The Best Ways To Fly to Vietnam With Points and Miles [Step-by-Step]

Hanoi
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Vietnam is the fastest-growing country for tourism, full stop. With an annual tourism growth rate exceeding 20% to 30%, one might wonder why exactly Vietnam is poised to become one of the world’s economic powers after being ravaged by war in the mid- to late-20th century.

Simply put, Vietnam is more attractive than ever from a foreign investment perspective. The country also has a relatively stable government and strong geographic centrality to the rest of Asia.

All of these factors contribute to the growth of tourism in Vietnam. While nonstop routes to the U.S. are not currently available, they may soon become a reality since Vietnam has received the FAA certification to do so. With all being said, visiting this Southeast Asian country is a must-do for all travelers.

Flying deep into Southeast Asia can be challenging, especially with all the route possibilities of connecting flights such as on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and more. In this guide, we’ll be working to demystify the process for booking flights to Vietnam with points.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to fly to Vietnam using your hard-earned points and miles.

Best Programs To Use To Book Flights

With such a vast network of connecting flights to Vietnam, it can be easy to get overwhelmed quickly. When flying to Vietnam, you will typically fly to 1 of 3 airport hubs:

  1. Da Nang (DAD) in Central Vietnam
  2. Hanoi (HAN) in North Vietnam
  3. Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) in South Vietnam

Award bookings consist of 2 parts:

  • Frequent flyer miles
  • Taxes and fees (of which fuel surcharges make up a majority)

While flights to Europe typically command $500 to $1,000+ in fuel surcharges on top of the miles/points you pay, fuel surcharges above $300 per person round-trip to Asia are incredibly rare. In other words, seeing large taxes and fees above a couple of hundred dollars per person is more the exception than the norm.

This is good news because it’ll minimize your out-of-pocket costs when thinking about which flights to book. In any case, let’s take a look at the best programs to consider when booking flights to Vietnam.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Cathay Pacific 777 first class couples picture
Cathay Pacific’s first class is gigantic, fitting 2 comfortably!

Without a doubt, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the most attractive frequent flyer programs in the world. Alaska miles are worth around 1.8 cents per point, making them the most valuable airline miles according to our valuations.

The rich partnerships and best-in-class award redemption rates are why there are so many great ways to redeem Alaska miles for maximum value. Alaska Airlines is part of the Oneworld alliance, which includes airlines like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, and also has non-alliance partnerships with some of the best airlines in the world like Emirates and Singapore Airlines.

In addition to this, it has generous low fuel surcharges, often less than $100 round-trip. Lastly, Alaska Airlines has an awesome stopover allowance on one-way flights, which is the icing on the cake.

These are the major reasons why Alaska Airlines has managed to preserve its mileage value in the face of competitors devaluing its currency. The most helpful airlines for flights to Vietnam are:

  1. Cathay Pacific
  2. Japan Airlines
  3. Korean Air (round-trip flights only)

The following table illustrates the one-way award costs to/from the U.S. and Southeast Asia, which includes Vietnam:

Cabin Class Alaska Miles Cost for Cathay Pacific Alaska Miles Cost for Japan Airlines Alaska Miles Cost for Korean Air*
Economy 30,000 From 35,000 85,000
Premium Economy 35,000 N/A N/A
Business 50,000 From 60,000 120,000
First 70,000  From 70,000 N/A

* Korean Air redemptions are only available round-trip

As you can see, Cathay Pacific has the best mileage prices. Pair this with the quality of the Hong Kong-based airline and flying on Cathay Pacific is essentially a no-brainer.

Also, Hong Kong is a short, 2-hour hop away from Vietnam, so it’s as close to a nonstop flight as you can get without actually having a nonstop flight. In particular, the Cathay Pacific first class and business class prices are insanely good, especially when you take into consideration that you can book a stopover in Hong Kong for free.

Cathay Pacific is cutting back on first class in Asia; luckily for travelers originating in the U.S., you can book the majority of your itinerary in long-haul first class (14 to 16 hours). Be sure to refer to our guide on Cathay Pacific’s direct routes from the U.S. when planning your trip.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Boston (BOS) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in Cathay Pacific first class and business class for 70,000 Alaska miles + ~$19 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Da Nang (DAD) one-way in Cathay Pacific business class for 50,000 Alaska miles + ~$19 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in Cathay Pacific economy class for 30,000 Alaska miles + ~$19 in taxes and fees

Hot Tip: Alaska Airlines doesn’t currently allow online bookings for Cathay Pacific, so you’ll want to call them to book Cathay Pacific first class and business class.

