).

  177. Surprising my partner with our first trip (20 years ago) – to the US Virgin Islands – using AAdvantage miles.

  178. My best redemption so far is my upcoming SFO-JFK-TXL, FRA-HEL-JFK-SFO for just 100k USDM in J. Looking forward to trying out Air Berlin, Finnair and the AA A321T!

  179. Calgary to Vancouver during the Olympics in 2010. 15,000 pts vs paying $1300 retail. Still amazed I found those seats and pulled that off.

  180. Definitely my upcoming trip in Cathay F using AA miles for SFO-LAX-HKG-ORD-SFO. Definitely going to be a blast!

  181. Ben: My wife and I travelled to Hong Kong, with a stopover in London, in 2013 in business thanks to that great 80,000 mile US Airways award (so sad it no longer exists). In the process of booking it, I hope I helped some US Airways agents learn more about world geography during our many phone conversations….
    This was the trip where we landed in Hong Kong on a Swiss Air flight on the same day that you had your Royal Jordanian “flight from hell”. I don’t think I see that in your ‘Best Mileage Redemptions’ list – I wonder why….


  183. Right before their arrangement ended I was able to redeem 140K Delta SkyMiles for first class on SQ’s 747 roundtrip between LAX-NRT-SIN

  184. Pretty simple redemption actually – AA miles to bring an ill relative back to the U.S. from Europe on short notice.

  185. Congratulations Lucky on 7 years!! Your travel wisdom has been invaluable to myself and my family! We could never have traveled the way we have over the last 3 years without your hints and tips! …so THANKS AGAIN!!

    One of our greatest and most memorable redemptions was with the Chase Hyatt Visa. Four nights in a Suite at the Paris Vendome for FREE! (Our suite was well over 1200 Euro a night!) And since you taught us how to get Diamond status with Hyatt, our breakfast in their beautiful restaurant (or room service if we wanted…) and wi-fi were FREE!!

    We don’t travel around the world or even business class…I wish I had those kind of miles….but this family of four travels very comfortably (in coach) to our destination where we only stay 5 stars!

    thanks Lucky.. Here’s to 7 x 7 more years….

  186. Mine was a redemption of 130,000 UA miles from LZH to the US. I heard the UA miles devaluation in late 2013 but did not realize that I might have enough UA miles for redemption of two people award tickets for a China-US roundtrip. In January 2014, one day, I realized that the miles I needed was still ~3000 miles away from 130,000. Worsely, the next CHASE UA credit card statement would come after the devaluation date. Although I could buy some points, I chose to do as many survey as possible, which gave me ~60 UA miles per survey, and cost me 10-30 min per survey. Finally I had the enough points just several days before the devaluation, and booked the tickets (economy cabins) for my parents to attend my graduation ceremony. The routes were orginally booked as KWL-PEK(transfer)-YVR(transfer)-SEA(stopover)-IAD, and back as CHO-IAD-PEK-KWL. Due to the inefficient communications between United Airlines and AIr China and also my plan change, I changed the schedule twice, by calling both CSRs for a few hours, and finally set the schedule to be KWL-PEK-LAX-IAD and back CHO-IAD-SFO(stopover)-PEK-LZH. The good impression was that I my change fees waived twice and I am proud of my experience of earning and redeeming miles.

  187. Cathay Pacific SFO-HKG. Cathay Pacific first class is easily one of my favourite milage redemptions. Honestly Lucky, I think you undersell Cathay Pacific first class!

  188. IND – MUN – MAD Lufthansa first class thanks to you and back DUB-BOS on Are Lingus biz class based on everything i learned here.

  189. Before UA’s big devaluation booked, LGA-YUL-MUC-BKK-SIN, BKK-HKG-ICN-JFK almost all in F for 140k.

  190. My first Aeroplan RTWM in First (hello LH & OZ… where were you all my life) happened by accident. I had no clue what I was doing but that trip introduced me to the mileage game.

  191. My best award redemption was using United miles on Singapore Airlines’ first class from SFO to MLE for two people when Singapore Airline was doing “maintenance”. On top of that our flight got switched from 777 to A380 so we can enjoy the double bed on the sky!

  192. Yyz-muc-bkk in first class combination of Lufthansa and Thai all thanks to you! Great first class lounge experiences too!

  193. Definitely MIA-LIM-IPC-SCL-MIA on LAN with BA miles from their awesome 100k credit card offer. Really enjoyed each stop plus took a side trip to Macchu Pichu!

  194. It has to be the pre-devaluation trip to the Hilton Bora Bora Nui. Five nights with an AXON for less than 150k points. Beautiful place indeed.

  195. For comic relief, anyway, it might be fun to take a positioning flight someday on Spirit — for the review, of course. Or Ryan. For you, it would be like looking at the world through the wrong end of the telescope!

    Over the past year, my favorite series of posts was the one on La Compagnie — and you paid for that with cash, not points.

  196. Just got introduced to mileage game so have yet to redeem anything. I can’t wait to go to Asia in First class though!

  197. I redeemed miles to go visit my family over Christmas. Probably wasn’t the best redemption ever, but it meant a lot to me 🙂

  198. Redeemed 3 C class LAX to LHR to take wife and two kids to a wedding. It was last minute so it was full “price” but so worth it. Made our trip that much better since we only had six short days in the UK. I paid for Y and upgraded.

  199. Syd-sin-muc//fra-sin-syd in SQ F during the sq booking glitch sometime ago! Used USDM miles to great effect.
    All of which wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been viciously updating your blog that day! 🙂 thanks lucky!

  200. Even though I could have eked more value out of this redemption, the family was astonished at what I was able to do:

    First redemption, first trip to Hong Kong, in first class on Cathay Pacific with AA miles out of SFO.

  201. Given I just turned 50, I’ve decided to start enjoying travel. Upcoming ’round-the-world trip on Singapore Airlines. Can’t wait!

  202. My best redemption so far has been my wife & I in first ewr-fra-bkk-hkt-bkk-lhr-ewr // ewr-aua booked just prior to the United devaluation.

    Our first longhaul international first class and we got to spend a lot of time in TG first on the way to/from bkk. An experience that we wouldn’t have been able to have without the wonderful world of miles and points!

  203. Remember being able to use Alaska mileage to fly Qantas – 105000 miles TOTAL for TWO passengers, FIRST Class.
    This was Alaska to Australia and back. Flexibility on dates not required ! Must have done that trip 4-5 times as we enjoyed diving in Papua New Guinea.

    Ahhh…the good ole days of mileage redemption.

  204. I must admit that until I started reading your blog, I didn’t know I could add in stopovers on many award tickets. Thanks to you, this is now always what we do. We’ve been to many places, but my favorite would be business first UA JFK-KOA-NRT-JFK Thanks for all that you do! You’re very generous with your time and always answer any questions that I send.

  205. Got to love the rounding out the A380’s. I always enjoy the idea of a quest to help make decisions…the A380 First Class experience certainly qualifies.

  206. Mine is not super AMAZING, but it is somthing that no longer can be done so I like it. 100K AA miles for my fiancee and I to fly back ORY-MAD-MIA on Iberia J class with a 5 month lay over and continuing on MIA-DFW-HNL domestic first for our trip to Hawaii! And the DFW-HNL flight was on an AA 767 with angled flat seats so I was pretty pleased with that redemption.

  207. My best value redemption was using the now defunct AA gateway stopover in combo with the off-peak economy award rates to Europe. Took family of 4 from Miami to NYC during Spring Break then in August from NYC to Rome. I also got 10% rebate on points for holding Citi AA card. So, both flights for 4 totaled 72k AAdvantage miles. I think this was about 6 cpm.

