21 Best Ways to Redeem Copa Airlines ConnectMiles for Maximum Value

Copa Airlines

Full Disclosure: We may receive financial compensation when you click on links and are approved for credit card products from our advertising partners. Opinions and product recommendations on this site are ours alone, and have not been influenced, reviewed or approved by the issuer. See our Advertiser Disclosure for more details. We appreciate your support!

Copa Airlines is the national airline and flag carrier of Panama and is one of the most strategically well-located airlines in the world.

By connecting the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, Copa Airlines can take advantage of its equatorial positioning to be a significant player in commercial aviation.

Copa Airlines used to use United’s frequent flyer program, MileagePlus, but has since developed its own frequent flyer program, known as ConnectMiles.

In this guide, we’ll be examining ConnectMiles as a whole and determining the top ways to use these miles for maximum value.

Table of contents

Table of Contents

The Pros and Cons of Copa Airlines ConnectMiles

Although Copa Airlines is situated within Panama, a relatively niche travel destination, the impact of its frequent flyer program extends far beyond that.

Copa Airlines is a Star Alliance member airline, which means that there’s no end to where you can travel using ConnectMiles.

Here are the top pros of using Copa ConnectMiles:

  1. Membership in the Star Alliance increases the utility of ConnectMiles
  2. Unique zoning allows for niche optimization
  3. Generous routing rules allow for 1 stopover and 2 open jaws on round-trip awards
  4. Unbelievable routing rules for “taking the long way” to your destination
  5. No fuel surcharges on Emirates

Here are the top cons of using Copa ConnectMiles:

  1. Most routes fall behind the average redemption price compared to other partners
  2. Fuel surcharges are passed on for some carriers
  3. Service fees are quite exorbitant for international flights
  4. No 1:1 transfer partners
  5. The search engine, which has worked well in the past, doesn’t work so well anymore

If you’ve got the patience to learn about ConnectMiles, you’ll find a frequent flyer program that is markedly similar to MileagePlus in structure, though inferior in practice.

Using Your Copa Airlines ConnectMiles

One of the big issues of using ConnectMiles is familiarizing yourself with a foreign frequent flyer program. With this objective in mind, you’ll find that the structure of ConnectMiles is straightforward.

In all, there are 2 sets of award charts, consistent award redemption rules, and easy-to-understand zoning guidelines. Let’s take a solid look at each of these, starting with the award charts.

Copa Airlines Award Charts

Copa Airlines offers region-based award pricing for flights on the airline. Depending on which regions you’re flying to and from, you’ll pay a fixed price.

Also, there are 2 distinct types of award tickets you can redeem miles for: Saver and Standard. Saver tickets are harder to come by but are cheaper, while Standard tickets are widely available but much more expensive.

Hot Tip: In general, you’ll want to avoid Copa Airlines if you want a meaningful business class experience. Copa Airlines only offers recliner seats in business class, similar to a domestic first class flight. Copa Airlines can provide excellent schedules and routings, so keep that in mind when choosing flight options. 

Copa Airlines doesn’t operate any fifth freedom flights, which means that unless you’re flying nonstop, you’ll need to connect via Panama City (PTY).

Check out the following award chart for one-way business class tickets:

Copa Airlines Business Class Award Chart
Copa Airlines Business Class Award Chart. Image Credit: Copa Airlines

As you can see, the Standard award prices are significantly more expensive than Saver award prices, often more than double the cost.

Here’s the award chart for economy class tickets on Copa Airlines:

Copa Airlines Economy Class Award Chart
Copa Airlines Economy Class Award Chart. Image Credit: Copa Airlines

Lastly, here is the breakdown of countries and territories in each region (click to enlarge):

Copa Airlines Partner Award Regions
Copa Airlines Award Regions. Image Credit: Copa Airlines

Star Alliance and Non-Alliance Airline Partners

Copa Airlines has partnerships with both Star Alliance and non-alliance airlines.

Here are all of Copa Airlines’ airline partners:

Copa Airlines Partner Airlines
Aegean AirlinesAustrian AirlinesEVA AirSouth African Airways
AeromexicoAvianca VuelaGOLSwiss International Air Lines
Air CanadaAzulKLMTAP Air Portugal
Air ChinaBrussels AirlinesLOT Polish AirlinesTHAI Airways
Air IndiaCroatia AirlinesLufthansaTurkish Airlines
Air New ZealandEgyptairScandinavian AirlinesUnited Airlines
All Nippon AirwaysEmiratesShenzhen Airlines
Asiana AirlinesEthiopian AirlinesSingapore Airlines

As you can see, Copa Airlines has a few non-alliance partners:

  1. Aeromexico
  2. Azul
  3. GOL
  4. Emirates
  5. KLM

Copa Airlines prices all of its partner awards according to the following region-based award chart (click to enlarge):

Copa Airlines Partner Award Chart
Copa Airlines Partner Award Chart. Image Credit: Copa Airlines

Additionally, all of the regions are defined as shown here (click to enlarge):

Copa Airlines Partner Award Regions
Copa Airlines Partner Award Regions. Image Credit: Copa Airlines

Awards Bookable Online vs. Phone

Although Copa Airlines’s search engine is reputed to be reliable, further testing shows it to be clunky and not operational for many airlines.

