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How to fly from NYC to Cairo in business for $12

The quickest way to get to Cairo from NYC is a direct flight on Egyptair. As a star alliance partner, you can book this flight using United Miles, KrisFlyer (Singapore airlines), Aeroplan miles, etc.

 

You can also use these guidelines to get to Egypt from pretty much anywhere in the US. This could also be a good option if you are planning to visit neighboring countries in Africa or in middle east. If you are flying from other continents, just look at the award chart to check the miles you will need to get there.

Here are options to fly from JFK to CAI or vice versa (one way):

 


Non-stop options


 

The only non-stop option to fly from NYC to Cairo is EgyptAir. You can use any of the Star Alliance partner miles to book this flight and the miles required for each one of them will vary depending on the airlines award chart. Here are some of the more popular partners:

  • ANA: 30k in economy and 45k in business.

ANA provides the best mileage deal for travel redeeming miles for Egyptair award flight but the fuel surcharges are high. It’s a great option if you have fewer miles but you don’t mind paying a little extra cash and get a business class seat.

  • United: 42.5k in economy and 80k miles in business

  • Aeroplan: 40k in economy and 82.5k miles in business class

  • Singapore airlines: 45k in economy and 70k miles in business class.

Singapore airlines also has high fuel surcharges.

 


Other options with stops


We wanted to make the most of our time in Egypt so we decided to take a direct flight. If you are fine with a stop-over you can probably get a business or economy seat for fewer miles. Here are a few options with sweet spots –

 

Using Alaska miles

  1. It is difficult to beat the 63.5k miles for business with Cathay pacific but you will have to fly into Tel Aviv and then hitch another flight to Egypt. Might not be a bad idea if you are planning to visit Israel or Jordan along with Egypt.
  2. Next best option is with Air France / KLM using 40k miles in economy and 70k in business with a stop in Paris.
  3. The mileage on British airways is same as AirFrance / KLM but it is a sub-par option considering the high fuel surcharges.
  4. With about 42.5k in economy and 82.5k in business, it costs as much as the direct flight to Cairo. If we had 82.5k Alaska miles each, I would still go for this option because Emirates business class seat is hard to beat.

Alaska NYC to Cairo

Alaska business NYC to CAI

Using AA miles on oneworld partners : 40k in economy and 70k in business one way

  1. On Royal Jordanian

This will be with a stop in Amman. Can be searched and booked directly on AA website.

  1. On Qatar airways

This will be with a stop in Doha. You can search for availability on British airways and then call AA to book the flight.

  1. On Etihad airlines

This will be with a stopover in Abu Dhabi. You can search on Etihad for a saver award and then call AA to book the seat. Finding saver availability on Etihad is extremely difficult though.

 


Bottom-line


We wanted to take a direct flight and didn’t want to pay high fuel surcharges for ANA or Singapore miles redemption. We didn’t have enough United, Singapore or Aeroplan miles but we had enough AMEX membership reward (MR) points. Aeroplan is a AMEX membership (1:1) transfer partner so we used the following approach –

  1. Jamie had 90k MR points, we transferred them to Jamie’s Aeroplan account
  2. Hemali had 75k MR points. Since cannot be directly transferred to Jamie’s Aeroplan account, we added Jamie as an authorized user on Hemali’s AMEX everyday credit card and then were able to transfer 75k MR points to his account.

Once we were set with the miles in one account, we booked 2 tickets from New York City to Cairo business class and paid about $12 out of pocket which would have otherwise cost us over $3700.

How to earn AMEX membership reward points?

Sign-up for one of the AMEX credit cards such as Platinum, Gold, etc. and use the sign-up bonus after meeting the minimum spend requirements. You can also use Canadian credit cards such as TD Aeroplan Visa Privilege to stack more points.

Based on your mileage bankroll and award availability, you could go with United, Singapore or other star alliance partners.

It goes without saying that having miles is just one piece of the puzzle. Make sure to book in advance to actually find award availability. Use one of the options with the lowest surcharges and you can score a flight to middle-east for less than $12 for 2 people like we did.

Message us with any questions / comments.

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