How to Make the Most of First Class on TAP Portugal
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
TAP Portugal is the flag carrier of Portugal, headquartered in the capital city of Lisbon. TAP Portugal offers one premium cabin, which it refers to as Executive Class. This class offers two tiers: Executive and Top Executive, and is the airline's equivalent of business class and first class. Flying in these premium cabins gives you a more luxurious and comfortable journey, and by using points and miles, you can get it booked for less overall cost.
Here's what you need to know to make the most of first class on TAP Portugal.
Differences between TAP Portugal's Executive and Top Executive Class
Executive flyers are eligible for one less checked bag than Top Executive flyers. Further, Top Executive ticket holders can make changes to their flights for free, and get a full refund if needed. Executive flyers, on the other hand, will be charged fees for both flight changes and refunds.
Otherwise, both tickets are nearly identical. In our sample search for a flight from New York City to Lisbon, the difference in cost was just under $100.
What to expect flying Top Executive
Expect outstanding TAP Portugal "first class" service in the sky. You'll have free checked bags, priority boarding, spacious seats and gourmet meals.
Bag allowance. Your TAP Portugal first class baggage allowance is three checked bags. Each bag can weigh up to 70 lbs (32 kg). You can also bring one carry-on bag and one personal item when flying from North America on TAP Portugal. If you have Star Alliance Gold status, you can also take an additional bag.
Boarding. Flying TAP Portugal Executive Class gives you complimentary access to premium boarding. This gives you a dedicated boarding area, plus you can board the airplane before economy class passengers.
Seats. TAP Portugal first class seats are lie-flat on the A330neo, the A330-200 and the A321LR. The seats are 20.5 inches wide on the A330neo and 27.inches on the other two types of planes. Check the plane that flies your route, but generally speaking, transatlantic flights will be on one of these three types of planes.
Lounges. Flying an Executive Class ticket will get you access to TAP Portugal first class lounges at various airports throughout the world. TAP Portugal's Premium Lounge is the flagship lounge in the Lisbon airport.
Food. The food in first class varies depending on the length of the route that you are flying. On long-haul flights, you will get what TAP describes as "a complete gastronomic experience and a varied drink menu." If you're flying Executive Class, you can reserve a specific TAP Portugal first class meal between one and seven days before your flight.
» Learn more: Star Alliance award sweet spots
How to book a first class ticket with TAP Portugal
Booking a TAP Portugal first class ticket is fairly straightforward. During the ticket booking process, input your destinations and preferred trip dates, then click search. Select the "business" ticket option when you choose your flight. After filling in your personal information, you'll be given choices for customizing your trip with rental cars or special on-board meals (per dietary preferences).
Book with miles
TAP Portugal has a published award chart that lists prices depending on whether you’re flying TAP Portugal or a partner airline. If you're looking to fly TAP Portugal but don't have enough Miles&Go miles, you can also use miles from one of their Star Alliance partners to book a TAP Portugal first class flight.
» Learn more: How to save money on international flights
Ways to get good value
1. Use Star Alliance partner miles
Using your Miles&Go miles for a TAP Portugal Executive Class costs 80,000 or 100,000 Miles&Go miles. It is possible to use fewer miles by booking with TAP Portugal's Star Alliance partners. Here are a few options:
45,000 Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles miles.
60,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points.
77,000 United MileagePlus miles.
NerdWallet values TAP Portugal miles at 1.7 cents each when redeemed for economy award flights, so you should aim to get an even higher per-mile value if you're booking TAP Portugal first class.
2. Select TAP + Star Alliance flights to save
If you do use TAP Portugal miles to book your TAP Portugal first class flight, try selecting the "TAP + Star Alliance flights" option, even if you want to fly on TAP Portugal itself. TAP Portugal's award chart lists the price for an Executive Class flight as 100,000 Miles&Go miles for TAP Portugal flights and 80,000 Miles&Go miles for partner flights between the U.S. and Europe. But in some cases, it's possible to use the TAP + Star Alliance filter to find a TAP Portugal flight pricing at the (lower) partner price.
3. Make sure to visit an airport lounge
Your TAP Portugal Executive Class ticket gives you access to TAP Portugal's Premium Lounge in Lisbon as well as Star Alliance lounges in more than 60 cities around the world. Make sure to take advantage of this benefit if you have an airport layover.
» Learn more: Reasons you should be using airport lounges
4. Enjoy a free stopover in Lisbon or Porto
TAP Portugal offers a stopover program which you can take advantage of when flying TAP Portugal first class. You can book a stopover of one to five nights in either Lisbon or Porto, for no extra cost.
5. Bid for an upgrade
Some TAP Portugal flights allow you to bid for an upgrade to Executive Class with SeatBoost. This might let you take advantage of a cheap economy class ticket and still experience the luxury of TAP Portugal Executive Class.
The bottom line
If you're looking to fly TAP Portugal, a Top Executive ticket will be the closest you'll get to a first class experience. You can use TAP Portugal's own Miles&Go miles or you can use partner miles like United MileagePlus, Air Canada Aeroplan or Turkish Miles&Smiles. Once you're in the air, take advantage of the TAP Portugal first class seats, service, cuisine and baggage allowance.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card