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Ultimate Honeymoon: Thailand with United miles
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Ultimate Honeymoon: Thailand with United miles

by jeffreyApril 22, 2013
This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Ultimate Honeymoon

Why Thailand?

(this first part is a repeat if you’ve already read the Thailand with Delta Skymiles post)

Ok, so I picked an easy one for our 1st installment: Thailand.

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 10.39.32 PM

Thailand can be an awesome honeymoon pick for a few reasons:

  1. It is home to some of the most exotic beaches and landscape in the world.
    Gallery from our trip in 2011:

  2. You can split your time between beaches and exploring bustling Bangkok or Chiang Mai in the interior. You’ll get a good mix of beach, city and tranquil mountains.
    Gallery from our trip in 2011:

  3. Situated in central Asia, it’s easy to  use United miles and do a stopover in just about anywhere (United miles are very flexible).
  4. Bangkok is a relatively cheap hub to fly into/out of.

How to Get There:

Pay for Airfare

From the East Coast, this will ding you for around $1,300 to $1,700 in Economy, but who wants to fly Economy–especially if you’re on a honeymoon?! Departing from the West Coast should shave a few hundred off those figures.

Use Delta Skymiles (outlined here)

Use United miles

If you have at least 65k United miles, you can book a roundtrip ticket from North America to Thailand in Economy. Booking in Business will cost you 120k miles and isn’t really worth the difference. If you’re willing and able to pay the extra miles for Business, you’re best off paying the full 140k miles it takes to book a roundtrip ticket in the First Class cabin.  But, when taking into consideration you’re booking for two people, 140k miles might already be a stretch, so 280k for Business might be simply out of reach.

Benefits of using United miles to consider when researching:

Like Delta, United allows you to have 1 stopover and 1 open jaw for free! And, given that Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance, you’ll certainly take advantage of this on a visit to Thailand with United miles. This means your final itinerary could look something like (which is the same route we flew a few months ago):

Day 1: Fly US – London-LHR – Bangkok-BKK
Day 2-4: Explore Bangkok
Day 5: Purchase cheap flight to Krabi Beach, Thailand
Day 5-7: Enjoy resorts in Krabi, take boat trip to Phi Phi Islands
Day 7-8: Rent car and drive from Krabi to Khoa Lak and/or Phuket
Day 9: Use open jaw on award to fly direct from Phuket-HKT to Hong Kong-HKG
Day 9-11: Explore Hong Kong
Day 12: Fly from Hong Kong-HKG back to US, using your stopover

This example itinerary makes use of the stopover (in Hong Kong-HKG) and then the open jaw (flying into Bangkok-BKK and then out of Phuket-HKT). This is how you can really maximize your United miles when award booking.

Also import to note: With United, it’s both easy and allowed to route to Bangkok-BKK via Asia or via Europe (at least from the East coast). It’s actually shocking that it’s almost equidistant. Washington-IAD to Bankgok-BKK via London-LHR is 9,635 miles whereas Washington to Bangkok via Tokyo-NRT is 9,642 miles, just a 7 mile difference! How’s that for “exactly on the other side of the world!”

Using United miles on United Aircraft

unitedairlinesplane

Very similar to Delta, the only city that United flies into Bangkok-BKK from is Tokyo-NRT.  So, if you’re looking to get to Bangkok strictly on United aircraft, you absolutely can, but your options will be limited.

US cities to Tokyo-NRT on United:

  • Chicago-ORD
  • Denver-DEN
  • Honolulu-HNL
  • Houston-IAH
  • Los Angeles-LAX
  • Newark-EWR
  • San Francisco-SFO
  • Seattle-SEA
  • Washington-Dulles-IAD

united-us-nrt-bkk

It’s also worth noting, for the sake of planning your stopover, that United flies into Tokyo-NRT from these other cities as well:

  • Guam-GUM
  • Hong Kong-HKG
  • Seoul-ICN
  • Singapore-SIN

united-asia-nrt-bkk

–> How to book your flights

Unlike Delta.com, the United website is actually very good and should make searching for availability a breeze. As a result, I would start your search by simply inputting your desired dates as a one-way search and see what pops up. You’ll want to search as a one-way to start with because booking the stopover and open jaw can get slightly tricky and it’s helpful to have already found your award space to start with.

