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Have 100k points? Here are 10+ ways you can fly roundtrip international business class ( or even first class! )

a plane with seats and people in the back

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Roundtrip international business class

under 100k points.

We have seen a slew of 100k credit cards offers lately, and flying internationally in business class ( or first class ) is at the top of most people’s wish list. But, how many times have you searched to find ticket prices and found yourself staring at flights costing hundreds of thousands of points? It can be a real hassle. Here’s a few examples of how you could fly roundtrip business, or even first class, for less thank 100k points.

Here’s a look at ANA First Class, one of the example that could be booked with Virgin Atlantic miles for 110k roundtrip from the West Coast to Japan. Amex often has 30% transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic, meaning you could potentially book it for 85k Amex points. Mind Blown.

an airplane seat with seats and windows
ANA First Class “The Suite”

#1 Roundtrip business class under 100k points:

ANA Mileage Club

American Express Membership Rewards has amazing transfer partners ( 16 just with airlines). One of which you may have overlooked is ANA. ANA ( All Nippon Airways) is a Japanese Airline whose loyalty program is called Mileage Club. They’re a member of Star Alliance which means we can use their points to access awards on partner airlines with great business class products like EVA, Asiana, Swiss, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Turkish, etc.

Let’s take a look at how you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards into ANA so you can access sweet spots and fly to Asia and Europe in business class for much less than you’d pay using other airline programs.

Note that transfers to ANA can take a few days which can be nerve racking since award space can easily come and go, but if you’re willing to risk losing award space, the rewards is very competitively priced tickets.

How to book

  • Partner: American Express
  • Transfer Time: 1 to 3 days
  • Best Uses: Roundtrip to Europe and Asia on Star Alliance
  • What to watch out for: Taxes and fees on certain airlines can be very high

Roundtrip to Europe for just 88k ANA points

One thing to keep an eye on is the taxes and fees assessed when using ANA. For instance, United will have reduced taxes and fees vs flying Swiss/Lufthansa/Austrian. Here’s a look at the comparison between a United only roundtrip to/from London vs one that includes Swiss Air

Roundtrip to Asia starting at 75k miles:

This seems almost too good to be true, but if you’re willing to fly low season to Japan, you could fly in ANA’s business class for just 75k miles roundtrip. These rates are for ANA’s own planes.

What are the other rates?

  • 85k Business Class Standard roundtrip from North America to Japan
    • As low as 75k in low season
  • 110k Business standard roundtrip from North America to Asia 2 ( Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, etc )
    • As low as 100k

If you’re lucky you may get one of ANA’s newly redesigned 77W cabins featuring their new business class ” The Room” which many consider the best business class in the world.

an airplane seat with a screen and a monitor
“The Room” courtesy of ana.com

#2Roundtrip business class under 100k points:

Iberia Avios

If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Europe and want to fly business class on the cheap, Iberia could be your answer. Iberia is a partner of the two largest loyalty programs: Chase and Amex. Both programs run transfer bonuses to Iberia annually which means you could do it for even fewer credit points. That

Iberia has incredibly attractive pricing when you fly their own planes to/from Madrid from the US. Don’t want to go to Madrid? Use it as a way to get into Europe comfortably and then buy a cheap economy ticket to your final destination.

How to book

  • Partner: American Express + Chase
  • Transfer Time: Usually between 4 and 8 hours, could be instant or a 24 hours.
  • Best Uses: Roundtrip to Madrid from the East Coast
  • What to watch out for:
    • Partner airlines need to be booked roundtrip ( other than BA )
    • Taxes and fees on certain airlines can be very high
    • Canceling Iberia awards can be cumbersome since they require phoning in
    • The IT is a bit wonky, just keep trying

Roundtrip prices for Iberia Avios

  • East Coast to Madrid for 68k
    • Off Peak
    • Peak is 50k
  • Chicago to Madird is 95k
  • West Coast to Madird is 102k

a stuffed animal on a chair

#3 Roundtrip business class under 100k points:

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Is there an airline in the world that rivals Virgin Atlantic in the cool factor? I think not. But, did you know that Virgin is partnered with most of the biggest programs and very easy to accumulate as a result? And further more, did you know that some of the coolest ways to use Virgin Atlantic miles aren’t flying on Virgin Atlantic? Let’s take a look

