A list of mileage anomalies that leads to big savings.
Most airlines charge 60,000 miles for a coach ticket between the U.S. and Europe. But by combining one little-utilized loyalty program, with our favorite credit card, Starwood Preferred Amex, you can get Business Class for just 53,000 miles.
Japan Airlines + Starwood
Japan Airlines uses a Flight Distance Chart, which bases the miles required on the distance between the departure and arrival cities.
Business Class for only 3,000 more miles than economy
Sample savings: Chicago-London mileage rate for every day low or standard Business Class awards is 100,000 to 125,000 miles round-trip with most major airlines. But if you use Japan Airlines partner award chart, the ticket costs only 63,000 miles round-trip—only 3,000 miles more than economy. To take advantage of this mileage award discrepancy, transfer 53,000 Star points to Japan Airlines.
More Sample Savings with Japan Airlines
|Routes||Operating Airline||Mileage Cost|
|New York - Dusseldorf||Air Berlin||63,000|
|Charlotte - London; Chicago - London; New York - Barcelona, London, Manchester and Paris; Philadelphia - Brussels, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, London, Madrid and Paris; Raleigh Durham - London||American|
|Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York,Philadelphia and Washington, DC - London||British Airways|
|Boston and New York - Madrid||Iberia|
|Chicago - Berlin||Air Berlin||65,000|
|Charlotte - Frankfurt; Chicago - Paris;Dallas - London, Madrid and Paris; Miami - London, Madrid, Paris and Barcelona; New York - Milan; Philadelphia - Rome||American|
|Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston,Miami, Orlando and Seattle - London||British Airways|
|Chicago and Miami - Madrid||Iberia|
|Los Angeles - Dusseldorf||Air Berlin||80,000|
|Dallas - Frankfurt; Los Angeles - London;Phoenix - London||American|
|Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix - London||British Airways|
|Los Angeles - Madrid||Iberia|
Second Deal: Good, But Not As Good
Differences also occur in programs that use a Zone Chart within the same alliance. Under this system, the world is divided into zones, with one mileage cost for any destination within a given zone.
Sample savings: Los Angele’s Frankfurt mileage rate for every day low or standard Business Class awards is 100,000 to 125,000 miles round-trip with most major airlines. But if you use Asiana Airlines partner award chart, the ticket costs only 80,000 miles round-trip—only 20,000 miles more than economy. To take advantage of this mileage award discrepancy, transfer only 65,000 Star points to Asiana — and the cost drops to almost the same as economy.
Zone Mileage Programs with Business Class to Europe for 80,000 Miles Round-trip
|Routes||Operating Airline||Mileage Program|
|Boston - London||Virgin Atlantic||Virgin Atlantic|
|New York - London|
|Washington, DC - London|
|U.S. and Canada to Europe*||Star Alliance Airlines (such as Lufthansa, SWISS, and United||Asiana|
|Continental U.S. and Canada to Europe**||SkyTeam Airlines (such as Air France, Alitalia, Delta, and KLM)||Alitalia MilleMiglia***|