a row of seats in an airplane
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Near, far, wherever you are…

Many people choose to use points for aspirational travel, in the fancy seats up front. It’s a wonderful pursuit, and one you can’t argue with, but as the points required to fly up front move from double, to triple, or even quadruple the prices using points for economy, it’s time to take a look at the simple joy of flying “for free” or as damn close to it as humanly possible. Here are a few incredible redemptions, which can save hundreds, if not thousands on your next trip, without breaking the holy mileage bank either!

a city next to water70,000 Points For Emirates Economy Around The World

Time is always precious, but so is seeing the world. Using JAL Mileage Bank miles, you can fly Emirates economy virtually around the world, for just 70,000 points, with very few restrictions. You can start almost anywhere, but as an example, you could do New York to Milan, Milan to Dubai, Dubai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Hong Kong and back, or start from any other European, Asian or other city as well. You’ve got 20,000 miles of total distance to play with.

How To Book: Look for Emirates flights on Emirates.com, Qantas.com, or look to search and book online with Japan Airlines, once you have enough points in your Japan Airlines Mileage Bank account. Starting in Hong Kong or Seoul will mean no surcharges!

a red bridge over a streamFly Between The U.S. And Japan For 40,000 Points Round Trip

ANA is a transfer partner of American Express in the US, making their points relatively easy to acquire. If you have Amex Membership Rewards Points, ANA MileageClub Points or SPG Points, you can convert them into ANA Mileage Club Points to book a fantastic trip to Japan for just 40,000 points per person, with surcharges around $100. You must depart from a city which ANA flies direct, to qualify for these low season rates.

How To Book: Search on United.com for ANA flights using points. Call ANA Mileage Club to book, or book online once you’ve transferred points into your account.

Aoraki / Mount Cook surrounded by mountainsFly Between The U.S. And New Zealand For 80,000 Points Round Trip

New Zealand is an expensive ticket from the U.S., but if you book Air New Zealand flights via Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club you can score great deals. Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of Citi, Chase, American Express and SPG, which makes it one of the easiest airline loyalty programs to transfer miles to. You’ll fly on Air New Zealand, which offers one of the best economy cabins in the world, with the option to even indulge in something called a SkyCouch!

How To Book: Look for seats on direct Air New Zealand flights from the U.S. on United.com, and then call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book. Air New Zealand will launch Chicago flights shortly, which gives Northeast U.S. travelers a great option.

a city with lights and a mountain in the backgroundShort Flights Within Europe, South America, Asia Or Australia For just 4,500 Points

It’s not always the glamorous long haul flights that are expensive. In fact, lately, those flights are bargains, and it’s the short flights which are prohibitively pricey. Using British Airways Executive Club, you can use your points to fly on British Airways, Finnair, Cathay Pacific, JAL, Qantas, Iberia, LATAM and many more, paying just 4,500 points for short one way flights. Considering these flights can cost well over $400, paying just 4,500 points can yield almost 10 cents per point of value, which is fabulous! You can create British Airways Avios Points via Amex, Chase or SPG.

How To Book: Login to your British Airways Executive Club account and visit “spending Avios”. Plug in your city pairs, and any city pairs under 650 miles of actual distance will be 4,500 points, and any under 1,152 miles will be a mere 7,500 points. It doesn’t get much better.

a city with a bridge over a body of waterU.S. To Europe For 22,500 Points One Way

For the short overnight flight from U.S. to Europe, economy will more than suffice. One way tickets can be great for picking up deals to onward destinations, getting back home and countless other reasons, and at just 22,500 points and $5.60, American Airlines and Singapore Air are your best bets. Each airline offers great availability and the booking process is easy. Singapore Air KrisFlyer miles can be created using Amex, Citi, Chase or SPG Points.

How To Book: Login at AA.com, or SingaporeAir.com respectively and search for flights. American only charges 22,500 for off peak dates, whereas Singapore charges 22,500 all year from New York JFK or Houston Intl.

What’s your favorite economy sweet spot?

Thanks to Points With A Crew for the article inspiration. 

Featured image courtesy of Virgin Atlantic.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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