The Ultimate Guide To United Miles: Part 10 – All The Ways to Get to Japan, North Asia & South Asia!

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United Airlines flies to the most number of Asian cities than any airline in the US.  In addition, they have several partner airlines such as Thai air, which are based in Asia.

And on top of that, they allow you to fly to Asia via Europe!  Because of this, there are so many ways to get to Asia with your United miles!

United Asia Miles

We Celebrated New Years In Bangkok

The Ultimate Guide To United Miles Index

The Best Tip for Searching on United.com

Don’t forget to change your search results to show you 50 flights (instead of the default) when you search on United.com

Step 1 – Click On “Advanced Search”

Click on “Advanced Search” at the bottom of the award search page.

United Asia Miles

Step 1 – Click on “Advanced Search”

Step 2 – Change “Number of Flights to Display” To “50″

Click on the drop-down box by the “Number of Flights to Display” and change it from the “Default” to “50

United Asia Miles

Step 2- Increase the Number of Flights to Display to 50

You will see MANY more flight options this way!

How To Use The Information In This Post

You could rely on United.com to find you awards seats to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia.  And United’s website is pretty good.  But it is unlikely to find every possible option on using United miles to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia.

If you’re really commited to finding award seats to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia and don’t want to hire an award booking service, you could search for award seats on many of the routes below.

The information below will help you find the long-distance flight to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia.  Once you find the long-distance flight to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia, you should start searching for flights to your final destination in Japan, North Asia, and South Asia and then from your US departure city to the gateway (i.e. where the flight to Japan, North Asia, and South Asia departs from the US).

Asia Award Routes

Today we will go over finding award flights to Asia, which includes the regions of:

  • Japan
  • North Asia, including China, Mongolia, South Korea, and Taiwan
  • South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Here is the award chart which shows the number of miles needed from the United States to Asia.

United Asia Miles

Asia Award Chart

Here’s how much you will pay from the U.S., Alaska, and Canada to Japan:

  • 32,500 miles each way in economy class (22,500 miles from Hawaii)
  • 60,000 miles each way in business class (32,500 miles from Hawaii)
  • 67,500 miles each way in first class (47,500 miles from Hawaii)

Here’s how much you will pay from the U.S., Alaska, and Canada to North Asia or South Asia:

  • 32,500 miles each way in economy class (25,000 miles from Hawaii)
  • 60,000 miles each way in business class (37,500 miles from Hawaii)
  • 70,000 miles each way in first class (50,000 miles from Hawaii)

1.   United

Of all the airlines based in the USA, United has the most routes to Asia!

You can fly from:

United Asia Miles

United Flies To Many Cities In Asia!

  • San Francisco (SFO) to Beijing, Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita), Taipei (starts March 31, 2014)
  • New York/Newark (EWR) to Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita)
  • Chicago (ORD) to Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai, Tokyo (Narita)
  • Washington, DC (IAD) to Beijing, Tokyo (Narita)
  • Houston to Tokyo (Narita)
  • Denver to Tokyo (Narita)
  • Seattle to Tokyo (Narita)
  • Honolulu to Tokyo (Narita)

1.  From Tokyo (Narita)

As you can see from the map above, every airport listed has a flight to Tokyo (Narita), where United operates its Asia hub.

Onward from Tokyo (Narita), United flies to:

  • Bangkok
  • Hong Kong
  • Seoul-Incheon
  • Singapore

2.  From Hong Kong

United also flies onward from Hong Kong to:

  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Singapore

2.  Air Canada

Air Canada has flights to several Asian destinations, all from both Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR) airports.  This is useful for flights to/from Canada, and also useful for many people in the US, because you can connect in Canada on the way to Asia.

You can fly to:

United Asia Miles

Air Canada’s Flights To Asia

  • Beijing from Vancouver and Toronto
  • Hong Kong from Vancouver and Toronto
  • Seoul-Incheon from Vancouver and Toronto
  • Shanghai from Vancouver and Toronto
  • Tokyo (Narita) from Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary

3.  Air China

Air China is based in Beijing, and flies from there to several cities in the USA and Canada.

You can fly to Beijing from:

United Asia Miles

You Can Fly On Air China To Beijing From Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, And Vancouver

  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Vancouver

From Beijing, Air China has decent connections to other places in China, as well as Southeast Asia.

