How To Book the ENTIRE Swiss First Class Cabin using United Airlines Miles

Swiss First Class is one of the most difficult awards to book using miles and points. Typically reserved for only the airline’s own top tier elites, in the past the only way to book into one of the world’s most exclusive First Class product has only been achievable by finding a great deal on a cash ticket, or via an operational upgrade.

Some of the other fabulous first class products are bookable via miles, although hard to find. Singapore, Etihad, Emirates, ANA, and British can all be found using miles from different programs (and perhaps some magic and luck).

But now, in what could best be described as a once-in-a-long-time chance, you can book Swiss First Class on United Miles, and you can even book all eight seats, THE ENTIRE CABIN, for you and your friends.

What’s Swiss First Class Like?

We had the chance to fly Swiss First Class on a trip from Dar Es Salaam to Zurich on an operational upgrade. It was something we’ll never forget, and probably won’t experience again.

two men sitting at a table

The seats are massive, as the cabin is arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration

a seat in a plane a tv in a plane

Since there is no cubby for your feet, you can stretch out even if you’re super tall like I am

a person's feet in a chair with a television

The food and wine list are top notch. The food is carefully selected and presented, and since there’s only 8 of you in the cabin (or perhaps even less) you get personalized attention.

a plate of food on a table a plate of food on a table a plate of dessert with a glass of wine

And, not that you’d want to, but if you’re not too excited to stay awake for the entire trip, you can take a nap (or a full-on sleep) in their seat which converts to a bed with some of the most luxurious and plush bedding we’ve felt on an airline.

a bed with a lamp and a bottle on the side of it

How to Book Swiss First Class with United Miles

If you head over to United Airlines’ website and search for a flight from ZRH to any major gateway, you might find seats with business class availability, but it’s almost a guarantee that you’re going to see zero seats in first, a simple “not available” message.

But as of December of last year, Swiss gained the right to carry passengers on one of their fifth freedom routes. For those unfamiliar, a “fifth freedom” flight is when an airline from a country can transport people between two countries that are not their own. For example, Emirates Airlines (based in Dubai, UAE), carries passengers between Sydney (Australia) and Christchurch (New Zealand).

Swiss operates a Fifth Freedom route between GRU Sao Paolo (Brazil) and EZE Buenos Aires (Argentina) and the route has WIDE OPEN availability. So wide open, in fact, that many routes are selling ALL EIGHT SEATS in the first class cabin for miles.

Swiss First Class Miles Prices 

a screenshot of a flight schedule

United Miles to Book First Class in Swiss from EZE-GRU or GRU-EZE

First Class on the 3 hour flight between Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires is 38,500 miles plus a very small amount for taxes and fees.

If you want to book out the entire cabin for your friends, family, stag party, hen party, birthday, wedding, or just because you love flying, the entire cabin would cost 308,000 miles and less than $100.

a screenshot of a phone

United Miles to Book First Class in Swiss from EZE-GRU or GRU-EZE

Swiss First Class isn’t for everyone, and if you’ve already got a trip heading to South America, this is an awesome chance to experience the First Class product on an airline that would normally block and restrict access.

There are both Star Alliance lounges in Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires, so you’ll have lounge access before your flight, and if you’re connecting on the EZE-GRU to another destination serviced by a Star Alliance carrier, you can get access to the Espaço Banco Safra Lounge (formerly called the Star Alliance lounge).

My suggestion?

Book now. This might not last forever, so always book first and ask questions later. While this isn’t a 12 hour trans-oceanic flight, it’s a great way to get between two South American capitals at a killer price.

We’re flying from Seattle to Buenos Aires on American Airlines, and then from Buenos Aires to Sao Paolo on Swiss. We’ll fly from Sao Paolo to Seattle back home on American. That way, we can experience this amazing product one more time!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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  1. Once again, enjoying your experiences through the photography. What an awesome opportunity and I cannot wait to hear about your next 3 hour adventure. Keep it coming.

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  2. Amazing! can’t believe its only 38,500!

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  3. Amazing! can’t believe its only 38,500!

    Post a Reply


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