Best Business Class To Redeem Miles For: SQ, Emirates or Qatar?
If you own an air mile credit card, your ultimate goal would be to take First Class to some place nice, like Paris. But Business Class is nice too, with larger legroom, a fully reclinable seat and Michelin star dishes to devour in the sky.
But not all airlines’ business class offerings are the same. Which airline should you go for?
How is business class different from regular economy?
Business class typically features several fancy things like priority boarding, a spacious seat that can lie flat, more leg room, more storage for belongings you don’t want to stow away, better meals, a larger and better quality screen and more attention from the cabin crew.
Sometimes, business class could also just mean more space, like in the case of budget airlines (e.g. Scoot business class) or domestic flights.
Business class is roughly double, or 3 times the price of an economy ticket, depending on the airline. Take a one-way flight from Singapore to Bangkok on Singapore Airlines as an example. It costs roughly $600 for economy class and almost $1,000 for business class. In terms of miles, it takes 12,500 miles to redeem the flight in economy class and 21,500 miles in business class.
If you are paying that much more, you should probably do some research and go for an airline that has business class services and comfort fitting of your expectations.
Singapore Airlines business class
The SQ business class is known for being one of the best in the world (despite being ranked 2nd by Skytrax), offering the widest seat you can get for business class with direct aisle access (that is, before ANA launched their new business class suite). On board their A350 and B777, the seats are 75cm wide. The A380 aircrafts have slightly narrower seats but an improved experience overall.
The seats don’t recline to a lie-flat position by itself. Instead, you need a cabin crew’s help to fold down the seat and make the bed, which is rather cumbersome. If you are travelling as a couple, the crew can help you turn two partner seats into a double bed. The downside is that you will have to sleep diagonally in order to place your feet in the footrest and stretch out your legs. Some travellers have given feedback about this point and the awkward position they have to sleep in, especially side sleepers.
The LCD monitor slightly pales in comparison compared to other business class at 15.4-inch (JAL’s monitor is 23-inch) but it’s covered with a privacy glass so no one knows what you are watching, i.e. no problems watching 50 Shades of Grey onboard.
To make up for the smaller screens, SQ business class offers fantastic food onboard – a menu that was designed in collaboration with world-acclaimed chefs who own Michelin-starred restaurants. There’s a ‘Book the Cook’ service where you can select your main course 24 hours before departure.
If you are flying out from Changi airport, you can use the SilverKris lounge at Terminal 3 where you can pig out at their massive buffet spread. One of the best things about business class is that your holiday begins before you even arrive at your destination. There are also workstations and showers available.
Emirates business class
Emirates’ business class features a cosy cabin furbished with classy burled walnut veneer and a sky panel that changes with the local time. There’s even an onboard lounge with a bar serving drinks throughout the flight. The onboard lounge is only available on the A380 aircrafts.
The seats itself are spacious with plenty of storage space, comes with a side table to work on and a personal minibar stocked with soft drinks. The seats can be inclined into a flat bed (for B777, not for the A380 which is an angled lie-flat bed) and a fluffy duvet is provided. A well-equipped amenity kit with all the essential toiletries, including Bvlgari moisturisers and aftershaves, is also provided.
One of the best parts of Emirates is their inflight entertainment system, named ICE (Information, communications, entertainment), which offers an extensive range new releases and classics.
The ground service is just as great too, with complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfer service and a gigantic Emirates business class lounge at Dubai airport serving international cuisine and champagne. There are shower rooms and even a spa too.
Qatar business class
Qatar’s business class layout and seats are one of the most luxurious you can find. It has been said that their business class it’s just as good as a first class experience.
Their ‘Qsuites’ have sliding doors which allow you to go into a little cocoon of your own, offering the best privacy. If you are travelling as a couple or in a group, the adjustable panels and movable TV monitors can transform the space into a 2-person or 4-person suite.
Qatar’s seats can be reclined to a lie-flat bed and they even offer pyjamas and an abundance of pillows (3 on long-haul flights). The amenity bag, created by the Italian luggage brand BRIC’S, contains all the standard toiletries including fancy items like 100% natural skincare products with actives from olive extracts and branded moisturisers.
