Possibly not many people know the existence of US Airways, one of the smallest ‘large’ airline in the United States is selling miles with the 100% bonus again! That means one can buy a maximum of 100,000 miles for $1,900 or thereabouts and then fly on Business Class between any city in North America and any city in North Asia (Greater China including Hong Kong and Taiwan, Japan, and Korea) by redeeming 90,000 miles. Well $1,900 is not exactly small change and economy class tickets between Vancouver and Tokyo are probably between $900-$1,200 on Air Canada economy class. But do you really want to be stuck on a seat on Air Canada for more than 10 hours? The beauty of this is that the promotion allows flyers to choose from ANA, Asiana, Thai Airways, Air China, Air Canada and United (correspondingly ranked in my order of preference) for flights across the Pacific. Come July, EVA Air will be added to the list as well.
Some of the best uses of the US Airways miles will be for these itineraries:
1) Seattle – Tokyo (Narita) – Seoul (Incheon) – Los Angeles – Seattle
Fly between Seattle to Tokyo on ANA’s 787, then experience a jumbo 747 between Narita and Incheon on Asiana, before returning to Los Angeles on Asiana Airlines 747, with United serving Los Angeles to Seattle. This is possible with 90,000 miles or around $1,900, and you get to stopover in both Tokyo and Seoul while trying out the best Star Alliance members and see what flying premium is all about. ANA will have a mini-Kaiseki meal for Business class passengers and they have Japanese food that is better than 90% of those served in the Japanese restaurants around North America, all while experiencing the best of Asian hospitality in the air and the ground. After this, even business class on Air Canada and United will feel like economy!
2) Singapore – Maldives – Singapore – Bangkok – Tokyo – Singapore
I used a similar itinerary for my past trip which allowed me to fly to Maldives on the cheap and experience Park Hyatt Maldives at a much more affordable cost. This itinerary would need 60,000 miles or around $1,200, with the first Singapore to Maldives and return portion on Singapore Airlines (SQ) Business Class which is also the world’s best airline. Singapore to Bangkok can be done on Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways, and finally Thai Airways to Tokyo, with the return to Singapore on SQ. If there is no award space from Tokyo, try Osaka or Nagoya from Japan. Osaka has the best okonomiyaki and Nagoya has the best hitsumabushi, so both are as desirable to visit as Tokyo. Experience the wonderful lounges of Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways with free flowing Asian cuisine and complimentary massages.
3) Vancouver – Montreal – Zurich – Vienna – New York – Chicago – Vancouver
Why not choose Paris or London or Berlin? Well because I probably would rather fly Swiss Air or Austrian Airlines for the trans-atlantic crossing. Swiss operates between Montreal and Zurich while Austrian flies between New York (JFK) and Vienna. As a fan of Nespresso, I happen to know Swiss serves them on their premium cabins. And why transit in the busy airports of London Heathrow and Frankfurt? After all most of Europe is connected by high speed rail these days, and maybe even domestic flights from Zurich or Vienna anyway. This is a route I would love to do if based in Vancouver and seeking to head to Europe, since the area around Zurich and Vienna is also home to some of the most beautiful alpine sceneries and not to mention fantastic ski resorts. Vancouver to Montreal will be on Air Canada if possible, and the New York to Vancouver segments on multiple flights via United Airlines with a stopover in Chicago maybe? This itinerary can be booked for $2,000 or thereabouts as it uses 100,000 miles.
Watch this video on Swiss Business Class, and look at all the attention to detail Swiss gives to passengers. Both Austrian and Swiss are owned by Lufthansa, and I really appreciate German attention to detail!