The single most reliable way to book an award ticket successfully is to contact Copa Airlines’s ConnectMiles service center at 800-FLY-COPA (800-359-2672). The operational hours are daily from 7 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Depending on who the airline partner is, you’ll face varying levels of difficulty in getting a suitable award flight to appear in search results.

The best thing to do is to forget the online booking process entirely and go straight to the service center after confirming availability with another partner frequent flyer program, such as United MileagePlus or Avianca LifeMiles.

Award Redemption Rules

Copa Airlines’ award ticket rules are relatively easy to digest and there’s nothing terribly surprising. The most important tidbits to remember are:

  1. Children under the age of 2 don’t cost any additional miles for award tickets (taxes and fees will apply).
  2. For award tickets booked within 21 days of departure, a close-in booking fee will be charged.
  3. You’re allowed 2 open jaws and 1 stopover on round-trip award tickets.
  4. Award tickets expire 1 year after the date of ticketing.

There are several other relatively intuitive rules, which you can read more on directly with Copa Airlines.

Here is the fee chart for international flights:

International Award Ticket FeesBaseSilverGoldPlatinumPresidential
Ticketing Fee$30$0$0$0$0
Close-in Booking Fee$75$50$25$0$0
Ticket Change Fee (more than 21 days before departure)$75$0$0$0$0
Ticket Change Fee (21 days or less before departure)$100$50$25$0$0
Award Cancellation and Re-Deposit Fee (more than 21 days before departure)$100$60$30$0$0
Award Cancellation and Re-Deposit Fee (21 days or less before departure)$150$90$45$0$0
Same-Day Change$75$0$0$0$0

Here’s how much the various award service fees will run you on domestic flights:

Domestic Award Ticket FeesBaseSilverGoldPlatinumPresidential
Ticketing Fee$30$0$0$0$0
Close-in Booking Fee$25$20$15$0$0
Ticket Change Fee (more than 21 days before departure)$25$0$0$0$0
Ticket Change Fee (21 days or less before departure)$25$20$15$0$0
Award Cancellation and Re-Deposit Fee (more than 21 days before departure)$25$20$15$0$0
Award Cancellation and Re-Deposit Fee (21 days or less before departure)$25$20$15$0$0
Same-Day Change$25$0$0$0$0

Now that we’ve covered our bases on the ConnectMiles award chart, redemption rules, and service fees, let’s quickly touch on how you can earn ConnectMiles.

How to Boost Your Copa Airlines ConnectMiles

Copa Airlines has a relatively unknown frequent flyer program. Although there are airlines with tons of transfer partners, such as Air France/KLM Flying Blue or Avianca LifeMiles, Copa Airlines doesn’t enjoy the same benefit.

Copa Airlines is transfer partners with just 1 program: Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy points are transferrable to Copa Airlines at a 3:1 ratio. For every 60,000 Marriott points transferred to Copa Airlines, you’ll receive a bonus of 5,000 ConnectMiles.

When you transfer 60,000 Marriott points to ConnectMiles, you’ll end up with 25,000 miles instead of 20,000 miles. For example, if you need 60,000 ConnectMiles, you’ll need to transfer 150,000 Marriott points to get this amount.

If you’ve made up your mind on transferring your points to ConnectMiles, you’re going to want to check out our guide on the best ways to earn lots of Marriott points.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn 6X points per $1 at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 3X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - Earn 125,000 bonus points! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 1/13/2021.

Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

The 21 Best Ways to Use Your ConnectMiles

In general, you don’t want to be holding your miles in or transferring all your points to a program like Copa Airlines ConnectMiles. The upside is extremely limited except for some niche scenarios we’ll be discussing below.

If you have Marriott points, you’ve got so many other fantastic ways to redeem Marriott points for flights and even hotel stays.

Nevertheless, if you are loyal to ConnectMiles for one reason or another, you’re going to want to get acquainted with the best ways to redeem ConnectMiles for maximum value.

1. Unlock Incredible Award Prices, Avoid Fuel Surcharges, and Leverage Non-Existent Routing Rules on Emirates

Emirates Inaugural World's Shortest A380 Flight Business Class Seat 23A - Cherag Dubash
Emirates business class aboard the A380 makes for an elegant and unforgettable experience. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

As we mentioned above, Copa Airlines has a partnership with Emirates. Emirates hardly needs any introduction, as it is one of the best first class as well as best business class airlines in the entire world.