If flying on Japan Airlines or having a stopover in Tokyo is more desirable to you, you can make that happen with Alaska miles. Once you’ve taken a look at Japan Airlines’ direct routes from the U.S., you’ll probably want to book. Check out some great example routes you can take:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Tokyo (NRT) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in Japan Airlines first class and business class for 70,000 Alaska miles one-way + ~$33 in taxes and fees
  • Dallas (DFW) – Tokyo (NRT) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in Japan Airlines business class for 60,000 Alaska miles one-way + ~$33 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Tokyo (NRT) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in Japan Airlines first class and business class for 70,000 Alaska miles one-way + ~$33 in taxes and fees

Hot Tip: Japan Airlines’ first class and business class are industry-leading, so heavily consider these when thinking about how you’re going to get to Vietnam. 

You can book your Japan Airlines flights completely online when using Alaska miles, so check out our step-by-step guides on the best ways to book Japan Airlines’ first class and business class for more information.

Although the award availability on Korean Air is limited and you’re required to book round-trip flights, some travelers may understandably be interested in either trying Korean Air business class (you can’t book Korean Air first class using Alaska miles) or stopping in Korea to visit the land of K-pop.

Korean Air’s nonstop U.S. routes are plentiful, so you have plenty of American airports to depart from. Remember that you must always connect in Seoul (ICN).

Let’s talk about some great example routes to Vietnam via Seoul:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Seoul (ICN) – Hanoi (HAN) round-trip in Korean Air business class for 120,000 Alaska miles + ~$78 in taxes and fees
  • Seattle (SEA) – Seoul (ICN) – Nha Trang (CXR) or Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) – Seoul (ICN) – Seattle (SEA) in Korean Air business class for 120,000 Alaska miles + ~$78 in taxes and fees

Here’s how you can book Korean Air business class using Alaska miles:

  1. Visit Alaska Airlines.
  2. On the homepage, you’ll see a search box.
  3. Check off the box that says Use miles.
  4. Type in your city pairs.
  5. Choose your departure and return dates.
  6. Select the number of passengers.
  7. Click Find Flights.
  8. Find the Korean Air flights that work for your schedule and preferences.
  9. Check out, spend your miles, and pay for any applicable taxes and fees with your credit card.

Earning Alaska Airlines Miles

While not as easy to earn as some other miles, you can still earn Alaska miles easily. The first option to explore is the co-branded Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card. There is also a business equivalent, and both credit cards routinely offer big welcome bonuses.

The second, and perhaps the easiest way to earn Alaska Airlines miles is to transfer from Marriott Bonvoy, Alaska’s only transfer partner. The transfer ratio is 3:1, and you’ll receive a transfer bonus of 5,000 Alaska miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred. Transfers to Alaska Airlines take around 4 business days to complete.

The maximum you can transfer in a single day from Marriott Bonvoy is 240,000 points, which would equate to 100,000 Alaska miles. There are loads of ways to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points, so don’t sleep on this method to accrue Alaska miles!

Hot Tip: Thinking of other ways to spend Marriott Bonvoy points? Check out our best ways to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for flights, as well as for hotel stays, too.

The last major option to earn Alaska miles is to buy them. Alaska Airlines frequently offers sales with a 30% to 50% bonus on purchased miles, which can make business class and first class flights ridiculously cheap.

Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards

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  • Earn 4x points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping. 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program. Certain hotels have resort fees.
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$875

Bottom Line: Overall, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan’s partnerships with Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air make it an extraordinarily useful loyalty program to utilize on flights to Vietnam. Additionally, the award redemption prices, particularly on Cathay Pacific, represent a too-good-to-pass-up deal, especially when taking advantage of its stopover policy and low taxes/fees. 

ANA Mileage Club

ANA Business Class Seat
ANA business class

Our next pick for the best booking programs is All Nippon Airways Mileage Club, or ANA Mileage Club for short. ANA offers spectacular value consistently, and this instance is no exception. However, ANA is subject to a few more rules that make it slightly more complicated than other booking programs.

These are:

  1. 2 award charts (ANA-operated versus partner flights)
  2. Seasonality rules (award price ranges depending on the dates you fly)
  3. One-way flights are not permitted

ANA is in the Star Alliance, which includes airlines like United Airlines. You can also fly on one of its extremely useful non-Alliance partners, Vietnam Airlines.

