Use miles to get to Asia in business or first class (in 2023)


If you find yourself daydreaming about the snow monkeys in Japan, the hawker centers of Singapore, the ancient history that abounds around Asia, or just a really long flight in a comfortable seat with free-flowing champagne, there are numerous ways to use points and miles to achieve your chosen goal. In this post, you’ll find the best values for travel to and from Asia using miles collected from transferable currencies. We have previously covered the best ways to Europe, Africa, the Caribbean / Central America, and Australia / New Zealand / the South Pacific, so see those posts for other regions.

What’s new? This guide has been heavily updated for 2023 with award chart changes, updated surcharge information, the addition of Bilt Rewards transfer information, and additional sweet spots added.
a seat in an airplane
This was A350 regional business class on Singapore Airlines. Long-haul can be even nicer.

Transferable Currencies

If you want to use airline miles, it’s great to have transferable points.  Transferable point programs let you transfer your points to any of a number of airline programs.  This is great because it gives you the freedom to book many different flights through many different methods, some of which are strikingly cheaper than others.  If you’re not familiar with transferable points programs, please check out our guides:

Amex Membership Rewards Complete Guide Capital One “Rewards miles” Complete Guide Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide
Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide Marriott Bonvoy Complete Guide Bilt Rewards Complete Guide

Best ways to Asia using miles (premium cabins)

The deals below are sorted alphabetically. Remember that the lowest price isn’t the entire picture: be sure to consider which airlines levy fuel surcharges and the ease of amassing the miles for your chosen award. See each description for where to search, how to book, and which partners you can use to transfer. It is always best to confirm availability before transferring miles to be sure that the award you seek can be booked with the miles you intend.

Air Canada Aeroplan

  • The short story: Aeroplan charges a relatively high price for many awards to/from Asia, but they offer the most partner airlines of any program, thereby increasing the chances that you'll be able to put together an award that works for your trip. The real value in the program is the ability to add a stopover for only 5,000 additional miles, making it possible to combine two destinations on a one-way award. The Pacific Zone includes most of Eastern Asia and also Australia and New Zealand. By contrast, India and Central Asia are in the Atlantic Zone. Lap infants are only 2,500 miles.
  • Miles required: The Pacific Zone ranges from 55K-115K one-way in business class (plus 5K miles for a stopover), which can be a particularly good value for awards combining Asia and the South Pacific in one itinerary. The Atlantic Zone ranges from 60K-110K (though getting to destinations classified as Asia likely requires 85K or 110K miles each way before stopover whether your Asian destination is classified in the Atlantic or Pacific zone).
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at (you’ll need to create a free Aeroplan frequent flyer account to search)
  • How to book awards: Book online at Can also book via phone. Lap infants must be added to your reservation over the phone. A stopover can be booked online provided your itinerary has no more than 4 segments. More complex awards must be booked via phone (see Nick's 6-country 5-airline 5-day Aeroplan award and Aeroplan plans for future dream trips for more).
  • No fuel surcharges on: Aeroplan no longer charges fuel surcharges.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Marriott

Alaska Mileage Plan

  • The short story: Alaska has competitive rates on business class awards to Asia on several nice partners..and you can include a stopover for free on a one-way award.
  • Miles required: Award prices vary by distance. West Coast to East Asia starts at 60k while the remainder of Asia will start at 75k-85k one-way.
  • How to find awards: Award space from most partners shows on the website.
  • How to book awards: Book online for many partners, though some awards and more complicated routings) may have to be booked over the phone.
  • Key warnings: Finding premium cabin space can be a challenge and may require a constant eye on availability. Alaska has changed its award charts without warning several times in recent years and no longer has set award pricing, making it harder to know what to expect and to plan for how many miles you'll need for an award. Adding a stopover can sometimes push awards into the next distance band, making it more expensive. Double check to make sure that it's not cheaper to purchase both legs separately.
  • Transfer from: Bilt, Marriott Bonvoy

