a bed and a book on a table

And business class would be just $580, even if you have no points!

Let’s think about life on an airplane quickly. On large airplanes, there’s often economy, premium economy, business class- and then behind all those drawn curtains, way up at the front, there’s first class. But this opportunity isn’t about first class as you imagine it. This is about a freaking apartment on an airplane, where you can sip vintage champagne while an on board chef caters to your wildest requests, before tucking into a separate full sized bed. And by the way, they have showers on board. Perhaps most unbelievable- anyone can do this, even if they’ve never flown before.

a bar with a large ceiling and a large window

The Shell Game

From Europe to the Middle East or vice versa, it’s time to keep your eyes on the first class prize. To accomplish this magical feat of airplane luxury for just 35,000 points- we must use partners of partners, with whom you can move points around. Anyone really can do this, even if they have NO points currently. We’re going to convert Starwood “SPG” Hotel points into Asiana Airlines “Asiana Club” and then use those Asiana Club airline points to book flights on their partner airline, Etihad Airways- which presently offers the most luxurious airplane suite in the sky. You can check out in 360° detail right here. To maximize the experience, you’ll want to fly from London or Paris, both of which have A380 service. But any city and plane will still be amazing.

a bed in a planeYou Can Buy Cheap Starwood “SPG” Points

First- SPG has a credit card in both the US & UK, so if you want to do this nearly free- that can be worth investigating. You can also earn all the Asiana Club points needed, by flying on any Star Alliance airline and entering your (free) Asiana Club number. Sign up here. But if you want the FIRST CLASS APARTMENT NOW….

A few magical times a year, Starwood Hotels “SPG”, puts their points on 35% off sale. This gives anyone- literally anyone, the opportunity to get closer to their first class goals, without actually needing to be a frequent flyer or actually, have ever flown at all. SPG points can be converted to airline miles, and for every 20,000 you transfer, you get 5,000 bonus airline miles. So therefore, 35,000 SPG points would become 40,000 airline miles of your choosing. That just so happens to be the EXACT amount Asiana charges for one way to Abu Dhabi or Dubai in Etihad’s amazing A380 First Class APARTMENT. You can buy SPG points here, up to 30,000 points per year. More on that.

BUSINESS CLASS– would be just 30,000 Asiana points one way. So you’d only need to purchase 25,000 SPG points to make 30,000 Asiana miles. This would run just $580 in points.

a bed with pillows and a window in an airplaneTwo Streets Here

If you already had at least 5,000 SPG points, you’re already golden. You can scroll down to the “how to book” part of this. If you have 35,000 already, you can basically do this for free. If you didn’t previously have points, you need to come up with 5,000 more Starwood “SPG” or Asiana Club airline miles to get this done. You can either: fly on Star Alliance Airlines and enter your free Asiana Club frequent flyer number OR you can purchase 15,000 additional Marriott points. These points can be instantly converted to Starwood “SPG” points, giving you the magic 35,000 number needed to convert into the perfect 40,000 Asiana Club. 15,000 Marriott points will run you $187 US dollars. Your grand total- assuming you had ZERO points starting out is up to roughly $869.

a large white building with domes and towersOnce The Points Are In Place

You can move Marriott points to Starwood here. And you can move Starwood points to airline miles here. Once your 35,000 SPG points are in place, or you have 40,000 Asiana miles read to go, the hard work is over. All you need to do now is sign up for a free Etihad Guest frequent flyer account. You’ll do this- because it allows you to search for seats availability in first class. IGNORE the rates quoted on the Etihad site, they’re not related. What you NEED is just to find “guest seat” availability in first class. Regardless of the price in miles they quote, if there’s a “guest seat” spot open, you can book it for just 40,000 Asiana Club points by calling Asiana at their local number. Feed them the flight numbers and before you know it, you’ll be flying an apartment in the sky. Abu Dhabi is pretty fantastic as well, not that you’ll ever want to land.


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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  1. Which region are you starting in for the 40k First Class to AUH or DXB? Asiana’s chart at the link you provide claims 80k Europe to the Middle East for partners, or 160k from the US…

    1. Hey Ben- that’s from Europe. You are correct that they charge 80K, but that’s round trip mileage. So 40k one way, as in the post.

      1. Didn’t realize the website was listing round-trips – the importance of reading the small print! Thanks very much for clarifying.

  2. Is it worth using Asian points to book the first class from AUH- JFK for 80K points one way? Or, should I book using American Airlines points?

  3. How are Asiana’s phone agents when it comes to booking partner award? Are they easy to work with and competent in booking partner awards?

  4. I recently booked (and had to phone to change) and I found the service great, much better than I’d seen reported – the agents were really friendly and totally appeared to know the way round their systems

  5. Should I use American points vs Asiana points to book etihad first class from AuH – jfk? 80k vs 115k?

  6. Looks exciting. Is it posiible for 2 people to redeem for 2 suites on the same flight? Or is availability extremely sparse?

  7. Hi,
    I don´t understand this … “you can purchase 15,000 additional Marriott points. These points can be instantly converted to Starwood “SPG” points, giving you the magic 35,000” !!!
    I thought i would get the triple points conbverting Starpoints to Marriot,. What is this 15K converting in 35K ?

    1. You will be 5K starwood points you need to transfer 35k starwood points to Asiana. That’s because you can only buy 30,000 SPG points per year. So you can make up the difference by buying 15,000 Marriott points and then converting them into SPG points.

  8. How does it work if I want to claim for 2 people? I know if you pay cash, the additional person is only for the fraction of the price. How does it work with points?

  9. Please help as SPG site says 3 points for every 1mile? That would mean needing 120k points to get 40k Miles.

    1. Hello, this article was written before the move to Marrriott. All SPG points converted into 3 marriott points. So in the current math, it’s 120,000 points you’d need for this in the Marriott program, which equals 40,000 in the old program.

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