Here are the most useful airlines that we’ll be exploring using ANA miles:

  • Air Canada (for Canada-based travelers)
  • Air China (based in Beijing)
  • ANA (based in Tokyo)
  • Asiana Airlines (based in Seoul)
  • EVA Air (based in Taipei)
  • United Airlines (based in Chicago)

Flying on ANA is the cheapest, especially when doing so during low season. However, the taxes and fees will generally be the highest, running at around $420 round-trip.

Here is the ANA award chart on its flights to Asia 2, which includes Vietnam.

ANA Award Chart for Round-Trip ANA-Operated Flights to Asia 2 (Including Vietnam)
Cabin Class Low Season Cost Regular Season Cost High Season Cost
Economy 55,000 65,000 70,000
Premium Economy 84,000 94,000 99,000
Business 100,000 110,000 115,000
First 195,000 195,000 210,000

To figure out whether your travel dates fall under low, regular, or high season, visit ANA’s international flight awards page and click on the button that says Seasonality and Required Mileage Charts.

As you can see, the difference in seasonality can have a huge impact on how many points you’ll spend on these flights, so it’s important to plan accordingly.

Here are a few great example redemptions you can make for ANA flights to Vietnam using ANA miles:

  • Houston (IAH) – Tokyo (NRT) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) round-trip in ANA business class during low season for 100,000 ANA miles + ~$420 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Tokyo (NRT) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) round-trip in ANA first class and business class during low season for 195,000 ANA miles + ~$420 in taxes and fees
  • San Jose (SJC) – Tokyo (NRT) – Hanoi (HAN) round-trip in ANA business class during regular season for 110,000 ANA miles + ~$420 in taxes and fees

If trying out ANA business class or first class is something you’ve already done, you can also book the partners we discussed above on flights to Vietnam. Here’s the ANA award chart for partner-operated flights:

Cabin Class ANA Miles Cost
Economy 80,000
Business 136,000
First 240,000

You’ll pay 80,000 ANA miles for round-trip economy, 136,000 ANA miles for round-trip business, and 240,000 ANA miles for round-trip first class. We generally don’t recommend booking first class with partners using ANA miles for 2 reasons:

  • High mileage cost (better deals elsewhere)
  • No first class products are flown to Vietnam from Asia

You’d essentially be paying the difference between a business and first class round-trip booking for the initial long-haul flight from the U.S.

That being said, let’s examine some great example routes:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Beijing (PEK) – Hanoi (HAN) round-trip in Air China business class for 136,000 ANA miles + ~$82 in taxes and fees
  • New York (JFK) – Taipei (TPE) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) round-trip in EVA Air business class for 136,000 ANA miles + ~$102 in taxes and fees
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Hanoi (HAN) round-trip in United Polaris business class and Vietnam Airlines business class for 136,000 ANA miles + ~$72 in taxes and fees
  • Seattle (SEA) – Seoul (ICN) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) round-trip in Asiana Airlines economy and Vietnam Airlines economy for 80,000 ANA miles + ~$100 in taxes and fees
  • Toronto (YYZ) – Shanghai (PVG) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) round-trip in Air Canada business class and Vietnam Airlines business class for 136,000 ANA miles + ~$60 in taxes and fees

Hot Tip: When using ANA miles, you can book up to 1 stopover and 1 open-jaw. Use these to add extra value and convenience to your trip. 

Here’s how to redeem ANA miles for flights to Vietnam:

  • Visit ANA’s website.
  • Click Award Booking on the homepage search box.
  • Log in with your ANA Mileage Club number and password.
  • Choose either Round-trip or Multiple cities/Mixed classes.
  • Type in your city pairs, travel dates, class of service, and the number of passengers.
  • Click Search.
  • Choose your flights and pay for taxes and fees.

Earning ANA Miles

Earning ANA miles is easy, especially with transfer partnerships from American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Transfers from Amex take around 2 to 3 days at a 1:1 ratio, whereas Marriott Bonvoy takes 4 days at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)

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The Platinum Card® from American Express


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  • Earn 60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
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  • Welcome Offer: Earn 85,000 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
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  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
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Bottom Line: ANA’s amazingly attractive redemption sweet spots are for business class redemptions on its airplanes. In addition to this sweet spot, ANA Mileage Club offers some similarly fantastic rates for partner flights to Vietnam. Be sure to take advantage of the plentiful ways to earn ANA miles, stopover/open-jaw allowances, and unique non-alliance partnership with Vietnamese flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.