In addition to being able to earn ConnectMiles on Emirates flights and vice versa, you can redeem ConnectMiles for flights on Emirates.

Copa Airlines is one of the most spectacular programs in the world, if not the most spectacular program for booking Emirates business class — we’ll explain why.

The only mainstream frequent flyer program that doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges from Emirates is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. There are tons of ways to redeem Alaska miles for tons of value, but Emirates has traditionally been exorbitantly priced with Alaska Airlines. If you wanted to save on fuel surcharges, you’d pony up more miles.

This has all changed with Copa Airlines. With Copa Airlines, you won’t pay fuel surcharges at all, which was verified with a Copa Airlines customer service representative.

Plus, Copa Airlines has virtually no routing rules, which means that you can take the long way around the world to get to your destination, like flying from the U.S. to Australia via Dubai. The price of the ticket is identical to if you fly nonstop from the U.S. to Australia. What does that mean? Free business class flights in Emirates.

The only 2 drawbacks are that there are no stopovers allowed on one-way tickets like there are with Alaska Mileage Plan and you can’t redeem these miles for Emirates first class.

The next several redemptions will be focused on maximizing flight time in Emirates for the cheapest possible price.

2. Fly From the U.S. to Dubai in Emirates Business Class With No Fuel Surcharges (80,000 Miles)

Emirates A380 Business Class Aisle Seat
Emirates A380 Business Class Aisle Seat. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

One of the most straightforward redemptions is to book Emirates business class from the U.S. to Dubai. Normally, you’d pay around $150+ in taxes and fees per person.

However, when you pay with ConnectMiles, you’ll drop that down to a jaw-dropping $10 in taxes and fees, give or take. This results in a savings of $140+ per person. That’s cash right back in your pocket!

Hot Tip: Avoid the 777 aircraft for Emirates business class. The best seats are on the A380 with lie-flat seats in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration and direct aisle access. 

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Houston (IAH) – Dubai (DXB) nonstop in Emirates business class one way for 80,000 miles + ~$10 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Dubai (DXB) nonstop in Emirates business class one way for 80,000 miles + ~$10 in taxes and fees

3. Fly From the U.S. to Seychelles in Emirates Business Class via Dubai With No Fuel Surcharges (80,000 Miles)

Emirates A380 Forward Business Class Cabin
Emirates A380 Forward Business Class Cabin. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

One of the best parts of Copa Airlines is the absence of real routing rules. In this case, you can continue from Dubai to other destinations in the world. As long as you’re not transiting through a cheaper zone, you can end wherever you want.

One of the best ways to get even more value is to get a free business class flight on Emirates. It’s tough to beat that offer!

Emirates operates flights to Seychelles, so let’s look at some example redemptions for phenomenal value headed there:

  • Boston (BOS) – Dubai (DXB) – Seychelles (SEZ) one-way in Emirates business class for 80,000 miles + ~$32 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Dubai (DXB) – Seychelles (SEZ) one-way in Emirates business class for 80,000 miles + ~$32 in taxes and fees

The exact same flight would cost 120,000 Alaska miles each way, so you’re saving 33% off of your award price!

4. Fly From the U.S. to Southeast Asia in Emirates Business Class via Dubai With No Fuel Surcharges (80,000 Miles)

Emirates A380 Business Class - Champagne
Emirates A380 Business Class – Champagne. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Let’s continue with the fantastic redemptions on Emirates business class. Emirates offers nonstop flights to several Southeast Asia destinations, including Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

You can get to all of these destinations via a 1-stop flight on Emirates business class, which would result in around 21-25 hours in luxury.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • New York City (JFK) – Dubai (DXB) – Bangkok (BKK) one-way in Emirates business class for 80,000 miles + ~$27 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in Emirates business class for 80,000 miles + ~$24 in taxes and fees

Alaska Mileage Plan charges 105,000 miles for one-way flights in business class on Emirates between the U.S. and Asia, so this represents a savings of nearly 25%!

5. Fly From Deep South America to Japan via Dubai in Emirates Business Class With No Fuel Surcharges (85,000 Miles)

Emirates Business Class Tablet
Did you know that you’ll get your own tablet in Emirates business class? Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Ready for some more Emirates fun and amazing sweet spots? Let’s remove the U.S. from the equation. If you fly from Brazil, you can get to the other side of the world for 85,000 miles!

That translates to anywhere from 23-24 hours in business class on the A380, which is a fantastic deal. Although Alaska Airlines doesn’t allow Emirates awards that don’t touch the U.S., the closest competitor would be Japan Airlines.