  208. GRU-LIS-LGW/LHR-FRA-BKK-MUC-GRU last summer flying TP/LH/TG in Business using my Dividend miles, purchased 120k miles for like U$2000 on a Bonus Miles sale which is basically what a full Y fare would cost for this route. It was my first trip to asia, first major redemption and first A380 flight

  209. It would be the first award ticket I looked up and booked myself after knowing something about miles.
    In 2009 I booked two first class tickets from IAD-NRT R/T in ANA First Class for 120K miles each. It was my first time (and only time) that I’ve boarded the plane from the lounge at IAD.

  210. My AA mileage redemption for First class in Cathay Pacific from JFK -> HKG -> DAC -> HKG -> ORD. The Asia flights were on KA business; the First experience in CX was AMAZING.

  211. Just before US left Star, I booked ZRH-CDG-BKK-HKT in Thai’s First for 110K. The Spa and Cart-Transport in BKK alone were worth it…

  212. Obviously, your first time is the most memorable. I had found flyertalk about a year earlier and it wasn’t too long after stumbling across your blog. I was trying to redeem miles to Indonesia, then New Zealand for me and my then girlfriend (now wife). My initial itinerary was united business class followed by singapore regional business. Having never flown more than economy I was thrilled. Then the great glitch of 2012 happened and all of singapore airlines award space opened up. I was able to snag us first class from SFO-HKG-SIN-CGK. Through the next few weeks and months I tracked our onward flights to New Zealand and eventually landed us in Thai Airways first from Bali-BKK-SYD-AKL. It was incredible and made the whole trip that much more special. It got me hooked on this hobby and I haven’t looked back.

  213. My best mileage redemption was from SFO-SGN-SFO. I booked the very first United award flight with Singapore airline. Thanks.

  214. Hmm guess it would have to be our honeymoon. RTW in J … LAX-ORD-MUC-BRU-VIE // CDG-BKK-SIN // SIN – ICN – LAX on UA/LH/SN/TG/SQ/OZ =)

  215. Arguably my best mileage redemption was when was allowing the booking of Singapore First using MileagePlus Miles. SFO-ICN with a stop-over in ICN, and then ICN-HKG on Thai. What a great trip!

  216. Congrats on 7 years lucky! I’ve got to say SQ F JFK-FRA. Best way across the atlantic and a great price.

  217. My best redemption was my first set of first class flight over Christmas and New Years: ORD-NRT-BKK in JAL first and return BKK-HKG (23 hour stopover)-ORD in Cathay Pacific first class. Using AA miles.

  218. For Xmas this year, I did ORD-CDG-FRA-BKK (in coach) and BKK-NRT-ORD in Business class for 92,500. Booked about 3.5hrs before United implemented their deval…(only to be extended until that Monday). The Biz size was on Thai airways so I got a nice 1/2 hr back/shoulder/arm massage before leaving BKK. Since the flight to NRT was on Xmas day, the flight was pretty empty and got even better service!

  219. Tix for the wife and me on TG’s A380, FRA-BKK in F. Many thanks to you, Ben, for the inspiration! And redeemed the HHonors Citi certificates for 2 free nights at Conrad Ko Samui. Amazing trip.

  220. Mine is SYD-HKG-LAX-HKG-SYD on CX using USDM miles that I had generated in their share miles promo last year. Gotta love Australia to US in business on CX for less than $2000!

  221. My best award redemption was coming back from Australia via Asia using UA miles. We maximized stopovers by staying for just under 24 hours in a city and were able to visit Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo on a single award ticket. We also flew Thai first class on 2 legs and got to visit the first class lounge twice!

  222. Best Aeroplan redemptions, courtesy of “glitches/mistakes”
    1. Business-class for Y-class miles only, in 2012
    2. Pricing awards at 1st stopover mileage only on 2014/10/31 after their “new MPM rule” went in. Got YYZ-YUL-IST for 50K in J instead of 105K originally. Will try TK’s A330/77W J finally

  223. Nothing anywhere near as fancy as most of the stories above, but I booked a last minute trip to NY (LAX to JFK) on AA, first class, at the this past June. It was the last trip that my Dad and I took before he passed away, and it was his first (and only) time in the new AA first class. He loved it, and our trip was amazing.

  224. Well, I booked RTW trips before and many nice C and F trips but I would have to narrow it down to my 2 favorite trips.

    My brother and I were able to get the following trip in 2013: KRK-VIE-ORD on OS J. Christmas with the parents. Then ORD-YYZ-SCL-EZE on AC J. Spent a few days in EZE. Then we flew over to MDZ for New Year’s and some site-seeing on LAN in Y. Back down to EZE for a few more days on LAN in Y. Then back to Europe on TK J to GRU (a day in GRU) and GRU-MAD with CA J and then MAD-WAW-KRK on LO J. The intra Argentina flights were booked using Avios and the rest was a US award costing some 100K miles, which I really enjoyed for that price (100K for KRK-VIE-ORD / ORD-YYZ-SCL-EZE / EZE-GRU-MAD-WAW-KRK all in J). Got to see Argentina and have a great New Year’s with my brother. To add this was the time OS didn’t have their coffee in J and I got a 100EUR voucher because of their lack of their coffee service 🙂

    The other trip that I really enjoyed was last year booked with UA miles before the deval. I went with my uncle last March. KRK-FRA-DOH on LH J with 23hrs in DOH. DOH-DXB on UA J. Spent almost a week where we rented a car and drove to AUH (few days in AUH and a few days in DXB). Then off to MCT on LX J. Spent almost a week in MCT exploring the area. Then off to BAH with TK J where we spent about 22hrs exploring the city and seeing that tree of life. And finally back to KRK via IST on TK J (almost a full day to site-see IST) and then TK J to MUC and LH J to KRK. Total was 55K UA miles. Maybe not the greatest use as each of those flights were not really long flights, but considering we were able to make use of that <24hr stopover options, the stopover and a decent route network, we got to see DOH,AUH,DXB,MCT,BAH, and IST all on this trip. Now that route would be 90K UA miles after the deval.

  225. Lucky,

    Have to thank you for all of the work you’ve done on the blog. While I haven’t been in the game long, my wife and I were able to redeem miles for travel to Madrid (and Barcelona) about a year ago. I’ve been continuing to build mileage balances, and look forward to more Europe and Asia premium cabin redemptions. Thanks!

  226. My favorite redemption is yet to come…I have saved enough points to do Europe this year (haven’t picked the airline I’ll use yet) in Business class. Done first a few times domestically but the fanciest seat I’ve done to Europe to date is World Traveller Plus on British. REALLY looking forward to a flat bed.

  227. In 2008 I was able to surprise my husband in Germany where he was doing a visiting professorship in Braunschweig for 3 months. We had a Delta branded Gold Amex and was able to use 60,000 miles for a first class trip from ATL to Hamburg with a connection in Paris. Traveled on a Delta plane, an Air France plane and a Continental plane all on one trip. It was my first time ever in First Class and sipping champagne on a flight to Paris is something I will remember forever. Boy have times changed, I dont think they would allow that ever again using Delta miles.

    He was mighty surprised to see me show up at his German bachelor pad. Too bad they lost my luggage and I didnt have any clothes for 3 days……

  228. My best redemption flight is SFO-TPE-BKK-MAA-BKK-HKG-TPE-SFO all on EVA 777-300ER in J class except for BKK-MAA-BKK which was on Thai J class. I chose EVA based on Lucky’s glowing reviews and I was not disappointed. Great seats, excellent food and attentive service. Thai was icing on the cake.

  229. My best was back in 2010 with my Dad, using United miles. Had to get from SEA to DAR for a safari and then back NBO to SEA. We had essentially no flexibility on dates, so I was thrilled to get the following – 2 seats in business class:


  230. Business class to Israel is my best redemption yet though I am excited to try go a lay flat seat to Australia soon.

  231. Learned about UA’s one stopover and one open jaw award policy from your blog a few years ago, I booked business award with UA miles from US to middle east while stopping over in Europe. My first “complicated” and better-mile-utilized award booking thanks to you!