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 10.11.25 AM-A

Select the “One Way” search, make sure to enter the actual size of your party keeping in mind that if you enter “6” you likely won’t find a single award available–with large groups you’ll probably have to split up, and “Award Travel”

Taking a 4-month sampling, I’m already finding much, much better availability than Delta offers:

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 10.26.35 AM

Right off the bat, I find a low-level Economy that prices at 32.5k miles for the one-way award using the CHS-IAD-NRT-BKK routing:

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 11.11.22 AM

 

If you’re booking a simple round-trip, you can use the search as is on the United site. If, however, you’re interested in taking advantage of the stopover/open jaw, you’ll want to search for your flights with the one-way tool, find your dates and insure availability and then enter the exact dates and routes in the “multiple destinations” search:

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 8.59.32 PM

 

Select your predetermined flights and then cross your fingers that everything prices out correctly:

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 9.00.28 PM-A

Success! Just as expected, my itinerary comes out to 65k miles/person in Economy.

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 9.03.46 PM-A

Your next step is to ticket it if you have enough miles in your account or it gives you an option to hold the reservation until midnight the following day.

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 9.04.10 PM

This can be a very useful feature if you’re still trying to tweak your award, so I would almost encourage not having enough United miles in your account so you have the option to reserve–it just gives you a little extra flexibility. You’ll then need to call in and have the award ticketed once your transfer the miles to your account.

Using United miles on Thai Airways

thaiairwaysplane

If you aim is to get to Thailand and you’re using United miles, then you’re very fortunate in that Thai Airways–the national airline of the South Pacific country–is a Star Alliance member. Thai has an excellent reputation for service, especially in its First Class cabin.

Thai Airways has a very impressive route network throughout Europe, giving you dozens of great stop over/open jaw choices if you choose to stop in Europe when going to/from Thailand, but only one route choice from the U.S.

In fact, the only U.S. city that Thai flies to is Los Angeles-LAX — but it requires a stop in Seoul-ICN:

thai-lax-icn-bkk

Makes sense that they stop though: Seoul-ICN couldn’t be more perfectly enroute to Bangkok-BKK. With the stop, it’s 8,271 miles. Without it? 8,270 miles, just a 1 mile difference.

So, if you’re flying Thai, you’ll either be headed West and take the flight above or taking a Star Alliance partner flight (United, US Air, Lufthansa etc..) to connect you to one of these Thai Airways cities:

European cities to Bangkok-BKK on Thai Airways

  • Brussels-BRU (2-class cabin B 777-300, no First)
  • Copenhagen-CPH (2-class cabin B 777-300, no First and VERY LITTLE availability in Business)
  • London-LHR (2x flights daily aboard 3-class cabin on B747)
  • Paris-CDG (3-class cabin on A380!)
  • Madrid-MAD (2-class cabin B 777-300, no First)
  • Munich-MUC
  • Frankfurt-FRA (2x flights daily on 3-class cabin on A380! and on 3-class cabin B747)
  • Rome-FCO (3-class cabin on A340-600)
  • Milan-MXP
  • Moscow-DME
  • Stockholm-ARN
  • Zurich-ZRH (3-class cabin on A340-600)

thai-europe-bkk

Most (if not all) of these routes will have Thai’s Royal First cabin and, if you’ve already planned to splurge on the First Class award, I would highly recommend making sure you get to try it. Here’s a gallery from our flight from London-LHR to Bangkok-BKK in Royal First:

The other huge advantage you have in using United/Star Alliance miles to travel around Thailand is that Thai Airways flies to just about every city in Thailand, again leaving you with huge opportunities for stopovers/open jaws.

The top tourist destinations include Bangkok-BKK to (in order of popularity?):

  • Phuket-HKT
  • Chiang Mai-CNX
  • Krabi-KBV
  • Ko Samui-USM
  • Chiang Rai-CEI
  • Surat Thani-URT

thai-bkk-domesticthailand

A great option is the one we used on our trip:  we took the London-LHR to Bangkok-BKK route on the way in and then took the non-stop Thai Airways Phuket-HKT to Hong Kong-HKG route on the way home.

