Cheapest First Class Redemptions – Once you’ve savored the luxury of first-class travel, it’s challenging to settle for anything less. Who can resist indulging in the finest Champagne, gourmet dining, spacious private suites, and, in certain instances, the opportunity to enjoy a sky-high bath?
Certainly, luxury in the air often comes with a hefty price tag. Many point to an economy-class redemption, but first-class award tickets can be earned up to three times the points. Moreover, airlines impose increasingly high surcharges.
Nevertheless, with strategic points utilization, there are first-class redemptions that require only a modest amount of frequent flyer points or miles, accompanied by minimal carrier surcharges.
To inspire your travels, here’s a compilation of three routes offering first-class experiences at remarkably low points costs. These can be booked through loyalty programs accessible to Australian-based travelers.
Each journey includes perks like vintage Champagne and access to some of the world’s premier airline lounges.
Hong Kong – Tokyo Haneda, Cathay Pacific (40,000 Asia Miles) – Cheapest First Class Redemptions
Hong Kong to Tokyo Haneda is reclaiming its popularity as travel resumes, offering Cathay Pacific’s esteemed first-class fares starting from just ¥40,000 one-way, plus applicable carrier fees/taxes through Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. The journey kicks off with an exceptional ground experience, providing access to Cathay Pacific’s recently reopened flagship First Class lounge, ‘Wing.’ Designed by Ilse Crawford, this lounge features an a la carte restaurant with an extensive menu (a pro tip: try the signature ‘Dan Dan’ noodles), a Champagne bar, and chic spaces for relaxation.
During my journey, I had the privilege of enjoying a brief stay in a special ‘Cabana’ – an entirely private space equipped with a walk-in shower, leather day bed, desk, and wardrobe.
Operating on the 777, Cathay Pacific’s first-class cabin boasts an intimate and private setting with just six seats. The four-hour flight duration provides passengers with the perfect window to unwind and relish a lavish meal, complete with vintage William Deutz Milsime Champagne.
As the transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Cathay’s Asia Miles currency is easily accessible to Australian travelers. Apart from Cathay Pacific redemptions, it delivers exceptional value when used for travel on oneworld carriers, including Qantas.
Embarking on this route from Hong Kong will set you back approximately $78 AUD.
Singapore – Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines (from 45,000 KrisFlyer miles)
Singapore Airlines has earned a longstanding reputation for establishing the benchmark in first-class travel, delivering world-class service and an outstanding, durable product. Presently, Singapore Airlines utilizes Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for this 3.5-hour flight, with the potential addition of A380 services when travel to Hong Kong resumes.
Embarking on your journey from Singapore offers a lavish pre-flight experience in the recently refurbished The Private Room – Singapore Airlines’ exclusive lounge designed for First Class guests.
Indulge in the offerings of free-flowing Taittinger Comtes and savor exquisite dishes from a decadent à la carte menu (a recommendation: don’t miss out on the delectable lobster dishes and signature satays).
A single-way ‘Saver’ redemption on this route comes at a cost of just Rs 45,000 in KrisFlyer miles, while opting for the slightly pricier ‘Advantage’ award requires 73,000 miles. Taxes remain minimal, totaling approximately $80.
While Singapore Airlines doesn’t frequently release budget-friendly ‘Saver’ award redemptions for this route, they occasionally become available on short notice.
Sydney – Christchurch, Emirates (64,500 Quanta Points)
Emirates has discontinued several of its previous fifth freedom trans-Tasman flights, discontinuing routes from Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane to Auckland.
Fortunately for Australian travelers, the Emirates Three Class A380 still graces the skies between Sydney and Christchurch. Passengers can exclusively book award tickets through the Qantas website for 64,500 points plus approximately $180 in carrier fees – a deal that’s certainly worth considering!
On the 3.5-hour journey, anticipate indulging in delectable cuisine and complimentary Dom Pérignon Champagne, along with the opportunity to sample premium spirits and fine wines.
Post-dinner, there’s a window for a brief visit to the onboard bar and, perhaps, a chance to experience a shower at 38,000 feet!
For those departing from Sydney, an added perk awaits with the option to enjoy breakfast at the Qantas International First Lounge. This premier lounge boasts an enticing à la carte menu and exceptional spa services.
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