American Airlines AAdvantage

  • The short story: American charges a reasonable number of miles in business class between the US and Asia. Unlike Alaska Mileage Plan, American does not allow a stopover, but American Airlines miles can be quite easy to amass.
  • Miles required: 60K miles each way in business class to Asia 1 (Korea or Japan) or 70K miles each way in business class to Asia 2 or the Middle East or Indian Subcontinent.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at
  • How to book awards: Book online at or over the phone.
  • Key warnings: Finding space can be tough, but if you can find it this can be an excellent use of American Airlines miles.
  • Transfer from: Marriott Bonvoy

ANA Mileage Club

  • The short story: ANA offers fantastic rates for business class between the US and Japan on its own flights and offers similarly terrific value for partner awards between the US and Asia. Awards must be booked round trip, but a stopover and/or open jaw is allowed.
  • Miles required: 100K round trip in business class between North America and Japan in low season, 105K regular season, 110K RT in high season for flights on ANA. Star Alliance awards start at just 105K miles round trip to China/Hong Kong/South Korea/Philippines/Taiwan or 125K miles round trip to the rest of Asia. Fuel surcharges are passed on, but some carriers serving Asia do not have any such surcharges. See the full award chart here.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at (Note: Do not log in — logging in may show you expanded availability based on your credit card or elite status that is not available for partner bookings) or ANA's website (though ANA requires searches to be round trip, so it is easier to find availability by searching one way at United first).
  • How to book awards: Book online at ANA’s website.
  • Key warnings: You must both search and book round trip (it is easiest to find space using or and then enter dates with known space at ANA). High fuel surcharges are assessed by some carriers, including by ANA on its own flights, others have none or low fuel surcharges. The ANA website interface is not particularly user-friendly or modern-looking, so it may take some time to get used to the search features. Low and regular season pricing only applies to itineraries entirely on ANA. Star Alliance awards or those mixing ANA and Star Alliance carriers price at high season rates. Note that transfers to ANA are not instant. Transfers typically take 2-3 days from Amex Membership Rewards or a week or more from Marriott, so there is risk of award space disappearing while you wait for a transfer.
  • No fuel surcharges on: United (no surcharges to Europe; unfortunately, they do have charges on some flights to Asia), Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Copa, Ethiopian, TAP Air Portugal, or Singapore
  • Low fuel surcharges on: LOT Polish
  • Moderate surcharges on: Asiana, Turkish
  • Transfer from: Amex

Avianca LifeMiles

  • The short story: Avianca LifeMiles increased redemption rates in 2022, but business class awards may still be a good deal since they are semi-hackable by finding the right partners and/or adding a long economy class leg.
  • Miles required: From 90K each way in business or 120K each way in first class, no fuel surcharges. Those prices are not very good, but note two things: first, there is sometimes variance by partner or city pair (See: The secret LifeMiles award chart). Second, it is possible to pay less by combining a long-haul premium cabin flight with a long-haul economy class flight. See: Avianca LifeMiles’ awesome mixed-cabin award pricing: First class for less).
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at (you’ll need to create a free Avianca LifeMiles frequent flyer account). Note that you may need to toggle between "Smart Search", "Star Alliance", and a specific airline in the drop-down menu above city pair to find availability.
  • How to book awards: Book online at Can also book via email. Phone bookings are known to be a hassle but also possible. In a pinch, you can try a manual booking, though that process is quite slow and is best used when you aren't concerned about award availability changing.
  • Key warnings: Availability at does not always match what you’ll find at Phone agents generally do not see better availability than what is shown at Always check the LifeMiles site before transferring points (and keep in mind the need to toggle between Smart Search, Star Alliance, and an individual airline when searching to see all availability). The mandatory $25 booking fee (added to all bookings) is the same whether one-way or round trip, so book round trip to save.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Capital One, Citi, Wells Fargo, Marriott.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

  • The short story: Cathay Pacific has reasonable pricing for business and first class on long itineraries, but it can get quite a bit better if you're able to pair the long-haul flight with a long leg in a lower class. See: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles mixed cabin award pricing. First class for less. Cathay also releases more availability to its own members than to partners.
  • Miles required: 110K miles each way in business class or 160K each way in first class on itineraries over 7500 miles (85K/125K for some itineraries from the West Coast and less yet with mixed-cabin pricing as shown above)
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at (you’ll need to create a free Asia Miles frequent flyer account to search)
  • How to book awards: Book online at Can also book via phone.
  • Key warnings: Fuel surcharges are moderate depending on route and origin.
  • Transfer from: Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy

