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Follow These 3 Steps If You Want To Fly Business or First Class Using Points!

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Stephen Au

Stephen Au

Senior Content Contributor

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Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used...
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If you’re tired of flying economy and want to fly business or first class (without paying crazy amounts of cash), you need to earn the right type of points and then use them in a smart way!

Follow these 3 steps and we’ll show you how to fly at the front of the cabin in no time.

Step 1 – Earn a Big Welcome Bonus and You’ll Earn Lots of Points (Quickly)

Yes, there are so many credit cards out there but we’ve helped thousands of people and always recommend travelers start by adding cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, American Express® Gold Card, Citi Premier® Card, or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to their wallets.

There are 2 main reasons to get these specific cards over others out there:

1. You’ll earn a fantastic welcome bonus of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Amex Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Rewards Points, or Capital One miles after spending completing a minimum spend requirement.

Tip: Both you and your spouse can each get a card and earn the welcome bonus points, netting you a major stash of points.

Your welcome offer is typically worth more than $1,000, but under Step 3 we’ll show you how to get a lot more value than that!

2. Chase, Amex, and Citi points, as well as Capital One miles, are some of the most valuable rewards currencies on the market because they’re easy to earn and they can be transferred to partner airlines and hotels (this is the key).

Step 2 – Earn Even More Points

The more points you earn, the more options you’ll have to use them for business and first class flights. It’s really as simple as that!

What’s so great about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is that you can earn:

  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases through March 31, 2025
  • 3x points on dining, online groceries, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel purchases
  • 1x points on other purchases

Hot Tip: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a broader definition of travel than other cards, making it a lot more generous than other competing cards.

Meanwhile, what’s fantastic about the Amex Gold card’s rewards is the ability to earn up to 4x points:

  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year)
  • 3x points on airfare purchased directly from the airline or through Amex Travel
  • 2x points on other travel purchased through Amex Travel
  • 1x points on other purchases

The Citi Premier card also doesn’t joke around when it comes to earning rewards:

  • 3x points at supermarkets, air travel, hotels, gas stations, and restaurants
  • 1x points on other purchases

Lastly, the Capital One Venture card could be your best friend for miscellaneous purchases:

  • 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles on all other purchases

Bottom Line: We put ALL of our daily expenses (that don’t incur a fee) on our card so that we’re always earning points, whether it’s at restaurants, bars, department stores, or making any online purchases!

For example, if you’re purchasing non-Ultimate Rewards travel, you’ll earn 2x on these types of other travel purchases:

  • Airfare tickets booked directly through the airline, or through third-party sites like Expedia,, and more
  • Trains, metros, buses, and other public transportation services
  • Tolls and bridges
  • Airbnb and other house-sharing services
  • Parking meters, lots, and garages
  • Tours organized by travel companies
  • Timeshares

Cards from Amex, Citi, and Capital One have their own separate terms and conditions from Chase, but making regular purchases on these credit cards, especially in bonus categories, is how you continually rack up points or miles.

Bottom Line: Build up your points very easily on travel and dining. This means you can rack up lots of valuable points during the year to use on incredible redemptions. Choose the best cards like the Amex Gold card, Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Citi Premier card, or Capital One Venture card.

Step 3 – Maximize Your Points With Transfer Partners (This Is How You Fly Business/First Class)

Each of the major flexible rewards programs, whether it’s Amex Membership Rewards or Capital One Miles, is capable of transferring points to travel partners (airlines and hotels).

Every bank maintains its own list of transfer partners, but it’s very common for airline frequent flyer programs or hotel loyalty programs to participate in multiple partnerships with credit card issuers.

For example, Amex, Chase, Citi, and Capital One can all transfer to Air France-KLM Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio. On the flip-side, certain frequent flyer programs may be exclusively associated with a singular program; for example, ANA Mileage Club only has 1 transfer partner with a 1:1 ratio — Amex Membership Rewards.

Here are the transfer partners associated with each points program:

Before we get into a few examples, each of these programs offers so many incredible ways to use your points for maximum value!

Without further ado, let’s take a look at our top recommendations to use your points for business and first class flights.

