Non-U.S. frequent flyer programmes are the ones where you can extract the most value from your miles. The days of U.S. programmes being the most valuable are long over due to their revenue-based approach and constant devaluations. My favourite Star Alliance frequent flyer programmes include those of Aegean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.
Each of those programmes have some fantastic redemption rates between certain regions – one of my favourite Singapore Airlines awards includes Europe to the Middle East in Business Class one-way for less than 30k miles. That’s right. Business Class on a 6+ hour flight with a “real” experience.
While we all know about Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines and some of their great rates, we often overlook those “other” programmes because we can’t easily get miles into that programme (other than Marriott Bonvoy). One of my favourite programmes is Asiana Airlines Asiana Club – a transfer partner of Marriott and they also have their own Bank of America credit card with a 30k sign-up bonus.
I’ve used Asiana Club for several tickets now and I think it is worth highlighting some fantastic redemption rates they have:
- Europe -> North America/Mexico/Hawaii/Central America
- Business Class: 40k miles one-way
- First Class: 50k miles one-way
- Middle East -> Europe
- Business Class: 30k miles one-way
- First Class: 40k miles one-way
While other redemption rates are also great value, the ones above are the most valuable. The fact that they allow you to redeem just 40k miles all the way from Cyprus to Honolulu is a fantastic deal for Business Class. Or you could fly Lufthansa First Class for 50k miles!
That’s not my favourite award though… Asiana partners with Etihad Airways, which means you can fly the Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartment from Abu Dhabi to Europe for just 40k miles one-way in First Class… now that is one of the best awards, ever. Asiana Club does impose fuel surcharges but depending on the region you originate in, you can potentially lower them by a lot.
The one, major disappointing aspect is that Marriott transfers to Asiana take forever. One of my transfers took two weeks while the other one took six! The Bank of America credit card is definitely worth applying for as you would already have enough miles to fly Business Class from the Middle East to Europe one-way.
As U.S. airlines constantly devalue, it is really time to start looking at foreign programmes as they truly allow you to maximise your miles…