One of the hardest pills to swallow in a post-pandemic world is that travel just isn’t going to be the same as it was before. The cataclysmic shift that will become more apparent as time goes on is that travel is going to overwhelmingly become a luxury experience reserved primarily for the wealthy. Furthermore, the best way to minimize your change of contracting COVID-19 is to socially distance yourself as much as possible.
How can this be done in a cramped steel tube? The answer is simple: book the best first class flights for social distancing.
This is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek answer because of how cost-prohibitive these plane tickets can be, often running in the realm of $20,000 per ticket. But if you’re committed to travel, how can you “hack” your way to luxury travel without spending an arm and a leg?
Simple! Use points! Whether you’re a business owner spending a lot of money running your business, a young professional who happens to be interested in travel hacking, or you’re a wealthy consumer trying to maximize your personal household spending, you’ll definitely want to do everything in your power to book the best first class travel deals.
If, for example, you think about booking a $1,000 plane ticket in coach to Europe, you’ll probably pay anywhere from 75,000-100,000 points just for this simple economy ticket! For the same cost of economy, why not upgrade your travel to business or even first class? And that much value isn’t even counting all the couples vacations you can book using points!
Here are some of the best first class flights you can book using points in a post-pandemic world.
- U.S. to Europe One-Way For 50,000 Points Per Person
- U.S. to Japan Round-Trip For 110,000 Points Per Person
- U.S. to Vietnam One-Way For 70,000 Points Per Person
- U.S. to the Middle East Round-Trip For 190,000 Points Per Person
- U.S. to Australia in First Class One-Way For 70,000 Points Per Person
- Final Thoughts
U.S. to Europe One-Way For 50,000 Points Per Person
Travel restrictions are always changing, and you can rarely expect a country to honor its own restrictions, which is paving the way for a new trend: last minute travel. Luckily for you, you will reap the rewards of being flexible by being able to book some of the most luxurious first class flights to Europe.
Namely, Lufthansa first class can reliably be booked 2 weeks before departure. Also, you can get some amazing bargain deals, starting as little as 50,000 points one-way per person! You’ll want to earn Asiana miles to book this ticket.
Yes, you can book a first class flight to Europe for the same price most people are paying for coach. You’ll initially fly to Germany and will seamlessly connect onwards to your final destination, whether it’s to an exotic destination like Croatia or a popular mainstay like France.
You’ll fly in a ~$20,000 airplane seat when you redeem points for this flight!
U.S. to Japan Round-Trip For 110,000 Points Per Person
Japan is one of the safest destinations in the world, thanks to a rapid response and a national sense of alignment to eliminate the coronavirus. It’s also no secret that Japan is a beloved country to tourism and one of the largest economies in the world.
You put all of these facts together, and you will arrive at the conclusion that Japan is a must-see in the post-pandemic world. The best part is that you can book some outstanding flights in either Japan Airlines first class or on All Nippon Airways (both are phenomenal).
For as little as 110,000 Chase, Amex, or Citi points, you can book round-trip first class flights that retail for $15,000+ per person!
If you’re keen on booking trips for your family, for example, you’ll want to check out our 5 best vacations you can book for your family.
U.S. to Vietnam One-Way For 70,000 Points Per Person
Vietnam’s pandemic response has been lauded as one of the best in the world. With a little over 300 COVID-19 cases, Vietnam is one of the safest places in the world right now. Though there aren’t any regularly scheduled nonstop flights from the U.S. to Vietnam, you can still book a 1-stop connecting flight in luxury to Vietnam using points.
One of the best itineraries available is to fly on Cathay Pacific first class connecting in Hong Kong and onwards to your final destination in Vietnam. For a one-way flight, you can pay as little as 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles in first class and 50,000 miles in business class! For the round-trip flight, just double the cost. In this case, your odds of success are much higher if you book last-minute, due to availability constraints.
Flights, on average, will run around $10,000 one-way. Way to save $10,000+ with points!
These deals can be booked only because you’re leveraging the power of transfer partners. You won’t be able to access these amazing first class flights when you’re using travel portals like Amex Travel unless you’re willing to pay 10-20 times as many points.
U.S. to the Middle East Round-Trip For 190,000 Points Per Person
The Middle East has numerous world-famous airlines, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways. If you want to savor a taste of some of the world’s most exciting first class flights, while holidaying in the Middle East, you should absolutely use points to save $30,000+ on your plane tickets.
Flights are slightly more expensive than usual for a few reasons. First, the Middle East is further away than Europe, for example, so naturally tickets tend to cost more, even with points. Secondly, these airlines are world-famous, and people are willing to use more points for luxury flights on these airlines because they’re simply in a league of their own.
You can spend anywhere from 190,000-247,500 points for round-trip tickets to the Middle East in first class. Booking this means over 30+ hours in first class opulence and saving over As you can imagine, flights cost around $10,000-$20,000, so you’ll save a ton of money when using points.
Most of the world is off-limits for U.S. travelers. Check out our 5 best places you can visit that are open to U.S. citizens (plus points flights and hotels!).
U.S. to Australia in First Class One-Way For 70,000 Points Per Person
If you’re looking to check out The Outback down under, one of the biggest barriers you’re probably seen is how much ticket prices cost. That’s not terribly surprising because Australia is a minimum of 16 hours flying distance away from the U.S. Nonetheless, Australia is a worthwhile country to consider visiting in a post-pandemic world because its COVID-19 response has been commendable, with a little more than 7,000 cases countrywide.
If you’re traveling this far, you should definitely do it in business or first class. Nonstop flights in business/first class are rare, but you can redeem as little as 70,000 points per person for a one-way first class flight on Qantas. In particular, each of those tickets retails for $10,000+!
You can also book other options, such as Japan Airlines first class through Tokyo or Cathay Pacific first class through Hong Kong. If you’re looking for the more unique travel destinations, check out our top 5 exotic places you can travel to using points.
Globally, there’s been such drastic variation in COVID-19 response playbooks. It’s very clear which countries have staved off the worst of the pandemic and which countries have not. If you’re committed to traveling, you can keep your COVID-19 risk at a minimum by responsibly traveling in business or first class and visiting places that are relatively safe from COVID-19.
There’s a lot of fantastic first class flight deals you can book using points, so use these points wisely! If you’d get value from a points wealth and travel management service that will book your award travel for you, click the button below to learn how we can help you book the travel of your dreams.