Since the last newsletter, we’ve had a TON of new people join the list thanks to David Slotnick’s shoutout in Business Insider. For those who are new, welcome to the party. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me via email, on Instagram or Twitter.

Now, let’s get into the good stuff!

Business Class For 4 On TAP Air Portugal

A reader put in a request for award space to Portugal and they’re in luck. There’s a ton of award space early next year. While winter in Europe isn’t everyone’s thing, there are dates that extend into April. It’s not summer travel, but you’ll miss the massive crowds and might even be able to make it work for spring break trip with the family.

Straight to the points:

Routes: BOS/JFK/MIA/SFO/YYZ-LIS
Operating airline: TAP Air Portugal
Class of service: Business class
Dates: January – April 2020
Seats available: 4
Cabin layout: 1-2-1/1-2-2
Book with (per person, one-way):

  • Air Canada Aeroplan – 55,000 miles
  • ANA Mileage Club – 88,000 miles (round-trip only)
  • Asiana Club – 40,000 miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles – 63,000 miles
  • EVA Infinity MileageLands – 65,000
  • Miles & More – 52,500 miles
  • Singapore KrisFlyer – 72,000 miles
  • United MileagePlus – 70,000 miles

Taxes/fees (per person): 

  • One-way: $5.60
  • Round-trip: ~$55

Bank transfer partners:

  • Amex – Aeroplan, ANA, Avianca, Singapore
  • Capital One – Aeroplan, Avianca, EVA, Singapore
  • Chase – Singapore, United
  • Citi – Avianca, EVA, Singapore

Don’t forget to let me know if you book and how you did it!

Details

TAP Air Portugal Business Class Seat
TAP Air Portugal has been rolling out its the A330-900neo with staggered 1-2-1 seating. If you want to guarantee a flight on this aircraft in early 2020, SFO is your best bet. You can also get a seat on one of these aircraft out of BOS, JFK, MIA and YYZ starting at the tail end of March.

For a point of reference, these cabins will be similar to United Polaris business class cabins — the real one, not the garbage 2-4-2 and 2-2-2 they now call “Polaris” — and El Al’s business class on the Dreamliner.

Prior to that, these routes will be operated by the older A330-200s. The cabin layouts on these dates are 1-2-2. Still lie-flats, but not everyone will have direct aisle access. Keep in mind TAP also has A330-200s with a 2-2-2 layout with angled-flat seats. Always a good idea to confirm what your route will have juuuust in case.

I haven’t flown them, personally, but I wouldn’t expect insane service or food but it’s more than enough for a flight across the Atlantic,t. However, TAP has thrown caution to the wind and released a TON of space in early 2020.

Here are the dates that work for 4 people (there are dates with even more seats available too):

JFK-LIS
November: 5, 6, 8, 9, 12-16, 18, 20, 21, 24-30
December: 2-6, 8-10
January: 12-31
February: 1-29
March: 1-27, 29-31
April: 1-4

LIS-JFK
November: 6, 7, 13, 19-21, 26-29
December: 3-7, 10-13
January: 14-17, 21-23, 28-31
February: 4-8, 11-14, 18-21, 25-28
March: 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, 30, 31
April: 1-4

YYZ-LIS
January: 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 30
February: 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29
March: 2, 5, 9, 16, 23, 26, 28-30
April: 1, 3, 4

LIS-YYZ
January: 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 30
February: 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27
March: 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, 30
April: 1, 3, 4

SFO-LIS
January: 13, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 30
February: 6, 8, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29
March: 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 23, 26, 29-31
April: 2, 4

LIS-SFO
January: 16, 25, 27, 30
February: 1, 3, 6, 8, 15, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29
March: 5, 7, 12, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 29-31
April: 2, 4

BOS-LIS
November: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13-15, 17, 18, 20-22, 24, 25, 27-29
December: 1, 2, 4-6, 8, 9, 11
January: 13, 15-17 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27, 29-31
February: 2, 3, 5-7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19-21, 23, 24, 26-28
March: 1, 2, 4-6, 8, 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29-31