American Airlines AAdvantage

Japan Airlines first class
The Japan Airlines first class seats feature an amazing 33 inches in width!

Spending American Airlines miles is very attractive for flights to Vietnam. Although award availability on American Airlines’ own long-haul flights is terrible, you’ll have luck by exploring its Oneworld partners, specifically Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Hot Tip: Crossing the Atlantic Ocean en route to Asia on an airline like Qatar Airways is not a permissible routing in AAdvantage’s eyes and can’t be booked as a single itinerary.

The award costs for one-way flights to/from the U.S. and Vietnam are:

Cabin Class American AAdvantage Miles Cost
Economy 37,500
Business 70,000
First 110,000

The main appeal of AAdvantage is that there are more ways to earn AAdvantage miles from credit card spending.

Unfortunately, there are no stopovers allowed, but your taxes and fees will be extremely low.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • New York (JFK) – Tokyo (HND) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in Japan Airlines first class and business class for 110,000 AAdvantage miles + ~$45 in taxes and fees
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in Cathay Pacific business class for 70,000 AAdvantage miles + ~$61 in taxes and fees

You can book most partner itineraries completely online, including Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Here are the instructions:

  1. Visit American Airlines’ website.
  2. On the homepage, click the checkbox that says Redeem miles.
  3. Fill out the search box, submit it, and find the flight you like.
  4. Finish the redemption process by entering the travelers’ information and using a credit card for taxes and fees.
    • If you’re not ready, you can book a 5-day award hold. Just be cautious, however, in making sure you book the ticket before the expiration because the tickets may not always go back into inventory if the award hold expires.

Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

By focusing on co-branded American Airlines credit cards, you can earn a lot of American AAdvantage miles. Both Citi and Barclays offer several American Airlines credit cards, so your options are plentiful.

If you don’t quite have enough AAdvantage miles to make a redemption, you can top off your balance by transferring from Marriott Bonvoy.

Transfers come at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 AAdvantage miles for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred. This means that you can get up to 100,000 AAdvantage miles if you transfer the daily maximum of 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Transfers take around 2 business days.

Bottom Line: Using American Airlines AAdvantage miles represents an easy way to book award travel to Vietnam. With a simple pricing structure, great redemption prices, and numerous ways to earn miles, it’s not exactly a secret why AAdvantage is a great program to leverage on flights to Vietnam. 

Air Canada Aeroplan

asiana airlines business class
Enjoy Asiana Airlines business class!

Air Canada Aeroplan is a great partner to utilize, especially if you have lots of Capital One miles. Aeroplan uses a distance-based award chart for flights between North America and the Pacific:

Aeroplan North America Pacific Award Chart
Aeroplan North America Pacific award chart. Image Credit: Air Canada

Aeroplan points can be used for any Air Canada partners, which includes the entire Star Alliance. Aeroplan is also partners with Cathay Pacific, but its use is limited since you can only redeem award flights between Hong Kong (HKG) and:

  • Bangkok (BKK)
  • Cebu (CEB)
  • Chiang Mai (CNX)
  • Hanoi (HAN)
  • Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
  • Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
  • Manila (MNL)
  • Phuket (HKT)

Hot Tip: If you fly on one-way itineraries between the U.S. and Vietnam using Aeroplan points, you can add a stopover or open-jaw for just 5,000 miles! 

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Tokyo (HND) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in ANA business class for 85,000 Aeroplan points + ~$182 in taxes and fees
  • New York (JFK) – Taipei (TPE) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in EVA Air business class for 85,000 Aeroplan points + ~$6 in taxes and fees
  • Newark (EWR) – Hong Kong (HKG) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in United Polaris class and Cathay Pacific business class for 85,000 Aeroplan points + ~$20 in taxes and fees

Air Canada Aeroplan presents an option for travelers to book Star Alliance flights at a great price without having to book round-trip flights as required when using ANA miles. Other highlights of this method include low taxes and fees and the stopover allowance for another 5,000 miles.

Earning Air Canada Aeroplan Points

Air Canada Aeroplan is transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate RewardsCapital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards have the best transfer ratio, sitting at a simple 1:1 ratio. Transfers from Amex and Chase to Aeroplan are instant.

Capital One miles transfers to Aeroplan at a slightly decreased ratio of 2:1.5 instantly. There are lots of ways to earn Capital One miles and redeem Capital One miles for maximum value, too.

The last transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy, which transfers in 4 business days at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 Aeroplan points for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred, up to 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per day.