How to book

  • Partner: American Express, Bilt, Chase, Citi
  • Transfer Time: Usually instant
  • Best Uses:
    • Roundtrip on ANA to Japan
    • Select Delta routes to Europe at 50k
    • On Virgin Atlantic if you don’t mind the fees
  • What to watch out for:
    • Amex has a transfer bonus at least once a year – keep an eye out for 30% bonus.
    • taxes and fees up the wazoo

Use Virgin Atlantic to fly ANA business and first class roundtrip to Japan

This is hands down, flat out, the biggest bang for your buck. We spoke of ANA earlier, but using Virgin Atlantic Miles, which are much easier to populate than ANA could make your bucket list trip to Japan a whole lot better.

Roundtrip cost from US or Europe to Japan

    • Business Class from the US to Japan ranges 90k to 95k ROUNDTRIP
      • These are also bookable at 50% that price for a one way flight
    • First Class from US to Japan ranges 110k to 120k
      • This is bookable at 50% off one way as well
an airplane seat with a screen and a monitor
“The Room” courtesy of ana.com

Redeem on Delta for 50k each way to/from Europe

    • taxes and fees to London are quite low, but coming back would be a few hundred

a seat in a plane

One way flights on Virgin Atlantic itself

If you want to experience the best Virgin has to offer, fly out of London longhaul and make use of their wonderful club at London Heathrow. You’ll experience expedited checkin, security, and a throwback 60s style lounge complete with a waitstaff to tend to your dining desires.

You can often find rates from the East coast of the USA for under 50k each way.

  • Redeem on Virgin Atlantic roundtrip US to Europe starting at 47.5k
    • Keep an eye on taxes and fees – will run you $500+ each way

an airplane with rows of seats and monitors

#4 Roundtrip business class under 100k points:

Turkish Miles and Smile

Turkish Airlines is arguably the most underutilized program out there that has bank transfer partners. ( Aegean, Korean, and Asiana are underutilized as well, but none of them have as easy of access points like Turkish).  Turkish is partnered with Citi, Capital One, and Bilt. 3 fantastic programs that could make it easy for you to perhaps visit Istanbul, but also access a holiday in Greece since your connecting flight would be short and often serviced by wide body planes featuring lie flat business from IST to ATH.

How to book

  • Partner: American Express, Bilt, Chase, Citi
  • Transfer Time:
    • Could take up to 24 hours – could be instant as well
  • Best Uses:
    • US to Europe for 45k each way.
  • What to watch out for:
    • Turkish IT is a bit difficult, but you’ll get the hang of it
    • Turkish discounts on award travel

Roundtrip to Europe is 90k miles

Pictured below is Turkish’s latest 1-2-1 business class found on their dreamliners. Turkish is known for their incredible catering, but also their subpar 77W business class which features a middle seat in business. Look for routes that avoid this plane and you’ll be a much happier camper

  • Roundtrip to Europe for 90k

a man sitting in a chair on an airplane

#5 Roundtrip business class under 100k points:

Etihad Guest

When people think of Eithad, I’d imagine images of the uber luxurious Etihad Apartments and their great business class studio pop into your head. Funny enough, using Etihad miles to fly Etihad isn’t really the best allocation of your point resources. What is?

Using Etihad miles to fly on American Airlines and Royal Air Maroc. You can fly roundtrip to Africa, Europe, and even Asia for under 100k miles when you deploy Etihad miles for these redemptions.

How to book:

  • Partner: American Express, Capital One, Citi
  • Transfer Time:
    • Usually instant
  • Best Uses:
    • American Airlines
      • US to Europe, South America, or Asia 1
        • for 50k each way in business, 62.5k in first class
      • US to Asia 2
        • for 55k in biz and 67.5k in first class
  • What to watch out for:
    • You must call in to book – often connecting legs don’t populate for Etihad

Using Etihad for American Airlines flights

The hardest part of this redemption is finding the space. What you’ll need to do is search on AA.com and if you see the leg you want pricing in business class at the saver rate. If you see it available at that rate, on a single leg, you can call Etihad and book it. If you’re looking for multiple legs it gets trickier since American marries segments and varies pricing dependent on the combination of those legs. It’s possible to find a combination that Etihad miles can book, but it can take some time.