4.   ANA

ANA is one of Japan’s national airlines.  They are based in Tokyo (Narita), but also fly internationally out of Tokyo-Haneda (which is closer to the center of Tokyo).

ANA recently started flying from San Jose, California to Tokyo (Narita).  Flights from San Jose tend to have more award seats because very few flights from the East Coast and the rest of the US connect in San Jose.

ANA flies from Tokyo (Haneda) to Los Angeles.

You can fly from Tokyo (Narita) to:

United Asia Miles

You Can Fly On ANA From Tokyo To Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, And Washington

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Los Angeles (to Tokyo (Narita) and Tokyo (Haneda)
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose, CA (SJC)
  • Seattle
  • Washington, DC (IAD)

ANA has many onward connections to the rest of Asia.

5.  Asiana

Asiana is one of the major airlines in South Korea.

You can fly internationally out of Seoul-Incheon airport to:

United Asia Miles

From Seoul, You Can Fly On Asiana To Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, And Seattle

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Honolulu
  • Los Angeles
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

From Seoul, Asiana flies to many Asian destinations.

6.  EVA Air

EVA Air is the newest member of the Star Alliance (as of June 2013).  They are based in Taipei and fly to several US and Canadian destinations.

You can fly from Taipei to:

United Asia Miles

You Can Fly On Eva Air From Taipei To Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, And Vancouver

  • Los Angeles
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

EVA Air has many onward and convenient connections into Southeast Asia.

7.  Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is the national airline of Singapore.  Many people love Singapore Airlines because they have great service, especially in First and Business Class, and even in economy class!  Their main airport, Singapore Changi airport, is one of the best in the world, with butterfly gardens, koi ponds, and free movie theaters!

Unfortunately, Singapore Airlines knows how much people love to fly them, and so they don’t tend to offer First and Business Class award seats to people with United miles.

But, Singapore Airlines economy class seats are available with United miles on flights from the United States.

Singapore Airlines flies from:

United Asia Miles

Where You Can Use Your United Miles On Singapore Airlines

  • Houston to Moscow to Singapore
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo (Narita) to Singapore
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt to Singapore
  • San Francisco to Seoul-Incheon to Singapore
  • San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore

Keep in mind that you are allowed to book an award to just the connecting point on these flights.  For example, if you wanted to fly just from Los Angeles to Tokyo, you can fly on Singapore Airlines even if you don’t book your ticket all the way to Singapore.

Singapore Airlines has a lot of onward connections from Singapore to the rest of Southeast Asia, as well as Australia and South Asia.  Those regional routes tend to have Business Class award seats available.

8.  Thai Airways

Thai Airways is based in Bangkok and usually has a lot of award availability.  If you fly out of Bangkok on Thai in First or Business Class, you even get a 30-minute or 1-hour massage before your flight!

However, they only fly to one North America city – Los Angeles.  Outside of this route, Thai is generally useful if you want to fly intra-Asia, between Asia and Europe, or between Asia and Australia.

Thai flies from Los Angeles to Bangkok via Seoul-Incheon.  If you only want to fly Los Angeles to Seoul, you are allowed to book just that portion.

United Asia Miles

You Can Fly On Thai Airways From Los Angeles To Bangkok With A Connection In Seoul

TIP:  When booking award seats on Thai Airways flights for multiple people, you might see only 2 seats available.  Try holding or booking the first 2 seats, then see if Thai opens up more seats afterward.  Often, Thai Airways will only release 2 award seats at a time.

Flying To Asia Via Europe

You can use your United miles to fly from North America to Asia via Europe.

This is huge, because it also allows you to have a stopover in Europe on the way to Asia, if you book your trip as a round-trip.

We discussed how to find award space from North America to Europe in Part 8: All The Ways To Get To Europe! 

After reviewing that previous post, we will now have to see how to connect Europe and Asia on our award ticket!

Restrictions On Segments When Flying To South Asia Via Europe

Before we begin, you should know the restrictions on awards between the US and South Asia that connect in Europe

  • On a one-way ticket you are allowed only 4 segments from your origin city to your destination.
  • On a round-trip ticket you are allowed only 5 segments each way from your origin city to your destination.

