If you’ve ever hopped around Asia in business class, you’ve probably found yourself with a lie-flat at least a couple of times on a flight under four hours. I recently flew a few short routes on Singapore Airlines and found myself wondering why we don’t have more of this on flights within North America.
While you’re probably used to recliners in domestic first class rather than a true business class, you actually have several great options to book with points. So, if you have a coast to coast flight in your future, see if you can book one of these.
JetBlue Mint (A321)
If there’s one domestic product that seems to get rave reviews from everyone, it has to be JetBlue Mint. Honestly, what they’ve done with a narrowbody aircraft is super impressive.
All seats are lie-flat and some are even solo — kind of like the throne business class seats you’ll find on SWISS. Since we all love space when flying, try to nab one of those solo seats so you can spread out a bit. This seat certainly sets them apart from other domestic options.
When it’s time for your meal, you’ll get to choose from 3 of 5 options so you can really experience what JetBlue has to offer. Of course, you can then pair it with a glass of wine, a beer or perhaps something a little stronger.
One of the best ways to book is to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Citi ThankYou Points when JetBlue runs a fare sale as the number of True Blue points you’ll need is tied to the cash fare.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you might even find you’re better off booking a JetBlue fare deal through the Chase Travel Portal.
Cathay Pacific Business Class (B777)
No, we’re not talking about flying to Hong Kong with this one. Instead, we have our eye on Cathay’s fifth-freedom flight from New York to Vancouver — yes, we’re including Canada.
Listed at 6 hours, it’s quite a bit shorter than a flight to Asia but you’ll still get the same amenity kit, champagne and a nice meal. Of course, it’s a very late flight so you might want to have your meal in the lounge so you can lie down and sleep most of the flight.
Flying out of New York, you’ll have access to the excellent American Airlines Flagship lounge. We’d suggest entering to the right of check-in where you’ll find a bar where you can get a made-to-order meal.
On your way out of Vancouver, Cathay Pacific has its own lounge which, while not big, is very nice and has an excellent noodle bar. Even just before the flight, I didn’t find it too crowded.
Perhaps my favorite part about this route is that you can book with 50,000 Asia Miles round-trip. Since you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Points, you won’t have any trouble earning the necessary points.
Delta One (A330)
Delta actually flies quite a few transcontinental routes with lie-flats in business class. However, if you want the best experience, we’d suggest you look for flights on one of their A330s.
While other aircraft also have lie-flats, the A330 has a reverse herringbone cabin layout (similar to Cathay Pacific) which provides plenty of space as well as privacy. You won’t find these flights on a ton of routes but jump on them when you have the chance.
Don’t forget to make a stop at one of Delta’s Sky Clubs as they’ve redone several of them in the last few years. Specifically, the Sky Clubs are particularly nice in Terminal 4 at JFK, Terminal F in Atlanta, between Concourses A and B in Seattle and in Terminal 2 in Los Angeles.
While award space bookable with partner miles has become very tough to find, 22,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles one-way is THE way to book. As a partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points Virgin miles are readily available.
Air Canada Business Class (B787-8 Dreamliner)
It’s hard not to like the Dreamliner but you usually only find it on transatlantic or transpacific routes as it’s known for helping reduce jet lag. However, Air Canada operates a Dreamliner between Newark and Vancouver which definitely makes it one of the best transcontinental options out there.
The highlights of this flight are the reverse herringbone business class seat and the friendly crews. For a flight listed at just under 6 hours out of Newark, what more could you ask for?
If you see award space on this route, jump on it quick as it’s very tough to find. You can book a one-way award for 20,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles — a partner of Amex, Chase, Citi and Capital One. Alternatively, you could use Air Canada’s own Aeroplan program — a partner of Amex and Capital One — for 25,000 miles.
You can also find non-stops with lie-flats out of Montreal and Vancouver and award space might even be a bit better.
American Airlines First Class (A321)
Similar to JetBlue, American Airlines operates A321s on transcontinental routes. In fact, you’ll find multiple flights out of JFK every day. The cabin is simply one seat on each side of the aisle so you can have your own space and a decent bit of privacy.
Perhaps the best part, though, is the access to the American Airlines Flagship lounges at JFK and LAX. While domestic first class flights won’t get you access to these lounges, specific transcontinental flights — JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO — will provide access when flying in business or first class.
You can transfer 25,000 points from Amex, Citi, Capital One to Etihad Guest to book or you can use 32,500 American Advantage miles. For Flagship Lounge access and a lie-flat, either option is a great way to book.
United Polaris Business Class (B787-10 Dreamliner)
Finally, we come to United which has really stepped up its game with their new Polaris business class product. All seats have direct aisle access and are lie-flat so you can enjoy your flight from Newark.
United also upgraded the bedding and catering for these flights. The one unknown is how long United will operate Dreamliners on transcontinental routes so, if you find award space on dates that work for you, book it now.
Similar to Air Canada, you can also book this one with 20,000 KrisFlyer miles. You can also book with 25,000 United miles — a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner — which can come in handy when they release more award space to their own members.
When you think about it, flying across the U.S. (or Canada) is pretty much the same as flying from New York to London or Dublin and longer than flying to Iceland. Whether you could use a nap or just want to get comfortable to enjoy a movie, it’s tough to go wrong with a lie-flat.
Personally, I’ll be looking for an opportunity to try JetBlue Mint so I can compare it to my Cathay Pacific and Delta experiences. Although, a Dreamlinacrossrss the continent does sound fun. Really, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these lie-flat options. It’s just a matter of deciding which to try first.