An Award Redemption to Look Forward To: Saudia Launching First Class Suites!

Saudia’s current first class product on their Boeing 777s is an antiquated six seats across, but with a huge cabin of 24 seats.

Their business class on that aircraft is angled. It’s not terrible as far as such things go on a dry airline, but hardly a modern product.

You can use Delta miles to redeem for Saudia business class. You cannot use Delta miles for international first class on Saudia (or any other airline). Fortunately miles in other SkyTeam partner programs can be used for Saudia first class.

And even better, Saudia appears to be getting a new first class for their Boeing 777. Via @SultanALFuraih1 it appears to be suites with doors somewhat reminiscent of Etihad’s first class on their Boeing 777s.

Now that government-supported Saudia will join Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar in offering superior premium cabin products, will Delta lobby the U.S. government to block their SkyTeam partner from flying to the U.S. or offering discount fares?

While you’ll need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia, you can generally transit up to 18 hours inside the airport without a visa.

Saudia can be a useful partner to fly to a variety of destinations, although it’s not yet clear where the new product will be flying or how many planes will be equipped with first class suites.

First class awards between the US and Middle East or Africa are just 160,000 Korean Air miles roundtrip. (Korean is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest.)

And while Korean Air Skypass adds fuel surcharges onto awards where those are included in paid fares, Saudia doesn’t have fuel surcharges. For example, here’s the breakdown of a Los Angeles – Jeddah first class fare:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Hi Gary,

    What is the best way to check Saudia availability? IME doesn’t show it any longer. Thanks

  2. The other part of the equation is the Jeddah airport (JED), consistently voted one of the worst airports in the world, is undergoing a massive upgrade and is due to open mid 2017.

  3. awesome….would love to fly them….and I agree on the Jeddah airport..its not the best in the world, of course, but be adventurous….experience another culture, and their customs.

Comments are closed.