  232. I would say my best mileage redemption was a combination of mileage points, gift certificates, and flight voucher.

    Essentially, while at a conference in Washington, D.C., I won a two-night hotel gift certificate for a really nice hotel in Dupont Circle. While flying home from D.C. to Houston, I was offered a $300 flight voucher and a trip in first class for giving up my seat to a family in need of a seat on a booked flight. Eventually, I would use my flight voucher, hotel gift certificate, and mileage points for a free trip back to D.C. for another academic conference!

  233. Using CX Asiamiles to redeem AA business class ticket from NY to LA for my cousin’s wedding otherwise I would have had missed.

  234. My best recent redemption was using advantage my house to take my wife to Europe and visit three countries with the return flight to United States.

    Congratulations on 7 years Ben

  235. 1990s through the day that TW went out of business: The 100,000 mile TWA FFB award that included BOTH: (1) A free first class ticket, anywhere in the world, and (2) A free upgrade from ANY coach fare to first class for use at ANY TIME (i.e. for a companion on the free ticket, or use by the member on any future itinerary.

    I used this award at least five times. It. Was. Awesome!

  236. My favorite was back in 1986 my dad used his marriott points to take the family to Maui for 10 nights. It was all a teenage boy could want.

  237. Although probably not the best in terms of CPM or “maximizing” miles per route, I can’t complain about any of our trips as we wouldn’t be able to travel like this if we had to pay cash (even flying coach)…

    So I’ll go with the best one we did… Alaska Airlines 35k for CUZ-LIM-SCL(stop)-IPT on LAN business combined with 25k avios for IPT-PPT on LAN in business again.

  238. JFK-FRA-BKK-DAC-SIN-NRT-JFK All in first class and mix of business class using US Airways Miles back in the day!! Ahh, would love to do that again!

  239. Oddly, an economy trip to Europe on Continental with a free stop-over state side and subsequent add-on to Peurto Rico that actually brought down the cost of the trip.

  240. My first trip ever in international premium cabin (last year): ORD-YUL-MUC-BKK-SIN-PVG-AKL-PPT-BOB-PPT-AKL-SIN-HKG-SFO-DFW-IND.

  241. trying to book a US airways 120k north america to north asia redemption before they combine with AA so that would probably be my best redemption once i find space.

    otherwise the one way united predevaluation first class on ANA via tokyo. got on the NRT-SFO first square which was my first time in first. simply amazing. all thanks to you! can’t thank you enough!

  242. Not anything amazing compared to some glitches as mentioned above, but my first 90k USDM J award US to north Asia 2 years ago. Never flown premium cabin prior and it introduced me to the mileage game. Simply awesome with the bad side effect of making it impossible to go back to long haul economy flights. Haha.

  243. My best redemption was actually my first major one, and was thanks to this blog. It was an Air Canada mini-RTW in first for 120k back when that was a thing. So many wonderful memories of that trip!

  244. EVA Royal Laurel–SFO-HKG and UA F PVG-BWI, using UA miles. My first non economy class flight
    thanks to you. Even the 8 hours at PVG due to flight delay was a pleasure because of club access to the Air China First Class Lounge!

  245. Congratulations on 7 years! Best use of using 120,000 UA miles to bring my daughter home in 1st class for Christmas! DUB-SNA-DUB.

  246. My best redemption didn’t seem like a biggie… free tickets thru miles from LAG to HOU, only to randomly meet some of the best friends a person could ever ask for. Small trip with big benefits.

  247. Haven’t had a lot of success in booking a great trip as of yet, so could really use the expertise of your booking service.

  248. My favorit redemption is using Dividend Miles for a trip in F between Europe and Australia. Love flying down under and visit my brother. The combination of CX F and JL F doesn’t make it any worse 🙂

  249. Haven’t taken the trip yet, but looking forward to using AA to get from SFO to Johannesburg on business for 2.

  250. Using miles to be with my daughter for the birth of my first grandchild in Charlotte, NC. What better reason to use miles for such a special occasion.

  251. AA Economy Explorer Ticket – 8 month trip: 14 flights, 49,116 flown miles for 160,000 miles

  252. Emirates J using AS miles to SE Asia, with a 3 month stopover in PDX on the way home and then a free one-way to Hawaii.

  253. ORD to NRT in 1st on JAL
    NRT to HKG in 1st on Cathay Pacific
    HKG to ORD in 1st on Cathay Pacific
    Also via Ben’s award service. Thank you guys!
    Hopefully, my next award (whatever it is) will be more memorable !

  254. I don’t know if it was my best, but my favorite mileage redemption was 25k business class using United miles, flying Air Canada SFO -> YUL. SFO does not have an Air Canada lounge, so I had to suffer the Air France lounge! They offered a slew of French magazines, 2007 Crozes Hermitage (yum!), and many other beverages I passed up!

  255. I wish I had a good answer for this, but the truth is, I have just started learning the ins and outs of this unique hobby through you this past year (up until now, I’ve gotten pretty terrible redemption value on tickets with USAir and Southwest)! We are currently saving up and strategizing to go to Asia later this year. Stocking up on lots of American miles and Chase rewards!

  256. Taking my mom on a “round” birthday trip this summer to Europe. We’ll see Paris and Venice, with 23 hour layovers in NYC, London, and Madrid.

  257. My favorite redemption (with some help) was a FIRST CLASS open jaw with my wife from SFO-MUC-FCO, return LIS-MUC-SFO via LH into MUC and LU return from MUC for a supersaver 125k redemption using US Air miles, for each of us. Not only did we get to use the Lufthansa International First Class Lounge, Restaurant and dedicated Customs in Munich, but we were also the only two passengers on LH on the outbound with three flight attendants. My wife was embarrased (for the first hour) to be the only passengers in International First with all that attention, but I enjoyed every moment!

  258. Definitely the one coming up! BOS-JFK-SFO-DXB-BKK-HKG-TPE-PEK-ICN-JFK (Emirates and Korean Air in F and EVA in C). Thanks for the years of service to your hobby. I’ve learned a ton!

  259. My best redemption is the one you just cancelled! JFK-LHR-DXB-MEL-SYD-DXB-LHR-JFK on BA and QF First using US miles! Happy 7th!

  260. I was able to book a Delta RTW in Nov-Dec in two portions; first segment ATL-LHR-BUD-NBO-DPS-BNE and the 2nd segment AKL-US. The in between flights were booked on separate tickets.

  261. In 2009 I was a novice redeemer with far too many miles but not enough on any given program. And I really wanted to dive the Maldives.

    Ba first JFK-LHR-AUG, Qatar business AUH-DOH-MLE.

    AMAZING trip. Destination was worth the travel travails. And my companion loved it.

  262. In just over a week, my girlfriend and I are taking our families to the Philippines all on miles. It will be our first family trip. Wish us luck…

  263. SIN-CGK-NRT-FRA-MAN-FRA-ICN-SIN Mostly in F on SQ, NH, LH and OZ. Went home to visit my parents and take them to Florence to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday.

  264. Mine was redeeming SkyMiles (including about 5 phone calls) for Air France from SFO to CDG. It was my mom’s first time in international business class – and a great experience overall!

  265. It was definitely first class on Cathay Pacific from ORD-HKG (seats 1A and 2A), connecting on to BKK. Love that Krug!

  266. My story isn’t extraordinary in terms of clever routing to maximize miles, but rather an extraordinarily memorable trip. After a wonderful trip to Australia on Qantas in business class (used miles), we decided to return a few years later for my 50th birthday and use my stash of miles for first class seats. I watched the calendar, counted down the days till I could book. Had all the routing information in place and was able to get just the flights I wanted. What made this even more wonderful, in the months between booking and traveling, we decided to get married and this became our honeymoon trip as well.