1. Fly Singapore Suites One-way From JFK to Frankfurt for Just 97,000 Points

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Singapore’s KrisFlyer program will allow you to book an amazing flight in Singapore Suites class. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Average retail cost in cash = $9,500!

Transfer your Chase points directly to Singapore Airlines and you could book an absolutely amazing experience in its Singapore Suites cabin using points, not ~$5k in cash!

The Singapore Airlines First Suites Class on the A380 aircraft has been impressing flyers since it was introduced in 2007 offering a full double bed to couples flying together in the middle cabin. Even better, Singapore Airlines has retrofitted some A380s and is continuing to retrofit its entire fleet.

The easiest way to experience this amazing flight is to transfer just 97,000 Amex, Capital One, Chase, or Citi points/miles to your existing or newly created Singapore KrisFlyer account. From there, redeem the miles for a one-way First Suites Class ticket from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA)!

Hot Tip: 97,000 miles correspond to Singapore Airlines’s Saver fares; its more expensive fares, known as Advantage fares, are easier to find if your schedule isn’t as flexible.

Want to continue all the way to the Far East and visit Singapore (SIN)? Save up to get 148,500 points and spend 20 hours in your own private suite in the sky for the ride.

Need help booking this award flight? Read our in-depth guide on how to fly Singapore Suites using points.

2. Fly Delta One Business Class From the U.S. to Hawaii for 86,000 Points Round-trip

The lay-flat seats are one of the best benefits of being seated in Delta One. Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Average retail cost in cash = $3,000!

This is an awesome deal. If you transfer 86,000 of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Flying Blue (a transfer partner of Amex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi), you can fly from anywhere in the U.S. that Delta flies to Hawaii, round-trip. That would save you ~$3,000.

With a high enough welcome bonus, you could book this just by meeting the minimum spend of a new card!

Need help booking this award flight? Check out our guide to booking Delta business class with points.

3. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class From the U.S. to Europe for 117,000 Miles Round-trip

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 Upper Class Seat 9A from Aisle. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Average retail cost in cash = $8,000!

You can experience Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to Europe using your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for less than flying on Singapore Airlines and have more options for your final destination.

You could take this flight, for example, from New York (JFK) or Washington, D.C. (IAD) to London (LHR).

Singapore Airlines partners with Virgin Atlantic and only charges 117,000 miles for a round-trip ticket in its Upper Class premium cabin. Best of all, you can transfer Amex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, all at a 1:1 ratio.

Need help booking this award flight? Read our guide on how to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class!

4. Fly Lufthansa First Class From the U.S. to Europe From 87,000 Points

Enjoy an amazing lie-flat seat with direct aisle access in Lufthansa first class. Image Credit: Alex Miller

Average retail cost in cash = $8,500!

Lufthansa has also been hailed as one of the best airlines for first class experiences. With your Amex, Capital One, or Citi points/miles, you can easily transfer your miles at a 1:1 ratio to Avianca LifeMiles to book Lufthansa first class flights. LifeMiles charges 87,000 points each way; however, LifeMiles does pass on any fuel surcharges, so you’ll just have to pay the nominal taxes and fees of around $60.

Chase loyalists don’t need to panic because you can transfer your points to Air Canada Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio to book Lufthansa first class for 90,000 to 100,000 points!

One of the most sought-after flights for Lufthansa first class is on the A380, which connects Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO) to Frankfurt (FRA).

Looking for the ultimate first class experience?

Be sure to use your miles to fly from Frankfurt to the U.S. if you want a chance to explore Lufthansa’s exclusive first class terminal where you can wine and dine at a full-scale restaurant, take a bubble bath with a Lufthansa rubber ducky, and be driven right to your flight in a luxurious private car from your very own personal assistant.

Need help booking this award flight? Check out our guide to booking Lufthansa first class with points.

5. Fly ANA First Class Round-trip From the U.S. to Tokyo for as Few as 110,000 Points

ANA New 777 The Suite first class cabin. Image Credit: All Nippon Airways

Average retail cost in cash = $20,000!

Arguably the best sweet spot in all of points and travel is the ability to book ANA’s legendary first class product between the U.S. and Tokyo for as few as 110,000 points round-trip.

