So far I’ve done Cheapest Miles to Hawaii, and Cheapest Miles to Europe. And what this is, is a chart comparing all the airline miles prices back to back to show you the best options. In this case I’ll be doing a chart of the best miles from North America to East Asia.
When I say East Asia, I’m including what airlines typically categorize as at least two zones: North Asia and South East Asia. In practicality, it’s everything from Korea to Indonesia.
On to the Charts…
|Virgin Elevate||40||95||Amex MR (2:1)|
|AA||50 – 70||100 – 110||OneWorld||SPG|
|Alaska||50 – 85||100 – 120||SPG|
|Alitalia||60 – 70||90 – 95||SkyTeam||Amex MR, SPG|
|US Airways||60 – 80||110 – 120||OneWorld||SPG|
|Avianca||70 – 78||150 – 156||Star Alliance|
|United||70 – 80||130 – 160||Star Alliance||Chase UR|
|Singapore||70 – 105||160 – 205||Star Alliance||Amex MR, Chase UR, Citi TY, SPG|
|Korean Air||70 – 125||125 – 155||SkyTeam||Chase UR|
|Delta||70 – 170||140 – 325||SkyTeam||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
|Air Canada||75 – 90||150 – 155||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
|Air France||80||200||SkyTeam||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
|Hawaiian||80 – 100||160 – 200||Amex MR, SPG|
Distance Based Programs
Example: SFO – ICN
|ANA||60||90||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
|BA Avios||60||120||OneWorld||Amex MR, Chase UR, SPG|
|Asia Miles||85 – 110||115 – 175||OneWorld||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
Example: CLT – DPS
|ANA||85||125||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
|BA Avios||104||208||OneWorld||Amex MR, Chase UR, SPG|
|Asia Miles||110||160 – 175||OneWorld||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
Read more about these distance based programs and how they price out awards:
- Complete Guide to British Airways Avios
- Best Use of ANA Miles
- Best Use of JAL Miles
- Redeeming Asia Miles
Clarifications on some of the varying region based prices
Most all differences in prices are because there are generally two regions, Southeast Asia and North Asia. North Asia will include Japan, Korea, and often China and Taiwan. Southeast Asia is nearly everything to the south of China, from Indonesia to Vietnam.
But there are some other reasons prices vary
- Hawaiian miles: 80k/160k with AA
- Alaska miles adopts AA’s off-peak to Japan and Korea for 25k
- Alaska miles when booking on Cathay is 60k/100k
- With Asia Miles flights are much cheaper on OneWorld than Cathay Pacific
- When using United miles, it’s slightly cheaper flying on United instead of Star Alliance partners
- Delta just has extreme variations in prices and “saver” awards can be similar to unicorns
FYI, AA’s off-peak to “Japan, Korea, and Mongolia” is October 1 – April 30. Like I said, Alaska mirrors this pricing when you book on AA.
Avoiding Fuel Surcharges
Using United miles, AA miles, and US Airways miles – I know I beat this over the head, but if you look at 90% of the miles I use, it’s AA and United, simply because they don’t pass on insane fuel surcharges. What’s the point of this hobby if I’m paying $650 on a flight anyways?
Use Air Canada Aeroplan Miles on Air China, Singapore, and United – According to my chart of avoiding fuel surcharges, for whatever reason, when you use Air Canada miles on Air China, Singapore, and United, the flights just don’t have fuel surcharges. Same could actually be done if you wanted to route through Europe on Swiss, Brussels, or Scandinavian.
Use British Airways Avios (miles) on AA flights – A lot of people don’t realize that when you use Avios for flights on AA to Asia, the flights just don’t have fuel surcharges.
Best Uses of Miles to Asia
Off-peak with AA (using AA miles or Alaska) is among the best options, but only gets you to Japan or Korea.
US Airways is a very solid option for North Asia for 60k miles in Business Class to North/South Asia for 110k/120k. Not only are those some of the lowest prices, but they don’t pass on fuel surcharges, and the routing rules are generous and include 1 stopover.
United miles are unique in that you can route through a number of places, including Africa to get here. Read more: United Miles Stopover Secrets.
JAL and ANA are once again phenomenal redemptions for certain flights, perhaps especially for flights to northeast Asia and with less connections. Even Avios appear to be a solid option for direct flights, especially on AA (since it won’t have fuel surcharges).
In the end, this chart is about you finding the best flight option with the miles you have or the bank points you have. Again, you can compare this with two other charts:
Hopefully with these charts, figuring out the best miles for your dream trips will be a little easier.