Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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The Los Angeles International (LAX) to John F. Kennedy International (JFK) route is one of the most frequented flights in the world — and it’s easy to see why. These are the 2 most populated cities in the U.S., and nearly all major airlines in the U.S. operate the route nonstop.
Even with so much competition on the route, LAX to JFK can still be costly to fly. This is in large part because the flight is nearly as long as flights from the East Coast to Europe, and it’s super business-heavy.
Don’t worry — a coast-to-coast trip doesn’t have to break the bank if you have miles and points. In this article, you’ll find all of the best ways to redeem points and miles for a free jaunt from Los Angeles to New York City in both business and economy class.
American Airlines operates a proper 3-cabin plane between JFK and LAX. This plane features economy, business, and first class seating. Business and first class offer proper lie-flat seating and dining that’s comparable to international service on American Airlines.
The best way to book American Airlines’ upgraded transcontinental service — whether in economy, business, or first class — is with Etihad Guest. Awards can be booked for 12,500, 25,000, and 32,500 miles for a one-way ticket in economy, business, or first class respectively, requiring fewer miles to book awards with Etihad Guest than American Airlines’ own miles.
To book an American Airlines award using Etihad Guest miles, find MileSAAver availability on American Airlines’ website and call Etihad Guest to book. The Australian, British, and Serbian Etihad call centers are the best for booking this award as these locations generally have the easiest time seeing partner availability.
Want to book one of these awards for yourself? You can transfer in miles to Etihad Guest from Amex transfer partners, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy at varying rates. Etihad Guest does not currently have a U.S.-based co-branded credit card, but there are plenty of other ways to earn Etihad Guest miles.
Delta Air Lines flies a mixture of Boeing 757 and wide-body Boeing 767 planes between JFK and LAX. In business class, branded as Delta One, travelers can expect a lie-flat seat and meal service comparable to that of an international flight. However, Delta SkyMiles are rarely the best way to fly Delta between JFK and LAX — instead, check Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
You can book business class for 52,500 one-way or economy for 15,000 one-way. The economy pricing is pretty standard, but it is worth noting that business class seats are significantly more expensive than booking American Airlines tickets via Etihad Guest.
Thankfully, Virgin Points are pretty easy to come by. Currently, it is an AmexTravel.com partner, Chase travel partner, Citi ThankYou travel partner, and Marriott Bonvoy travel partner. Further, there is a Virgin Atlantic co-branded Mastercard from Bank of America.
After a 5 year hiatus, United officially returned to JFK in 2021 to operate a route between LAX (and SFO) starting with 5 times weekly and increasing up to 2 times per day.
The flights are serviced by United’s fleet of 767-300 that features 46 Polaris business class seats, 22 Premium Plus seats, 43 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats, and 56 regular economy seats.
While you could use United MileagePlus miles to fly between the cities, a better option might be using one of its Star Alliance partners. Take the Turkish Miles&Smiles program for instance, which charges just 12,500 miles to book a transcon business class ticket with United, or 7,500 miles in economy. Don’t have a stash of Turkish miles? The airline is a transfer partner of both Citi ThankYou Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
Another option is to use Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles to fly United from coast to coast. This will costs just 25,000 one-way in business class or 12,500 miles when booked in economy class. You can transfer miles from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Just note that these transfers can take 24 hours or more to process, so transfer as soon as you find a flight you’d like to book.
Alternatively, you can use KrisFlyer miles to fly on Alaska Airlines between LAX and JFK. Currently, Alaska Airlines flies between LAX and both JFK and Newark (EWR). However, the airline does only operate Boeing 737 aircraft between the 2 cities, so the flight experience is more similar to a standard domestic flight.
Thankfully, though, economy awards cost just 12,000 KrisFlyer miles in economy class and 20,000 in business class. This makes it the cheapest redemption on this list and by far the best value in business class.
To book this award, check American Airlines’ website for MileSAAVer space on Alaska Airlines and call Singapore Airlines to book the ticket. Unfortunately, American Airlines tickets are not bookable with KrisFlyer miles, so only look for flights with an AS flight number — see the screenshot above for a visual.
You can transfer miles to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy at varying rates.
JetBlue prices its award tickets based on the price of a paid ticket, meaning that more expensive tickets cost more TrueBlue points. When searching for a ticket 3 months in advance, you can generally find that economy tickets could cost around 9,200 points while business class tickets (in JetBlue Mint) could cost a whopping 68,400 points one-way.
On the other hand, these same flights cost $137 and $699 in economy and business class respectively. This means that you’ll receive somewhere between 1.42 and 1.0 cents per point in value when redeeming TrueBlue points.
You can transfer points to JetBlue from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy at varying rates. Additionally, you can earn JetBlue TrueBlue points through shopping, dining, or a JetBlue co-branded credit card.
There is no shortage of ways to fly from LAX to JFK. Stick with the Etihad Guest on American Airlines option for business class awards and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer on Alaska Airlines for economy redemptions. No matter what you choose, though, you’ll get a safe, quick, and nearly free flight between the 2 largest cities in the U.S.
What are your favorite ways to fly between LAX and JFK? Let us know in the comments below!
There are a variety of airports that service the Los Angeles area, including:
Currently, BUR, LAX, LGB, ONT, and SNA offer nonstop service to New York City.
As of March 2021, United has returned to JFK and flies out of Terminal 7.
The flight time between LAX and JFK is just over 5 hours nonstop.
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Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City.
He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt. Andrew formerly worked for The Points Guy and is now Senior Money Editor at CNN Underscored.
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.