Hey guys! I am very excited to bring you a bonus blog post this week, courtesy of R. He rounded up and ranked our favorite flights from our epic year of travel in 2022. For full transparency, he also included the points we spent as well as the cash we paid for fees to give you a better idea of how this whole points and miles thing works. (You can find all the basics of earning points in this post that he wrote earlier this year.) The list includes all seven of our first and business class flights from this year, as well as some fun honorable mentions at the end. I’ll turn it over to him next, so enjoy!
2022 was a great year of travel for us. Unfortunately, due to covid, a lot of our flights got pushed back several years. With this post, I wanted to break down our favorite flights of the year and how many points they cost us.
#7. American Airlines: FCO-LHR-DFW
57,500 American Airlines Miles + $115 per person
This was the first flight where we were seated backward, as in, facing the back of the plane. We were a kind of nervous about getting motion sick, but it ended up being okay. It was actually a great flight, and we slept well too. We don’t have a ton of photos from this flight because we prioritized getting rest.
#6. Delta Business Class: ATL-FRA
50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles + $5.60 per person
This flight will always hold a special place in our hearts. We brought along a couple friends who had never been out of the country before. They trusted us blindly to go on a mad dash through Europe. Our initial flight was also cancelled out of TUL, so we ended up renting a car last-minute to drive overnight to ATL.
I booked this at a time when American Express was having a 30% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic. So really it cost us 154,000 American Express Membership Rewards to book the 4 of us.
#5. Qatar Airways Business Class: DFW-DOH-MLE
70,000 American Airlines miles + $16 per person
Middle Eastern airlines are over the top with luxury, and Qatar is no different. This was the first time we had experienced top-notch service on a flight. The staff was attentive, but not annoying, and they seemed to know what we wanted even before we did. We were both really impressed with the whole experience.
#4. Etihad Airways First Class: MLE-AUH-IAD
145,000 Air Canada miles + $255 per person
Again, over-the-top luxurious. Like most, they serve champagne when you board the plane, but shortly after takeoff they offer one of their specialty cocktails. We went for the peach Bellini and it was delicious. We also felt like the seats were comfortable and great for getting some rest.
This flight could have cost 10k miles less per person if booked as a stopover through the phone, but the hold time for Air Canada was abysmal so I paid more for it.
#3. Japan Airlines First Class: HND-ORD
80,000 American Airline miles + $50 per person
The Japanese airlines are just as luxurious as Middle Eastern airlines, but in a more understated way. As expected, the service was perfect and the massive leather seats were very comfortable. They provide a mattress with firmness of your choosing for turndown service, and this made a big difference when trying to get some sleep. We enjoyed the food, and Laura was very excited about the amenity kit.
#2. ANA “The Suite”: JFK-HND
110,000 Air Canada miles + $45 per person
There are definitely much lower points costs to book this flight. Most people and blogs use and talk about using Virgin Atlantic miles to book this flight and rightfully so. I believe you can book these flights for as low as 55,000 Virgin Atlantic miles one way. But I had leftover Air Canada miles from canceled trips and availability was there so I booked it and I’m glad we did. Japan’s hospitality is second to none. Being able to dine together at 30,000 feet is something I never thought we would be able to do. The seat was massive and had a 43 inch 4K TV. Also, the Hibiki 21 was one of the best whiskeys I’ve ever had…
#1. Singapore Suites on the A380: FRA-JFK
86,000 Krisflyer miles (Singapore airlines loyalty program) + $120 a person
I booked this several month prior to on a whim just because it was available. We weren’t sure if we would be able to go, but it ended up working out. Thankfully we did because it ended up being our favorite flight of the year, by far. The flight, the service, the food, the space, and the unlimited Dom Perignon and Krug champagne… The only complaint about this flight was that it wasn’t long enough.
Trans Maldivian Airways: MLE-The Conrad Maldives Resort
TMA is the largest operating seaplane fleet in the world, and the experience was really unique. Neither of us had been on a seaplane before, but we were excited for the adventure. I remember laughing about how the pilots wear typical pilot uniform shirts, but also shorts and no shoes. It can get pretty hot inside the planes, so be sure to stay hydrates. I would also recommend taking something to prevent motion sickness. Taxiing in the middle of the ocean can get a little bumpy.
Okay maybe this is cheating, but the bullet trains in Japan are awesome. They are always on time, comfortable, and reach speeds up to 200 mph. Plus, no turbulence.
I hope this was helpful for those of you who are interested in getting into the points and miles game. I show a lot of the payoff here on the blog and on Instagram, but R puts hours and hours into planning and researching for these trips. He really enjoys the challenge, and we both enjoy the result! Feel free to comment any questions you have below and we’ll do our best to answer them! As always, thanks for reading along.