How to Get 70% Off First Class Fares

Not enough people in Australia understand the value of buying miles, which is fair given that neither of the Australian carriers sells them, but it’s something you need to get your head around quick smart. Using American’s latest offering, I thought I’d show you how to get 70% off First Class fares by booking one for myself, on Cathay Pacific.

Fortunately, I was given the run down some years ago by our in house points guru Shelby, who also used to moonlight as our photographer. What you need to do, is go to American Airlines, Alaska Airlines (or both) and register. Then you’ll need to patiently wait for a Buy Miles promotion to land in your inbox.

Both American Advantage and Alaska Mileage Plan promote the sale of miles sporadically throughout the year with miles redeemable on a variety of partners including Cathay Pacific, Qantas and BA. You can check out the full list for AAdvantage here and Alaska here.

This month, American Airlines offered a tiered promotion to earn up to 115,000 Bonus Miles with miles purchases of up to 150,000. This is what the table looks like.

American Advantage Bonus Miles

With a trip from Singapore to Hong Kong on the cards, I jumped onto the Qantas Frequent Flyer portal to search for Cathay Pacific Award availability on the route. The coloured seats below represent availability for Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First.

Cathay Pacific First Class Availability

This shot below shows the flight on Cathay’s website with a retail price of $4,072 SGD or $3,862 AUD. 

Cathay First Class Retail to Singapore

I then called American Advantage to double check the availability, and the required miles spend for the flight – 32,500 miles plus 34 SGD tax and a $75 US fee for booking inside 21 days. I then brought up the American miles promotion online and searched for the number of miles required, then made the purchase (which I probably could have done over the phone).

American Advantage Bonus Miles

Buying American Advantage Miles

Total cost for the miles: $1,089 AUD

Once you’ve added the cost of the miles to the taxes and charges you’ve got a grand total of…..

$1,220 AUD for the flight, a saving of $2,643, just shy of 70% off the RRP.

To further put things in perspective, a $1622.50 US investment ($2,147 AUD) would see 85,000 miles land in your American Advantage account, enough to fly return from Sydney to Hong Kong. Those flights will set you back almost $6000 AUD RRP.

Sure, not everyone is going to be interested in paying $1,220 for a four-hour one-way flight, but it’s worthwhile understanding how much you can save when buying miles, especially when you could shell out $759 AUD to fly Economy with Singapore on the same route!

Looking for bonus points to fly First Class? Check out AMEX’S INSANE 120K SIGN ON BONUS.

You might also enjoy some of my other flight reviews:

Singapore A380 First Class Suites review
Etihad A380 Business Class Review
Emirates A380 Business Class Review
Cathay Pacific 77W Business Class Review
Air New Zealand 777 Business Class Review


James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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