Currently, saver is:

  • US to Europe/South America
    • Biz = 57.5k
    • First = 85k
  • US to Japan
    • Biz = 60k
  • US to Asia 2
    • Biz = 70k
    • First = 110k

a tv and a television in an airplane

Use Etihad miles for Royal Air Maroc

You can find Royal Air Maroc a few different ways, but the easiest is to look at the Wikipedia page that shows all the routes the airline flies via Casablanca. One you see a city pair, start searching for nonstop flights in a calendar function on AA.com. This will show you the award space. The alternative, search on expertflyer.com

Etihad prices tickets on Royal Air Marco based on the distance per leg. So it doesn’t matter if you’re flying from NYC, MIA, or somewhere in mainland Europe, it’s going to cost you 44k. That isn’t really a steal to go to Europe, but it certainly is a great deal if you’re coming from NYC with a long haul overnight flight.

If you’re adding on a connection to Marrakech keep in mind that another leg will be priced in. It may be worth spending a night in Casablanca and buying a cheap economy ticket onward.

a screenshot of a computer screen

Royal Air Maroc has a great business class aboard their 787-9 dreamliner.

a row of seats in a plane
Royal Air Maroc Business Class 787-9 ( courtesy of Royal Air Maroc )

Overall

Hopefully these ideas to use 100k points will get the creative juices flowing and set you on a course to making some very high value redemptions to make your next trip even better.

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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Welcome Offer

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Annual Fee

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Points Earned

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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

16 Comments

  • Angel February 4, 2022

    Have you seen any similar ways of flying business class to Australia or great deals for that area?

  • Jules February 4, 2022

    Iberia Chicago to Madrid flights are now back to 68,000 Avios off peak.

  • Dan March 27, 2018

    Is there an easy way to find out what the taxes would be before you transfer miles in?

    • Miles March 27, 2018

      It should give you the taxes and fees if you go til the end screen

  • VK March 27, 2018

    and unfortunately ANA is not a travel partner of amex UK. its really sad.

  • UnitedEF March 26, 2018

    Been doing this for years. Used to be 90k. Taxes are usually $300 ish although leaving from Asia it’s been $170. The taxes are irritating but not as bad as Avios.

  • WR March 26, 2018

    Downside is taxes/fees through ANA can be considerable. My SFO-BKK RT J had over $500 in fees.

    • AdamR March 27, 2018

      Just looked at SEA-MAD at taxes were $1210. Not a great redemption rate for LH. Hard pass on this one, guys, if doing NA to Europe.

  • tda March 26, 2018

    What is ANA’s search and booking process like?

    • AdamR March 27, 2018

      Same question. Need to attend a wedding in Europe in June and this would be great but I have zero experience searching and booking through ANA – have only ever flown them as a redemption through Aeroplan. Need some guidance, too.

      • Miles March 27, 2018

        TDA, AdamR – The search on ANA is rather cumbersome. I’d use United or Aeroplan to find the avail you’re looking for and then when you have options use ANA to compare taxes and fees. ANA can be a lot, but there are many options that don’t impose $1200 like you found on LH. The ANA search engine is not easy to use. YOu need to log in —> ANA Mileage Club —- Partner Flights —– Award Reservation… should be able to get through it from there. Check out routing on EVA, not bad on taxes and fees

        • AdamR March 27, 2018

          Thanks! Will check it out now. And yeah, very cumbersome. But having lived in Japan for several years, I don’t know why I was so surprised by this. For the EVA routing to MAD, any pointers on how to force that route? All that was returned was LH.

  • Aaron March 26, 2018

    Do you know if ANA allows open jaw RTs? Would love to fly into, say, Zurich on Swiss metal, then fly back home out of Frankfurt on Lufthansa.

    • Miles March 26, 2018

      Aaron – yes they do, as long as you stay within the same region

  • Maria March 26, 2018

    Is there always availability going to Manila from Dallas using ANA?

    • Miles March 26, 2018

      Maria – it varies, you’ll have to search to find it

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