If you are not in the mood to sleep, you can order light bites, like prawn cake skewers and fruit tarts, which are available throughout the flight to accompany your TV binging. You also have the flexibility of having your main course anytime you want.
On the downside, Qatar does not offer complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfer service.
ANA business class
ANA’s new business class suite, which was only launched mid this year, offers a new level of luxury and prestige. The cabin seats, named “The Room”, were designed in collaboration with famed Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma, and British designers. They are available on their newly redesigned B777 aircrafts and are apparently even better than the existing first class seats on their older aircrafts.
Like Qatar, ANA’s sleek and elegant business class seats come with privacy doors too so it literally becomes a “room” when you shut them. The new Panasonic TV screen is 33-inch and is in 4K, the epitome of TV quality. You can conveniently pair your phone with the system and use it as a remote control.
The seats in The Room are wide, like the width of a mini bench. When it transforms into a bed, the bed is huge for one. You could even sleep sideways on it if you are a petite person. There’s a vanity mirror and behind it, there’s storage space and all sorts of plugs for your electronic devices.
To top it off, the “Anytime Menu” includes Japanese favourites like The Ippudo Ramen, Okonomiyaki and Tonkatsu. You can knock yourself out and eat as many of them as you want, anytime.
Lufthansa business class
The business class on Lufthansa has lesser bells and whistles but still offers comfortable and wide seats (designed with the built of large European men in mind). The seats on the A350 aircrafts with lie-flat capability are 50cm wide and almost 2m long, although unfortunately, not all their seats have direct aisle access.
Despite the wide seats, the actual space around it is rather tight. The seat is basically everything. There isn’t much storage space, much less a mini bar. The screen size is not mind blowing either.
If you are someone who don’t enjoy freezing in the plane, Lufthansa’s business class seats come with individualised AC controls so you can customise your own temperature. Also, the aircraft’s mood lighting settings simulate various times of the day and is adapted to the human body’s rhythm which helps with overcoming jetlag. Both of these points are very considerate and practical for travellers.
Turkish Airlines business class
First off, the business lounge at the New Istanbul airport, which boasts to be the world’s largest airport terminal building, is astoundingly huge and lavish. From the design of the place, to the food, to the luxurious shower rooms, it’s the perfect start to a trip.
The lounge has winding staircases leading up to a second floor where there are more pretty seating areas and even open nap nooks where you can lie down, stretch out and catch a wink. There are iMacs available, cooking stations where they serve you fresh, and lots of entertainment to choose from.
In comparison to the lounge, the business class in the aircraft itself is a little less exciting. You can expect a good-sized seat which lies flat when you need to sleep, dedicated air vents for you to control the temperature around you and a well-equipped amenity set containing Versace products.
Turkish airlines actually staff their flights with on board chefs so you can best trust that their meals are of high quality and beautifully plated. A dessert cart is pushed along after the meals with an assortment of Turkish treats, again, nicely displayed and very enticing. The downside is that hot meals are not served between meals but there are light snacks like pastries and cakes available throughout the flight.
Japan Airlines (JAL) business class
JAL’s business class seats come with their own private space with retractable privacy partitions that you can lower when you want to talk to the person beside you. They call it the Sky Suites.
You can expect a very comfortable rest in the Sky Suites with their lie-flat beds, air weave mattress and pillow which supports your weight well and a 23-inch LCD monitor, one of the largest amongst business class.
JAL business class also offers a fine dining experience in the air. Their menu which is created by chefs from world-class restaurants around the world, consists of both Japanese and Western dishes.
Plus, the toilets in the aircraft are Japanese-style toilets that come with cleansing jets, which is definitely an added comfort.
Partner airlines you can redeem KrisFlyer miles for
Krisflyer miles are not only for Singapore Airlines. You can also earn and redeem miles on SQ partner airlines and Star Alliance airlines. Alternatively, you can use them as cash for Scoot flights.
Singapore partner airlines and Star Alliance airlines include: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Avianca Airlines, CopaAirlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EYGPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, JetBlue Airways, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, SilkAir, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss International Air Lines, ThaiAirways, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Australia Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin America and United.
Have you flown on any business class by redeeming your air miles? Share your thoughts with us below.