35K Business Class to Europe for a family: New York to Lisbon


While working on writing up a different post this afternoon, I stumbled on a bunch of award space on TAP Air Portugal to Europe this fall. I’m seeing both the Newark to Lisbon route and onward for as many has 7 or 8 passengers via Air Canada and also the magical New York JFK to Lisbon route, which prices at just 35,000 miles one way via Avianca LifeMiles. I successfully booked four passengers in business class to Europe via LifeMiles this afternoon.

The Deal

  • TAP Air Portugal has plentiful business class award space between New York (both Newark and JFK) and Lisbon. The JFK to Lisbon route can be booked for as few as 35,000 miles one way in business class via Avianca LifeMiles.

Quick Thoughts

I stumbled on this space while looking at Singapore Airlines business class space that is bookable with Air Canada Aeroplan (more on that in a separate post to come). I was pleasantly surprised to find pretty good availability in October, November, and December for at least 4 passengers in business class to Lisbon — and sometimes as many as 7 or 8.

I was originally looking at the New York to Frankfurt space when I stumbled on a bunch of dates with connecting space through Lisbon — like this example date with 7 seats in business class.

I quickly realized that both Newark (EWR) and New York JFK have excellent availability late this fall.

The Newark space is pretty easy to find with the trick we learned about just yesterday on that ANA first class deal: SeatSpy can help you find award space.

While SeatSpy is designed to show nonstop United award space, it seems that on routes that are served by both United and a partner the tool is showing saver availability on both United and partners. However, by toggling the total mileage rate at the top of the screen, I can see that all of the green availability you see in the screen shot below costs 77,000 miles one-way. That’s United’s partner business class price — if this space were on United metal, it would cost 66K miles one way in business class. This is TAP Air Portugal space and almost all of the dates shown had availability for 4 passengers according to SeatSpy (though in reality it looks like there may be space for ever more).

Unfortunately, since United does not fly out of JFK, SeatSpy will not help you find availability on the route from JFK to Lisbon. I tried using United’s calendar view and sorting to nonstop flights, but I can’t seem to get it to exclude Newark availability. You may need to hunt and peck a bit to find availability from New York JFK to Lisbon. If you do, the reward is being able to book that route — and only New York to Lisbon, not with any onward connections — for just 35,000 miles one way in business class.

Of importance: you’ll need to select “Star Alliance” rather than “Smart Search” to see this space.

Interestingly, and we noted this quite a while back, the price is also 35,000 miles for business class on Brussels Airlines when Brussels has availability.

If you can find JFK to Lisbon, LifeMiles is the way to book it. LifeMiles does charge a $25 booking fee, so in total I paid about $200 for four passengers on TAP Air Portugal (plus 140,000 miles).

If you’re looking to connect onward from Lisbon, your best bet would theoretically be Turkish Miles and smiles at 45,000 miles one-way and no surcharges on TAP Air Portugal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find itineraries on TAP via the Turkish website apart from itineraries where there was saver space on other Star Alliance carriers that connected to TAP, like this itinerary on United to London and then onward to Lisbon on Tap Air Portugal for 45,000 miles and $27.

Theoretically, a Turkish phone agent should (but probably can’t) see the award space on TAP Air Portugal. I certainly can’t guarantee that and it may be an exercise in frustration, but if you have the patience to stomach it you could try calling if you want the Newark route and/or you are looking for a connection beyond Lisbon.

Alternatively, you could book via Air Canada Aeroplan. If you’re terminating in Lisbon, the award would cost 60,000 Aeroplan miles one-way. You could even connect onward from Lisbon for the same price (albeit only to a distance of about 600 miles from Lisbon before it bumps up to 70K miles one-way). Alternatively, onward connecting itineraries would cost 63,000 miles one-way via Avianca LifeMiles (or possibly less if your onward connection is in economy class thanks to Avianca’s highly hackable award chart).

Finally, if you find round trip availability, you could book via ANA Mileage Plan for 88,000 miles round trip. That could be very appealing here given a decent amount of award space in each direction.

Overall, this is a great deal and award space is fairly plentiful during the late fall and early winter. While that may not be peak season for Lisbon, it could make for a good connecting point if you’re looking to go onward from there for some Christmas market action within Europe.

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ive been following this route for months and i saw another comment a few weeks ago on reddit but availability for this route seems to have largely disappeared. hoping it’s temporary


Is there a way to do this without seat spy? I am looking on lm website right now and can’t find a single tap flight from jfk to lis. Only flights on lufthansa and brussels air. Thank you!