Using United miles on Asiana Airways:

asianaplane

Pros: Great First Class, even new First Class Suite is bookable, routes directly to Phuket-HKT or Bangkok-BKK, have the option of routing via Europe as well

Cons: Routing via Europe likely only available from Eastern U.S., planning a stopover in Seoul could be risky with North Korea situation

Asiana Airways, headquartered in Seoul-ICN, has a great reputation for their superb quality First Class cabin and service. If you’re interested in flying on Asiana, you’ll most likely fly from the US to Seoul-ICN over the Pacific from one of these cites:

  • Chicago-ORD on Boeing 777-200ER = New First Class Suites
  • Honolulu-HNL
  • Los Angeles-LAX on Boeing 747-400 = Older First Class Cabin
  • New York-JFK on Boeing 777-200ER = New First Class Suites (starting July 22)
  • San Francisco-SFO
  • Seattle-SEA

asiana-us-icn-bkk

If you can’t find what you need availability-wise leaving from the US, you can also take United/US/Lufthansa/Swiss from the US to Europe and then fly Asiana from one of the cities listed below to Seoul-ICN:

  • Paris-CDG
  • Frankfurt-FRA
  • London-LHR

asiana-europe-icn-bkk

Note: You can probably pull off flying from the East Coast to Bangkok-BKK via Europe and Seoul-ICN, but there’s a good chance it won’t be allowable when flying from the West Coast. You’ll likely violate the MPM (Maximum Permitted Mileage) rules for a United award ticket.

Once in Seoul-ICN, you’ll be able to fly directly to either Bangkok-BKK:

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 7.06.38 PM

At least 3 direct flights daily, your choice from Thai Airways or Asiana. The aircraft only offers Economy and Business Class, no First Class on this route.

Or directly from Seoul-ICN to Phuket-HKT:

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 7.05.33 PM

At least 2 direct flights daily, your choice from Thai Airways or Asiana. The aircraft only offers Economy and Business Class, no First Class on this route.

asianab747first3

Asiana First Class in Boeing 747-400

asianab747first2

Asiana First Class in Boeing 747-400

asianab747first

Asiana First Class in Boeing 747-400

asianab747first4

I mean, look how comfortable this dude looks.

I would personally try to shoot for their First Class suite that will begin flying JFK-ICN on July 22, 2013:

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 7.44.33 PM

Using United miles on ANA – All Nippon Airways:

anaplane

Pros: Get to fly on Boeing 787 Dreamliner (they have 17), if stopping over in Tokyo-NRT you have many choices for the Bangkok-BKK connection

Cons: Might have to fly on Boeing 787 Dreamliner (they have 17)

U.S. cities with routes to Tokyo-NRT (and a few to Tokyo-HND) on ANA, complete guide with current aircraft and routes:

  • Chicago-ORD (careful, switches between new/old 777-300ER)
  • Honolulu-HNL (both to Tokyo-NRT & Tokyo-HND, on old 767-300ER)
  • Los Angles-LAX (To Tokyo-NRT on new 777-300ER with First Class, to Tokyo-HND on old 777-200ER)
  • New York-JFK (careful, switches between new/old 777-3ooER)
  • San Francisco-SFO (on new 777-300ER with First Class)
  • San Jose-SJC (route suspended until Aug 2013)
  • Seattle-SEA (on old 777-300ER)
  • Washington-IAD (on old 777-300ER)

If routing to Tokyo-NRT via Europe on ANA, like Asiana, you’ll have to fly a different carrier from the US to Europe:

  • London-LHR to Tokyo-NRT (on new 777-300ER with First Class)
  • Paris-CDG to Tokyo-NRT (on new 777-300ER with First Class)
  • Frankfurt-FRA to Tokyo-NRT (on new 777-300ER with First Class)
  • Munich-MUC to Tokyo-NRT (on old 777-300ER)

ana-us:europe-nrt-bkk

 

Once in Tokyo-NRT, you’ll have an insane number of choices to get to Bangkok-BKK including United, Thai, ANA and Air Japan. It’s important to note that United is the only carrier to offer a First Class cabin (it’s their Fifth Freedom route that is a continuation from their flights from the U.S.):