LIS-BOS
November: 4, 6-8, 10, 11, 13-15, 17, 18, 20-22, 24, 25, 27-28
December: 1, 2, 4-6, 8, 9, 11
January: 13, 15-17, 19, 20, 22-24, 26, 27, 29-31
February: 2, 3, 5-7, 9, 10, 12-14, 16, 17, 29-21, 23, 24, 26-28
March: 1, 2, 4-6, 8, 9, 11-13, 15, 16, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-27, 29-31

MIA-LIS
January: 13-18, 20-24, 27-31
February: 1-3, 5-21, 23, 24, 26-29
March: 2-6, 9-13, 15-31

LIS-MIA
January: 13-30
February: 1, 2, 4-6, 8-19, 21, 22, 24-26, 28
March: 1-31

Best Ways To Book

TAP Air Portugal Award SpaceMy favorite way to book is with 55,000 Aeroplan miles per person. Aeroplan is a transfer partner of Amex and the new Capital One program. Not only is it pretty easy to acquire Aeroplan miles, but the rate is the best out there and you won’t pay surcharges other than Lufthansa Miles & More — much harder to earn.

Amex transfers to Aeroplan are 1:1 and Capital One transfers are 2:1.5.

If you don’t have enough Amex or Capital One points but have some Citi ThankYou Points, you can transfer from all three to Avianca LifeMiles which also does not impose surcharges. Transfers from Amex and Citi are 1:1 while Cap One is again 2:1.5.

LifeMiles has a competitive rate at 63,000 miles but the program doesn’t always see the same award space as other Star Alliance partners. Additionally, the site is prone to screw-ups. I’m not saying don’t use LifeMiles, it can be a very useful program. Just know that it can be a headache if things don’t go as planned.

Finally, United can book TAP business class for 70,000 miles one-way and is our best bet with Ultimate Rewards points now that Singapore KrisFlyer has devalued its Star Alliance partner award chart.

Alternative Return Option

While I’ve mostly focused on award bookings, I wanted to flag a possible alternative for booking a flight back from Europe to the US. In fact, it just happens to be an option for TAP Air Portugal business class.

TAP regularly has cash fares at around $655 for a one-way business class ticket from Oslo (OSL) to JFK or BOS. In the example above, the fare is just under $640 if you book directly with TAP.

You can often find solid deals from Dublin (DUB), Budapest (BUD), Copenhagen (CPH) and more but OSL seems to be the cheapest most often.

You might even find a date that works in the Chase travel portal so you can use Ultimate Rewards points to book. For some context, a one-way business class award ticket from Europe to the US booked with United requires 70,000 miles + ~$50 in taxes/fees while Singapore KrisFlyer requires 72,000 miles.

In our example above, you’d only need 43,595 Ultimate Rewards points if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Even with the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred, you could book for 52,314 points. This includes taxes/fees so your out of pocket would be $0.

This can be a fantastic way to book if you plan on exploring Europe and find your way to Norway. Heck, a cheap cash flight to Oslo might even be worth it. You can, of course, credit these bookings to your Star Alliance carrier of choice — just make sure you pick a partner whose miles you’re most likely to use.

Booking Process

If you don’t know the exact dates you want to fly, keep things simple and use United’s calendar search option.

  1. Run a flexible date search for your ideal month of travel on United
  2. If booking with another Star Alliance partner, confirm space by searching with the respective program
    – LifeMiles often has issues so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t show space — if you’re brave, you can try talking with one of their phone agents
  3. Transfer points (if necessary)
  4. Log into your account
  5. Run the search again
  6. Complete the booking

If you know the exact dates you want to travel, go ahead and search with the program you plan to use. Keep in mind that Miles & More requires you to have at least 7,000 miles in your account to run a search online.

Bottom Line

It’s always great to land 4 business class seats to Europe. If you can find your way onto the new A330-900neo, it’ll be even better. Either way, Portugal should be an amazing trip with friends and family — or perhaps a great chance to enjoy some wine with your significant other. I know it’s high on my list to visit.

Happy booking!

Don’t forget, if you’d like me to keep an eye on award space to a particular destination or on a particular airline, let me know!

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