Japan Airlines Mileage Plan charges 110,000 miles for this identical route plus $260 in taxes and fees. Now, you’ll start to see why we like Copa Airlines for Emirates business class awards!

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Rio de Janeiro (GIG) – Dubai (DXB) – Osaka (KIX) one-way in Emirates business class for 85,000 miles + ~$35 in taxes and fees
  • São Paulo (GRU) – Dubai (DXB) – Tokyo-Narita (NRT) one-way in Emirates business class for 85,000 miles + ~$35 in taxes and fees

6. Fly From North Asia to Africa via Dubai in Emirates Business Class With No Fuel Surcharges (75,000 Miles)

Emirates Business Class Lounge Dining
Enjoy a great meal at the Emirates Business Class Lounge en route to your destination! Image Credit: Sorbis via Shutterstock

Copa Airlines separates Japan from the rest of North Asia, which includes South Korea, mainland China, Taiwan, and Mongolia.

While there are some pricing differences between the “North Asia” and “Japan” regions, there isn’t with this particular redemption. Simply put, you can fly between North Asia and Africa via Dubai on Emirates business class for 75,000 miles one-way.

Currently, Emirates offers nonstop flights from Dubai to the following North Asian cities:

  • Beijing (PEK)
  • Guangzhou (CAN)
  • Osaka (KIX)
  • Seoul (ICN)
  • Shanghai (PVG)
  • Taipei (TPE)
  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT)

All of these flights are operated using the A380, which means that regardless of which city you pick, you’ll get the Emirates A380 business class experience.

Here are some of Emirates’ destinations in Africa:

  • Abidjan (ABJ)
  • Addis Ababa (ADD)
  • Algiers (ALG)
  • Cape Town (CPT)
  • Casablanca (CMN)
  • Conakry (CKY)
  • Durban (DUR)
  • Ghana (ACC)
  • Johannesburg (JNB)
  • Luanda (LAD)
  • Lusaka (LUN)
  • Nairobi (NBO)

and more!

Keep in mind that Emirates doesn’t operate the A380 on all of these routes, so you’ll want to double-check the aircraft before booking.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Beijing (PEK) – Dubai (DXB) – Casablanca (CMN) one-way in Emirates business class for 75,000 miles + ~$23 in taxes and fees
  • Seoul-Incheon (ICN) – Dubai (DXB) – Cape Town (CPT) one-way in Emirates business class for 75,000 miles + ~$34 in taxes and fees
  • Taipei (TPE) – Dubai (DXB) – Nairobi (NBO) one-way in Emirates business class for 75,000 miles + ~$28 in taxes and fees

Bottom Line: Booking Emirates business class is the single-best possible redemption when using ConnectMiles. Whether it’s the best-in-class connecting flight redemption rates or the complete absence of fuel surcharges, you need to start thinking about redeeming ConnectMiles when you’re looking at Emirates business class. 

7. Fly From the U.S. to the Maldives on a 1-Stop Itinerary in Business Class (80,000 Miles)

W Maldives Marriott
Fly to the Maldives and get there in style without tons of stops by using miles! Image Credit: Erin Miller

The Maldives has a reputation for being the most sublime beach getaway in the entire world. With its secluded villas, crystal-clear water, and bustling wildlife, it’s no wonder the Maldives is one of the highest sought-out destinations in the world.

However, the Maldivian paradise has an Achilles heel: its seclusion. That’s right — one of the most attractive aspects of the Maldives is one of its biggest deterrents. Simply put, it’s hard to get to!

If you’re flying on an ordinary economy ticket, you could be stopping at 3 or 4 different airports before getting to the international airport in the Maldives! How can you cut down on the transportation headache? Simple — fly on a 1-stop itinerary.

Here are Copa Airlines’ airline partners that offer 1-stop connecting flights from the U.S. to the Maldives:

  • Air India via Delhi
  • Austrian Airlines via Vienna
  • Emirates via Dubai
  • Lufthansa via Frankfurt
  • Singapore Airlines via Singapore (U.S. award flights are unavailable to partners)
  • Turkish Airlines via Istanbul

With all that being said, you’d probably want to fly Emirates, followed by Turkish Airlines or Austrian Airlines.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Istanbul (IST) – Malé (MLE) one-way in Turkish Airlines business class for 80,000 miles + ~$68 in taxes and fees
  • Chicago (ORD) – Vienna (VIE) – Malé (MLE) one-way in Austrian Airlines business class for 80,000 miles + ~$113 in taxes and fees
  • Miami (MIA) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Malé (MLE) one-way in Lufthansa business class for 80,000 miles + ~$589 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Dubai (DXB) – Malé (MLE) one-way in Emirates business class for 80,000 miles + ~$21 in taxes and fees

8. Fly Intra-Asia on Singapore Airlines Business Class (From 30,000 Miles)

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 Business Class Seat
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 Business Class Seat. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Singapore Airlines has historically been extremely stingy on releasing award availability to partner airlines. The only consistent exception has been intra-Asia flights in Singapore Airlines business class.