    The first class cabin was quite empty and we got chatting with crew who wanted to know why we were traveling. I explained and they treated us like royalty. At some point a very official looking crew member came by and congratulated us. Silly me, I didn’t know I was talking to the captain, until another member of crew came by with not one, but two bottles of champagne for us to take with us on travels. The captain had ordered it. 🙂

  267. Toss up:

    1) 1992 for 80k UA MP went SFO to SYD for 1st time upstairs on a 747 with wife.

    2) 2014 LAX Business to FCO. Wife and daughter went on MP tix, I changed mine out for a $1450 Business ticket when you posted the sale. I flew home from VCE and was upgraded to 1st from FRA to SFO while wife and daughter went on to spend 5 days in Paris. United upgraded them to first from CDG to SFO since my daughter is my companion 1K nominee from the 1MM program.

  268. Best (and only redemption) was the trip I just returned from: SFO-JFK-HKG-BKK-DOH-DXB-LHR-BOS in AA A321T F, CX 77W F, TG 744 J, QR A380 J (LOVED the onboard bar/lounge), QF A380 F, and VS 787 J (loved that onboard bar and the Virgin LHR Clubhouse as well). Redeemed a combo of AA and VX miles, and found some cheap fares to round out the itinerary. All thanks to you Ben! I’m just a college kid, don’t even have a credit card (soon, soon), but stumbled upon your blog last winter and was able to fly around the world in first and business as a result (much to the dismay/annoyance/awe of my friends in economy on the same trip, I might add). Now I’m addicted, so here’s to your first seven years and many more millions of miles of flying up front! Cheers!

  269. Months of tireless maneuvering yielded two seats for a QF F roundtrip in late 2013. I am not expecting to win that lottery again!

  270. Best redemption I have done: mini-RTW in C with bmi miles (three one-ways with stopovers)JFK-SQ-FRA-LH-VCE//VCE-IST-BKK (stopover) – MEL// (avios redemptions around OZ) //MEL-LAX-SFO (stopover) – IAH (20 hr layover) – ATL. The above listed flights were 85,000 miles plus $2500.

    Best redemption currently booked but not yet flown: SJU-AA(J)-JFK-CX(F)-HKG-CX(J)-KUL (stopover) – KUL-MH(F)-LHR-BA(J)-DUS//DUS-AB(J)-JFK-US(F)-CLT-US(F)-SJU with US miles.

  271. easy: San Francisco to Apia (Western Samoa) in Business on UA and NZ with MileagePlus as a “low” award at the time (six years ago?) … I need to do this again when I have some spare time …

  272. Best redemption ever for me was two tickets roundtrip, using USAir miles, to Asia Tokyo, routing through Taipei on a Hello Kitty Flight with EVA.

  273. July 2013 – 6 day trip around the Pacific using 30k US Airways miles in J, going MEL-AKL-SIN-KIX-GUM-NRT-PVG-AKL-MEL, total butt-in-seat miles 21594 according to GCMap. Managed to get onto the All Blacks-painted NZ 777-300ER too. Had to be back in SIN for a friend’s wedding, so threw in an 18h layover in SIN for the wedding 😉

    But can’t beat September 2015’s redemptions – a 5 week long RTW ex-MEL with QF A380 F flights SYD-DXB and LAX-MEL, as well as getting onto the EY 787-9 AUH-DUS in F. Plus a side trip to the Galapagos islands.

  274. SCL-IPC (stop) – PPT (stop) – AKL – SYD in biz on LAN and Qantas was a great redemption

    Also really enjoyed ORD-FRA-BKK-FRA-ORD in first enjoying Lufthansa, Thai and their respective lounges.

  275. Lucky: we just booked our first 100000 mileage trip from Phx thru Clt thru Mad and finally reaching Muc and back yesterday!!! Not easy, but should be well worth the effort!

  276. My favorite redemption is extravagant but relatively last-minute we used AAdvantages Miles Saver Off-Peak to go to Ireland for a week. We drove about 700 miles around the country staying in a mix of hotels, Airbnb, and bed and breakfasts. The views were amazing all along the way. Dingle was the most beautiful peninsula.

  277. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that remarkable but I loved redeeming Avios to send my retired mom on her inaugural first class flight – even if it was domestic.

  278. My best mileage redemption is quite modest compared to some of yours!
    It was 54,000 BA Avios for four passengers from LIM-CUZ-JUL-LIM on LAN Peru.
    (Lima to Cuzco to Juliaca to Lima).

    That trip would have cost over $2000 dollars for cash tickets for four passengers because of a foreigner tax that LAN imposes on domestic flights. Not bad for 3.7 cents per mile!

  279. It must have been a US Airways F award originating in ZRH to MNL where we got to stop and explore NRT and BKK as well.

  280. Back in the good old days, I redeemed Delta Skymiles for Singapore F. Took an hour+ phone call to Delta and big flexibility on dates. Then…They bumped my wife onto Delta A330 J class without informing us! Luckily I checked the seats days before. I refused to give up and it took around 5 hours of harassing Delta and begging SQ to fix it which they eventually did (SQ purely as a courtesy after a Delta screw up… Best airline in the world by far as I think you might agree!!) thanks Lucky

  281. I haven’t yet flown my first milage redemption, or really anywhere before that is not in economy. But from the weeks it took continuously checking AA to succeed in finding flights I’m very excited. For the US summer I’m going to meet up with some friends I made on exchange at university in NE last year. I have a return award redemption from Melbourne, Australia to New York with the MEL-LAX leg being Qantas First Class and the LAX-JFK leg in AA A321B First Class. Best use of money buying those points!!!

  282. My dream redemption nowadays BKK-DXB(EKA380)-CAI in F class. Would lov shower myself on 30.000ft
    Auguri! Congrats for your amazing contribution to us!

  283. My best redemption is always the next one and that will be business class on Air Tahiti Nui, from CDG to LAX using Aadvantage miles. While not at all the best seats (recliners 6 across in an A340), it’s being nonstop trumps that.

  284. Nothing that special, but the routing was:

    LAX-YYZ (stop for 8 hours to see Niagara Falls)-SCL-EZE AC Y for 30k
    GIG-IAH-PHL (stop for the weekend-LAX on UA and US J for 50k using Plan B

    I think that’s better than:

    LAX-SYD-MEL//BNE-BKK (stop for 5 days)-NRT//HND-LAX in UA, TG and NH for 80k/pp in Y.

  285. Because of their “generous” routing rules, 120k US miles to New Zealand, though we ended up flying around the world in biz. EWR-NRT-BKK-AUK-CHC-AUK-BKK-CDG-EWR

  286. Myself and my sister to Tokyo in Biz RT in April 2013, using US Airways DM before they left Star Alliance. I *almost* got a round-the world for us out of it, but the Lufthansa availability disappeared two days before the final miles I needed posted to my account. She started and ended in Cleveland, while I started in San Antonio and finished in Atlanta. We met up in Houston to take Air China Houston-Beijing-Tokyo HND; on the return it was EVA HND-Taipei TSA-transfer to-Taipei TPE-Seattle, and from there we split up again. I didn’t know HND-TSA was a Hello Kitty flight until after it was booked!

    But the most memorable part of the entire trip was on the flight TPE-SEA, when a fellow Biz passenger passed away over the middle of the Pacific…

  287. In 2009 American was running a special deal for 110,000 points in First Class to Asia if two partner airlines were included in the itinerary. My husband I flew CLT-DFW-LAX where we stopped for dinner with our son and followed that by visit with our granddaughter who was being treated at LA Children’s Hospital. We then flew LAX-to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific (fantastic First Class product, as all know!). We enjoyed breakfast and a shower at the CP lounge before boarding First Class Cathy Pacific to Denpassar. After 2 weeks in Bali we purchased a Y class to Singapore. We spent another week visiting with friends before departing from Singapore on JAL (AA partner) for Tokyo. A great meal in the JAL lounge and then transfer to AA flight to DFW and home to CLT.

