When you fly business class, the journey becomes just as fun as the destination. When you fly first class, sampling the very best cabins, champagnes and meals in the world, even including an apartment in the sky, suddenly your destination has some seriously high expectations to meet. Here’s a pretty cool way to see fantastic parts of the world with unrivaled luxury on the way…

The Basics (How This Is Possible)…

American Airlines have brilliant partner airlines in Europe, The Middle East and India with whom you can use your American Airlines AAdvantage miles, notably including Qatar Airways and Etihad. Through these unique partnerships, you can use American’s very favorable fixed rate of 62,500 American AAdvantage miles for a First Class ticket on these partners between Europe and India or the Middle East, regardless of actual ticket price (thank God). In case it hasn’t donned on you yet, that means you can experience an apartment in the sky, for free… 

The Routing Possibilities…

You can experience both stunning First Class cabins or just one, adding up to five stops on the way. Qatar flies their A380 with flagship First Class suites from both London and Paris to Doha; and Etihad flies their A380 with the First Class Apartment from London to Abu Dhabi, and then also between Abu Dhabi and Mumbai (Bombay).  A great sample routing to try both would be CDG or LHR-DOH-AUH-BOM or vice versa. In non flying nerd, that’s London or Paris to Doha, to Abu Dhabi, to Bombay. You can go even crazier with your routing, but more on that later…

This Is Truly Amazing, But I Don’t Have American Miles…

Don’t worry, not everyone does. American offers a few ways to gain miles quickly, from mileage sales (which can be incredible), points transfers from Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), in which you can turn 20,000 SPG points into 30,000 American miles, their own American Airlines credit card or by crediting flights on any One World airline to American AAdvantage. 

Maximizing: 23:59, What’s In A Number?

Any stop under 24 hours would not trigger any additional miles. If you simply want to keep the trip short and go from London to Doha to Abu Dhabi to Bombay, with as short a connection time as possible, that’s absolutely fine. As another great in the game, Matthew Klint showed me there are even further possibilities and routings, which could allow you almost 24 hours in five countries if you went from Paris or London to Doha, to Kuwait, to Jordan, to Bahrain, to Abu Dhabi, to India. Whether you want to maximize one stop or all possible 5, look for itineraries with up to 23:59 connection time, if you want tourism time.

Got The Miles, Getting Excited, How Do I Book?

To book, you’ll need to find availability using miles for each segment. To find availability with Qatar Airways in First Class, you’ll use British Airways’ website (while logged in), for Etihad you’ll use Etihad’s website (also while logged in), searching for “guest seat” availability in First Class. If that all sounds complicated, we offer an award booking service which does it all for you… Once availability for dates that will work has been found, you’ll call American Airlines at your local customer service number, feeding the dates and flight numbers with availability to the agent before turning over just 62,500 miles. Amazing…