Once you’ve experienced the luxury of travelling at the pointy end, it’s hard to go back. After all, who could say no to a chance to sampling some of the world’s most expensive champagne, exquisite dining, an all-enclosed suite, and in some cases, the chance to shower in the sky.
Of course, the pointy end of the plane doesn’t usually come cheap. First class award tickets can command up to three times as many points as an economy redemption. And airlines are increasingly levying higher accompanying fees.
However, if you play your points right, there are first class redemptions you can book using only a very modest number of frequent flyer points or miles, with low carrier surcharges to boot.
To get you inspired, here’s a list of three ultra-low points cost routes in first class. Each is available to book through loyalty programs that are accessible to Australian-based travellers.
All feature perks such as vintage champagne and on the ground access to some of the best airline lounges in the world.
Tempted? Read on to discover where your points could take you.
Hong Kong – Tokyo Haneda, Cathay Pacific (40,000 Asia Miles)
Hong Kong – Tokyo Haneda is once again becoming a popular route, as travel opens back up. A one-way journey in Cathay Pacific’s highly regarded first class comes in at just 40,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, plus applicable carrier fees/taxes.
I took this flight myself recently, and can honestly say it was worth every mile!
The experience starts on the ground, with access to Cathay Pacific’s newly re-opened flagship first class lounge ‘The Wing’. This Ilse Crawford designed lounge offers an a la carte restaurant with an extensive menu (tip: opt for the signature ‘Dan Dan’ noodles), Champagne Bar and stylish spaces to stretch out and relax.
On my visit, I was even able to experience a short stay in an exclusive ‘Cabana’ – an entirely private room featuring a deep bath, leather day bed, desk and wardrobe.
Onboard the 777, Cathay Pacific operates an intimate and private first class cabin with just six seats. The four hour flight is the perfect amount of time for passengers to relax and sample a lavish meal, with vintage William Deutz Millesime Champagne on pour.
As a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Cathay’s Asia Miles currency is very accessible for Australian travellers. Aside from redemptions on Cathay Pacific, it also provides extremely good value when redeeming travel for oneworld carriers, including Qantas.
Taxes departing Hong Kong on this route will set you back around $78 AUD.
Singapore – Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines (from 45,000 KrisFlyer miles)
Singapore Airlines has been long recognised for setting the standard in first class, with world-leading service and an excellent hard product. Singapore Airlines currently operates a Boeing 770-300ER aircraft on this 3.5-hour flight, with A380 services likely to be on the cards as travel to Hong Kong ramps back up.
Of course, commencing the journey in Singapore allows for a wow-factor pre-flight experience at the newly revamped The Private Room – Singapore Airlines’ dedicated lounge for first class guests.
Here, it’s possible to partake in free-flow Taittinger Comtes, whilst sampling dishes from a decadent a la carte menu (tip: lobster dishes and the signature satays are not to be missed here).
A one way ‘Saver’ redemption on this route will set you back just 45,000 KrisFlyer miles, with the higher priced ‘Advantage’ award coming in at 73,000 miles. Taxes are very modest, coming in at around $80.
Whilst Singapore Airlines doesn’t open up many lower-priced ‘Saver’ award redemptions on this route, they do sometimes make them available at late notice.
Sydney – Christchurch, Emirates (64,500 Qantas Points)
Emirates has pulled back from many of its previous fifth freedom trans-Tasman flights, with routes including Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Auckland getting the chop.
Luckily for Australian travellers, the Emirates three class A380 still plies the skies between Sydney and Christchurch. Passengers can book an award ticket via the Qantas website for just 64,500 points plus around $180 in carrier charges – a bargain in anyone’s book!
During the 3.5 hour flight, expect to enjoy a lavish meal and free-flowing Dom Perignon Champagne, plus the chance to try top-shelf spirits and still wines.
After dining, there’s time for a quick visit to the onboard bar and maybe even a chance to take a shower at 38,000 feet!
If you’re departing from Sydney, you’ll also get the opportunity to breakfast in the Qantas International First Lounge. Qantas’ flagship Lounge boasts an a la carte menu and an excellent spa.
Will you be looking to lock in any of the three first class routes we’ve featured here?
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