Fifth Freedom Flights


You may have heard someone talk about fifth freedom flights and using points and miles to take one. And you may have been totally confused. We’re hear to clear up that confusion as we talk about fifth freedom flights today.

A fifth freedom flight or route is flight that operates between two countries that are different than the home country of the airline operating the flight. For instance, Singapore Airlines offers a great flight from Houston to Manchester, England that Jess has taken many times. Singapore Airline isn’t based in the United States or the UK but is allowed to board and disembark passengers on this route – a fifth freedom flight.

Often, you have a connection in the country that the airline is registered with. For instance, on my recent Qatar Airlines flight from the Maldives, we had to stop in Doha before continuing on to Houston (and then Denver). Fifth freedom flights cut out that connection making the flights much shorter.

Because fifth freedom flights aren’t the usual flights of these airlines, they often offer good availability and point/mile options for their flights. Let’s highlight a few of them!


NYC – Frankfurt on Singapore Airlines

This was the flight that started a trip to Paris and on to the Maldives. This is a great flight to position to Europe, and then get a cheap flight from Frankfurt to your destination. And Singapore Airlines is a dream! Who could forget my first-class seat in Singapore Suites? I will never forget it and hope to make it a reality again! Sadly, they are changing airplanes on that route so Singapore Suites won’t be available but business class is pretty darn nice too!


Woman in black pajamas in bed on airline.

This fifth freedom flight was amazing!


NYC-Milan on Emirates

This is another great way to fly to Europe. This route is serviced by the A380 which has a fantastic business and first class cabin. Jess is flying this route this Spring in business class and hoping to upgrade to first class on the way back. Sounds amazing, right? She only paid 90K/person round-trip which is a great deal for Emirates!  Just recently, Alex and I booked one-way flights from Milan-NYC. She has first class and I have business class (hoping to purchase an upgrade that day – I want a shower in the sky)! Unfortunately, the price has since gone up and business class will now cost you 108,000 miles roundtrip (87,000 miles one-way). For first class you are looking at spending 102,000 miles each way (there is no roundtrip discount when booking first class).


Large cathedral with people in front of it

This fifth freedom flight can get you to Milan, Italy.


Newark-Athens on Emirates

Who doesn’t want to go to Greece on points/miles? And on Emirates, to boot? I am for sure trying this one out on a future trip to Greece, and there will for sure be more trips to Greece because I love it there! Many more Greek Islands for this girl to try out! Because this fifth freedom flight doesn’t have to go all the way to Dubai (Emirates headquarters), you can sit in the same seat for less time and fewer points. This route operates the 777-300 and the business class cabin here isn’t as nice as the A380 but its still nice and much better than economy. The pricing for this route is the same as JFK-Milan.


Woman sitting in white rocking chair on cobbled street

My next trip to Greece may be on this flight!


Los Angeles-Tokyo on Singapore Airlines

We have a lot of readers who want to go to Japan now that it has opened up – here is a flight you might want to check out! I have heard that even their economy-class flights are a lot better than most other airlines.


Japanese temple in front of snow covered mountain

You might want to check out this route to Japan!


Los Angeles-Tahiti on Air France

Having just returned from Bora Bora, this is a route I should have considered. Papeete, Tahiti, is the first stop anywhere in French Polynesia. This flight is serviced by Air France and is bookable on their website.


over water villa views

This flight could get a view from your own over water villa if you book your hotel at the Conrad Bora Bora.


Other Fifth Freedom Flights

Here are some other flights that you might want to check into. Let us know if you fly one and how it goes for you!

  • Washington D.C. – Accra, Ghana, on South African Airways
  • San Francisco – Hong Kong on Singapore Airlines
  • Houston – Panama on Air China
  • Houston – Manchester, England, on Singapore Airlines


Bottom Line

When trying to book award travel, check out the fifth freedom flights. You may have to do a positioning flight on the front or back end, but you have a great possibility of saving more of your hard-earned points/miles.

emirates plane

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a Travel Mom Squad advertiser, but we always show the best public offer even when we don’t earn a commission. Terms Apply. 

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  1. Julie Kosker says:

    Is there a way to filter a search for these flights?

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.

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