  288. As a miles and points rookie, I landed 2 AA award seats in Qantas new Business Class on the direct from DFW-Brisbane a couple of years ago. First time I’ve ever gotten 8 full hours of sleep with plenty of time to still enjoy the flight when waking up!

  289. My favorite must have been a trip to Japan with my wife. We flew SQ, NH, and LX business. It was a very memorable trip for both the value of the redemption and Japan itself, of course!

  290. Ok here is my fave thus far: BAH-DOH-FRA-CDG-NRT (LH F AND ANA F) for 65UA

    Booked for the spring: NRT-BKK-SYD (TG F)- RAR-AKL-SYD-(NZ Y)- ICN (OZ J)- GUM-YAP for 70K UA 🙂

    And also looking forward to EY F a380 LHR-AUH-CMB (hat tip to you!)

  291. Lufthansa first MCO-FRA-EDI stopping at the first class terminal then DUB-ORD using Avios in business to get back!

  292. I have two. My very first which involved buying AA miles on sale for CX first to HKG. I’ve bern hooked ever since. My best was taking my mom on EK first to Paris with four days in Abu Dhabi. Priceless.

  293. Best mileage redemption has to be round the world star alliance first class with Thai and Lufthansa for 120k United miles to take me and the wife to Thailand

  294. Love redeeming for Virgin Atlantic: great airline and possibly my favorite J product. And a great way to burn Skypesos 🙂

  295. I started reading this blog only about four months ago, and since then I have made my first circumnavigation of the world – three continents, three air carriers, two longhauls, during the peak holiday rush, in J, on cheap miles. Best thing? Got to spend Christmas and New Year’s with my mom in our first winter ever!

    But I just got two ANA F midhaul seats on the same cheap miles… might be a better redemption, who knows? 😉

  296. My favorite award was Thai First Class from Sydney to Rome with a stopover in Bangkok. Everything was perfect.

  297. My best redemption wasn’t for myself, but for my parents. One year for a Christmas present I gave them the option to fly anywhere in the world they wanted. Instead or Europe or Hawaii, they chose to fly to Norfolk to see their grandkids (and my sister and brother-in-law, I think).

    I booked them in domestic first, but let it be a surprise for when they arrived at the airport.

    The best part was hearing about their trip when they got back. My mother had been looking online on how to prepay for their luggage and was frustrated until she got to the airport and found out she didn’t have to. My fathers only comment was “now I understand why you like to fly” (he had never flown first class before).

  298. I need your help before I can brag. But to answer your question– upgrades to business class to Rome last year. I’m ready to double down.

  299. Sadly, the best air redemption I’ve had in fifteen years of accumulating points and miles was a first class award OKC-HNL on AA all the way back in 2003. That being said, my family and I have been fortunate to take many nearly free vacations from the miles and points, and we can’t wait to take the kids to Europe!

  300. My best redemptions were about two years ago when Aeroplan had an incredible unannounced redemption sale where you could obtain first class awards for business class amounts, and business class awards for coach amounts. Two stopovers were permitted on each award which I took full advantage of. I also got a 25,000 mile bonus when I transferred AmEx MR points to Aeroplan, making it even that much more attractive.

  301. Snagged great flights for honeymoon this June: YYZ-LHR BA772 F, ZRH-SIN SQA380 SaverSuites :D, SIN-MLE-SIN SQ777 F, SIN-LHR SQ777 F, LHR-IAD BAA380 F – all in Saver!!! 😀 planned this a year out haha booked it all while I was on a trip that I also redeemed miles for: JFK-FRA LHA380 F, FRA-VIE-SKP-ZAG-FRA on OS Z and LH Z, then FRA-IAD LH747-8 F 😀

  302. 9k BA Avios saved me $2000 for a short hop from LGA to Richmond. Not anything fancy, but saved me a bundle because it was for personal travel.

  303. Redeemed AA miles when stop over was allowed.

    One way Kona-LAX-JFK (stopover)-NRT/HND-SIN for 55K in business class

    Redeemed UA miles for Singapore business class on A380

    One way PVG-SIN-ZRH-FRA-JFK for 60k miles

  304. Hi Lucky (BEN),

    Happy 7th Birthday!


    Best redemption was 120K for a RT SIN-EWR on SQ21/SQ22 – The world’s longest flight 🙂
    I really miss that 18.5 hour – all business class flight connecting Singapore to New York..


  305. First, thank you so much for all of your helpful advice and inspiration for booking trips!

    My best so far was also our first Business class redemption. BA Avios predevaluation JFK-SCL-IPC-MIA. I hadn’t learned yet that I probably could have also added our positioning flights from ORD to the ticket. But it was a fantastic experience! There is always so much more to learn in this game.

  306. My favorite redemption was AKL-BKK-ICN-SFO in Thai and Asian business class using United Miles. It was a great way to end a crazy trip!

  307. Actually it was something you helped us with, Lucky. US to BRU (stopover to drink beer for 24hrs) to LYS (open jaw) CDG to FRA to US. The great part was that it was all in intl F, except the FRA return only cleared in the last couple days. So, we checked one off the bucket list and got to visit the FCT in FRA. Used orphaned UA miles. Loved it.

  308. Congrats on 7 years. I just took the old American business class for the first time. You’re right; the seats are pretty bad.

  309. I am a newbie so just the basic nothing fancy. Use 65k United miles plus 2 cheap flights to Southeast Asia: EWR – SIN – SGN – REP – BKK – CNX – EWR
    For hotels use certificates and points stay at Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Radisson & Le Meridien. Looking forward to my first B/F class.

  310. Our most memorable redemption was definitely last year. Booked business class on United before the devaluation and US airways leave Star Alliance from BOS-BOM-BOS with a free one way on US to HNL. Managed to upgrade the outbound to LH first for a fantastic experience to start our honeymoon including the Porsche test at FRA and the FCT. Plus because we had to make the change after US airways left, I was able to get UA to switch us to their EWR – HNL non stop for another ~11 flat bed experience. We’ll remember the experience for a long time.

  311. Live your blog. Best redemptions have been SAN LAX CDG JNB CPT and return cashing in Delta sky miles before they really became sky pesos. Then the sweetest of them all – using UA miles to move my parents and sister to come to the US. JNB IAD SAN. It was quite a feat to get 3 redemptions, but managed to find flexible dates to do it

  312. First class from Cincinnati to Asia. Spent time in Beijing, Phuket, and Bangkok. Flew on United, Thai, and Lufthansa all in First. It was great!

  313. I signed myself up for Southwest Rapid Rewards more than 10 years ago, when I was still in high school. Back when free flights were earned by segments flown, I squeezed every bit of value I could out of going to college out of state, and then living even farther from home after graduation.

    While living in DC, I used two free flights I had earned under the old system to fly RT from IAD-AUS just for a long weekend to surprise my parents. Taking a cab home when you’re used to Mom and Dad always picking you up and the airport is really strange, but the look on my dad’s face when I rang the doorbell was priceless. Then my mom came down the hall and did a perfect Home Alone scream, mouth agape, hands slapped to her cheeks and all. It was the best spontaneous award redemption I could have imagined.

    Now I’m coaching my parents in the points and miles game, working towards their first international redemption to Japan, where my mom has dreamed of going for many years. I would really appreciate the consultation to help ensure that I can deliver on all the amazing flights and perks I’ve told them are possible!

