One of the cheapest ways to fly first class is to use frequent flyer miles or credit card points. The problem is that once you have accumulated enough miles/points from multiple programs/credit cards, it’s hard to know which ones to use to get the best value. Even if you just want to fly coach. The question then becomes: Which program should you use to get a free ticket? And, what’s the least you spend to get where you’re going?
AwardHacker helps users figure out the answers to these questions. To use it, you just input your route, choose one-way or roundtrip, the cabin you want to fly in (economy, premium economy, business, or first), whether you’re willing to make a stop or not, the type of award (peak or off-peak), and which frequent flyer program (the 20 airlines are listed below) or credit card (Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and/or Starwood Preferred Guest) you want to use and search. The search engine is a little slow, but it’s worth the wait as it will calculate the lowest amount of points/miles available for redemption. It will also give you websites to visit and numbers to call to transfer the points, as well as how long it will take.
For example, I wanted to fly first class one-way from Los Angeles to New York’s JFK. AwardHacker suggested I use Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for 40,000 points to fly in an American Airlines lie-flat bed across the country. American Airlines’ lowest is 50,000 miles and you can only find it available on off-peak days and times. Otherwise, they charge 130,000 miles for this route.
The site works for destinations all around the world, and not just domestic. AwardHacker is a site you definitely want to bookmark. Below are the airlines whose mileage programs are included in every AwardHacker search:
- Air Canada (AC) Aeroplan
- Air France (AF) Flying Blue
- Alaska Airlines (AS) Mileage Plan
- All Nippon Airways (NH) ANA Mileage Club
- American Airlines (AA) AAdvantange
- Asiana Airlines (OZ) Asiana Club
- Avianca (AV) LifeMiles
- British Airways (BA) Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific (CX) Asia Miles
- Delta Air Lines (DL) SkyMiles
- EVA Air (BR) Infinity MileageLands
- Japan Airlines (JL) Mileage Bank
- Korean Air (KE) SkyPass
- Lufthansa (LH) Miles & More
- Malaysia Airlines (MH) Enrich
- Qantas (QF) Frequent Flyer
- Singapore Airlines (SQ) KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines (WN) Rapid Rewards
- United Airlines (UA) MileagePlus
- Virgin America (VX) Elevate
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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