These flights are regularly released to partners, who generally have the same level of access across the board. If you wanted to try Singapore Airlines business class but didn’t want to commit to an ultra-long-haul flight, you can redeem ConnectMiles for intra-Asia flights!

Intra-Asia is a broad definition. Flights can be as short as 30 minutes to as long as 7 hours in some cases! Because Asia is such as large and spread-out continent, you can get some serious value by booking intra-Asia flights. Specifically, you’ll pay 30,000 ConnectMiles for intra-Asia flights.

You can leverage this to book some fantastic long-haul flights in business class:

  • Shanghai (PVG) – Singapore (SIN) – Denpasar (DPS) one-way in Singapore Airlines business class for 30,000 miles + ~$50 in taxes and fees
  • Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – Singapore (SIN) one-way in Singapore Airlines business class for 30,000 miles + ~$37 in taxes and fees
  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Singapore (SIN) – Manila (MNL) one-way in Singapore Airlines business class for 30,000 miles + ~$37 in taxes and fees

9. Fly From South Korea to Africa via Addis Ababa in Ethiopian Airlines Business Class (75,000 Miles)

Ethiopian business class
It’s going to be easy to wake up from a good night’s sleep after flying Ethiopian’s business class to Africa! Image Credit: Ethiopian Airlines

Yet another fantastic redemption is to traverse from one end of Asia all the way to Africa. When you consider the fact that these tickets routinely cost $4,000+, you can begin to imagine the value of using miles for this niche redemption.

Ethiopian Airlines offers a nonstop flight from Seoul-Incheon (ICN) to Addis Ababa (ADD), which spans around 13 hours! You can reduce your overall travel time from 40 hours closer to 20 hours by leveraging this route.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Seoul-Incheon (ICN) – Addis Ababa (ADD) – Kigali (KGL) one-way in Ethiopian Airlines business class for 75,000 miles + ~$241 in taxes and fees
  • Seoul-Incheon (ICN) – Addis Ababa (ADD) – Windhoek (WDH) one-way in Ethiopian Airlines business class for 75,000 miles + ~$241 in taxes and fees

10. Fly From Japan to Egypt in Egyptair Business Class (65,000 Miles)

Egyptair Business Class
Egyptair Business Class on the 777-300ER. Image Credit: L Urbin11 via Pinterest

Did you know that Egyptair has some pretty long-haul flights? Although the airline has a terrible reputation for offering a lackluster business class product, most people aren’t flying Egyptair for the ambiance anyway.

Travelers want to spend as little time in the air, even if it’s comfortable. That way, they can get some rest in the plane and be energized for their vacation.

If you’re vacationing in Egypt sometime soon, you’re probably going to want to fly Egyptair for the most convenient schedule. Business class will make the flight less taxing on you physically.

Flying from Japan to Egypt is a particularly solid sweet spot, where you can make this redemption:

  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Cairo (CAI) one-way nonstop in Egyptair business class for 65,000 miles + ~$163 in taxes and fees

11. Fly Between Europe and Central Asia in Business Class (45,000 Miles)

Lufthansa-Business-Class-Cabin
Lufthansa business class. Image Credit: Lufthansa

Central Asia is one of the most difficult regions in the world to access via aviation. However, some major airlines fulfill a rare niche of connecting Europe to Central Asia.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Frankfurt (FRA) – Almaty (ALA) one-way in Lufthansa business class for 45,000 miles + ~$348 in taxes and fees
  • Frankfurt (FRA) – Nur-Sultan (TSE) one-way in Lufthansa business class for 45,000 miles + ~$353 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Ashgabat (ASB) one-way in Turkish Airlines business class for 45,000 miles + ~$137 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Bishkek (FRU) one-way in Turkish Airlines business class for 45,000 miles + ~$137 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Dushanbe (DYU) one-way in Turkish Airlines business class for 45,000 miles + ~$137 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Samarkand (SKD) one-way in Turkish Airlines business class for 45,000 miles + ~$137 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Tashkent (TAS) one-way in Turkish Airlines business class for 45,000 miles + ~$137 in taxes and fees
  • Warsaw (WAW) – Nur-Sultan (TSE) one-way in LOT Polish business class for 45,000 miles + ~$154 in taxes and fees

12. Fly From Oceania to Australia or New Zealand in Air New Zealand Business Class (40,000 Miles)

Air New Zealand 787 Business Class
If you have a chance, you can also try the Air New Zealand 787 Dreamliner Business Class product! Regardless of what plane you fly, Air New Zealand business class is a great product. Image Credit: Air New Zealand

One of the great things about Air New Zealand is that because the country is so far away from the rest of the world, you’ll find a bunch of opportunities to fly widebody aircraft on regional flights off of a fifth freedom flight.