Recommended Capital One Cards (Personal)

Bottom Line: Over the years, Aeroplan has fallen off the radar of many points enthusiasts. However, the addition of Capital One as a transfer partner makes it most appealing for Capital One loyalists. Remember that you can add a stopover on one-way flights for just 5,000 miles, which can add significant value to your trip. Aeroplan provides a straightforward method to redeem your points for high-value flights to Vietnam. 

Avianca LifeMiles

EVA Air 777-300ER Business Class
EVA Air 777-300ER business class.

LifeMiles falls closely behind Air Canada Aeroplan and ranks lower due to the relatively inflexible nature of its booking engine. Avianca LifeMiles struggles tremendously with any bookings with 2 stops. Furthermore, it is known to not show all available flights, which can be aggravating.

That being said, its abundance of transfer partners, competitive award pricing to Vietnam, and the absence of fuel surcharges make LifeMiles an excellent option nevertheless.

Here’s the award chart for one-way flights from the continental U.S. to Vietnam:

Cabin Class Avianca LifeMiles Cost
Economy 39,000
Business 78,000
First 99,000

As you can see, LifeMiles charges 7,000 fewer miles than Aeroplan for one-way business class flights, and it is significantly cheaper for first class bookings. However, there are no open-jaws allowed, which is why LifeMiles falls just behind Aeroplan.

Avianca LifeMiles is capable of booking Star Alliance itineraries, so you’ll want to stick with the airlines we mentioned in the ANA and Aeroplan sections to get inspiration for routes.

You can also explore the direct U.S. routes on Asiana and Air China for further analysis.

Earning Avianca LifeMiles

Avianca LifeMiles is one of the easiest types of miles to earn out there. You can earn LifeMiles easily by doing 1 or more of the following:

  1. Transfer from Amex Membership Rewards (1:1 ratio)
  2. Transfer from Brex Rewards (1:1 ratio)
  3. Transfer from Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1 ratio)
  4. Transfer from Capital One Miles (2:1.5 ratio)
  5. Transfer from Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 ratio with 5,000 bonus every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points)
  6. Earning directly on the co-branded Banco Popular Avianca credit cards
  7. Buying LifeMiles

Transfers from Amex, Citi, Brex, and Capital One are nearly instant, and transfers from Marriott Bonvoy take less than 1 business day, so you’ll have very few issues with transferring to LifeMiles. Furthermore, be on the lookout for transfer bonuses of 25% to 30% from Amex and Citi.

Avianca LifeMiles is partnered with Banco Popular, a Puerto Rican bank, to offer 2 co-branded credit cards that can earn LifeMiles directly.

Also, Avianca LifeMiles regularly offers mileage sales with up to a 125% to 200% bonus, which is a huge discount. You can purchase LifeMiles for around 1.0 to 1.5 cents per mile during these times.

Recommended Citi Cards

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Bottom Line: Avianca LifeMiles is one of the most underrated programs. There are tons of ways to redeem LifeMiles for maximum value, but the ease of earning, absence of fuel surcharges on award bookings, and easy online booking process makes this method a no-brainer, particularly for Citi loyalists. 

United MileagePlus

United Polaris Middle Seats
United Polaris class. Image Credit: United Airlines

United Airlines’ frequent flyer program is known as MileagePlus, and as you’ll find out, booking using United miles is exceedingly simple.

That, along with the presence of Chase as a core transfer partner and the network of Star Alliance routes to Vietnam, is why United MileagePlus makes it on our list of best ways to fly to Vietnam.

Let’s first look at the partner award chart on one-way flights from the U.S. to Vietnam (United uses dynamic award pricing, so the actual cost may fluctuate):

Cabin Class United MileagePlus Cost
Economy From 44,000
Business From 99,000
First From 154,000

While using United miles for first class redemptions isn’t the best idea out there, it might be your only shot if you are especially low on other transferable currencies.

If you’re open to having a connection in Hong Kong (HKG), Tokyo (NRT), or Taipei (TPE), you might even be able to locate Saver-level availability on United Polaris for a cheaper price of 70,000 to 75,000 United miles.

You can then purchase a cheap positioning flight to get to your final destination in Vietnam, saving 15,000 to 20,000 United miles in the process.

