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TAP Portugal is the flag carrier of Portugal, headquartered in Lisbon and offering flights to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. TAP Portugal is a member of the Star Alliance, along with United, Avianca, Air Canada, Lufthansa and more. The airline offers a variety of different fare classes, and TAP Portugal economy class can be one of the most affordable ways to get from the U.S. to Europe.
Even in economy, TAP Portugal has several different varieties of fare types, with each offering additional perks (for an additional cost). In this article, we’ll give you the info you need to help you make the most of flying economy class on TAP Portugal.
What to expect flying economy with TAP Portugal
In the U.S., you may be used to basic economy being the lowest form of economy class, but TAP Portugal basic economy is not the lowest option — that’s TAP Portugal discount economy.
Its economy class fare types are:
Here is a chart outlining the four different types of TAP Portugal economy fares. As you go from left to right, you receive additional perks, and the fare cost is higher.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
On international flights, all economy fares get a carry-on bag of up to 17.6 pounds (8 kilograms). On flights to/from the U.S., you’ll also get a small personal item. Basic economy adds the perk of checking one bag (up to 50.7 pounds /23 kilograms), classic fares can check two bags and plus fares can check three bags. In all cases, you can purchase additional checked bags.
Plus economy tickets receive premium check-in and priority boarding, but all other types of the airline's economy tickets don't receive boarding or check-in privileges. You’ll check in and board with the general customers.
If seat selection is important to you, choose a classic or plus economy fare. Both include the chance to reserve standard or EconomyXtra seats. Discount and basic economy seats are assigned at check-in, or you can pay additional to reserve a seat. If you opt to go with the discount or basic economy fare, there’s no guarantee you’ll end up seated next to your travel companions.
Snacks and beverages are provided to economy class flyers on all international flights (other than those to/from Cape Verde). Plus economy fares have the added perk of having food available on flights within Europe and North Africa (a limited number of routes with classic fares also qualify for meals).
How to get the best value when flying TAP Portugal
Cheap one-way flights
TAP Portugal is well-known for offering extremely affordable one-way flights from the U.S. to Europe. It’s not out of the ordinary to find a one-way fare for under $300.
Another way to get great value with TAP Portugal is to book your flight with flexible points, like those from Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Use points earned with your Chase Sapphire Reserve® — in the Chase portal, a $290 flight would only run you around 19,300 points. Not bad for a one-way ticket to Europe.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Only pack a carry-on bag
Access to the cheapest of flights is going to require that you get the lowest cost TAP Portugal economy fare (called "discount"). That means that even on an international flight, you won’t have access to any checked bags — just a carry-on. Squeezing all of your travel stuff into a carry-on compliant bag will help you save money overall.
Book a stopover
Another great benefit of TAP Portugal is its stopover program. You can book a stopover of one to five nights in either Lisbon or Porto at no additional cost. This can be a great way to see an additional destination on your next European vacation.
Consider buying miles for premium cabin redemptions
TAP Portugal normally sells its Miles&Go miles for 4.35 cents per mile, which is an abysmal deal given NerdWallet's valuation of TAP Portugal miles at 0.8 cent each. However, that valuation is just an average — and sometimes you can find them for far lower than that. For example, TAP Portugal regularly runs promotions where you can buy Miles&Go miles with double or triple bonuses — a more attractive value proposition. Economy fares are typically so cheap that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy or use miles, but if you’re looking for premium cabin redemptions, that can be a good way to upgrade if the price is right.
» Learn more: How to score an upgrade on TAP Portugal with SeatBoost
Redeem TAP Portugal miles for award flights
If you have a credit card that earns Capital One miles (like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card), you can transfer your Capital One miles to TAP Portugal at a 1:1 ratio. Given that NerdWallet values TAP Portugal miles at 0.8 cent each when redeemed for economy award flights, this is only worth doing on some occasions. NerdWallet's valuation is just an average, but some flights are worth more than others when booking with points versus cash.
In general, aim to get at least baseline value when booking an award flight.
If you fly TAP Portugal economy class this year
TAP Portugal offers very attractive fares from the East Coast of the U.S. to Lisbon and beyond. In order to get the absolute cheapest fares, you’ll likely be booked into its lowest version of economy class, which they call discount economy. Discount economy offers a carry-on bag, but no seat selection or checked baggage. If you’re looking for either of those things, you may want to consider upgrading your TAP Portugal economy fare to one of its higher tier fares.
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