  314. My flight redemption might not have been the most economical (240K miles) but it was extremely special to me. I was a broke law student when me and my wife were married and thus we didn’t really have a honeymoon. Thanks to your blog we were able to go on a RTW trip IAH-TYO-HKG-BKK-LHR-IAH in business and first class (United, ANA, Thai) plus stay at amazing hotels like the Park Hyatt Tokyo and the Conrad Hong Kong. Mainly I was able to give my wife a trip she deserved and we have memories that we will cherish forever. Isn’t that really what this points game is all about? Thanks for this blog and congrats on seven great years may you have seven more!

  315. At the end of February last year my pregnant wife and I traveled to Tokyo, with a stopover in Vienna on the way, using US Airways miles. When I told my wife about the planned trip, she was a little concerned about how traveling around the world in her very-early third trimester would be. I asked her to trust me, and that I would make it as easy/ enjoyable as possible. So, I booked the following itinerary in J:

    LBB-IAH (United)
    IAH-IST (Turkish)
    IST-VIE (Austrian)
    VIE-ZRH-NRT (Swiss)
    NRT-DEN-LBB (United)

    The best part about this redemption was it only cost 67,500 miles (me) and 81,000 miles (wife), plus taxes/fees, for the whole trip, because of deal (for Barclaycard US Airways cardholders) wherein if we booked an award with our US Airways miles for travel during a certain period, we’d get 25% (me) and 10% (wife) back in miles, respectively. Definitely my favorite mileage redemption to date.

  316. Our best redemption was some AA miles my wife and I accumulated through an AA credit card sign-up bonus, allowing our family of six to fly DFW – Hawaii. That was our first big trip and we were hooked from that point forward!

  317. Congrats again, Ben! My best mileage redemption has been Europe to Asia on Etihad in First Class Suite for only 30k AA miles one-way. Such a treat.

  318. My family flew 50 legs just to buy Starbucks you are here mags using miles & points last year.
    We have 57 mags out of 67 right now.
    The best redemption was buying all the mags at every layover and stopover on the way to NRT and AMS.

  319. I was able to get two FC QF Lax-SYD last year for myself and husband for our 20th anniversary! We were worried about the long flight, but as soon as we boarded and looked around we said that we didn’t think the long flight would be much of a problem!

    Lucky, congrats to you. With what I have learned from your blog I have been able to not only have great travel experiences with my husband, but have been able to pass on the information to my family members.

  320. One of my best redemptions was not a bargain in terms of mileage, but it allowed my 2 adult sons (25 and 29) to travel with their parents on a tour of France before they got tied down with marriage or other life events – a family bonding experience thanks to miles used for Air France bookings.

  321. This past summer I used Krisflyer miles to fly from Tokyo to the Maldives on SQ suites (actually the SIN-MLE was in business because n first was offered). It was my first international award redemption (along with JAL first and etihad business on separate tickets)and mademe realize how amazing this hobby is!

  322. My best was in November 2013
    SBA-SFO-ORD-NRT-ICN-FRA-DFW-PHX-SBA using 135,000 United miles in ANA F for ORD-NRT, OZ F for ICN-FRA, and LH F for FRA-DFW. In the middle of the award itin, I also did a status mileage run of FRA-IAH-GIG,GIG-IAH-ORD-FRA in UA $1000, upgraded with two GPUs. All in 9 days. Visited a friend in Tokyo for 12 hours, went to a X-mas market in Frankfurt, and relaxed on the beach in Rio for a couple days. 🙂

  323. AA miles for LAN business for my family of four to Peru. Short hopped within Peru using Avios. Wonderful trip, included staying in a hut on the banks of the Amazon River and hiking to Machu Picchu! Unforgettable!

  324. Congratulations on the 7th year of the blog!

    I’ve been fortunate to take some amazing trips in large part due to the advice and inspiration from your blog (as well as occasional help via Twitter). Some of the memorable ones include being able to take my brother in LH F on MIA-FRA-NRT-FRA-MIA back when the NRT flights were served by the A380, or taking my girlfriend in LH/TG F on MIA-FRA-HKG-BKK-FRA-MIA.

    However, my finest creation had to be trip I took when I had to cancel a trip to Bangkok at the last minute to to floods in 2011. I ended up changing it to MIA-CLT-MUC-FRA-KIX-HKG-SIN-DPS-SIN-ICN-FRA-DUS-MIA using mix of LH/OZ F, SQ/ANA C. It was about 30k miles over eight days visiting Hong Kong, Singapore, Bali, Seoul, and Frankfurt. It was a blast.

  325. My favorite redemption. Wife and I. LAS/ORD US overnight. ORD/NRT UA five nights Tokyo Marriott.
    HND/FRA/CDG NH:LH five nights Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador. CDG/BRU SN overnight, BRU/ORD/LAS. UA:US. 240,000 Dividend Miles. (UA both oceans Global First: NH Suites). 300,000 Marriott Rewards points. Stay 4 get 5th night free. Great time in Both Tokyo & Paris.

  326. 120k UA MP miles for a RT open-jaw and stop over trip in business class for a honeymoon safari to Africa. SEA-ORD-BRU-NBO, JRO-ADD-FRA-SEA.

  327. I have only used my miles for occasional upgrades to business class. I recently took the plunge and shared my miles with my parents so they can join me in Africa, UAE and Kazakhstan for a 3 month mega trip. We all get to sit in business class and fly in style!

  328. My most extraordinary mileage redemption was BA first class with the BA Visa travel together certificate. On the return flight home there was a medical emergency in the F cabin- my spouse (an MD) and I (PA) attended to the gentleman and fortunately he regained consciousness. We were impressed by the professionalism of the BA crew. There was talk of diverting the aircraft but in the end it was not necessary. A very memorable flight for sure!

  329. Last year I booked a phenomenal trip to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Koh Samui, and Singapore. First class flights and five-star hotels were all booked on miles. Thanks to Lucky’s booking service for helping out with the flights, and for all the advice I received from this blog!

  330. My best redemption, of course, will always be my first…..painstakingly saving up enough points for my first Cathay Pacific First Class flight from JFK to HKG and beyond. The anticipation and eventual experience not only met all my expectations, but the extra attention to details and genuine care was most welcomed during the sweltering summer heat and busy travel season.

  331. North America -> SouthAfrica -> Thailand -> India on Economy
    India -> Europe -> North America on Lufthansa Business all in one round trip using UA miles -90k

  332. Best booking was EWR to Osaka Japan by way of Beijing and Mongolia for 70,000 miles in business class. We we lucky enough to stay at the St Regis Osaka and have the best sushi of our lives right next door.

  333. I started getting into this miles and points seriously two years ago as I was looking into ways to use my AA miles to fly the family to China. I was able to book all 5 of us in Cathay First Class (3 of us changed from J to F just two days before departing) from SFO-HKG then onto Guangzhou where we spent two weeks visiting family. We spent new year’s eve in HK at the Hyatt TsingShaTsui on points and watched the firework from the lounge. We used Avios to fly on New Year’s Day on Dragon Air from HKG to Shanghai and spent 5 fabulous night at the beautiful Waldorf Astoria on the Bund booked on points before the Hilton devaluation. We flew home on AA first class from Shanghai to LAX, and the purser thought my husband was the writer James Patterson (how else you can afford 3 kids plus the wife all in first class?!). It was a trip of the lifetime for my kids and to this date they still talk about it, the highlights to them include the bed in the sky, the electronic toilet at the Waldorf, the funny purser on the way home!

    I cannot wait to take the family on another dream trip! Unfortunately with busy school schedules, it is hard to put one together. At the meantime, I will dream through your trip reports. Keep writing!

  334. My BEST redemption in my mind wasn’t the best usage of miles, but the best for my family. I was in the middle of a three-week business trip to Barcelona, that happened to be during the easter holidays.