When using United miles, another luxury you’ll experience is the lack of fuel surcharges, which will do wonders to minimize your overall out-of-pocket costs.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Taipei (TPE) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in United Polaris class and EVA Air business class for 99,000 United miles + ~$11 in taxes and fees
  • Seattle (SEA) – Seoul (ICN) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in Asiana business class for 99,000 United miles + ~$20 in taxes and fees

Earning United MileagePlus Miles

One of 2 Chase transfer partners covered in this piece, United Airlines MileagePlus is an extremely simple way to use points to book flights to Vietnam. Chase transfers at a 1:1 ratio to United almost instantly.

United Airlines miles are easy to earn due to the suite of co-branded Chase United credit cards and the abundance of credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, Chase’s proprietary rewards currency.

If this wasn’t enough, Marriott Bonvoy also transfers to United. What’s even better is that Marriott Bonvoy’s transfer ratio to United is slightly better, sitting at 3:1.1 instead of the usual 3:1.

With every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred, you’ll also receive a slightly improved 5,500-mile bonus. This means that every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred to United will result in a total of 27,500 United miles compared to the normal 25,000 miles elsewhere.

If you transfer the daily maximum of 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll earn 110,000 United miles.

Bottom Line: The process of using United miles to book awards online is probably one of the easiest in the world. If you’re looking for a simple way to book flights to Vietnam leveraging the Star Alliance and using Chase Ultimate Rewards points, United is probably your best bet. 

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Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Aeroflot Business Class
Aeroflot’s business class is a decent way to fly to Asia via Moscow with Flying Blue miles. Image Credit: Aeroflot

Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue employs a variable award pricing structure, and it can be difficult to predict just exactly how much a certain ticket is going to cost in points.

Specifically, here is the best estimation for one-way flights from the U.S. to Vietnam using Flying Blue miles:

Cabin Class Flying Blue Miles Saver Cost
Economy 34,500 to 37,500
Premium Economy 68,000
Business 85,000 to 115,000

Interestingly, Flying Blue is one of the few programs that permits transatlantic routes to Vietnam without adding to the mileage price. We can exploit this to get 2 long-haul business class flights in many instances, though taking the long way is going to shorten your vacation a little bit.

Here are some great example transatlantic routes you can take:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – London (LHR) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in Delta One and Vietnam Airlines business class for 85,000 Flying Blue Miles + ~$20 in taxes and fees
  • Detroit (DTW) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in Delta One and Vietnam Airlines business class for 85,000 Flying Blue Miles + ~$20 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Moscow (SVO) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in Aeroflot business class and Vietnam Airlines business class for 85,000 Flying Blue Miles + ~$200 in taxes and fees
  • New York (JFK) – Paris (CDG) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in Air France business class and Vietnam Airlines business class for 85,000 Flying Blue Miles + ~$140 in taxes and fees

Keep in mind that flights that traverse the Pacific will likely be priced at 115,000 Flying Blue miles one-way, instead of 85,000 miles. So, it’s mostly more cost-effective to take the long way via Europe than the short way via Asia.

Earning Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles

Perhaps the most flexible rewards currency out there, Air France/KLM Flying Blue takes the cake in having the most ways to transfer from credit card points. There are tons of ways to earn lots of Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles.

Even though Flying Blue has the most transfer partners of any currency out there, the miles are still extremely valuable and can be redeemed for tons of value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Brex Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards all transfer at a 1:1 ratio, with Capital One Miles at a 2:1.5 ratio, and almost all transfers are instantaneous.

Marriott Bonvoy transfers in around 1 business day at a 3:1 ratio. You will receive a 5,000 Flying Blue miles bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. You can transfer a maximum of 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points daily, which would get you 100,000 Flying Blue miles.

Japan Airlines Mileage Plan

China Eastern 777 First Class
China Eastern’s 777 first class offers fully lie-flat double beds along with doors! Image Credit: China Eastern

Another fantastic niche program is Japan Airlines Mileage Plan. Although the quality of the loyalty program has been ravaged through devaluation after devaluation, it remains one of the cheapest ways to book certain flights that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Japan Airlines miles are among the hardest airline miles to earn, which is why it tends to command lower costs for flights relative to partners like American Airlines. Nonetheless, it has 4 non-alliance partners that would be interesting on flights to Vietnam.

