How to best use AMEX Gateway points for business class flights to Paris/Lyon?

Hi all

I have roughly 260,000 AMEX Gateway points (via the Explorer card).

My wife and I are planning a trip from Melbourne to France for August this year to see our in-laws. We want to use the points to upgrade to a premium cabin as we now have a fresh baby in tow, so the extra comfort would likely make our 23+ hours journey more bearable.

I keep going around in circles trying to work out the best utilisation of the points.

We need to be in France between 10-14th August, but otherwise our departure and return dates are flexible. Also, our arrival and departure city can either be Paris or Lyon.

Would anyone be able to provide guidance or point me in the right direction?


I don’t like your chances of an upgrade to business class, in peak European summer for two people and a baby! I personally wouldn’t transfer my points in the hope of an upgrade- as opposed as booking an outright redemption.

In the past when we haven’t had as many points, the person who had the baby the whole flight gets the business class seat and the other one (although in economy) gets time to themselves! Win/win!

Check out awardhacker for the minimal use of points to get you there in each class. You would also have enough points outright to both fly premium economy on Singapore airlines to Istanbul or Morocco- which requires less points than “Europe” and are only a short flight to Paris. Just watch out for taxes of infant as they charge 10% of revenue price (!!)


Another option to consider, I have redeemed recently one way flight from Sydney to Paris with Etihad (Economy) , I only had 35K miles while the flight was 55K, I ended up adding 200 AUD for the missing miles. Funny enough, I had to pay similar surcharges with Cathay when I redeemed the flight using miles only, paying 350~ AUD.


My impression was that Etihad are flexible enough if you don’t have all the miles. On the other hand, Buisness class might be very different case.

Your gateway points will get you about 195000 singapore airlines krisflyer miles which can get 1 business class ticket from Melbourne to Singapore to Paris or 2 premium economy tickets. There will be a charge for the infant but usually is quite minimal.

One other possibility is consider paying for a flight between Melbourne and any south-east Asia hub such as bangkok, Hong kong, singapore, Tokyo and then from there use your points in which you will have enough for 2 business class tickets.

I’d recommend the cheap flight to Singapore.

Scoot Business Class is basically premium economy. You can bid to upgrade an economy seat to business (I did this a couple years ago for a flight leaving Australia on a Saturday in August, and the upgrade cost less than $100pp which on top of a cheap economy fare was, well, inexpensive and worth it compared to Scoot cattle class).

I’d then recommend a business class bunny hop from Singapore to Europe via Istanbul (or any other Turkish city for that matter). Singapore and Turkish Airlines are both in the Star Alliance, and fly daily direct to Istanbul.

I’m not familiar with the ‘new’ Ataturk airport in Istanbul, but allow plenty of time to make a connecting flight – ‘old’ Ataturk was huge and very busy, and you will join at least one slow moving queue at passport/security control.

The onward flight into France from Istanbul doesn’t need to be premium class - or booked using FF points - because it is quite short (3.5 hours or so) and several airlines fly that route.

Plus, if you have some time to spare and are flexible, a stopover in Turkey is a good life choice!

(Istanbul is no less safe than Paris… and Turkey is hospitable, fairly cheap, and fascinating)

That said, if business class  is your main priority you might be able to travel the French leg in business class for no extra cost, if in a single booking.  I once redeemed a business class FF seat on Turkish Airlines from Singapore to Malta, via Istanbul [no stopover], and got charged the Istanbul redemption rate for the whole journey, rather than the European rate.

Good luck!