This is an incredible value proposition no matter which way you look at it because these first class tickets often retail for $20,000 round-trip, which nets you a mind-boggling 18 cents per point redeemed!

Just remember that this particular sweet spot only works for flights to Tokyo — it will not work for flights via Tokyo to other destinations like Southeast Asia.

You can also book one-way tickets at half of the mileage price, which can be as low as 55,000 points for a one-way flight from the West Coast and 60,000 points for a one-way flight from elsewhere in the U.S.

The frequent flyer program you’ll want to use is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which is 1:1 transfer partners with Amex, Chase, and Citi. Capital One is 1:1 transfer partners with Virgin Red, which can then be moved to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio.

This exclusive first class experience entails an intimate cabin of just 8 seats spread out across 2 rows with a 1-2-1 arrangement, top-class service, an enormous array of dining options of the highest caliber, Krug Champagne, and an exquisitely luxurious bed.

Need help booking this award flight? Check out our guide to booking ANA First Class with points.

6. Fly Emirates Business Class One-way From the U.S. to Europe for 72,500 Points

Emirates A380 business class. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Average retail cost in cash = $3,500!

Emirates is best known for its lavish, over-the-top first class product. But its business class is simply stellar, too.

In particular, its A380 business class has proven to be one of the best overall products, time and time again.

Currently, this includes spacious, forward-facing seats in a 1-2-1 configuration with lie-flat capabilities.

Normally, travelers wouldn’t frequently encounter Emirates as a viable airline option unless they were planning on flying ultra-long-haul to the other side of the world.

But Emirates has a couple of fifth freedom routes where you can savor the signature Emirates business class product on certain routes between the U.S. and Europe, so there’s no need to fly to the Middle East or Africa if you wanted to try out Emirates!

Even better, the U.S.-Europe routes offered by Emirates are convenient and cost-effective with points.

Currently, you can redeem 72,500 points or miles from Amex, Capital One, Chase, or Citi to book a one-way Emirates business class flight between New York (JFK) and Milan (MXP) or Newark (EWR) to Athens (ATH). Taxes and fees are around $103 per person.

Best of all, it’s pretty easy to find solid business class availability, so this is a perfect way to dip your toes into Arab luxury using your points.

Need help booking this award flight? Check out our guide to booking Emirates business class with points.

7. Fly Qatar Airways Qsuites One-way From the U.S. to the Middle East for 70,000 Avios

Qatar Airways Qsuites is one of the best business class products in the whole world. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Average retail cost in cash = $8,000!

Another terrific way to fly business and first class using points is on Qatar Airways Qsuites, which is one of the best business class products in the world.

This airline exclusively flies between the U.S. and Doha (DOH), the capital of Qatar.

Qsuites offers double beds (at certain seat numbers), amazing service, endless amenities, and wonderful inflight entertainment options. Its food and beverage program, in particular, is top-notch.

One of the best ways to book Qsuites is by transferring your points or miles to British Airways Executive Club. British Airways is 1:1 transfer partners with Amex, Capital One, and Chase.

If you have Citi points, just transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to Qatar Airways. After that, link your Qatar Airways and British Airways account together and transfer your Avios from Qatar Airways to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.

Right now, nonstop business class flights from the U.S. to Doha can be booked for just 70,000 British Airways Avios + ~$105 in taxes and fees.

Need help booking this award flight? Check out our guide to booking Qatar Airways Qsuites with points.

8. Fly Iberia Business Class Round-trip From the U.S. to Spain for as Few as 68,000 Avios

Image Credit: Iberia

Average retail cost in cash = $4,000!

If flying to Spain is high on your to-do list, you’ll love this business class redemption. Iberia, the flag carrier of Spain, offers some amazing redemption rates for business class flights between the Midwest or Northeastern U.S. and Spain.

Specifically, you can redeem 34,000 Iberia Plus Avios each way for a business class flight during off-peak dates as long as the flights are between 3,001 and 4,000 miles in distance.

The cities that offer nonstop service to Madrid (MAD) and fit the distance requirement are Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), and Washington, D.C. (IAD). You’ll pay just $114 in taxes and fees for these flights.