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 9.55.50 PM

Example of award availability from Tokyo to Bangkok

ANA offers a First Class cabin on their Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, and, although not a full-on “Suite,” the “First Class Square” gives a huge amount of privacy and looks very nice:

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.48.33 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.42.19 PM Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.43.16 PM

ana777300erFIRST

ANA’s new Business is a Staggered Business that, again, has a good deal of privacy:

New Business class on 777-300ER

New Business Class on 777-300ER

ana777300erbiz2

New Business Class on 777-300ER

Using United miles on Air China

airchinaplane

Pros: Air China has tons of availability in all classes, you can easily book in Economy, Business and First, a stopover in Beijing would be easy

Cons: A stopover in China will cost $130+ for a US citizen to get a VISA no matter the length of stay, their Business Class appears to be nothing special, many of the other carriers covered would offer a better experience

Routes you can fly from the US to Beijing-PEK on Air China:

  • Houston-IAH (begins July 2013) on 777-300ER
  • Los Angeles-LAX –> 2x flights daily on new 777-300ER
  • New York-JFK –> on 777-300ER, slim availability in Business/First
  • San Francisco-SFO –> on Boeing 747-400 (old?)

airchina-us-pek-bkk

You should be able to find plenty of availability on Air China from any of the US cities they serve:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 10.23.30 PM

Then, to get to Thailand, you can then choose to fly to either:

  • Bangkok-BKK (4x flights per day, 2 Thai & 2 Air China)
  • Phuket-HKT (little availability)

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 11.04.35 PM

 

airchina-pek-bkk:hkt

Air China Business Class:

airchina777-300ERbusiness1

Air China Business Class on new 777-300ER

airchina777-300ERbusiness2

Air China Business Class on new 777-300ER

airchina777-300ERbusiness3

Air China Business Class on new 777-300ER

Air China First Class:

airchina777-300ERfirst4

Air China First Class on new 777-300ER, almost like a suite

airchina777-300ERfirst3

Air China First Class on new 777-300ER, almost like a suite

airchina777-300ERfirst2

Air China First Class on new 777-300ER, almost like a suite

Using United miles on Air Canada:

aircanadaplane

Pros: Direct flights from N. America to 5 different Asian cities (giving you awesome flexibility) + those Asian cities have great availability to Bangkok-BKK or Phuket-HKT, “Business Class” as shown on United is actually Air Canada’s “Executive First Suites”

Cons: Finding award space from your US city to Canada might be the weak link

Air Canada is a lot like a United or Delta in the sense that they have multiple hubs giving you better choices for direct flights to the same cities. Your options from Canada to Bangkok-BKK over the Pacific include flying via:

  • Beijing-PEK from Toronto-YYZ (new Boeing 777-300ER with First Suites) and Vancouver-YVR (older Boeing 767-300)
  • Tokyo-NRT from Calgary-YYC, Vancouver-YVR and Toronto-YYZ
  • Hong Kong-HKG from Toronto-YYZ and Vancouver-YVR (new Boeing 777-300ER with First Suites)
  • Shanghai-PVG from Toronto-YYZ and Vancouver-YVR
  • Seoul-ICN from from Toronto-YYZ (new Boeing 777-300ER with First Suites) and Vancouver-YVR (older Boeing 767-300)

aircanada-canada-asia

 

aircanda777300er2

Executive First Suites (aka Business Class) on *updated* Boeing 777-300ER

aircanda777300er3

Air Canada installed some signature cabin lighting on new 777-300ER, pretty…sexy?

This gives you the flexibility of stopping over in a number of Asian cities and then continuing on to Thailand using:

  • Beijing-PEK  –> Bangkok-BKK direct on Air China and Thai Airways (4x daily)
  • Beijing-PEK –> Phuket-HKT direct on Air China (only 3x per week)
  • Tokyo-NRT –> Bangkok-BKK direct on United, ANA (All Nippon Airways) or Thai Airways
  • Hong Kong-HKG –> Bangkok-BKK direct on Thai Airways (5x daily) w/ First Class
  • Shanghai-PVG  –> Bangkok-BKK direct on Thai Airways (2x daily)
  • Seoul-ICN –> Bangkok-BKK direct on Asiana Airlines and Thai Airways (3x daily)
  • Seoul-ICN –> Phuket-HKT direct on Asiana Airlines and Thai Airways (2x daily)

