The first test was from LAX to London LHR (a destination that many Americans hope to visit). This test was Houston IAH to Bangkok BKK, and is more of a dream destination for most that won’t happen until they get to London! I wanted to book the trip in BUSINESS CLASS to compare its availability.
Just like with the other credit card rewards comparison (Part I), I used the same dates and flight destination, and tested all six of the following airline credit card reward programs.
TRIP NUMBER TWO: HOUSTON IAH TO BANGKOK BKK IN BUSINESS
First is American Airlines. American apparently does have their partners well integrated into their online reservation system.
The trip on American Airlines from IAH to Bangkok (BKK) went nowhere. Just for fun, I tried Manila (MNL), Singapore (SIN) but still got nowhere. AA suggested I call. No thanks.
There are currently no awards available on AA.com for your requested Origin and Destination. Please modify your request or contact AAdvantage Reservations for award opportunities on all AAdvantage participating airlines.
Second was Delta Airlines. This time Delta didn’t disappoint me. The best reward returned was 247,500 miles and $77.00USD in taxes. You will see as you read on, just how bad Delta is trying to prevent you from getting the best value of your miles.
Third was United Airlines. Again United did not disappoint me. A one stop trip through Japan in Business was priced at 160,000 miles and $69.10USD. That represents a savings over Delta of 87,500 miles!! I work hard to get miles and the last thing I want to do is waste them on a carrier that pads its reward miles levels like Delta does.
Fourth was Alaska Airlines. Unfortunately the same thing as the London trip. The Emirates flights had terrible connecting times, including 12-20 hour layovers in Dubai. Total flight time was so bad that it wouldn’t be a fair comparison.
Yes, read that again. You could fly FIRST CLASS Emirates to Bangkok for LESS than Delta charges for Business. Just ask anyone who has flown Emirates first class and you will see why some are willing to accept long layovers in Dubai!
Fifth was Capital One No Hassle Rewards (non-airline rewards program). Capital One’s reward program would not allow me to choose business class travel. For the sake of argument, I ran the test route as a coach ticket just to see what would happen.
The results were interesting. 76,860 miles (or $779.59) for a round-trip coach ticket to Bangkok. Considering that miles are earned 2 for one on the Venture card, it only took $38,430 in spending to obtain this ticket.
Sixth and Final Test was USBank FlexPerks (non-airline rewards program). USBank Flexperks is not the program you want to use to book a Business Class International ticket! My test indicated that 300,000 points would be required to redeem this ticket (valued at $5989.00USD)
FINAL RESULTS?? United Airlines at 160,000 miles and plenty of business class availability. Alaska Airlines, if you have lots of free-time, or want to explore Dubai, with a 150,000 business class reward.