For example, if you can find flights between Australia/New Zealand and the rest of Oceania, you could book business class for 40,000 miles one-way. This is a great opportunity to find a lie-flat business class for up to 7 hours at a cheap price!

Let’s talk about some neat routes below:

  • Apia (APW) – Auckland (AKL) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 40,000 miles + ~$55 in taxes and fees
  • Nadi (NAN) – Christchurch (CHC) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 40,000 miles + ~$55 in taxes and fees
  • Rarotonga (RAR) – Sydney (SYD) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 40,000 miles + ~$55 in taxes and fees

13. Fly Trans-Tasman Between Australia and New Zealand in Air New Zealand Business Class (30,000 Miles)

air-new-zealand-business-class
Try Air New Zealand in business class on your next regional flight in Oceania. Image Credit: Air New Zealand

If flying between Oceania and Australia/New Zealand isn’t high on your to-do list but flying between Australia and New Zealand is, then be sure to read up on this redemption in detail. Since Australia and New Zealand are so large in area, it’s possible to get tons of value booking Trans-Tasman business class for cheap.

Trans-Tasman simply describes the act of crossing the Tasman Sea, which is the sea situated in the between the Southeast Coast of Australia and Northwestern New Zealand.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Auckland (AKL) – Adelaide (ADL) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 30,000 miles + ~$55 in taxes and fees
  • Auckland (AKL) – Cairns (CNS) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 30,000 miles + ~$55 in taxes and fees
  • Auckland (AKL) – Perth (PER) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 30,000 miles + ~$55 in taxes and fees

14. Fly From Beijing to Xinjiang in Air China Business Class (22,500 Miles)

Air China A330 Business Class
Air China A330 Business Class. Image Credit: Trevor Anderson via Pinterest

Despite the controversial reputation that Xinjiang has, tourists are bound to have an interesting time exploring the largest provincial landmass in China. Home to the Uyghurs, Xinjiang is famous for having beautiful landscapes, delicious food, a massive security presence, and an unusually autocratic vibe that can’t be replicated elsewhere.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in touring, you can get there via nonstop flights from China’s capital, Beijing. Also, since Xinjiang is huge, you can fly to multiple cities nonstop.

Here are some great example redemptions you can make:

  • Beijing (PEK) – Kashgar (KHG) one-way in Air China business class for 22,500 miles + ~$37 in taxes and fees
  • Guangzhou (CAN) – Urumqi (URC) one-way in Air China business class for 22,500 miles + ~$37 in taxes and fees
  • Shenzhen (SZX) – Urumqi (URC) one-way in Shenzhen Airlines business class for 22,500 miles + ~$37 in taxes and fees

15. Fly From Japan to Australia/New Zealand in Business Class (40,000 Miles)

ANA Business Class Seat 2
Enjoy the comfort of ANA business class. Image Credit: Stephen Au

Another fantastic sweet spot in Copa Airlines ConnectMiles is to fly from Japan to Australia in business class. For the price of 40,000 miles, you can book 9-10 hours in ANA’s fantastic business class product!

Let’s talk about some fantastic nonstop routes you can take:

  • Osaka (KIX) – Auckland (AKL) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 40,000 miles + ~$85 in taxes and fees
  • Tokyo-Haneda (HND) – Sydney (SYD) one-way in ANA business class for 40,000 miles + ~$181 in taxes and fees
  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Auckland (AKL) one-way in Air New Zealand business class for 40,000 miles + ~$85 in taxes and fees
  • Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – Perth (PER) one-way in ANA business class for 40,000 miles + ~$181 in taxes and fees

16. Fly From Cape Town to Central/Western Africa in Business Class (35,000 Miles)

South African Airways Business Class
South African Airways has a stunning business class product on the A330-300. Image Credit: South African Airways

If you’re making a point to explore the entirety of Africa, which is a massive continent, you’d do well to start from the bottom and slowly make your way up. Because South Africa is one of the most well-connected African countries in terms of commercial aviation, you’ll likely have the easiest time flying to South Africa compared to other countries in Africa.

South Africa has a ton to see, whether it’s safari experiences or wine tours. Best of all, it’s well-connected to the rest of Africa via nonstop flights. If you’re redeeming ConnectMiles, your best bet is to follow the route network of the Star Alliance.

