I attended a talk by a legendary fundraiser, probably 15 years ago, where he told a story about not going to visit with the wealthiest donor in a state. When making a trip to Arkansas everyone assumed they knew he was going to see the Waltons of Wal-Mart but he explained, ‘the line’s too long.’
One of the reasons I’ve loved redeeming Chase points for Korean Air first class, American miles for Etihad first class, and Alaska miles for Emirates first class, is that in those cases there are relatively few programs able to redeem for the seats. Etihad and Emirates aren’t part of global alliances, and Korean’s Skyteam partner Delta doesn’t allow redemptions for first class.
In other words, the line is shorter.
One of the shortest lines in award redemption is for Philippine Airlines business class.
Philippine Airlines Is Growing Its North America Presence
Philippine Airlines flies:
- Manila – Vancouver daily
- Manila – San Francisco daily (plus a second flight once a week)
- Manila – Los Angeles daily (plus a second flight four times a week)
Starting March 15 Philippine Airlines will be flying New York – Vancouver – Manila.
They’re Devaluing Their Own Miles Program, But are Still Reasonable
Philippine Airlines has devalued its Mabuhay Miles program without notice.
Despite changes, their award chart is actually surprisingly reasonable. Though upgrades are nearly as expensive as business class awards, the cost of Los Angeles and San Francisco – Manila in business is just 55,000 miles each way.
You Can Access These Flights With Points You Probably Have
Availability is amazing. And there are two basic ways for most US-based members to redeem for their flights: transfers of Citi ThankYou points to Etihad, or a much better value transfers of either American Express Membership Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints to ANA.
Taking the Vancouver or San Francisco non-stops is less than 14,000 miles roundtrip so a business class award would cost just 90,000 miles. Taking the Los Angeles flight roundtrip would be 105,000 miles in business class. And you could tack additional flying beyond Manila on Philippine Airlines – as long as you stay under 18,000 total miles flown – for that same 105,000 miles.
Starting in mid-April ANA will be moving to a zone- or region-based award chart. Under this chart South Asia roundtrip in business class will cost 110,000 miles. ANA does add fuel surcharges to award tickets.
Finding Award Seats
Philippine Airlines awards can’t be searched for online that I’m aware of, so you have to call. Even the Philippine Airlines website does not have online award search for the carrier’s seats — their members actually have to issue tickets in person! Fortunately ANA and Etihad have no such constraint.
Conveniently, the Philippines has outlawed fuel surcharges for itineraries originating there.