Thailand is a beautiful place with gorgeous beaches, great food and amazing history.
We’ve been posting quite a few photos on our Instagram page of Jenny’s trip to Thailand, so we thought it was a good opportunity to go over the best ways to fly to Thailand using points and miles.
If the goal is to maximize your travel, flying in economy is the best way to do it. For most people, getting a free flight across the Pacific Ocean is good enough – no reason to spend well-earned miles for a bigger seat and glass of fancy champagne.
Jenny redeemed 40,000 United miles for a one-way ticket from the United States to Thailand because she wanted to use up her United MileagePlus miles, but there are actually cheaper ways to get there.
Alaska Air Partners (Starting at 30,000 o/w)
The cheapest way to fly to Thailand using points and miles is with the Alaska Air Mileage Plan program through their partner award chart. Since Alaska doesn’t fly to many international destinations, they partner with airlines that do. For many of these partners, you can search on Alaska’s website and you will see the partner flights, however, some require you to call (yes, on the telephone).
With that said, Alaska miles are also one of the hardest to earn as they are not transfer partners with Chase or American Express. The best way to earn Alaska miles is by either flying them or by using the Alaska Air Signature Visa Card.
Below are the three partners airlines that make sense to book flights to Thailand with:
American Airlines – 35,000 miles o/w
Cathay Pacific – 30,000 miles o/w (In order to book Cathay Pacific, travelers must call into Alaska Airlines to book. Award availability will not show up online.)
Hainan Airlines – 30,00 miles o/w (warning: there will be higher imposed taxes/fees)
There are a number of other Alaska partners, but these three are the cheapest. Korean Airlines, Japan Airlines, Emirates and Finnair are also available. Japan Airlines seems to have the most online availability but will cost 40,000 miles each way.
All Nippon Airways (Starting at 55,000 r/t)
ANA, Japan’s major airline, starts at just 55,000 miles round-trip during low season. With ANA award flights, you must book both ways, so a one-way flight isn’t an option. The taxes and fees for ANA flights will be a couple hundred bucks for the roundtrip flight.
You must have an ANA Mileage Club account to search for award flights, so plan to spend 5-10 minutes create one.
American Airlines (Starting at 32,500 o/w)
Flying American Airlines to Thailand is one of the cheaper airlines when using miles. While American Airlines will get you to Asia, you will be flying one of their partners to Thailand.
Cardholders can typically earn at least 60,000 miles from the sign-up bonuses from one of the American Airlines co-branded credit cards from Citi.
Other options (Starting at 40,000 o/w)
There are several other good-value options:
Avianca LifeMiles – 40,000 o/w (Transfer American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points)
Air Canada – 45,000 o/w (Transfer American Express Membership Rewards)
United Airlines – 40,000 o/w (Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards)
Air France – 40,000 o/w (Transfer American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points)
Business & First Class
Many people use points and miles to fly first or business class because it’s the only way it’ll ever happen. For most, spending thousands of dollars on an airline ticket isn’t realistic. With points and miles, premium cabins on international flights typically get the most value. Many of the deals below would be thousands of dollars for a one-way ticket.
Alaska Air Partners (Starting at 50,000 o/w)
Similar to economy, the cheapest way to fly a premium cabin to Thailand using points and miles is by using Alaska Airlines’ partners.
Cathay Pacific Business Class – 50,000 o/w
Cathay Pacific First Class – 70,000 o/w
Hainan Airlines Business Class – 50,000 o/w
Finding business class or first class award availability on a partner airline is much tougher than on a partner airline in economy. But, it can be done with persistent checking.
Similar to economy, the only way to book Cathay Pacific is by calling Alaska Airlines to book the flight over the phone. F
or reference, a Cathay Pacific first class ticket two months out between Seattle and Thailand costs nearly $10,000!
American Airlines (Starting at 70,000 o/w)
Not nearly as good as Cathay Pacific, travelers can redeem 70,000 AAdvantage miles for a one-way business class ticket to Thailand. Despite it being more miles, these miles are easier to earn thanks to a plethora of co-branded credit cards.
All Nippon Airways (Starting at 100,000 r/t)
Similar to economy, ANA also comes into play with its business class redemption from the US to Thailand. Taxes and fees will be in the hundreds of dollars range, but flying business class for just 100,000 miles roundtrip during low season is a steal. With that said, even during high season, it’s tough to find a better deal than 115,000 miles roundtrip.
Again, ANA is a transfer partner of American Express so you can earn miles through regular credit card spending.
As you can see, there are many options to fly both economy or a premium cabin to Southeast Asia. All of the options are made possible by credit card sign-up bonuses, everyday spending and transferring points from banks such as Chase and American Express.