Here are some great example redemptions you can make to fly from South Africa to Central/Western Africa:

  • Cape Town (CPT) – Addis Ababa (ADD) one-way in Ethiopian Airlines business class for 35,000 miles + ~$104 in taxes and fees
  • Johannesburg (JNB) – Accra (ACC) one-way in South African Airways business class for 35,000 miles + ~$191 in taxes and fees
  • Johannesburg (JNB) – Lagos (LOS) one-way in South African Airways business class for 35,000 miles + ~$191 in taxes and fees
  • Johannesburg (JNB) – Lome (LFW) one-way in South African Airways business class for 35,000 miles + ~$191 in taxes and fees

17. Fly From North America to Central America in Business Class (30,000 Miles)

Copa Airlines Business Class
Copa Airlines Business Class. Image Credit: Copa Airlines

If you’re looking to stay a bit closer to home, then you’ll be happy to find that redemption value for Copa Airlines flights is solid. Because Copa Airlines is nestled right in between North and South America, it enjoys a strategic position whereby all of its flights are no longer than 7.5 hours.

Unfortunately, Copa Airlines uses a network of narrowbody aircraft for its flights, which is infuriating for premium cabin travelers. The reason why is because you’ll never see a true long-haul business class product on these aircraft — instead, you get recliner seats that resemble a domestic first class seat.

Still, Copa Airlines offers a convenient schedule and strong route network connecting Central America and the U.S. Business class flights will run 30,000 miles each way at the Saver level.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Panama City (PTY) – San Jose (SJO) one-way in Copa Airlines business class for 30,000 miles + ~$60 in taxes and fees
  • Denver (DEN) – Panama City (PTY) one-way in Copa Airlines business class for 30,000 miles + ~$60 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Panama City (PTY) – Belize (TZA) one-way in Copa Airlines business class for 30,000 miles + ~$60 in taxes and fees

18. Fly From the U.S. to the Caribbean in Business Class (30,000 Miles)

United Short Haul First Class
You’ll enjoy a more comfortable seat and better service on your United flight. Image Credit: iyd39 via Shutterstock

If you’re thinking of flying to the Caribbean from the U.S., you might find some crazy-expensive flights. You can redeem 30,000 miles for one-way tickets in business class from the U.S. to the Caribbean.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Houston (IAH) – Aruba (AUA) one-way in United business class for 30,000 miles + ~$83 in taxes and fees
  • Newark (EWR) – Port of Spain (POS) one-way in United business class for 30,000 miles + ~$81 in taxes and fees
  • Chicago (ORD) – St. Maarten (SXM) one-way in United business class for 30,000 miles + ~$83 in taxes and fees

19. Fly Coast to Coast in United Airlines Polaris Class (25,000 Miles)

United Polaris 787-10 seat
United 787-10 Polaris Class. Image Credit: Stephen Au

If you’re looking for an excellent business class product on United Airlines, you’ll be able to find a premium, lie-flat seat with direct aisle access on select transcontinental flights in the U.S.

Here are the redemptions you can make:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Newark (EWR) one-way in United Polaris class for 30,000 miles + ~$124 in taxes and fees (only on 787-10 aircraft)
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Newark (EWR) one-way in United Polaris class for 30,000 miles + ~$124 in taxes and fees (only on 787-10 aircraft)

20. Go Off the Beaten Path in Europe on Turkish Airlines (15,000 Miles)

Turkish Airlines 777-300ER economy
Flying Turkish Airlines is the secret recipe for booking convenient nonstop flights to smaller cities in Europe. Image Credit: Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines has one of the best route networks in Europe. It operates flights to numerous non-hub cities, which is an essential niche for those exploring past just the capital cities in Europe. The best value is on economy flights, which costs 15,000 miles one-way.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Istanbul (IST) – Dusseldorf (DUS) one-way in Turkish Airlines economy class for 15,000 miles + ~$74 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Edinburgh (EDI) one-way in Turkish Airlines economy class for 15,000 miles + ~$74 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Gothenburg (GOT) one-way in Turkish Airlines economy class for 15,000 miles + ~$74 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Porto (OPO) one-way in Turkish Airlines economy class for 15,000 miles + ~$74 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – Rovaniemi (RVN) one-way in Turkish Airlines economy class for 15,000 miles + ~$74 in taxes and fees
  • Istanbul (IST) – St. Petersburg (LED) one-way in Turkish Airlines economy class for 15,000 miles + ~$74 in taxes and fees

21. Fly Within Oceania in Economy Class (12,500 Miles)

United Airlines Economy
United Airlines Economy. Image Credit: United

Our last redemption is one of the highest-value redemptions in the world. In particular, we’re talking about flights within Oceania. Guam is one of United’s focus cities, and its position in Oceania means expensive economy tickets for cheap mileage prices.