    On a last-minute impulse I booked a return ticket back to Canada for the Easter Friday morning, and a return on Easter Sunday. Ended up having just a day back home… but was so worth it to see my life. And, uh, led to our firstborn 😉

    By far the best redemption I’ve ever made!

  335. Favorite redemption: Redeeming ticket 11 months ahead to visit parents/family each Christmas! Doesn’t matter if it’s in coach as long as I get home before Christmas. 🙂

  336. My best mileage redemption so far has been using United miles to fly Lufthansa first class, pre-devaluation. This was my first time flying in a premium cabin. I got the duck from the lounge and was driven to my connecting flight in a Porsche!

  337. I have had several, many thanks to you. SQ F with the entire family to India for the Holidays is probably the best. Can’t really come up with a better use of miles then that.

  338. Our best redemption: AA miles 180k each for EY F roundtrip IAD > AUH > MLE for our honeymoon and HHonors points/free certs at Conrad Maldives. Trip would have cost over $50k otherwise!

  339. Booked our honeymoon last September using United miles (actually booked two sets of reservations with different return dates (same outbound) and made numerous changes up to the last minute and even cancelled the second reservation less than 10 hours before the flight – at no cost since I had Platinum status). Booked pre-devaluation so total of 130K each (business out and first home).
    DCA-LGA (US Air) – First (worked great because we live in NY, so picked up our bags at our apt on way to JFK)
    JFK-TPE (Eva Air) – Business (2 class)
    TPE-HAN (Eva Air) – Biz
    PHN-BKK (Thai) – Biz (3 day stopover)
    BKK-PEK (Thai) – Biz (36 hour stopover – bonus)
    PEK-ORD (United) – First
    ORD-JFK (United) – Economy/First upgrade

    I think with of all the changes I made to our flights I was able to finagle an extra stopover, in addition to the open jaw. While we were in BKK, my husband was sick, so we called about changing the flight to skip PEK, but he rebounded and we stuck with the original plan. (Status was awesome for making changes)

    The reservation we cancelled was on Air China in First (which I really wanted to take, but we couldn’t make the dates work anyone) from Beijing to Houston. I just redeposited the miles in January, just in case we decided we wanted to fly back to Asia in December (had to be flown by one year of the booking date of January 16).

  340. EWR-ORD-NRT, HND-HKG, HKG-TPE, TPE-HKG-JFK on AA, JL, and CX first class. Spent 3 weeks hopping around Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan for leisure on 130K AA miles.

    Looking forward to upcoming booked redemptions to Japan and Australia using 140K USDM, and a Thailand trip flying to BKK on CX first for 67.5K AA miles and returning on SQ 26 suites for 93.5K KrisFlyer miles.

  341. Hard to believe, but mine’s with SkyMiles this fall. 160k to fly Virgin Australia. LA to Brisbane with a stopover. Brisbane to Syndney with a stopover. Stayed at Park Hyatt Sydney on points. Cairns to Melbourne with a stopover. Then Melbourne back to LA via Brisbane. All flights in business class. I booked this ticket for myself on one reservation and was able to book the same for my girlfriend on a separate reservation. Amazing trip!

  342. As I am relatively new in this hobby, did I just had a very few award tickets.
    However the favorite one was the 38.000 miles plus some AED for and AUH-FRA First award on EY this January

  343. Probably would be DXB-VIE-CDG (OS business with a day in VIE and stopover in CDG) CDG-BKK (TG first A380, BKK as the destination) BKK-FRA (TG first A380 with a full day in FRA) FRA-ZRH-DXB (LX business with a day and night in ZRH). Booked through US for 100,000 points each. I love Thai’s first class product and service!

  344. I have many memorable mileage redemptions in F but probably the most memorable one is double lufthansa first class 747-8 IAD-FRA followed by porsche and FRA-NRT in 747-400 back to back

  345. Easily SFO-HND. Learned many life lessons in that amzing redemption. And it was 50% off at the time in 2011

  346. Booked a IAD-LHR trip for later this fall to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class using VX Elevate points. Only cost 35,000 points + taxes. Looking forward to it.

  347. My personal favorite mileage redemption was a trip through South America on LAN business class – US to LIM-SCL-IPC and back w/ a side trip to see Machu Picchu.

  348. not as awe-inspiring as many of the redemptions in the comments, but last year I dropped the bf off of my southwest companion pass in order to take my mom to the west coast for her first time ever. Having the miles to experience the world ourselves is great, but as you well know, being able to share the world with those close to us is perhaps the most rewarding outcome of our hobby.

  349. HAN-SIN-DEL (sq) destination
    DEL – SIN -TPE (sq and br) stopover
    TPE -HKG – BKK (br and tg) got off at Hkg as my final destination.
    Total was 30k us airway miles per person over xmas and New Years. Booked for 3 people. Fed the agent and she didn’t question me at all about the routing. Score!

  350. I think my best redemption was DEN-NRT-ICN-BKK-USM-BKK-DXB-FRA-DTW. All in first class, booked using UA miles.

  351. My favorite redemption was Singapore suites from SFO-SIN with United miles when suites were not available for award redemptions. All thanks to you!

  352. New to redemptions so haven’t done many, but “best” so far has probably been a last minute LGA-MIA-MGA (which saved me quite a few dollars).

  353. So far my favorite redemption was Lufthansa First from Vancouver to Munich. Enjoyed every second on the flight and the First Class Terminal 🙂 I’m Hooked!.

  354. Upcoming redemption for me and the wife in September.

    MEL-SIN-NRT-LAX In suites class the whole way. Not much more than a QANTAS business redemption, the big difference is Singapore still release premium award seats! I will gladly take the long way, this is our first Suites flight as well 🙂

  355. US Airways 100K miles from HKG to LIS (First Class)

    Got this right before US Air merged with AA.

    HKG>ICN (transit) (OZ, originally booked in First on A380, then downgraded to B747 then A330 Business…)
    ICN>NRT (transit) (OZ, same as above)
    NRT>CDG (transit)(NH First B777, awesome! With Japanese cuisine and Rimowa Amenity Kit !)
    ORY>LIS (destination) (TP Business A319)

    LIS>LHR (Stopover) (TP Business A319)
    LHR>BKK (transit) (TG New First B747, nice Rimowa Amenity Kit !, then Thai BKK buggy service and 1st class SPA !!!)
    BKK>HKG (destination) (TG First B747, but downgraded to a A340-600 old First)

    Morale of story… You needed 10 hrs of resaerch before calling US agent, fed them the flights… then closely monitored for sudden aircraft change/downgrade pre-trip, and on the spot aircraft change !!!

    100K North Asia to Europe, no fuel surcharge (though hefty taxes leaving LHR), is worth it !!!!

  356. My personal favorite is a 30K one-way business class redemption with AA miles going between Asia 1 and 2 zones. JL NRT-PEK, CX PEK-HKG, CX HKG-SGN, all on international configs. Woot.

  357. My favorite redemptions were the many Cathay F class awards, fm JFK to HKG, booked for 75K Avios. One of the longest flights in First Class and the widest bed (at the top), in the sky, all for a cool 75K miles. Will cost you now 105K.

  358. So far my best redemption was MSP-PEK 3 in business class through DL, but the overwater portions were on Korean!

  359. Not as complex as many of the itineraries posted, but LHR-SFO in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class all on miles wins for me — even with the fuel surcharges a good saving off the revenue price (especially if you don’t want a Saturday night stay) and more to the point, a means by which to visit one of my favourite cities!

  360. Just realized i had an even better redemption, then my CX 75K Avios F Class. I was booked on BA fm SYD to BKK in Biz on a 50K award. When i checked in at Kingsford Smith, the BA staff, told me, “we’re oversold today in Club, I’m sorry to tell you that we will have to upgrade you to First Class”. Now there’s some good back for your buck, flying F on a J award redemption.