Ok. I found one by clunking along and searching random dates. Is there a reason why lisbon back to jfk is 63k miles coming back? Thank you. This is great info!


Do you know how far out Avianca shows award space on TAP? I’d like to book JFK-LIS with Avianca for mid to late January 2024 but only Brussels Airline availability shows up when I search. Wondering when I should check again? Thank you!


found one on jan 17!


Really you people are scams that’s impossible i know


A colleague lives in France. She had a reservation on TAP to Lisbon. Out of the blue, TAP sends her an email saying that TAP canceled her reservation and rebooked it. TAP tripled the ticket price. (Likely, there is an EU regulation that prohibits this.)

To be certain, 1) the original flight was not canceled, 2) the original flight still had available seats (it was not overbooked), 3) it was TAP that canceled and rebooked – she did not cancel and rebook. She spent four hours on the phone trying to find out what happened. TAP could not/would not restore her original booking and price nor explain what happened. As her fare was fully refundable, she chose another carrier.

Based on her experience, I would never fly TAP . . . no matter how juicy a redemption might be.


I just created a lifemiles account but it set my date of birth as 1/23/1923 :/
Any idea if I can fix this without calling in?

Greg The Frequent Miler

You’re not 100 years old? Try deleting the account and trying again

Sabeeh Najam

Tried that, still defaults to make me a centenarian


I recently booked TAP business on a route IAD – LIS – DUS using Turkish miles via a phone agent, but you need to find the right agent, took me a few tries.
Also booked JFK – WAW – TLV in business on LOT using Turkish, took few tries again.
The stange thing though, I was seeing JFK – FRA on SQ metal on Aeroplan website, but neither Turkish agent nor United website could see it. Also was seeing JFK – LIS -TLV on Aeroplan, but Turkish agent couldn’t see it, that’s why I booked LOT instead with the same agent.

Last edited 2 months ago by Yuri

Oh, I see.


Though Alaska doesn’t seem to do the JFK-FRA route, only Asia routing. I mention that in the hopes that someone will correct me and show me how to make it populate. 🙂

Amy Stark

Could this be because the SQ flights are waitlisted? I am seeing availability on point.me, but when I look on the Singapore website all the flights are waitlisted. What’s the probability of them being cleared and being able to book them?


Lea Lobrigo


Nick – you’re saying you only booked one way routes to Europe on the JFK – LIS leg for 35k each? I’m seeing that price outbound at 35k miles, but on the way back it’s 63k miles (total of 98k miles roundtrip)?


Thanks! Without showing your cards, any idea on the best way to get back stateside?


If I was flying back from Western Europe to NYC, I’d just get an economy ticket with points. Should be easy to do. Going west is a daytime flight and it’s not that long. Getting the redeye in business going east is the big win.

Heidy Coil

I booked from LIS to JFK for 30,500 miles plus about $55 on TAP on Singapore Airlines website


Nick – How are you getting lifemiles to price at 35k?
I see EWR-LIS direct on TP for Nov 24th using lifemiles but it prices at 63k
Searching one way with star alliance for 1 seat
Same with other Nov dates, is there a peak/off peak thing or does the pricing change when you actually pay?


Be very careful before transferring points to LifeMiles or purchasing LifeMiles right now. I purchased 120k miles last week as part of the sale, and while the miles showed in my transaction history, they haven’t posted to allow me to use them in 9 days. Other people on FlyerTalk are reporting similar issues with transferring points to LifeMiles. It seems to be a system issue based on how they responded to me on Twitter. I’m just hoping award space is still there for the flights I’m hoping to book by the time they post.


I’m jealous. I’ll probably have to do a dispute through my credit card if they don’t post. The only people I’ve heard of having issues were those transferring from Capital One.


I’m curious why you decided to transfer MR points instead of buying LifeMiles at the current sale price of ~1.3c?


Yes, it was directed at you. Just remembered this post from last year (https://frequentmiler.com/cashing-out-why-nick-is-dumping-a-chunk-of-points-today/) which answers the same conceptual question, I guess I just can’t bring myself to redeem MR for an effective value of 1.25c (despite having a lot of them, I don’t anticipate any difficulty exceeding that value in the future). This is also based on the assumption that I will run out of points at some point.


Struggling to get a lap infant added. Booked via ANA and ANA says call TAP while TAP says call ANA. Both, of course, have long wait times! Any tips, Nick?


Thanks for the quick reply and idea. I’ll try to find another number.


You’re on roll this week Nick!

How does the EWR-LIS price with LifeMiles? Thinking EWR would get you Polaris lounge access for the flight to LIS.