Specifically, these are:

  • Air France (based in Paris)
  • China Eastern (based in Shanghai)
  • Emirates (based in Dubai)
  • Korean Air (based in Seoul)

Japan Airlines Mileage Plan employs a distance-based award chart on partners as follows:

Total Trip Distance (Miles) Economy Class Mileage Cost Premium Economy Class Mileage Cost Business Class Mileage Cost First Class Mileage Cost
1 to 1,000 12,000 17,000 24,000 36,000
1,001 to 2,000 15,000 21,000 30,000 45,000
2,001 to 4,000 23,000 30,000 42,000 65,000
4,001 to 6,000 37,000 46,000 60,000 90,000
6,001 to 8,000 45,000 59,000 80,000 120,000
8,001 to 10,000 47,000 62,000 85,000 135,000
10,001 to 12,000 50,000 70,000 100,000 145,000
12,001 to 14,000 55,000 77,000 110,000 165,000
14,001 to 20,000 70,000 94,000 130,000 190,000
20,001 to 25,000 90,000 112,000 145,000 220,000
25,001 to 29,000 110,000 135,000 160,000 250,000
29,001 to 34,000 130,000 160,000 190,000 290,000
34,001 to 50,000 150,000 180,000 210,000 330,000

The distance computed by Japan Airlines is not always the same as calculated from Great Circle Mapper, so you’ll want to use the Japan Airlines distance calculator. Due to the distance-based pricing of award charts, longer flights will be more expensive, so flying across the Atlantic is not usually recommended.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank is one of the last ways you can book China Eastern first class, which barely makes our best international first class airlines in the world. It is near the top of the list of best first class seats for couples because it is the only airline besides Etihad and Singapore that has double beds.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to book them, but JAL Mileage Bank is an excellent way to do so. Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Shanghai (PVG) round-trip in China Eastern first class for 165,000 Japan Airlines miles
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Shanghai (PVG) – Da Nang (DAD) one-way in China Eastern first class and business class for 120,000 Japan Airlines miles
  • New York (JFK) – Shanghai (PVG) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) round-trip in China Eastern first class and business class for 190,000 Japan Airlines miles

The first option is somewhat of a misnomer since it’s technically not a route to Vietnam. It’s actually a sweet spot if you book the round-trip ticket. The round-trip ticket falls into the 12,001 to 14,000 distance bracket, while the one-way distance bracket is 6,001 to 8,000 miles. You’ll notice that the one-way flight costs 120,000 miles, but round-trip is only slightly more expensive at 165,000 miles. It’s extremely easy to book a cheap ticket from Shanghai to Vietnam if it means saving loads of miles.

If you needed a cost-effective way to fly to Vietnam from Shanghai, you can often find round-trip economy tickets nonstop for ~$240. When you consider that one-way tickets typically cost around 10,000 to 20,000 miles one-way, you’ll definitely want to use cash when you can.

You can also fly on Emirates via Dubai (DXB) to Hanoi (HAN). Unfortunately, this route doesn’t currently have first class, only business class in a 2-3-2 layout, which is an inferior arrangement. You’ll also have to shell out significant amounts in fuel surcharges to book the ticket, but it’s still an option.

Earning Japan Airlines Miles

Unfortunately, while Japan Airlines has great redemption rates, particularly for round-trip award bookings, it only has 1 transfer partner, Marriott Bonvoy.

With a 3:1 transfer ratio and transfer time of ~2 days, you’ll receive 20,000 Japan Airlines miles plus a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Bottom Line: Japan Airlines is useful for niche redemptions, particularly for China Eastern first class and Emirates. However, the difficulty in earning Japan Airlines miles nullifies some of the value, but it’s still a cost-effective option to fly to Vietnam once you’ve accrued enough miles. 

Delta SkyMiles

Vietnam Airlines 787-9 business class front cabin view 3
Vietnam Airlines 787-9 business class.

Delta SkyMiles is the last frequent flyer program we’ll talk about. The most useful partners for flights to Vietnam are:

  • China Airlines (based in Taipei)
  • China Eastern (based in Shanghai)
  • Delta Air Lines (based in Atlanta)
  • Korean Air (based in Seoul)
  • Vietnam Airlines (based in Hanoi)
  • XiamenAir (based in Xiamen)

On top of this, Delta routinely offers award sales to Asia that cut economy award prices nearly in half, so be sure to hold out for one of those if you want to fly in economy. Here are the normal one-way award costs:

Cabin Class Delta SkyMiles Cost
Economy 46,000
Business 147,500 (160,000 if within 21 days of departure)

You want to avoid booking close-in departures of 21 days or more since that will make your business class awards skyrocket in price.

The best SkyTeam partner options to fly to Vietnam are:

  • China Airlines (best business class product)
  • Korean Air
  • XiamenAir

Booking China Airlines business class necessitates connecting flights through Taipei before continuing to Vietnam, just like Korean Air does with Seoul and XiamenAir with a Chinese airport.

