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TAP Portugal currently flies from Lisbon to three different destinations in the United States: Miami, Newark, and most recently to Boston. July 1, 2016 they will launch one more route that will fly between Lisbon and New York (JFK).

What’s interesting about the two newest routes is that they are flying different planes than the old routes, with an enhanced Business Class product– fully lie-flat beds and direct aisle access for every passenger. The Miami and Newark routes fly a Business Class with angle lie-flat beds.

Why is this good news apart from the obvious? Because it means there is more Business Class award space to Europe from the United States.

Photo by Joao Carlos Medau, taken from Flickr Creative Commons

One Mile at a Time pointed this out via USA Today, who published a story about TAP Portugal debuting lie-flat seats on the Boston route, which is flying an updated Airbus A330. The New York route that begins in July will also fly the updated A330 with the improved Business Class product. The airline has plans to retrofit the planes that fly their Miami and Newark to Lisbon routes as well, and receive more updated A330’s, so that by March of 2017 anyone flying TAP Portugal Business Class from the United States to Lisbon will have a lie-flat bed.

In the meantime, fly out of or through Boston or New York if you want all 360 degrees.

Best Miles to Redeem on TAP Portugal’s New Routes

TAP Portugal is a member of Star Alliance. In my Comprehensive Spread Sheets of Eight Star Alliance Award Charts: Cheapest Awards to Every Region, there is specific information about the best star alliance miles to use to Europe.

There you can see that the cheapest mileage prices to Europe in Business Class are using Asiana miles (40k one way). However, Asiana charges fuel surcharges on awards where the cash ticket has a fuel surcharge (with the exception of United flights), so redeeming Asiana miles on a TAP Portugal award would incur fuel surcharges.  So just how much would those fuel surcharges be, and are they worth it considering the best option without fuel surcharges is 70k United miles per direction?

Let’s see. I’ll look up what the fuel surcharges would be on ITA Matrix– here’s how to use ITA Matrix.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 5.51.41 PM

The red outlined line item “TP YQ Surcharge” is the fuel surcharge, which is $856. Ouch. That is too much to pay out of pocket to save 30k United miles, which I value at 1.6 cents each.

Conclusion: the best miles to redeem on TAP Portugal Business Class to Lisbon are United miles. If you have Avianca Lifemiles, then you could pay even less mileage (63k one way) and still escape fuel surcharges, but I assume most of you don’t have Lifemiles. Nor is Lifemiles a transfer partner of any of the big transferrable point programs.

Using United miles to fly TAP Portugal Business Class to Lisbon you will pay 70,000 miles + about $50 in each direction.

Award Space

Search for TAP Portugal award space on All the calendars below show space for one person on direct flights. Green days have space in Business and economy, yellow just economy, and blue only Business.

Boston to Lisbon

This route has tons of Business Class award space that just gets more open as the year goes on.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.06.14 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.15.12 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.16.24 PM Lisbon to Boston

The return is almost as open, but with a little less Business Class space this summer. But as the year goes on the route opens up completely.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.21.53 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.22.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.22.55 PMNew York to Lisbon

This route has even more Business Class seats than Boston to Lisbon… nearly every day, even over the summer.Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.39.04 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.40.44 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.41.27 PMLisbon to New York

This return has very little Business Class award space in August, but every month from September and on has plenty.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.44.11 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.45.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.22.55 PM

But I Don’t Live in Boston or New York…

You can add a leg on United from your hometown to connect to the Boston or New York flight– as long its Saver space– for zero extra miles. Just take note that on United awards you can’t have more than four segments per one way.

How to Get United Miles

Check to see if you’re targeted for the current 70k sign-up bonus for the United Mileage Plus Explorer card, the limited time offer ends tomorrow! From the sign-up bonus alone you’d have enough to fly in a flat bed to Lisbon on TAP Portugal’s new Business Class.

Also, Ultimate Rewards transfer to United MileagePlus at a rate of 1:1. The Ink Plus by Chase is a business card that offers 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months– it is ranked number two in my top ten list of travel credit cards at the moment.

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Bottom Line

You now have one more option to fly to Europe in Business Class with a fully lie-flat bed: from Boston to Lisbon on TAP Portugal, and Business Class award space on the route is prevalent Fall 2016 through Spring 2017. You can easily find space this summer as well if you’re flexible.

Beginning in just a few days, you’ll have yet another option to fly to Europe in Business Class with a fully lie-flat bed: from New York (JFK) to Lisbon on TAP Portugal. You can easily find a Business Class seat on this route at pretty much any time.

Unless you have Avianca Lifemiles, the best way to book this award is with United miles: it will cost 70,000 miles + about $50 in taxes in each direction.