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 8.30.46 AM

Air Canada’s main hub at Toronto hits by far the most European cities, but be sure to check some Montreal-YUL, Vancouver-YVR and Calgary-YYC for additional award space:

  • Copenhagen-CPH
  • Frankfurt-FRA <– Montreal-YUL & Calgary-YYC too
  • Geneva-GVA <– Montreal-YUL too
  • Istanbul-IST
  • London-LHR <– Montreal-YUL & Vancouver-YVR too
  • Paris-CDG <– Montreal-YUL too
  • Tel Aviv-TLV
  • Zurich-ZRH
  • Barcelona-BCN
  • Dublin-DUB
  • Madrid-MAD
  • Rome-FCO <– Montreal-YUL too
  • Brussels-BRU <– Montreal-YUL only

aircanada-canada-europe

 

Your stopover & open-jaw opportunities are limitless as you can fly from the following cities onward to Bangkok-BKK (choices with First Class in bold):

  • Brussels-BRU –> Direct on Thai Airways (2-class cabin B 777-300, no First)
  • Dublin-DUB –> No direct flight
  • London-LHR –> Direct on Thai Airways (2x flights daily aboard 3-class cabin on B747)
  • Madrid-MAD –> Direct on Thai Airways (2-class cabin B 777-300, no First)
  • Barcelona-BCN –> No direct flight
  • Geneva-GVA –> No direct flight
  • Zurich-ZRH –> Direct on Thai Airways (3-class cabin on A340-600) and SWISS (only bookable up to Business on A340-300)
  • Frankfurt-FRA –> Direct on Thai Airways (2x flights daily on 3-class cabin on A380! and on 3-class cabin B747) and Lufthansa (only bookable up to Business on B747-400)
  • Paris-CDG –> Direct on Thai Airways (3-class cabin on A380!)
  • Copenhagen-CPG –> Direct on Thai Airways (2-class cabin B 777-300, no First and VERY LITTLE availability in Business) and SAS Scandinavian Airlines Systems (2-class cabin A340-300, VERY LITTLE availability at all)
  • Istanbul-IST –> Direct on Turkish Airlines (2x flights daily aboard 2-class cabin A340-300/A330)
  • Tel Aviv-TLV –>  No direct flight
  • Rome-FCO –> Direct on Thai Airways (3-class cabin on A340-600)
Cities with 3-class cabins in purple

Cities with 3-class cabins in purple

 

Using United miles on SWISS Airlines:

swissairplane

Pros: Solid Business Class, stopover opportunity in Zurich

Cons: Can’t redeem United miles for First Class on Swiss

SWISS Airlines flies from their hub in Zurich-ZRH to the following US cities:

  • Boston-BOS
  • Chicago-ORD
  • Los Angeles-LAX
  • Miami-MIA
  • Newark-EWR
  • New York-JFK
  • San Francisco-SFO

swiss-us-zrh-bkk

From what I can tell, it’s virtually impossible to redeem your United miles for a seat in SWISS’ First Class cabin, so you’ll have to be content with their Business Class product which fortunately looks above par:

swissbusiness2

swissbusiness1

swissbusiness3

 

Using United miles on Lufthansa:

lufthansaplane

Pros: Huge number of flights from U.S. cities to Frankfurt/Munich, can fly the new Airbus A380 on certain routes, can do a stopover in Frankfurt/Munich

Cons: You can’t book First Class with United miles, however Business Class is bookable and a pretty solid-looking product

Lufthansa serves the following U.S. cities from their hubs in Frankfurt-FRA & Munich-MUC (make sure to check all desirable choices for your flights to Germany while keeping in mind that the only flight to Bangkok-BKK leaves from Frankfurt-FRA):

