The best value destination for people who want to use their miles to travel in flying beds is Peru.

My favorite South American country is the perfect sweet spot of being far enough away for two airlines–LAN and United–to fly fully flat business class seats from six American cities, and being close enough that the flights are a steal with American and United miles.

Usually with miles, there is a “but.” In this case, I don’t see one. The award space is great, the products are fantastic, the miles can be earned easily, and Peru is my favorite country to visit in the world.

Award programs see the world in regions, and the major airlines agree that South America has a northern half that includes Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador; and a southern half with Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.

The northern half costs fewer miles to reach than the southern half because it’s closer. Peru is the farthest away from the US of the northern-half countries, so right there is one source of value.

from google.com

Even bigger value comes from the fact that Peru is just far enough away that some airlines decide to fly there with business classes that feature lie flat beds.

United flies lie flat beds in BusinessFirst from Newark and Houston to Lima daily. I flew the same product from London to Los Angeles, and I thought it was an awesome product for sleep and comfort.

LAN flies lie flat beds in Premium Business from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York-JFK, and Miami to Lima. A 787 will even fly the Los Angeles to Lima route soon.

By contrast, American flies 757s that feature a business class that is the same product as domestic first class to Peru from Dallas and Miami.

So some airlines fly beds, and some fly recliners to Peru. Getting on the beds for the same cost as the recliners will unlock huge value from your miles.

The six key routes are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York-JFK, Miami, Newark, and Houston to Lima with connections in the US and throughout Peru on either end.

LAN routes in red. United routes in blue. All feature beds in business class. from gcmap.com

LAN Routes

LAN and its subsidiaries are members of the oneworld alliance. As a oneworld partner, LAN flights can be booked with American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios (surcharge free.) I will focus on American Airlines redemptions here because they are a better deal to Peru.

American lumps Peru into “Central America/South America Zone 1” and charges 17.5k miles each way in economy and 30k miles each way in business between the US and Peru. (No American partner flies between the US and Peru with a first class.)

For 30k miles each way, you can get into LAN’s Premium Business cabin on its 767-300 from four cities in the US to Lima with connections throughout Peru. And from Los Angeles, there will soon be a daily flight on a 787 Dreamliner to Lima. Both planes have fully flat beds and personal video screens. Here’s LAN’s page about its 787 experience–looks pretty awesome.

American Airlines’ award search engine doesn’t display LAN award space, so you should search on ba.com for award space, then call American at 800-882-8880 to book the space you find. Here’s how to search on ba.com.

Miami

Miami to Lima is the shortest of the LAN routes at a flight time of less than six hours. I found tons of Wednesdays and Thursdays next South American summer–January-March 2014–when LAN had released seven business class award seats on the same flight.

Since Miami is an American Airlines hub and American Airlines has very good domestic award availability, many people should be able to connect to this award space. You can use domestic MileSAAver economy or first class space that you find on aa.com to pair with your LAN award space to Peru. You can also add on LAN’s intra-Peru flights for no extra miles.

from wikipedia

Miami is the option with the least bed time, but a strong option for families who want to travel together because of the seven seats together.

New York-JFK

I didn’t find any space on LAN’s New York to Lima flight. My searches turned up plenty of space from New York to Lima connecting in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The New York to Guayaquil flight is 6hr45min and also features flat beds in business class.

Los Angeles

There are two daily flights from Los Angeles to Lima on LAN. The first leaves at 1:00 PM and arrives at 12:20 AM the next day after an 8hr20min flight. This flight–LAN 601–will be operated by a Dreamliner as soon as those re-enter service.

The second flight leaves LAX at 11:20 PM and arrives at 10:55 AM in Lima. This flight–LAN 2605–is operated by a 767-300.

Both feature fully flat beds, but the 787 Dreamliner has improvements in cabin technology related to lighting and cabin pressurization. If I’m flying on a bed, I’d prefer the redeye, but I’d have a hard time passing up the 787.

Whichever you prefer, space is wide open on both flights. From January 15-29, there is space on at least one flight on 14/15 days. Most days, there are up to five seats on both flights!

If you don’t live in LA or on the west coast, flying to LA to connect to one of these flights will mean considerable backtracking, but it might be worth the backtracking to fly a 787 or to get your family of five to Peru.

San Francisco

The San Francisco flight takes off Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 6:45 PM, landing in Lima 9hr20min later at 7:05 AM. Next February I found three business class seats available nearly every day the flight operates.

This flight is ideal for people who live in San Francisco, since it is a rare international oneworld flight from SFO, making it eligible to have a Free Oneway on American Airlines tacked on.

United Airlines

United flights can be booked with any Star Alliance miles including United miles, US Airways miles, and Lufthansa miles.

United puts Peru into the Northern South America region and charges 20k/35k/45k miles one way for economy/business/first class.

Note that United brands business class as BusinessFirst. Three-cabin first class is called Global First, and some planes with Global First flies to Lima. It’s only 10k miles more one direction, but I probably wouldn’t even pay that modest premium because I consider BusinessFirst to have almost the same quality bed, food, and service.

Whatever miles you’ll use to book the award, search for the space on united.com, then call the airline whose miles you are using to book the award (or book online with United miles.) For enhanced searching, use my Way to Trick United.com’s Award Calendar.

Newark

From Newark, United flies the narrow-body 757 to Lima with business class beds in a 2-2 configuration.

from united.com

I captured screen shots of the current availability on the route. Green and blue shaded days have at least one business class seat available as a Saver award at the 35,000 miles per direction price.

Space is a lot better in 2014 than it is in 2013 on the 8hr5min day time flight.

Houston

The Houston flight is a 6hr30min day time flight operated by a 767-300 daily. At some point before next January (bonus points if you figure out exactly when), the two-cabin plane that operates the route now will be replaced by a three-cabin plane with first class in a 1-1-1 configuration and business class in a 2-2-2 configuration.

I wouldn’t pay the 10,000 mile premium for first class for such a short flight when I find the United Global First and United BusinessFirst to be very similar in quality.

Both United flights should be easy to connect to since United has the best domestic award availability of any legacy carrier. Once in Peru, you can connect throughout the country on Star Alliance partner TACA Peru for zero extra miles.

Bonus

What do I recommend in Peru? Here’s my Top Ten things to Do, Eat, and See.

Top Ten Things to Do, See, and Eat in Peru: Honorable Mentinos and 10 Through 8

Top Ten: 7 and 6

Top Ten: 5 and 4

Top Ten: 3 and 2

Top Ten: #1 Machu Picchu

Recap

Peru is the best value destination for travel in business class because it is the perfect distance from the US–close enough to be cheap in miles and far enough to be served by LAN and United with planes with beds. Get there using Star Alliance or oneworld miles.

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