Although Iberia’s business class product can’t quite compare to Emirates or Qatar Airways, it’s a comfortable way to fly to Spain at an astonishing price.

9. Fly American Airlines Flagship First Class Transcontinentally Within the U.S. Round-trip for 65,000 Points

American Airlines Flagship First class on transcontinental flights. Image Credit: Stephen Au

Average retail cost in cash = $2,000!

Looking to stay within the U.S. when traveling? If you’ve got an appetite to travel from coast to coast, one of the best ways to get fantastic value is to book American Airlines’s Flagship First class product on select, premium transcontinental flights.

Right now, this is offered on the following routes:

  • Boston (BOS) to Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK) to Orange County (SNA)
  • New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO)

If you can find award availability, you can transfer your points to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio from Amex, Capital One, or Citi. Etihad Guest charges 32,500 points for a one-way flight, which translates to a round-trip cost of 65,000 miles. Taxes and fees will generally be around $10 one-way.

If you have Chase points, you can transfer them to British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 ratio. British Airways charges slightly more for this flight, around 51,500 Avios one-way.

Need help booking this award flight? Check out our guide to booking American Airlines Flagship First class with points.

10. Fly Air France Business Class From the U.S. to Europe Round-trip From 106,000 Points

Air France’s chic Boeing 777-300 business class product. Image Credit: Air France

Average retail cost in cash = $6,500!

Air France offers a luxurious and classy business class product bookable using points. Better yet, its mileage prices are some of the best you’ll get on flights to Europe.

One-way flights can be booked for as few as 53,000 Flying Blue miles in business class, which means round-trip would cost as few as 106,000 miles!

You’ll want to transfer your points or miles at a 1:1 ratio to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, which happens to be partners with Amex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi. Taxes are fees are usually around $190 one-way, per person.

Need help booking this award flight? Check out our guide to booking Air France business class with points.

11. Book British Airways Business Class With Reduced Fuel Surcharges Between the U.S. to London From 61,000 Points

British Airways New Club Suite. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Average retail cost in cash = $4,000!

One of the most exciting business class products available is British Airways’s new Club Suites business class product, which represents an enormous upgrade over its older business class experience.

Currently, if you transfer points/miles from Amex, Capital One, or Citi to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, you can access business class award availability on flights between the U.S. to London for as few as 61,000 miles one-way.

Another benefit to using Cathay Pacific Asia Miles over another program like British Airways Executive Club is that you’ll pay significantly reduced taxes and fees. Instead of paying $900 one-way in taxes and fees alone, expect to pay around $300!

If you only have Chase points, you can transfer them to British Airways Executive Club and pay 50,000 to 75,000 Avios one-way, plus $900 in taxes and fees.

British Airways business class is one of the best airlines to book using points in business class because it actually guarantees at least 4 long-haul business class seats per flight! It’s just a matter of booking those seats as early as possible.

Need help booking this award flight? Check out our guide to booking British Airways business class with points.

Bottom Line: As you can see above, there are many incredible redemption options for your points. In the examples above, if you use your points for those redemptions you’re getting between $3,000 to $9,500 in value!

Final Thoughts

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Amex Gold card, Capital One Venture card, and Citi Premier card have some of the best welcome bonus offers on the market, plus industry-leading rewards on ongoing purchases.

Remember, if you have a spouse or partner, then you could each get your own card and double your earnings!

Using these cards for daily purchases can multiply your rewards compared to if you just used these cards for travel purchases. Whether it’s dining, groceries, or gas, you can get more points on purchases you’re making anyway!

You will also be able to maximize the value of your points significantly by transferring your points to select travel partners and trying some of the most exclusive travel experiences out there, including business and first class flights on legendary airlines like Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa. It’s really hard to beat this.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Enrollment required through Capital One website or mobile app. Upon enrollment, eligible cardholders will remain at upgraded status level through December 31, 2024.  Please note, enrolling through the normal Hertz Gold Plus Rewards enrollment process (e.g. at will not automatically detect a cardholder as being eligible for the program and cardholders will not be automatically upgraded to the applicable status tier.  Additional terms apply.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.


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