Let’s say you wanted to fly from Chicago to Singapore via Europe on a one-way ticket. You are allowed to book Chicago-Frankfurt-Istanbul-Bangkok-Singapore, because that has 4 segments (3 connecting cities).  However, you are not allowed to book Chicago-Boston-Frankfurt-Istanbul-Bangkok-Singapore because that has 5 segments to South Asia via Europe on a one-way award.

On a round-trip ticket, you could book Chicago-Boston-Frankfurt-Istanbul-Bangkok-Singapore, but only if you book a return.

Which Airlines Fly Between Europe And Asia?

The following is a list of airlines that fly between Europe and Asia.  Cities that are international Star Alliance hubs are bolded.  These hubs tend to have many connection opportunities from partner flights.

1.  Air China

You can fly to Beijing, Shanghai, and/or Chengdu from:

United Asia Miles

Cities In Europe Where You Can Connect To An Air China Flight

  • Athens (to Beijing via Munich)
  • Dusseldorf (to Beijing)
  • Frankfurt (to Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu)
  • Geneva (to Beijing)
  • London-Gatwick (to Beijing)
  • London-Heathrow (to Beijing)
  • Madrid (to Beijing)
  • Milan (to Beijing and Shanghai)
  • Moscow (to Beijing)
  • Munich (to Beijing)
  • Paris (to Beijing and Shanghai)
  • Rome (to Beijing)
  • Stockholm (to Beijing)

2.  ANA

You can fly to Tokyo (Narita) and/or Tokyo (Haneda) from:

United Asia Miles

The Cities Where You Can Connect In Europe To Fly ANA To Tokyo.

  • Brussels (to Narita)
  • Frankfurt (to Narita and Haneda)
  • London-Heathrow (to Narita)
  • Munich (to Narita)
  • Paris (to Narita)

3.  Asiana

You can fly to Seoul-Incheon from:

United Asia Miles

The Cities In Europe Where You Can Connect To An Asiana Flight To Seoul

  • Frankfurt
  • Istanbul
  • London-Heathrow
  • Paris

4.  Austrian

You can fly from Vienna to:

United Asia Miles

You Can Connect In Vienna To Fly Austrian To Bangkok, Beijing, Or Tokyo

  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Tokyo (Narita)

5.  EVA Air

You can fly to Taipei and Bangkok from:

United Asia Miles

You Can Connect In These Cities To Fly EVA Air To Taipei Or Bangkok

  • Amsterdam (via Bangkok)
  • London-Heathrow (via Bangkok)
  • Paris
  • Vienna (via Bangkok)

6.  LOT Polish Airlines

You can fly from Warsaw to:

United Asia Miles

LOT Flies From Warsaw To Beijing

  • Beijing

7.  Lufthansa

You can fly from Frankfurt and/or Munich to:

United Asia Miles

You Can Connect In Frankfurt And Munich To Fly Lufthansa To These Asian Cities

  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Busan (via Seoul)
  • Ho Chi Minh City (via Bangkok)
  • Hong Kong
  • Kuala Lumpur (via Bangkok)
  • Nagoya
  • Nanjing
  • Osaka
  • Qingdao
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
  • Shenyang
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo (Narita)

8.  Scandinavian (SAS)

You can fly from Copenhagen to:

United Asia Miles

You can connect in Copenhagen to fly SAS to Asia.

  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Tokyo (Narita)

9.  Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has mostly economy class award seats available to Singapore from:

United Asia Miles

You Can Connect In These European Cities To Fly Singapore Airlines To Singapore

  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona (sometimes via Milan)
  • Copenhagen
  • Frankfurt
  • Istanbul
  • London-Heathrow
  • Manchester (via Munich)
  • Milan
  • Munich
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Zurich

10.  SWISS

You can fly from Zurich to:

United Asia Miles

You Can Fly From Zurich On SWISS To These Cities In Asia

  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Hong Kong
  • Shanghai
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo (Narita)

11.  Thai Airways

You can fly to Bangkok from:

United Asia Miles

You Can Connect In These Cities In Europe To A Thai Airways Flight To Bangkok

  • Brussels
  • Copenhagen
  • Frankfurt
  • London-Heathrow
  • Madrid
  • Munich
  • Oslo
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Stockholm
  • Zurich

Bottom Line

You can use your United miles to fly to Asia on United or a Star Alliance partner such as Air China or ANA.

