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🌏 How to fly on the best planes without breaking the (points) bank

Plus, Kimpton Hotels is offering a 30% discount for summer travel to select destinations in the U.S.!

Estimated read time: 4 minutes and 50 seconds

✈️ American Airlines unveiled some sexy new amenity kits and bedding for firt, business, and premium economy passengers. Check it out.

Good morning, and welcome back to Daily Drop, the “UR Points” of newsletters. We’re better than all the others. And everyone knows it.

Let’s get into the good stuff, shall we?

✈️ How to experience the best airline seats without breaking the points bank

One of the reasons people get involved in the points and miles game is to experience world-class, luxurious, premium airline seats that they otherwise would never be able to afford.

At the same time, booking flights like that can easily deplete your points balances…

I often struggle to decide whether to use my points for amazing business and first-class seats or fly economy to stretch them as far as possible.

But today, I’m going to tell you how to do BOTH of those things. 😎

An airplane graphic with money flowing behind it on a like purple and blue background

You see, there are plenty of ways to experience all of the famous airline seats you dream about without needing to break the points bank.

First, let’s talk about Qsuites… as usual.

Qsuites

Qsuites are, without a doubt, the best business-class seats in the sky, mainly because they are similar to many airlines’ first-class products.

To fly in Qsuites from North America to the Middle East, you’ll need to shell out at least 70,000 Avios or American Airlines miles.

Sample Qsuites booking on Qatar's website

That’s not a bad price at all… but if you want to try Qsuites without spending a full 12-15 hours in them and burning ALL of your points, there are ways to do so.

For example, you could fly on one of Qatar’s shorter Qsuites routes from Doha to Mumbai for just 15,000 Alaska miles thanks to their newly revamped award chart.

Alaska's new award chart

You’ll get multiple hours to experience the world-famous seat, service, lounge, and food for the same price as many domestic flights in the U.S.

But what if you really want to go for gold and fly something like Emirates first class?

Emirates first class

🤤

You could book an Emirates fifth freedom flight like Newark to Athens or New York to Milan.

The only problem?

It’s still not a CRAZY good deal, requiring over 100,000 miles and over $100 in fees… if you can even find availability…

Sample Emirates booking from EWR-ATH in first class

In my opinion, there’s a WAY better option…

You see, Emirates has a fifth-freedom flight between Bangkok and Hong Kong, and they fly it every single day with an Airbus A380 (the plane with the shower for first-class passengers).

Amazingly, you can book a round-trip ticket, directly with Emirates, on this route for less than $900 USD… in first-class… any day of the year.

Sample Emirates first-class cash booking on Google Flights

That means you get to spend seven hours in the famous private suites, try out the shower, catering, expensive champagne, etc. without needing to shell out ANY miles, and at a pretty reasonable cost.

Speaking of world-class airlines that cost a lot of money…

Virgin Atlantic is known for having one of the best business-class products in the sky. In fact, everybody I know who’s flown on Virgin has raved about it, and it’s definitely on my bucket list.

Except for this…

Sample Virgin Atlantic booking from NYC-London

It’s hard for me to justify shelling out almost a thousand dollars in taxes and fees in addition to almost 50,000 miles to fly their planes between North America and Europe…

The taxes and fees on this one-way ticket alone cost more than that round-trip flight in Emirates first class I just told you about…

So, I’m going to mix it up a bit.

Later this year, I’ll be flying this Virgin Atlantic flight from Bangalore, India to London.

Sample Virgin Atlantic booking from Bangalore to London

Did you know that Virgin flies to multiple cities in India?

As you can see, flying Upper Class on this route is 10,000 miles cheaper than flying from the U.S. despite the flight being four hours LONGER.

Additionally, the taxes, fees, and surcharges are less than half of the previous flight… again, despite this one being four hours longer.

The final tip today is maybe the easiest one to take advantage of.

In Asia, flying wide-body planes on very short routes is normal, and this allows passengers to try out lie-flat seats for 30, 60, or 90 minutes on planes capable of flying for 20 hours.

For example, last year, I flew China Airlines’ amazing lie-flat beds on the Airbus A350.

China Airlines business class

But rather than shelling out 50,000 or 70,000 or 100,000 points for a flight, I spent just 20,000 Flying Blue miles (only 15,000 UR Points thanks to a transfer bonus at the time) for this two-hour flight from Shanghai to Taipei.

Sample booking with Flying Blue miles in China Airline business class

I had always wanted to try out their business class, but didn’t want to spend too much to do so. Needless to say, I enjoyed every minute of that two-hour flight!

So here’s the bottom line:

Sometimes, people simply use points and miles as a convenient way to get from A to B.

Other times, people (like me and many of you) want to experience bucket-list flights, planes, airlines, and lounges that otherwise would never be possible or accessible without this hobby.

I hope today showed you that there are ways to stretch your dollars and points while still trying out some of these world-class products.

Have you flown on any of the flights I mentioned today?

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☀️ Save up to 30% with Kimpton Hotels “Escape Your Everyday” promo

Kimpton Hotels is part of IHG Hotels & Resorts, and for a limited time, they’re offering a summer sale that could save you up to 30% off your stay!

It’s important to note that this “Escape Your Everyday” sale is limited to select hotels in six U.S. states, but we know y’all are always itching for a good domestic trip, so I think there are some great wins to be had here.

Here are the details:

  • You need to be an IHG One Rewards member (free to sign up here)

  • You must book your stay by May 15, 2024

  • Complete your stay by September 2, 2024

  • A 3-day advance purchase is required

  • Length of stay requirements may vary by hotel

  • Blackout dates apply

Participating states include California, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

The options might be limited, but the ones that are featured offer some nice variety in my opinion!

For example, the (freaking stunning) Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa in Vero Beach, Florida, is a participating property.

An image of a beach-side background with pricing details for the Kimpton Vero Beach Hoel & Spa

As long as you put in eligible dates for your search, you should see the Escape Your Everyday promo pop-up as a pricing option.

You can find the full list of destinations and participating properties here.

So if you, you and your partner, or you and your family are looking for a domestic summer getaway, this could be the perfect opportunity to book something fun and still save a little 😎

We’re taking things to The Lounge today! If you aren’t familiar, we have a Facebook community where you can ask your travel questions and share your travel wins!

Example A below 😏

So what are you waiting for?! Come join us in The Lounge!

That’s all for today, amigos! I hope you enjoyed today’s newsletter and feel inspired to go out and try some epic first and business-class flights.

I know I’ll be taking advantage of some of the sweet spots I mentioned today.

Anyway… Take care, and have a wonderful rest of your day ❤️

Mike Dodge
Head Writer, Daily Drop

52°22'35.4"N 52°15'17.4"W