Which award flights to Europe can have 3 first class award seats? TravelSort reader Scott commented on my post Flying First Class with Kids: Which Airlines and Seats “Which airlines typically have three first class award seats available? We will be traveling back to Miami from Europe next summer and would like to book business/first class from pretty much anywhere in Europe (although Athens would be the initial departure point).”
This question also comes up with some of my Award Booking family clients, so it seems a good topic to discuss. As I've mentioned before, with my family of three we usually split up, with one of us flying with our son and the other solo, both because that gives us more award options and because we diversify our miles and points earning and may not have enough miles and points to all fly the same award flight, even if there were 3 award seats (which often there aren't).
Here are my favorite options for 3 first class awards to and from Europe:
1. Singapore First Class from Moscow DME to Houston IAH
Miles: 57,375 KrisFlyer miles for 1st and 2nd saver award seats; 110,500 KrisFlyer miles for the 3rd standard award seat
This is one of Singapore's Fifth Freedom flights, and both because Moscow isn't all that popular with tourists (although in my view it's a great time to visit–see Where to Travel with the Strong U.S. Dollar) and because the flight is on a 777-300ER rather than an A380, it's not all that popular for paid first class, so award seats are often available.
It's not the best choice when coming from Greece or southern Europe, as reader Scott and family will be doing, but it's a great option if you'll be in northern Europe, such as Scandinavia and the Baltics, or Austria, since there are nonstop flights between Vienna and Moscow DME.
Keep in mind that Singapore only releases 2 award seats at the saver award level (very generous actually, considering that's half of the 4 seat first class cabin) so the 3rd award seat will need to be at the saver level. Still, for a 13 hour flight in first class, an average of ~75K KrisFlyer miles + EUR 200 per ticket is a great deal, especially as Singapore KrisFlyer miles are so easy to earn via transfers from Ultimate Rewards cards such as the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus, Citi ThankYou points from the Citi Prestige, and AMEX Membership Rewards points.
2. Emirates First Class Milan MXP to NYC JFK
Miles: 100K Alaska miles + $62
Keep in mind that for this option and the others below, there's a lot less award availability for three people, so it works best for those making opportunistic award bookings for dates when award seats are available, then arranging the trip around those available dates.
If you have plenty of Alaska miles and can find award space, this is a good option for anyone wanting to fly Emirates First Class on the A380 with a shower onboard. And this works well if you're traveling in Italy, Greece, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, or the many other destinations with nonstop flights to Milan.
3. British Airways First Class from London LHR
Miles: Depends on exact route and whether peak or off-peak
British Airways First Class isn't as aspirational as Singapore First Class or Emirates First Class, but I do end up booking it a fair amount for clients that have the British Airways Visa and have earned the companion voucher. Keep in mind that the companion voucher is two for one only in the sense that you only use the Avios points required for one person; you still have to pay the taxes and fuel surcharges for both passengers, however, and often this is ~$2000 for two for a roundtrip.
As an example of the Avios required, off-peak London LHR to Atlanta ATL one way is 85,000 Avios per person + $535 in taxes, while peak travel on the same route would be 100,000 Avios one way + $535.
4. United Global First
Miles: 80,000 MileagePlus miles
United First Class again isn't aspirational, and I dislike the high award change and redeposit fees for non-elite members compared to KrisFlyer, Alaska MileagePlan and British Airways Avios. But if the route works for your travel plans and there's award availability, it's good to keep in mind.
Here's a sample award from Frankfurt FRA to Washington IAD for 3 passengers for 80,000 MileagePlus miles + $187.
Also keep in mind that if you're not set on flying first class, United sometimes puts partner business class on sale in early February for a few weeks; see MileagePlus Discounted Lufthansa Business Class Awards, where Lufthansa Business Class was available for 57,500 miles each way, although normally (and currently) it's 70,000 miles each way.
What are your favorite flights to find 3 first class award seats on, to and from Europe?
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