You can even fly to Asia via Europe and add a stopover on a roundtrip!

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These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

47 Responses to The Ultimate Guide To United Miles: Part 10 – All The Ways to Get to Japan, North Asia & South Asia!

  1. Where would you recommend I look for my first ever first class redemption, on a one way from Asia to the US using United miles. I am looking for mid January, so availability is a little limited but still there. I am finding some choices, I just don’t know which are the aspirational ones since I have never flown first and fear that I might not again after the devaluation. Prefer ORD or IAD if possible. Through Europe or across the pacific doesn’t matter. What should I look for?Thanks

  2. Nice detailed post, especially for those who are looking to redeem on a specific airline & higher class of service. What I like about the United booking engine is that it works reasonably well for booking Asian trips with partner airlines. When we flew to Bali we booked with Lufthansa & Thai economy for 65k per ticket (pre-devaluation!). And the United partners don’t block out the entire summer like Delta partners Korean Air and China Airlines!

  3. Once again a great very detailed extensive post. I certainly appreciate your effort.

  4. @TimmyD – You could try for Thai Airways, ANA, or Asiana via Europe. You’d have to almost certainly fly on United from Europe to the US unless you book within 15 days of departure in which case you may be able to book Lufthansa.

    @BigHabitat – The United booking engine is very easy to use.

    @Craig – Glad you find it useful!

  5. Amex Points can be transferred to ANA airlines. Can we use ANA miles for award ticket from US to India? If yes, are the awared miles similar to United ..starting at 40,000 for one way ticket?

  6. D
    I know we pick on you about your pics, but this time I have to admit its really sweet.. Cute couple pic!

  7. Hey D, who would you recommend for a one-way trip from Hong Kong to New York in Biz on March 30th of this coming year? I’m looking for a late afternoon / evening flight and can’t see any availability on United’s site… something after 5pm would be amazing. Help! :)

  8. Thank you for this very helpful reference. I’ve been looking for a handy list of star alliance transpacific routes!

  9. I have a business trip to Malaysia coming up in January, so I will be booking a company paid economy RT ticket to SFO/Panang (I get to choose the airline and use my own credit card). I am seriously considering using my own points to upgrade to business class. I have UR (Sapphire) and SPG points. Which airline would you recommend I book my paid ticket on, and how do you recommend upgrading to Business?

  10. Can you fly over the Atlantic and return over the Pacific while flying to India using United miles?

  11. @Darius Thank you for this post.

    But why aren’t you covering/including India in this post? Why exclude that one country when discussing Asian destinations?

  12. If you open jaw at your destination do you still get 5 segments each way? And what if you change zones e.g. would something like LAX-EWR-FRA-BKK-ICN // NRT-HNL-SEA-SFO-LAX work? Just an example off the top of my head.

  13. Amol (@PointsToPointB)

    @Caveman – you can, I’ve done it several times. I even have a “free” stopover to Hawaii after the return on my latest one (LAX-ICN-SIN-BOM, DEL-FRA-IAH-LAX(stop)-HNL)

    @RR – India is considered Central Asia by United, so it doesn’t fall under “Japan, North Asia, South Asia” regions

    @DBest – that’s actually allowed as 2 one-ways anywa because each way is 4 segments (3 connecting cities). I’m not sure if an open-jaw outside the region would allow 5 segments so it’s best to just try an award and see what United says.

  14. This is an incredibly comprehensive and helpful post. Thanks D!

  15. @ Amol – Thanks for your explanation but this raises two more questions. You have two open jaws in your itinerary. One is origin (you depart from LAX but end in HNL) and the other is your destination (which is BOM and then you start from DEL). I thought with a United return ticket you can have one stop over and one open jaw. Am I right? How did you manage two open jaws beside a stop over?

    Also I am guessing you cannot have this itinerary with US airways miles as they allow either one open jaw or one stop over but not both. Did I get that right?

  16. With flights on Thai, Asiana, ANA or others, how do you know whether you are getting the suites or some of the really nice first class cabins? Can you tell by the plane type?

  17. Amol (@PointsToPointB)

    @Caveman – you’re allowed 2 open jaws and 1 stopover with United on a round trip. United allows one-ways, so the 2 opens jaws are nothing new (you could just do 2 one-ways). Doing a round trip gives you a stopover to play with.