Here are some great example routes you can take:

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Seoul (ICN) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in Korean Air business class and Vietnam Airlines business class for 147,500 Delta SkyMiles + ~$40 in taxes and fees
  • Chicago (ORD) – Shanghai (PVG) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in China Eastern business class and Vietnam Airlines business class for 147,500 Delta SkyMiles + ~$298 in taxes and fees
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Xiamen (XMN) – Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) one-way in XiamenAir business class for 147,500 Delta SkyMiles + ~$135 in taxes and fees
  • New York (JFK) – Taipei (TPE) – Hanoi (HAN) one-way in China Airlines business class for 147,500 Delta SkyMiles + ~$6 in taxes and fees

Earning Delta SkyMiles

Earning Delta SkyMiles is made easy by the fact that the airline is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.

Also, Delta offers many co-branded credit cards issued by American Express.

As usual, the Amex transfer ratio is 1:1, and Amex transfers instantaneously to Delta. Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000 SkyMiles bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred, up to a daily maximum of 240,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Marriott Bonvoy transfers take around 3 business days.

Recommended Delta Cards

Bottom Line: With so many ways to earn Delta SkyMiles and the ease of booking SkyTeam flights, Delta’s frequent flyer program is worth considering as a good way to fly to Vietnam using points. There are few fuel surcharges, and searching for SkyTeam award availability is ridiculously easy. 

Final Thoughts

In all, there are tons of different ways to fly to Vietnam and even more ways to fly to using points and miles. Every major alliance and transferable currency has been covered in this piece, so it’s up to the traveler to pick the best frequent flyer program for their needs to get the best award redemptions to Vietnam.

Happy redeeming!


The information regarding Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, and Chase Freedom Unlimited® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

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.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.


Frequently asked questions

Which airlines include carrier-imposed surcharges on award flights to Vietnam?

Generally, all the airlines discussed will impose some form of fuel surcharge. The magnitude can range from $100 to $300 one-way. Importantly, the fuel surcharges aren’t necessarily passed on by some frequent flyer programs.

Aeroflot, Air France, ANA, China Eastern, Vietnam Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines will have the highest surcharges, though they’re all relatively mild.

By using a frequent flyer program such as United or Aeroplan, you can minimize these surcharges.

What is the fewest number of miles you can use to book an economy class award flight to Vietnam?

The cheapest mileage prices are achieved by spending ANA miles on ANA flights during low season. For economy, you will pay 55,000 ANA miles. Regular season is 65,000 ANA miles, while high season is 70,000 miles.

Another option is to spend Alaska miles booking Cathay Pacific economy for 30,000 miles one-way or 60,000 miles round-trip.

What is the fewest number of miles required to fly business class to Vietnam?

Without a doubt, spending Alaska miles is best here. You can spend as little as 50,000 miles one-way in Cathay Pacific business class. With this, you will pay $19 in taxes and fees, and you’ll also get a free stopover.

ANA offers a price of 100,000 miles for ANA flights during low season, but the round-trip requirement and seasonality restriction can be unattractive for some travelers.

What is the fewest number miles required to fly first class to Vietnam?

The 2 cheapest mileage prices to fly first class to Vietnam are flying on Cathay Pacific first class and Japan Airlines first class using Alaska miles. The prices are 70,000 miles one-way for these 2 airlines.

Best of all, the taxes and fees will only run around $20 to $40 each way, which is excellent.

You can also spend 195,000 ANA miles for round-trip first class on ANA during low and regular season.

What are the best business class airlines to fly to Vietnam?

The best business class airlines are generally accepted to be ANA, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, EVA Air, and Japan Airlines.

What are the best first class airlines to fly to Vietnam?

The best first class airlines are generally accepted to be ANA, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, Japan Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.

We didn’t discuss the redemption prices for Singapore Airlines in this guide due to the unattractive award costs.

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.

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2 comments

  1. Scoring a first class ticket on Cathay is not easy. As far as I know, only 2 seats per flight are available for miles redemption. So between Alaska, American Airlines, Cathay and the other partners, a lot of people are trying to grab these two seats. I was lucky last year because it wasn’t possible to book online using AA miles and I had to call their reservation center but now it is possible to book online.

    Reply

    • Hi Toan,

      Yes, booking first class flights is challenging. It’s made intentionally so because these are essentially $15,000+ tickets that are pretty much free, so that’s the reward for people who try hard to find availability. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

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