  • Atlanta-ATL only to Frankfurt-FRA
  • Boston-BOS to Munich-MUC & Frankfurt-FRA
  • Charlotte-CLT only to Munich-MUC
  • Chicago-ORD to Munich-MUC & Frankfurt-FRA
  • Dallas-DFW only to Frankfurt-FRA
  • Denver-DEN only to Frankfurt-FRA
  • Detroit-DTW only to Frankfurt-FRA
  • Houston-IAH only to Frankfurt-FRA –> Airbus A380 route
  • Los Angeles-LAX to Munich-MUC  & Frankfurt-FRA –> Boeing 747-800 route
  • Miami-MIA only to Frankfurt-FRA –> Boeing 747-800 route
  • Newark-EWR to Munich-MUC  & Frankfurt-FRA
  • New York-JFK to Munich-MUC  & Frankfurt-FRA –> Airbus A380 route
  • Orland-MCO only to Frankfurt-FRA
  • Philadelphia-PHL only to Frankfurt-FRA
  • San Francisco-SFO to Munich-MUC  & Frankfurt-FRA  –> Airbus A380 route
  • Seattle-SEA only to Frankfurt-FRA
  • Washington-IAD to Munich-MUC  & Frankfurt-FRA –> Boeing 747-800 route

lufthansa-europe-bkk

 

It goes without saying that a Frankfurt/Munich stopover and/or open jaw would be a perfect choice when flying Lufthansa.

Finding limited Business Class space from LAX-FRA and, like SWISS above, not a single First Class seat. Lufthansa Business Class:

lufthansa1

Lufthansa Business cabin on Boeing 747-800

lufthansa2

Lufthansa Business cabin on Boeing 747-800

 

Using United miles on Egypt Air:

egyptairplane

Pros: Looking for an exotic, adventurous stopover? How about Cairo, Egypt?!

Cons: Cairo might not be the most stable place on this large planet of ours.

Egypt Air flies one route from the US to Egypt: New York-JFK to Cairo-CAI:

egyptair-jfk-cai-bkk

It actually turns out to be one of the more direct routes from the US to Bangkok via the Atlantic and it’s bookable in Economy/Business:

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.51.08 PM

EgyptAir operates Boeing 777-300 between these cities, which only offers up to a Business Class (full trip report here), not First, although it looks quite nice (much better than Delta!):

egyptair1

Business Class on EgyptAir Boeing 777-300

egyptair2

Business Class on EgyptAir Boeing 777-300

egyptair3

Business Class on EgyptAir Boeing 777-300

 

Using United miles on Ethiopian Airlines:

ethiopianairlines

Pros: If you thought Cairo, Egypt was an exotic stopover, then you’ll just love Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!, they fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a rotating basis (schedule here)

Cons: Seems to be hard/impossible to book Business Class with United miles and, even if you could, their Business Class looks pretty crappy on most of their aircrafts.

Ethiopian Air flies a direct flight from Washington-IAD to Addis Ababa-ADD on their Boeing 767-300:

ethiopian-iad-add-bkk

Bu, unfortunately, it looks like you won’t be able to book any of their Business Class space on the IAD-ADD leg:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 8.58.12 AM

 

The Addis Ababa-ADD to Bangkok-BKK leg does show availability in Business, however:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 9.01.21 AM

 

Don’t get too excited, though, since their Business Class product looks pretty terrible (which probably explains why they don’t have any pictures on their website):

ethiopianbusiness1

Ethiopian Airlines Business Class on Boeing 767-300

ethiopianbusiness2

Ethiopian Airlines Business Class on Boeing 767-300

Unless you’re lucky enough to fly one of the few updated Boeing 777-200LR planes in Business:

ethiopianbusiness3

Updated Business Class on Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 777-200LR

ethiopianbusiness4

Updated Business Class on Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 777-200LR

 

Using United miles on Singapore Airlines:

singaporeairlinesplane

Pros: Singapore Airlines has some of the nicest premium cabins in the world (see “Cons”)

Cons: Singapore Airlines has tightened their availability for United awards to the point that it’s virtually impossible to book Business, First or First Suites now (there are a few exceptions as noted below).

