A recent round of business trips took me from Singapore to Dubai to New York and back, literally around the world. For a combination of reasons, including cheaper business class tickets and the opportunity to earn United MileagePlus miles (which are rated as some of the most valuable), I chose to book the trips on a mix of Star Alliance carriers. My Dubai to New York leg had a layover in Zurich, and the first leg of the flight was on Swiss Business Class . I always prefer non-stop flights, but for some reason I was REALLY looking forward to my flight on Swiss International Airlines. The word ‘Swiss’ by itself connotes precision, quality, cleanliness, sophistication, and a guarantee that it runs like clockwork.
Since I was going to bank the miles from this Swiss flight to my United MileagePlus account, I was glad to discover that Swiss is one of the absolute best partner airlines you can fly for United miles (on par with Lufthansa and ANA). That’s because they recognize your MileagePlus Premier Gold status and give you the 50% bonus earned miles on top of the 175% base miles for business class (J fare class), and 150% PQM. (See MileagePlus Earnings Table for Swiss fare classes)
The aircraft was a fairly new Airbus A330-300, and it was fitted with the newer business class seats in 1-2-1 configuration. The seats are simple, comfortable, and functional with brown tones and wood veneer finish– screaming Swiss in every way. The seats with air adjustable cushion firmness transform into lie-flat beds at the press of a button, perfect for this overnight flight. The breakfast menu, presented as a booklet and pen where you tick your choices, had excellent selection (including Swiss pastries. I especially enjoyed the business class amenity kit – a cross between an brushed aluminum lunch box and an antique medicine case. The service is best described as no-nonsense friendliness, nothing overly exaggerated as seen with some Asian and Middle Eastern airlines.
Swiss is a member of the Miles and More awards program, shared among 10 European airlines including:
- Austrian Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Swiss International Airlines
- Adria Airways
- Croatia Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
Lucky for you, it is a great time to be a Miles and More program member. There is a limited time 50,000 mile bonus on the Miles & More Premier World Mastercard from Barclaycard. You receive 20,000 award miles after your first purchase and 30,000 additional miles after spending $5000 within the first 90 days. Benefits include:
* 2 awards miles per $1 spent on Miles and More program airlines, and 1 mile per $1 on all other spending
* annual companion ticket after your first purchase and annually thereafter
* NO foreign transaction fees
* complementary online FICO credit score access
* annual fee of $79, waived for Senator and HON Circle members
In my opinion this is a great offer for those who travel to and within Europe often as you will have greater access to award seats on airlines such as Lufthansa and Swiss, who offer superior Business Class products versus US carriers. Oh, and Zurich is a beautiful city and extremely convenient from the airport (15 minutes by train) to spend a couple hours if you have a long layover!