  361. I just started this hobby, my best mileage redemption so far is SFO – HKG Cathay First class using AAdvantage miles!

  362. 1. pdx-sfo-hkg-sin(SQ suites, 23 h stopover)-han(23h stopover)-bkk(dest)-muc (TG F, BKK F lounge with 1 hour massage)-ath(14 day stopover)-fra (LH F, F terminal)-lax-san for 140K UA miles.
    2. pdx-sfo-fra(LH380 F, F terminal)-jnb (LH 380 F)-lvi (dest)//wdh-jnb-zrh (ZH F)-vie-ath (7 day stopover)-fra-sfo (LH F, F terminal)-pdx for 150 UA miles.

  363. We did around the world for our family of 4 at 120K US miles each. LAX-PEK-BKK-AMS-LHR-IAD-ORD-SNA spending mostly in Thailand and SEA. Our daughter was two then and with this redemption she flew around the world.

  364. This redemption has to be my favorite..


    All in Business Class for 90k US Airways miles. The whirlwind trip was less than 7 days and was centered around a 2 1/2 day stay in Manila to attend a good friend’s wedding. The multiple layovers allowed me to visit the Pyramids of Giza, Burj Khalifa of Dubai and the Nairobi Safari! Met with some great friends along the way. Definitely an epic trip!


    110k US Airways miles. This trip is special since I was getting married in Manila! Tried out some amazing first class products like OZ and TG F, all with the wife! The look on her face when our buggy was waiting as we deplaned in BKK was priceless! Definitely an amazing feeling to finally share my love of travel with my wife, all with the help of miles and points of course!

  365. SYD-BKK-HKG-TPE-GUM-NRT-ICN-HKG-BKK-SYD (TG, BR, UA and OZ) J and F for 40k USDM miles pp plus about $200 fees and taxes about 3 months ago. It was brilliant. TG F ground service at BKK is incredible!

  366. The only 1 I’ve done was for Lufthansa FC from Frankfurt to Toronto booked just before the United devaluation in Feb 2014.

  367. Learning about USDM has changed my life! Try going anywhere from Australia and the prices are enough to make anyone cry! This is my fifth year in a row burning miles, always in J with USDM. I enjoyed last years routing of MEL-SIN-BKK-FRA-VCE-JMK-ATH-FRA-BKK-SIN-MEL. 90000 miles and $180 in taxes which cost me under 3k with the exchange rate. Same paid route well over 11K. Thanks Lucky. I’m the one who got lucky with this knowledge.

  368. 6 people…myself, wife, and 4 kids all in Business Class…ony 30,000 US Airways Dividend miles per person for the open jaw redemption…Flew PER-BKK-HKG (22 hours and all day at Hong Kong Disney)-GUM (destination…5 days at the Hilton Guam with free upgrade with Hilton Diamond status to top floor suite…best room in the hotel)-TPE (Hello Kitty Flight and 23 hours in Taipei)-BKK (~12 hours and visits to Chinatown and an Escape room)-AKL (open jaw).

    We then flew cheap ($49 per person) Jetstar flights to Queenstown (AKL-ZQN) and drove motorhomes from Queenstown to Christchurch over 10 days…then cheap $49 Jetstar flights from CHC-AKL. Stay in AKL for a few days then fly back to Perth (AKL-BNE-PER) one way for 10,000 AA miles per person.

    180,000 US Airways miles for PER-BKK-HKG-GUM-TPE-BKK-AKL for Business Class for 6 people. 60,000 American Airlines miles for AKL-BNE-PER for economy class for 6 people.

  369. My very first milage reward. 55K miles Tus-Dfw-Mia-Lim RT First class. It was more like business, but I greatly enjoyed going to Machu Picchu, and spend some time in Peru.

  370. One of the best was JFK-FRA-HKG-BKK-CDG-FRA-IAD-EWR. All segments (except CDG-FRA and IAD-EWR) were in F. Also had a stopover in FRA. Got to fly LH 744, 748, and 333 and TG 744 and 388 First Class! This was before the UA deval and all this cost 140k.

  371. Runner up for me is BKK-SIN (23 hours and Universal Studios visit)-MLE (destination…stayed 4 nights at Conrad Rangali Island pre hilton devaluation for just over 37,000 HH per night)-SIN-DPS (5 nights in Bali) all for 30,000 US Airways miles per person all in business class.

    Paid $110 each for one way for PER-BKK positioning flights on Tiger Airways and paid for roundtrip flights bangkok to koh Samui (redeeming 2 free nights from hilton reserve card at the conrad koh samui with the private infinity pool on the balcony of each room). Bought one way Bali-Perth one way flights on jetstar for $79 each to get home.

  372. First class on Singapore Airlines from LHR-SIN in March 2013! I was the only person in first class and it was my first Singapore Airlines flight!

  373. BKI-ICN-HKG-SYD-RAR-AKL-ZQN-AKL-SYD-SIN-CGK all in business for 25K miles with a 20 hour stopover in Sydney, three days in the Cook Islands, and a week in Queenstown. The HKG-SYD was Virgin Upper Class.

  374. BMI miles from Europe on Air New Zealand to LAX near the end of them releasing premium award space. Now it is nearly impossible to fly biz on miles with them on long haul routes.

  375. Too late for the contest but so many great redemptions over the years – the most complicated and interesting was my final USAirways Star award for 110k in J to Australia with stops in Asia and Thanksgiving in Paris on the way home – PHL-ORD-ICN-SIN-MEL-BKK-CDG -FRA-PHL on USAirways, Asiana, Singapore, Thai A380, a sympathy strike in CDG to rebook LH CDG-FRA-PHL on US.
    I did a cash/Avios for the MEL-SYD-Hobart portion of the trip. So essentially a RTW ticket for 110k and a bit in tax/fees. I spent my birthday in Sydney with friends, celebrated Thanksgiving in Paris for a few days an experienced the A380 which was pretty cool.

  376. As somebody who is very new to the hobby I’ve yet to take my first big redemption, but with 400k skymiles (ugh, I know but out of NYC they’re just so easy to fly), just under 100k Alaska miles, and over 165k US Air miles I could sure use the help of your consulting service to put together something truly unbelievable!

  377. My very first real redemption is only a week away!!! (2/11)

    This is after over a year of playing this game and researching into days and night. For a family of 4 so I had to accumulate lots of miles compared to those of you singles and couple travelers… not to mention finding the award space for 4 on same flight!!!

    SEA(F in AS)-SFO-DXB-HKT EK A380 first class suite no less for AS 100k miles each for two of us and two business for 85k each or something like that. total 350k miles with $165 in tax and fees. This has cash value of over $40k. 11.45 cent per mile. It has to be one of the best redemption rate.

    from HKT to SIN, two in SQ A380 F suite, two in business. 110k SQ miles transferred from UR points. this is second best at 4.1 cent per UR point. too bed the flight is only 4 hours…

    and from SIN to HKT, 68k SQ miles for 4 in business on Silk Air A320.

    then HKT-ICN-LAX on Asiana B767 and A380 business all the way for 320k united miles for 4 of us and $195 in fee. at 2.47 cent per mile, it’s not too bad either (post devaluation standard)
    I almost got my wife the only available F suite on that A380 but she felt bad for rest of us so all in business.

    and finally LAX to SEA for Virgin American F to finish it off… this one using 88k Amex reward points. not good but at this point, I didn’t care.

    and 2+ weeks at various Marriott and Hyatt properties for another 200k UR points.

    I and my wife have been on F once in our life… on 3 hour flight on AS 737 a decade ago so this would be an amazing trip for all of us.

  378. SFO-HKG on CX 747 upper deck in C, then HKG-SIN on CX 777 with new C (row 12 in the mini-cabin). Then back HKG-SFO in 747 first, all for 125k BA miles, pre-Avios. Simply awesome.

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