Edit: Sorry for any misunderstanding – I added the word “Each” to the title to make it more clear.
I love checking out award charts for various frequent flyer programs. There are some true gems hiding in many of the smaller programs for sure! But, almost as fun is checking the region definitions of programs. Did you know that Israel is in 4 different region categories according to various programs? 🙂
Two Cool Business Class Awards for 40K SPG Points Each – If You Can Book Them
Let me highlight two of these kinds of awards and they are within the same program. Aegean’s Miles+Bonus program has a lot to like about it and they are currently my favorite award program for business class travel between the US and Europe (45,000 miles one way on Star Alliance carriers). Hopefully, this gets you thinking about some of the awards that are possible with other programs!
Aegean is a transfer partner of SPG’s Starpoints. They transfer at a rate of 1:1 with the same 5,000 mile bonus on every block of 20,000 points that other programs have. That means that transferring 40,000 SPG points to Aegean will actually give you 50,000 Aegean miles – 5,000 more than you will need for either of these awards.
Note: One of the things that can make awards like these difficult is the Aegean rule that only allows 1 stopover, which is your connection. That severely limits some options on routes like this and it can be difficult to find the exact routes you would need to fit in this rule.
Award #1 – Trinidad -> Tel Aviv, Israel
This is an unusual one and something that would probably not entice a whole lot of people! But, what makes it interesting is that Trinidad is just about 7 miles off the coast of Venezuela – so it is that close to the continent of South America. Israel, on the other hand, is what most people would consider as being in the Middle East.
How Many Miles?
If you were to book a business class award with United for this route, it would cost you 75,000 miles. If you were to book with a carrier like Air Canada using United miles, it would cost you 85,000 miles.
With Aegean, it would only cost 45,000 miles. That is because Aegean classifies Trinidad as part of the North America region (and there is a whole lot that fits in there!) and counts Israel as part of Europe and North Africa. So, a simple Newark to London business class award would cost the same 45,000 miles that a Port of Spain, Trinidad to Tel Aviv, Israel (via Newark) would cost!
Award availability for Newark to Tel Aviv on United in business class is notoriously hard to find! This is a major route for United and they do not have that big of a problem filling their business class cabin.
Still, there have been some days that it opens up! And, if it doesn’t and you still want to take advantage of this route, economy is available for only 30,000 miles for Trinidad to Tel Aviv! 🙂
You could also check out Air Canada with Port-of-Spain to Toronto to Tel Aviv. Availability is still not great but it is another option.
Award #2 – South America -> South Africa
Here is another fun one! There are a couple of options that can fly you from cities in South America to Europe and then on to Johannesburg. United lets you fly from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Johannesburg for only 45,000 miles in business class – but it must be the direct South Africa flight.
With Aegean, you theoretically can book on something like Swiss Air from Sao Paulo to Zurich to Johannesburg – for only 45,000 miles in business class!
That is over 20 hours of business class on a great airline for only 40,000 SPG points! Not bad at all! It can also be done with Turkish Airlines through Istanbul for an even longer business class experience. United charges 97,500 miles for that same kind of ticket!
If you wanted to maximize your business class experience, this is definitely a way to do it!
I spoke to several agents after finding flights that would work and keep inside the 1 connection rule. Almost all of them could not see any of the options I had found.
When I fed the flights to one of the agents, she was able to find it and she confirmed that it would be 45,000 miles. Each agent I spoke with also said that such an award would be 45,000 miles (transiting Europe) – if they could find availability.
If you can find it, this would definitely be a nice award to take advantage of, especially if you take advantage of the 24 hour layover limit and hit a European city enroute to South Africa.
These routings are more about some fun possibilities than anything else for most of us due to the location of them. But, it does go to show what could be possible with various programs when we dive into them to see what is available. Remember, do not just look at the award chart but also look at the region definitions to see what gems may be hiding there!
Have you ever booked one of these awards?