Etihad Guest

  • The short story: Etihad Guest offers high-ish pricing for flying on American Airlines, ANA or Asiana in premium cabins to Asia.
  • Miles required: Starts at 100K one-way to Japan and Korea. Longer itineraries are non-competitive.
  • How to find awards: Search for award space on or for Star Alliance partners at
  • How to book awards: Book a online on Etihad's website. For Asiana and ANA, call Etihad Guest at 1-877-690-0767.
  • Key warnings: Etihad phone agents have historically had trouble booking partner awards, though the new call center in Serbia appears to be quite competent. If your agent appears to be having trouble, you might want to HUCA (hang up, call again). Note also that Etihad Guest does add fuel surcharges. The best way to find the total in taxes & fuel surcharges is to check ITA Matrix.
  • Transfer from: Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Citi Thank You Marriott Bonvoy

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands

  • The short story: EVA's award chart features fairly average pricing at 75K or 80K each way from the US to Asia in business class, but EVA offers what is widely regarded as one of the best business class products in the sky and they make quite a bit of award space available to their own members. The best value is booking round trip since EVA allows a free stopover (stopover not allowed on one-way tickets).
  • Miles required: 75K / 80K each way from North America to Asia on EVA (80K from Chicago, New York, Houston, or Toronto).
  • How to find awards: Search
  • How to book awards: Book simple awards online at Must call and book over the phone for stopovers.
  • Key warnings: Star Alliance pricing is higher (87.5K / 97.5K each way). Best use is for EVA flights since they release more award space to their own members.
  • Transfer from: Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards

Qantas Frequent Flyer

  • The short story: Qantas offers good partner pricing for El Al flights to Israel.
  • Miles required: 90K points in business class on El Al between Tel Aviv and Boston, Newark, and New York JFK. 104.5L points in business between Tel Aviv and Miami. 119.2K points in business between Tel Aviv and Los Angeles. With a transfer bonus, these rates can get better. No fuel surcharges for travel on El Al. See the full award chart here.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at (you’ll need to create a free Qantas Frequent Flyer account)
  • How to book awards: Book online at
  • Transfer from: Amex, Capital One, Citi, Marriott

Singapore Krisflyer

  • The short story: While award prices are high, Singapore KrisFlyer has much better availability in premium cabins for their own members. They also offer a stopover on a one-way award.
  • Miles required: 107K / 111.5K from the West Coast / East Coast to Singapore in business class or 146.5K / 148.5K in first class (see the full award chart here).
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at (Note: Do not log in — logging in may show you expanded availability based on your credit card or elite status that is not available for partner bookings) or
  • How to book awards: Book online at or over the phone with Singapore KrisFlyer. Can waitlist as many options as you’d like as long as you have enough miles to book the award being waitlisted.
  • Key warnings: Note that transfers to Singapore KrisFlyer are now instant from Amex Membership Rewards and typically take around 7 hours from Capital One and Chase (slightly longer from Citi). Waitlisted itineraries that do not clear by 14 days prior to departure will get canceled.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Marriott

Turkish Miles & Smiles

  • The short story: While Turkish no longer offers the terrific Star Alliance business class award rates to Asia that it used to, they are still on the upper end of reasonable for the Middle East and Central Asia.
  • Miles required: 93K one-way to the Middle East, 100K one-way to Central Asia (Indian Subcontinent), or 130K one-way to what they dub the "Far East" (defined as Brunei, Cambodia, China (except Hong Kong and Macao), China Taipei, Hong Kong - SAR of China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam).
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at and call or email Turkish to book or go to, log in to your account, go to "Miles transactions" to find the Star Alliance booking tool and click "book now" to go to that search tool (not the tool on the home page at Note that there may be bookable options that do not appear on the site (hence checking United and calling when necessary).
  • How to book awards: Book online at using the instructions above or over the phone at 1-800-874-8875 or book via email
  • Key warnings: Turkish is sometimes unable to see Star Alliance availability for no explicable reason. However, Turkish allows a hold for long enough for points to transfer. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you get your desired itinerary on hold via phone or email before transferring points.
  • Transfer from: Bilt, Citi Thank You, Capital One, Marriott Bonvoy