    Correct with US — only 1 stopover OR 1 open jaw.

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  19. Great post D, very detailed. Seems like I’ve read that Swiss Business / Swiss First also has limitations like your Singapore example when using United miles, is this correct?

  20. On a round-trip award, can you do the Island Hopper on the way to somewhere in Southeast Asia, and stop over in one of the small islands along the way? Hopefully there is no 5-segment limit for that, like there is with round-trip US to Europe to Southeast Asia awards.

  21. @Vaibhav – You can use ANA miles for award flights from the US to India, but you will pay high fuel surcharges.

    @Jonathan – Thanks!

    @Ray G. – I see flights connecting in Beijing with the 3 hour Hong Kong to Beijing in coach and the other segment in business on March 30.

    @Tim @Shorty – Glad you find it useful.

    @Rob – In general, upgrading coach tickets isn’t a good deal because of the high cash co-pays involved. Some airlines also require you to buy a higher fare class to be eligible for upgrades.

    @RR – Because India is its own post!

    @TimmyD – You can tell by the plane type and on SeatGuru. Check out One Mile at a Time for the details on the different types of First Class seats.

    @MYRflyer – Swiss releases virtually no First or Business class award seats from the US. But you can usually find them on routes from Europe to Asia etc.

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  31. Is there a maximum mileage constraint per direction of travel? For example, N. America to Asia via Europe (routing cannot exceed X miles?)

    One more question: can you go (for example) MEX-FRA-BKK-SYD? Or is that one too many regions? MEX-FRA-BKK is fine, but I’m not sure if they’ll allow the extra tag to SYD.

  32. @Sean – I’m not aware of a maximum mileage constraint like there is with American Airlines miles. The best way to check is to try to make the booking online or by calling in. You can’t route to Australia from the US via Europe, but I’m not sure about Mexico (though I’d guess it to be the same).

  33. I’m planning to fly from LA to Beijing in the spring. I want do it in first class. Any recommendation for which airlines have the most awesome first class nonstop route?

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  36. Would it be possible to accomplish this route with only 65K points? It’s not possible to book it on the United website but would it work if I called? I think it uses one open jaw between ARN and CPH. Does it also count as a stopover between ARN and CPH or only as an open jaw? Does it count as an additional open jaw because I start the trip at EWR and finish at JFK?

    EWR ARN SAS Fri., Dec. 12, 2014
    CPH SIN Singapore Air Fri., Dec. 26, 2014
    SIN FRA Singapore Air Sat., Jan. 10, 2014
    FRA JFK Singapore Air Sun., Jan. 11, 2014

  37. I just got told that first class round trip tickets to Asia can’t route through Europe, but biz and economy can! Sounds like I need to hang up and call back!

  38. Hi! We are planning a trip to SE Asia but want to do Tokyo as well, it is possible to fly from N America via Tokyo to Hong Kong, with a layover in Tokyo?

  39. @ben – I’d call back.

    @cisco L – That should be possible.

  40. Hi! I’m trying MCO-NRT, NRT-CAN, CAN-PHLas a multi city on United. When I start with business/economy for MCO-NRT , business NRT-CAN and first for CAN-PHL, the itinerary works. But when I start with first for MCO-NRT, an error message shows up referring to award rules. Any suggestions how to get this first class all the way?

  41. @Rajesh – Try searching segment-by-segment and then calling United to book it.

  42. Would it be possible to fly economy one way from LAX -> ROME -> BANKGKOK using a stopover? And if so, would the mileage cost be 32.5k? (per the award chart – mainland to South Asia = 32.5k)

  43. @Adam – No stopovers allowed on 1-way awards.

  44. Hi Darius!
    I know you can route from North America to Southeast Asia through Europe. If I route from Hawaii to Lisbon (stopover) to Hanoi and then on my return flight Hong Kong to Ssn Francisco, will this ticket cost me a hybrid i.e. 25k points +32.5k points or would it cost me 65k points because it is a hybrid ticket?

  45. @Betty – It will be 32.5 from Hawaii to Europe and 32.5K from Hong Kong to San Francisco.

  46. Darius- Do you know can I get to Europe and route through Asia?, LAX, PEK FRA? I can’t get the website to price it out, of course only have 2 days now to book it also.

  47. I fly from Shreveport to Bejing china every month on united what is the best route for me

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