The Guide to TAP Air Portugal Business Class

TAP offers lie-flat comfort and affordable fares. U.S.-based travelers should consider it for trans-Atlantic trips.
JT Genter
By JT Genter 
Published
Edited by Sam Kemmis

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Nerdy takeaways
  • TAP Portugal offers lie-flat business class seating for trans-Atlantic flights.

  • Business class fares come in two types, with different change and cancellation policies.

  • There are a few sweet spots when using points and miles.

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Lisbon-based TAP Air Portugal offers some of the best business-class fares across the Atlantic on some of the newest aircraft in the skies. But what's the experience like, and is it worth the cost?

Let's take a deep dive into TAP business class and some tricks for how to save when booking it.

TAP business class seats and aircraft

TAP Portugal currently operates three different aircraft types on long-haul routes to the U.S.: the Airbus A321neo, A330-200 and A330-900neo.

Even if you aren't an aviation geek, you'll want to pay attention to the aircraft type since the TAP business class experience varies from plane to plane.

(Photo courtesy of TAP Air Portugal)

First, the good news: TAP Portugal business class seats lie flat on all three aircraft types. That means you can be assured of a flat bed across the Atlantic — unlike some other business-class options (looking at you, Icelandair).

(Photo courtesy of TAP Air Portugal)

However, not all TAP Air Portugal business class seats have direct access to the aisles. If you don't want to climb over a neighbor — or have a neighbor climb over you — book a flight on an Airbus A330neo.

Seats are arranged in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. That means there's one seat on either window side of the aisle plus two seats in the middle.

The next-best experience is found on TAP Portugal's Airbus A330-200 — a similar-sounding but different aircraft type. Almost all TAP business class seats on the A330-200 have aisle access. Only three window seats on one side of the uniquely configured aircraft are paired up.

TAP Air Portugal has a whopping five different seating configurations on its Airbus A321 aircraft. For all long-haul flights across the Atlantic, TAP Portugal uses a so-called "A321 Long Range" aircraft with lie-flat business class seating upfront.

On this aircraft, TAP business class rows alternate between having two seats or one seat on each side of the single aisle. The two-seat pairs are ideal for couples and the stand-alone "throne seats" are perfect for solo travelers.

All other aircraft types have a standard recliner seat in TAP business class. On most regional routes, TAP Portugal simply uses economy seating with an empty middle seat for its business class.

Business class fare types: Executive vs. Top Executive

TAP Portugal offers two types of business class fares: Executive and Top Executive.

The perks of the two fares are quite similar. The only differences come down to change fees, refundability and mileage earnings.

Top Executive fares can be changed or refunded with no fees. Executive fares can also be changed and some Executive fares can be refunded, but the cost to do so varies on the route.

Change and cancellation fees for Executive fares

Changes

Refunds

Within Europe and North Africa

From $90 (85 euros).

No refunds.

Intercontinental flights

From $160 (140 euros).

From $125 (115 euros) each way.

Thankfully, TAP Portugal hasn't yet adopted unbundled business class fares — where certain perks like lounges aren't included in the cheapest fares.

All TAP Portugal business class fares offer the following perks:

  • Two carry-on bags.

  • Two checked bags up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms) each.

  • Seat selection at any time.

  • Fast track at certain airports.

  • Priority check-in.

  • Priority boarding.

  • Lounge access.

  • Priority baggage handling.

  • Premium customer call center.

Booking TAP business class flights with points and miles

Considering booking TAP business class through travel portals

TAP Portugal business class cash fares can be quite reasonable. That means it's worth checking the price to book a flight through a travel portal — such as the Chase's travel portal — before bothering to search for TAP business class award availability.

For example, consider this $2,124 round-trip flight from Boston to Amsterdam. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can book this through the Chase Travel℠ portal for just 141,537 points. People with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card have to pay 169,844 points round trip.

Depending on your route, booking through a travel portal can be the cheapest way to book TAP Portugal business class. And, unlike booking award tickets through TAP Portugal or its partners, you don't have to worry about finding award availability.

That said, there are some partner sweet spots worth considering. 

LifeMiles (including an award pricing quirk)

Most Avianca LifeMiles awards between the United States and much of Europe cost 63,000 miles each way. However, at the time of writing, travelers can book TAP Portugal business class from New York-John F. Kennedy to Lisbon for just 35,000 LifeMiles one way.

That's significantly cheaper than the standard award cost, making this an even better way of booking TAP business class.

This pricing quirk is limited to this one nonstop route. If you need to connect within the U.S. or Europe, you'll pay standard pricing. Even the route from Lisbon back to New York prices at the standard 63,000 LifeMiles each way.

Even so, LifeMiles is still one of the best ways to book TAP Portugal business class. Plus, it's easy to accumulate LifeMiles by transferring points from most major transferable points programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou points and Marriott Bonvoy.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Another top way to book TAP business class with points and miles is through Air Canada's Aeroplan program.

Flights between North America and Europe cost as few as 60,000 Aeroplan points each way in TAP Portugal business class. However, this pricing is only for routes up to 4,000 miles in distance — such as Washington, D.C. to Lisbon.

Longer and connecting routes that span 4,001 to 6,000 miles in distance cost 70,000 Aeroplan points each way. That's enough to cover the route from San Francisco to Lisbon.

TAP business class recapped

TAP Air Portugal is known as one of the cheaper full-service airlines for flights across the Atlantic. If you're considering TAP business class across the Atlantic, you can be sure to get a lie-flat business class seat, lounge access, priority throughout the airport, two checked bags and free seat selection. 

And that seat selection can come in handy when flying on an aircraft with varied seating — whether you want to select a solo seat or a pair of seats together.

(Top photo courtesy of TAP Air Portugal)


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