United Mileage Plus

  • The short story: United charges al little as 88K miles for business class with partners. They allow the mixing of partners and cabins, which adds more possible awards given its number of partners in Asia.
  • Miles required: 88K miles each way in business class.
  • How to find awards: Search for available space at
  • How to book awards: Book online at
  • Key warnings: United has eliminated its award chart, so we see do variance in award prices between United and Star Alliance flights as well as a difference between close-in booking and farther than 30 days in advance.

Virgin Atlantic (for ANA)

  • The short story: Virgin Atlantic devalued ANA first class awards in March 2023 and then followed up by doing the same got business class awards in 2024. However, both are still very good redemptions between the US and Japan.
  • Miles required: 72.5K / 85K one-way for first class between the US West Coast / US East Coast and Japan or 52.5K / 60K miles in business class
  • How to find awards: Search to find ANA partner award space. An easier option is to use Seats.Aero. Use the tool's Explore United MileagePlus feature to find ANA flights.
  • How to book awards: Call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at 800-365-9500.
  • Key warnings: Virgin Atlantic charges each segment separately, so this award is best for direct flights. They also add fuel surcharges for ANA flights, which as of 2024 are about $360 from the US to Japan or $450 from Japan to the US (or around $730 if booked as a round trip).
  • Transfer fromAmex, Chase, Capital One, CitiBiltMarriott

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (for Delta)

  • The short story: Virgin Atlantic used to offer very competitive pricing for Delta business class between the US and Asia. Unfortunately, Virgin now uses a distance-based award chart which has dramatically increased prices. They may still offer better pricing than Delta does and in some cases you may find multiple seats available, so this can be a useful option for those looking to fly several passengers (though it is pricey and availability is inconsistent and unpredictable). Taxes leaving the US are just $5.60 one way.
  • Miles required: From 105K miles each way in business class from the mainland US. 80K each way in business class from Hawaii to Northern Asia (Honolulu to Tokyo, Nagoya, or Osaka). See the distance bands here and use a tool like to calculate distance between airports.
  • How to find awards: Search to find Delta award space.
  • How to book awards: Book online at or call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at 800-365-9500.
  • Key warnings: Virgin Atlantic charges each segment separately, so this award is best for direct flights.
  • Transfer from: Amex, Bilt, Chase, Citi, Marriott

How to get the miles

The following chart shows the available transferable points programs for each of the above airline frequent flyer programs:

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Chase Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Citi Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Capital One Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Bilt Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Air Canada Aeroplan1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)
Alaska MileagePlan1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)
American AAdvantage
ANA Mileage Club1 to 1 (~1 day)
Avianca LifeMiles1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)
Etihad Guest1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~1 hour)1 to 1 (Instant)
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands1 to 1 (~2 days)1000 to 750 (~1 day)
Qantas Frequent Flyer1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~1 day)1 to 1 (~1 day)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~17 hours)1 to 1 (~1 day)1 to 1 (~7 hours)
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles1 to 1 (~1 day)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)
United MileagePlus1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (Unknown)1 to 1 (~5 Minutes)
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Ed Dee

Booking SQ is also available from Alaska website which is not listed in your article here. I booked SIN to SFO one-way business for 100k which I think is not that bad considering how difficult it is to find availability sometimes.
Great article with all possible ways listed. Would be great to have a table format for a quick view.
Thanks for your great work!


Any thoughts on what’s the best intra-asia flights mileage program?


AA (for Oneworld) and EVA Air (for Star Alliance) have solid pricing for intra-Asia awards.