Singapore Airlines flies from the following US cities to Singapore-SIN, but nearly every flight requires a refueling stop given the distance:

  • Newark-EWR non-stop
  • New York-JFK w/ a stop in Frankfurt-FRA
  • Houston-IAH w/ a stop in Moscow-DME
  • Los Angeles-LAX w/ a stop in Tokyo-NRT
  • San Francisco-SFO w/ a stop in Seoul-ICN/Hong Kong-HKG

singapore-us-sin-bkk

Other options if you’re just wanting to try out Singapore Airline’s world renowned service:

  • Manchester-MAN
  • London-LHR
  • Amsterdam-AMS
  • Paris-CDG
  • Copenhagen-CPH
  • Frankfurt-FRA
  • Zurich-ZRH
  • Munich-MUC
  • Milan-MXP
  • Moscow-DME
  • Barcelona-BCN
  • Rome-FCO — some availability in Business Class
  • Istanbul-IST
  • Cairo-CAI — a lot of availability in Business Class

singapore-europe-sin-bkk

The non-stop Newark-EWR to Singapore-SIN route is an all Business Class aircraft, meaning the airplane has 100 Business Class seats and no Economy seat and it’s currently the world’s longest flight!–pretty cool, right?:

sq21

Cabin of SQ 21 from EWR-SIN

The bad news? They’re canceling the flight in Nov 2013 and it’s currently impossible to book a seat on it using United miles (AMEX points –> KrisFlyer miles is a different story and will be covered in a future post).

Here’s an example of Singapore’s availability from Paris-CDG to Singapore-SIN:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 9.48.37 PM

There’s availability almost everyday in Sep/Oct 2013 but in Economy only, on the plus side it’s on Singapore’s Airbus A380.

They do, however, release more Business/First award space on their regional flights:

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 9.49.12 PM

 

 

Using United miles on Brussels Airlines flights:

brusselsairlinesplane

Pros: Pretty good looking Business Class seat

Cons: Very few options to get from the U.S. to Brussels

Brussels Airlines isn’t a very strong option for getting from the US to Thailand, in fact they only offer the following choices from their Brussels-BRU hub:

  • New York-JFK
  • Washington-IAD

You’ll then have to use another carrier like Thai Airways to get you the majority of the way to Bangkok-BKK.

brusselsairlines-us-bru-bkk

 

Another not so great thing is that Brussels Airlines operates a two-cabin Airbus A330-300 with Business and Economy on their JFK and IAD routes:

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 5.36.21 PM

 

But they have been recently updated:

airbrusselsa3301

Looks very similar to Lufthansa’s Business Class

 

airbrusselsa3302

Whereas you could fly United’s Boeing 777-200 in Global First:

Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 5.41.57 PM

 

Using United miles on SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System):

sasplane

Pros: Can easily arrange a stopover or open-jaw in Scandinavia

Cons: SAS only has 2-class cabin from US to Scandinavia

SAS flies to following routes to/from the U.S.:

  • Newark-EWR–> Copenhagen-CPH (2-class A340-300), Oslo-OSL (2-class A330), Stockholm-ARN (2-class A330-300)
  • San Francisco-SFO–> Copenhagen-CPH (slim to no availability)
  • Chicago-ORD–> Stockholm-ARN (2-class A330-300), Copenhagen-CPH (2-class A340-300)
  • Washington-IAD–> Copenhagen-CPH (2-class A340-300)

sas-us-scan-bkk

 

Options from Scandinavia to Bangkok-BKK include:

  • Copenhagen-CPG –> Direct on SAS (2-class cabin A340-300) and Thai Airways (2-class cabin B777-300, little Business availability but plenty in Economy)
  • Stockholm-ARN –> Direct on Thai Airways (2-class cabin B777-300)
  • Oslo-OSL –> Direct on Thai Airways (2-class cabin B777-200, little Business availability but plenty in Economy)
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About The Author
jeffrey
jeffrey
  • Neel

    Wow…this is fantastic information and truly appreciate all the effort that has gone into compiling this. Thank you.
    Will be coming back and checking for more useful stuff.

    • http://weekendblitz.com/ Jeffrey @ WeekendBlitz

      Thanks Neel!

      We’ll be coming out with many more in-depth guides like this one. Glad you found it useful!

  • Nick Walker

    What can I say…..EXCELLENT!!

    • http://weekendblitz.com/ Jeffrey @ WeekendBlitz

      Thanks Nick! Keep checking back and spread the word to your friends.
      -Jeffrey