In yesterday morning’s post (Turkish miles: 45K each way for business class to Europe [sweet spot spotlight]), I noted how you can fly to or from Europe in business class for 45K miles each way on Star Alliance carriers. However, it’s worth noting that you can sometimes use a flexible currency like Chase Ultimate Rewards to fly one-way from Europe to the US in business class on a paid ticket for about the same number of points or fly round trip starting in Europe from $1221 (or about 81K points) on TAP Air Portugal.
- TAP Air Portugal is offering pricing from $638 one-way from Europe to New York or Boston in business class or from $1221 round trip, also bookable through credit card portals from about 42K points one way
- Find cheap dates through Google flights
- Keep in mind that a stopover can be added in Lisbon for a small amount more in some cases
- Also note that these fares should earn miles in most Star Alliance programs. Find the fare class and then see Wheretocredit.com for earnings.
I flew one of these really cheap TAP Air Portugal flights originating in Oslo a couple of years ago (I positioned to Oslo from London with a cheap flight). While TAP’s ground game left a bit to be desired (we waited in a bus on the tarmac for what felt like 30 or 40 minutes in Lisbon), the in-flight experience was pleasantly good from Lisbon to Boston.
Nothing about the flight was amazing — apart from the price — but I wouldn’t rate it behind Swiss or Iberia for instance (which each fly similar seat configurations).
What might make this particularly appealing is that those with the Chase Sapphire Reserve can pay as few as 42,642 points one-way in paid business class from Oslo to New York (or Boston).
That’s less than the price of an award ticket with any Star Alliance transfer partner — and the ticket earns miles. As I believe this is a J-class fare, it should earn 200% mileage flown with Avianca LifeMiles or Air Canada’s Aeroplan. That’s more than 10,000 miles earned. Alternatively, it should earn 150% of mileage flown in Turkish Miles & Smiles. That’s more than 7,500 Turkish miles, and we all know what you can do with that.
Of course, you could also use about 81K miles to fly round trip from Europe to the US. You might do that if you wanted to nest this trip with a future trip to Europe. In other words, book yourself something like the 45K award tickets we wrote about yesterday to get to Europe initially, then book a return ticket to get home from Europe and back to Europe again in the future.
For example, maybe you fly to Europe this summer on an award ticket. Then fly back home to the US in July and return to Europe in December to check out the Christmas markets.
Oslo is the cheapest, but not the only origination point for these cheap tickets. You could originate in Copenhagen for $791 one way (less than 60K Chase URs with the CSR) / $1539 round trip (about 103K) or in Dublin for $758 one way (just over 50K one-way) / $1491 round trip (just under 100K round trip).
Keep in mind that in some cases, you can build in a stopover in Lisbon for not much more. For instance, you could fly from Dublin to Lisbon and have a stopover for a few days and continue on to New York for $759.20 or 50,620 Ultimate Rewards one-way if you have the CSR.
Again, considering the fact that you can also earn 7,500-10,000 miles in some valuable mileage programs makes than an even better deal.
TAP Air Portugal has been offering this type of pricing for quite a while now, though prices have dipped a bit over the past few days, so it’s worth taking a look if you’re planning a trip to Euroe and worth keeping in mind that keeping points on hand for flights like these can make more sense than an award ticket in many cases.