No seats available

This article is such a joke and waste of time. There is no availability in premium class tom Asia with the low saver fares. Seats to Asia are listing at 200k+ one way. So don’t waste your time or worse move any points over. They occasional unicorn shows up but be ready to travel solo because you will never find more than one seat and be ready to fly at the worst times of the year. Been looking 11 months out since 2022 and nothing


Someone needs a hug


Pure click bait. Nothing new here.


I am hopeful that Hainan Air will return to Seattle one day and I can once again use Alaska to fly to PEK in business for 40k miles


Why is Korean Air not here? That seems like a huge oversight. Wait. Korean Air has a humongous devaluation beginning on April 1. North America to Thailand one way goes from 95K to 195K in F. That’s more than DOUBLE. Nevermind….

Last edited 1 year ago by Teri

Quick thing – it looks like Chase is missing as a transfer partner option for Aeroplan.


You don’t seem to have updated the United section from pre-pandemic times. 72K on their own metal??? And thanks for marginalizing AA. That keeps the riff-raff out, and leaves fabulous awards for fans of AA miles (which aren’t really hard to get unless you’re running on referrals).


“pm Asiana, you can fly from Seattle, San Francisco, or Los Angeles to Seoul for 59K miles in business class.”
What does pm stand for here?


It stands for use your brain, it’s obviously a typo


I think you should be the one using your brain. We know it’s a typo. We just want to know what it stood for. Clearly, you don’t belong here. Get outta here, turd.

Denise in COS

Thank you for this extremely opportune post! I’m looking for J (or F) seats from Tokyo-Taipei-US and this post gave me some new places to look!

Al C

Doesn’t Aeroplan transfer from Chase now too?


This is great! Thanks so much!
Is there any thought that changing and redepositing will become more difficult if airlines realized people would pay cash for many of these tickets if they were fully refundable…but the cheapest biz and first fares typically have many more restrictions than award tix?


Was doing some random award chart research and found a decent sweet spot I haven’t heard covered much. Asiana business class from the west coast (LAX and SFO) to South Korea (ICN) for 59,000 Etihad miles. Etihad uses a distance-based chart for Asiana and business class on flights under 6000 miles is 59k. LAX and SFO just make the cut. Any transfer bonus to Etihad would make it a great deal.

Dave C

Good luck with Etihad booking a partner award that is not AA.


Let us know if you’re succesful in booking an Asiana flight with Etihad miles.


Have you ever tried booking Asiana with Etihad? Miles are useless if you can’t use them.


I had not tried booking Asiana with Etihad. I simply saw what seemed like a decent award chart sweet spot and thought I would share. I didn’t have the need to book at the time, but thought the information could be useful for the FM community. A little disappointed some folks here would react negatively to it being shared without doing a little due diligence to find out whether it’s actually bookable or not. 

After seeing the comments on this I decided to briefly look into it. It took me about 20-25 minutes to figure out that this award can indeed be booked. That includes some online research and two phone calls. I used to find award availability.

Here’s what I learned:

-When calling the regular US customer service number listed, I was routed to an agent who could not see any award availability throughout the entire calendar.

– When calling the regular UK customer service number listed, I was routed to an agent who COULD see award availability that matched what I found on United. He also priced the roundtrip (see next note) correctly at 118k. Note that I am not sure whether this actually routed me to a different office or if I simply got lucky by getting a more knowledgeable representative.

-According to the UK agent, only roundtrip bookings can be made on Asiana.
-Availability Searching Tip: Since United flies the same route you can use the SeatSpy searching tip Nick outlined in his recent ANA First Class post to search the SFO-ICN route. Asiana seats should show a cost of 88k (or 92k for close-in bookings). 

-Caveat: I didn’t proceed to ticketing the flights, as I didn’t want to unnecessarily tie up 118k transferable points in Etihad. I suppose there’s a chance that it won’t ticket, but the UK agent seemed to be confident that it would.

Vaibhav Shetge

So Qantas section talks more about El Al and Tel Aviv. I am guessing this must have been a copy paste error when curating this article…

[…] has only thus far made it into two of our “Best ways to get to” series posts: the Best ways to get to Asia using miles (premium cabins) — that inclusion is thanks to the more favorable rates and better availability on their own […]

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