How best to use Amex Ascent points to fly from Sydney to Iran?

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#1

I have about 106,000 points on my AMEX Ascent program and am looking into going to Iran (currently living in Sydney). What would be the best way to go about using the points (or to even use the points at all?).

I’ve done the readings on this website but am quite unsure as its my first time to ever redeem points and am worried I will be converting my points at a poor rate conversion.

Any help or insight will be greatly appreciated!


#2

Hi Creditnoob,

Your could convert your AmEx points into Asia Miles and fly Qatar to Iran (from what I can see they fly to four Iranian destinations via Doha). You’ll have enough points to fly one-way in Business. If you convert your points to Emirates you’ll only have enough points for Economy class.

The alternative is a Star Alliance airline such as Singapore or Thai, but you’ll have to fly in via an Asian destination such as Singapore or Bangkok and then Istanbul. The upside is that you’ll have enough points for a return economy flight.

Hope this helps!


#3

There aren’t many flights from Sydney to Iran. The only 2 one-stop option is with Qatar Airways (Sydney - Doha - Tehran) or Emirates which is via Dubai.

You don’t have to worry about getting the transfer rate wrong because it’s 1:1 as long as you transfer before the devaluation in april.

You can transfer your AMEX points to Asia Miles to redeem on Qatar Airways from Sydney to Doha to Tehran/Shiraz or other Iranian cities.

For less convenient 2-stop options, there are various star alliance carriers as well including thai airways and turkish, singapore airlines, etc. There are 2 main routes you could take - Sydney to Singapore to Istanbul to Tehran, Sydney to Bangkok to Istanbul to Tehran. Obviously, this isn’t the best option but is viable. For this you would transfer your points to Singapore Krisflyer for the best redemption rate.

Since, Iran isn’t a particularly popular country to visit with limited flights that doesn’t involve significant backtracking from aus, it is a bit of a chanllenge to get there on points. One tip is to find possible flights you can buy with cash and see if you can redeem points for them.


#4

Thanks for the reply! In saying that, do I get to pick which leg to fly Business in? (i.e. I’d prefer to fly in Business on the return leg).


#5

Cheers for the reply djtech!

It seems like Qatar airways will be the winner as I do want to fly in Business, at least on one of the legs. In saying that, would it make more sense to do it before the devaluation in April?


#6

It would definitely be better if you transfer before the devaluation. If you can see award space now, by all means transfer to Asia Miles now, keeping in mind that it takes 2 or 3 days. If you don’t see any space, it would be beneficial to transfer before the devaluation anyway because after that, you’re points are getting halved meaning you can’t even get an economy round-trip out of your points.

To answer your other question, you can either book separate tickets on Asia Miles or call to see if they can do this for you on one ticket, although I believe the points needed are the same either way.


#7

This is my first time ever trying to transfer points and to redeem them. Quite a confusing experience but luckily there’s all the resources needed on this wonderful website and the lovely people on this forum.

I want to thank you for taking out your time to help me in doing all this. I really do appreciate it and want to say a very big thank you!


#8

Hello djtech,

I have one last question. I am about to book my ticket now but as I only have enough points to book business tickets one way. Would it be best to book the business tickets through Asia Miles and as for the other leg, pay for it on the qatar website or which ever search engine I use?

So ultimately, I’ve paid for one leg with points (business seats) and the other leg with money through two different avenues (being websites).

I’m a tad confused. What would you suggest?


#9

Yes, so you would want to book business from Sydney to Iran by transferring your AMEX points to Asia Miles. You can try and call them to get them to attempt to hold the space, but that’s not garanteed. When the points is transfered (in a day or 2), you can book the ticket. For your return flight, you can just book in whatever website gives you the cheapest price. Keep in mind that some one-way fares are actually more expensive than a return trip so you would want to figure out all your options by using search engines like Skyscanner and Google flights to find out which website gives you the best price.