Five Underpriced Countries for Your Next Award

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Sometimes you can go really far for not very miles by finding underpriced countries on your favorite award chart.

Award charts, by their nature, group several countries together for a single price. The countries at the extremes of each group are often underpriced relative to the rest of the group, leaving you the chance to get a great deal with your miles.

Here are five examples of underpriced countries on the American Airlines, United, Delta, US Airways, and British Airways award charts.

1. Peru, by American, United, and Delta

Peru is the farthest south country in Northern South America on the American Airlines, United, and Delta charts. I’ve previously called Peru the Best Destination for Lie Flat Seats because it is the only country in its region with lie flat seats offered by United, Delta, and American’s partner LAN.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 11.45.37 AM
The most distant country in Northern South America is Peru

You can book a one way award from the United States to Peru for as little as 15,000 American Airlines miles each way in economy on these dates: between January 16 – June 14 and September 7 – November 14. That’s only 2,500 miles more than a one way award within the continental United States and cheaper than an award to Hawaii despite Peru being farther award from the continental United States than Hawaii.

You can fly flat beds to Peru for:

  • 30,000 American Airlines miles each way (LAN)
  • 35,000 United miles each way (United)
  • 90,000 Delta miles roundtrip (Delta) [45,000 miles each way starting 1/1/15]

That’s cheaper than flat beds to Hawaii, despite Peru being farther away from the continental United States. Those prices are also a huge discount on the prices to Chile, Brazil, and Argentina which are just a few hours more of flying.

Peru also happens to be my favorite country to visit. Here’s my Top Ten Things to Do, Eat, and See in Peru.

  • What are the other four underpriced countries?

2. Australia by American Airlines and US Airways

Australia is really, really far away! It’s more than twice as far from Los Angeles to Melbourne as it is from Chicago to London.

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Twice as far as Chicago to London

Yet American Airlines charges barely more to fly from anywhere in the continental United States to Australia as it does from the continental United States to Europe.

American charges 37.5k/62.5k/72.5k miles each way in economy/business/first on direct Qantas flights to Australia, compared to 30k/50k/62.5k each way to Europe.

US Airways charges even less to Australia in Business and First on Qantas or even partners like Cathay Pacific via Asia. US Airways charges 80k/110k/140k roundtrip to Australia in economy/business/first.

Unfortunately Qantas Business and First Class space on its routes between the United States and Australia is poor, but it does exist if you plan far enough in advance with flexibility. If you can’t find it, you can always fly via Asia with US Airways miles or hire my Award Booking Service to find it.

Trip Report: Qantas Business Class from Melbourne to Los Angeles

3. China by US Airways

China (including Hong Kong) is the farthest south country in US Airways’ Northern Asia region. US Airways has sweet spot prices to China in economy and First Class.

US Airways charges only 60,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 120,000 miles roundtrip in First Class between North America and Northern Asia.

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Only 120,000 US Airways miles roundtrip in Cathay Pacific First Class

That’s especially cheap when you consider it is the same economy price to London or Paris, which are much closer, and a lower First Class price!

Plus you can fly Cathay Pacific First Class to Hong Kong, or anywhere else in Northern Asia, which is one of the world’s nicest First Class products and nicer than any US Airways partner First Class product that flies to Europe.

Trip Report: Cathay Pacific First Class

4. Eastern Russian by nearly everyone

American, United, Delta, and US Airways all rigidly place entire countries in each region (for the most part), including Russia, which straddles nine time zones.

You can fly to Central and Eastern Russia, which are many thousands of miles farther away than Western Europe or even Western Russia, for the same miles prices as you can fly to London or Paris.

Delta, American, and US Airways miles are especially useful to fly to Central and Eastern Russia because of partnerships with Aeroflot (Delta) and S7 (American/US Airways.) But even United miles can get in on the act to some far away Russian cities.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 11.40.01 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 11.40.39 AM5. Caribbean by British Airways Avios

United, American, US Airways, and Delta charge 35,000 miles roundtrip to the Caribbean. (US Airways does have off peak awards to the Caribbean for 20,000 to 25,000 miles roundtrip every September.)

With British Airways, you can fly from Miami to the nearest Caribbean destinations (650 miles flying or less) for only 4,500 Avios each way on American Airlines flights. For instance, both major Bahamas airports cost only 4,500 Avios each way from Miami.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 11.26.00 AM

You can reach Miami from much of the country for 4,500, 7,500, or 10,000 Avios each way, meaning most people in the Eastern or Central United Statees can fly to a lot of the Caribbean for fewer Avios than other types of miles.

Did I leave off your favorite underpriced country? Share it in the comments.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. What about off-peak awards to Chile on AA? Just scored rt via MIA for 40k return in Economy .. no such discounts for premium classes though. Even better .. if you have the AA Platinum Card, you’ll get 4k miles back as being a cardholder (although I’m an Exec cardholder, and that 10% rebate benefit does not permeate .. it may be time to downgrade for better options!). I call that a huge win, especially when those tickets routinely cost $1200+.

  2. The Avios to FPO/NAS is undervalued at 4500 miles, but I don’t think the tix are anymore than $100, before taxes, with some notice. I guess if it’s very last minute it’s a good deal, but those flights are not normally expensive. Perhaps to another destination, like Barbados or Turks & Caicos, is a much better potential use even if it’s more Avios.

    I don’t live in FL so I’m just making some assumptions here and very well can be wrong.

  3. I just booked my flights to travel to Peru next August and it was the 17,500 for economy and 30,000 for Business class like you stated above. I’m flying on American Airlines and booked first class on the way home. Does that mean I’ll have the lay flat beds? Or is that only if booking specifically on LAN? I booked mine directly from the American Airlines website.

    Thanks!

  4. Scott:

    ORD-India via HKG on Cathay one-way is priced at 97.5k miles in F, instead of 90k miles. 67.5k on first leg and 30k on second leg, which is J. It is showing up as 2 awards. Any other option left on this route on Cathay?

  5. Just as I was looking to book IST-OVB as UA’s excursionist perk, TK decides to cancel IST-OVB route starting 4/1/2017. At only 25K miles in TK’s business it was a steal for 6hr flight.

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