Here are some of the great ways you can redeem ConnectMiles for maximum value:

  • Guam (GUM) – Chuuk (TKK) one-way in United economy class for 12,500 miles + ~$43 in taxes and fees
  • Guam (GUM) – Palau (ROR) one-way in United economy class for 12,500 miles + ~$143 in taxes and fees
  • Guam (GUM) – Saipan (SPN) one-way in United economy class for 12,500 miles + ~$40 in taxes and fees
  • Guam (GUM) – Yap (YAP) one-way in United economy class for 12,500 miles + ~$73 in taxes and fees

Final Thoughts

Copa Airlines ConnectMiles is an interesting program. At first glance, you might think there isn’t much value at all with redemption prices on mainstream routes running higher than partners like Aeroplan or LifeMiles. However, upon closer investigation, you will see that there’s a ton of niche value you can seek out with this loyalty program.

The single best use of ConnectMiles is for Emirates business class due to the absence of fuel surcharges and the amazing routing rules (or lack thereof) that enable you to fly ultra-long-haul for much cheaper than Alaska Mileage Plan! Besides that, you can redeem for some great premium cabin flights with a focus on Asia.

Lastly, we talked about the opportunity for economy flights, where you can save big chunks of cash by redeeming a small number of miles. Overall, ConnectMiles offers tons of redemption value, and the possibilities are endless.


For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.


Frequently asked questions

What is ConnectMiles?

ConnectMiles is the name of Copa Airlines’ frequent flyer program. Although Copa Airlines used to use United Airlines’ MileagePlus program, it has since developed its own loyalty program, known as ConnectMiles.

The miles you used are called ConnectMiles, Copa Airlines miles, or Copa ConnectMiles.

Who are Copa Airlines partners?

Copa Airlines has numerous airline partners. As a member of Star Alliance, it shares the network of partner airlines with other Star Alliance members. Additionally, it is in individual partnerships with non-alliance airlines.

Here’s the comprehensive list of Copa Airlines’s partners:

Copa Airlines Partner Airlines
Aegean AirlinesEthiopian Airlines
AeromexicoEVA Air
Air CanadaGol
Air ChinaKLM
Air IndiaLOT Polish Airlines
Air New ZealandLufthansa
All Nippon AirwaysScandinavian Airlines
Asiana AirlinesShenzhen Airlines
Austrian AirlinesSingapore Airlines
Avianca VuelaSouth African Airways
AzulSwiss International Air Lines
Brussels AirlinesTAP Air Portugal
Croatia AirlinesTHAI Airways
EgyptairTurkish Airlines
EmiratesUnited Airlines

Is Copa Airlines in Star Alliance?

Yes, Copa Airlines is in the Star Alliance.

Does Copa Airlines have a credit card?

Copa Airlines does have co-branded credit cards to earn miles directly, but these are not available to U.S. residents.

You can earn ConnectMiles via transfers from Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000 ConnectMiles bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred.

You can learn more about the non-U.S. Copa Airlines credit cards here.

What are Copa Airlines ConnectMiles worth?

ConnectMiles are worth anywhere from 1-5 cents per point in value. The highest redemption value comes from premium cabin flights, such as Emirates business class, Air New Zealand business class, or ANA business class.

Are Copa Airlines ConnectMiles refundable?

Yes, they are. Depending on your ConnectMiles elite status, you will pay anywhere from $0 to $150 for award ticket cancellations and re-depositing of miles.

When do Copa Airlines ConnectMiles expire?

ConnectMiles are valid for 24 months, which is reset after any qualifying earning or redeeming activity.

Is Copa Airlines a part of United Airlines?

No. Although they are in the same alliance, Star Alliance, United and Copa are 2 independently owned airlines.

How much does it cost to buy Copa Airlines ConnectMiles?

You can buyConnectMiles at a rate of $30/1,000 miles. You can buy up to 2,000,000 miles per year, before any bonuses. Historically, there has been a 50% bonus sale for ConnectMiles.

Learn more about how to buy airline miles and hotel points with our complete guide.

How do I join Copa Airlines ConnectMiles?

You can join Copa Airlines ConnectMiles by clicking the link here.

Do I need to be a Copa Airlines ConnectMiles member to search for awards?

Technically you don’t. However, you’ll get much more award availability to appear if you’re searching while logged in as a ConnectMiles member.

How many Copa Airlines ConnectMiles do I have?

You can visit this link here to go to your account and view your mileage balance.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

4 comments

  1. MICHAEL H July 15, 2020

    A few questions on Copa Connect miles award flight stopovers:
    1. Do they work on Copa only flights via a stopover in Panama?
    2.Can you do stopovers on mix partners say United and Copa?
    3. Inter Country stopovers allowed Ewr-IAH-LAX? and inter region, say South America?

    Reply

  2. Hello Stephen,

    Can I use connectmiles for shopping instead of flying? Any particular web links for that?

    Thanks.

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written by experts who know these products inside out, and what we recommend is what we would (or already) use ourselves. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. Click here to see a list of advertisers that we work with.