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Before I started collecting points & miles, I thought I would need to save for a long time to buy flights to Europe. I was wrong. Flights from the U.S. to Europe regularly cost over $1,200 (and that number only goes up when you add a partner and kids), but with the help of miles, you only have to pay the taxes and fees!
The savings are even higher if you redeem miles for a business or first class award. With that in mind, we wanted to give AwardWallet users a guide on how easy it is to get to Europe by redeeming points & miles. We hope you find this post to be a great resource!
British Airways Avios Flights to Dublin, Ireland
Redeeming British Airways Avios for flights on British Airways metal to Europe usually doesn't make sense because of the high fuel surcharges & taxes that British Airways imposes on their flights. But you can get around these fees by redeeming your Avios on Aer Lingus flights, since they are partners.
And since the British Airways Avios award chart is distance-based, you can fly to Dublin cheaply from Boston. Economy awards are only 12.5k Avios one-way, or 25k Avios round-trip! If you were to pay cash for this ticket, it will often cost around $820. 25,000 Avios for $820 gives you a rough value 3.2¢/point in value, a top deal.
You can also transfer in Chase Ultimate Rewards instantly at a 1:1 ratio to the British Airways Avios program. See this post if you don't have any Ultimate Rewards points. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are the best personal cards to earn Ultimate Reward points.
To book this award, you must search for Aer Lingus award availability on the United MileagePlus website, and then call British Airways at 1-800-452-1201 to make your booking.
Tip: Another way to avoid fuel surcharges is to redeem your Avios for airberlin flights to Dusseldorf from New York, or starting in May, from Boston, Dallas, or San Francisco.
If Dublin isn't your first choice European destination, you can easily hop over to other cities with the help of your British Airways Avios. Because these are “short hops” (short distance flights), you'll avoid the fuel surcharges. To give you an example, a flight from Dublin to London would only cost you 4,500 Avios (4,000 off-peak). That's a solid deal!
American Airlines Off-Peak Awards
Off-peak economy class awards to Europe are only 20,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles each way. This price is being raised to 22,500 miles on March 22, 2016. That's still a good deal. Off-peak awards can be booked from October 15 – May 15.
Remember to look for flights on AA metal, not British Airways, to avoid fuel surcharges & fees.
If you booked this flight on the American Airlines website with cash today, it would cost you $1,800. You can simply book this award on AA.com.
If you need American Airlines AAdvantage miles, there are 3 co-branded Citibank cards to choose from, and they each have a signup bonus which you can see through the links below.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®
Tip: You can also fly business class to Europe with 50,000 AA miles one-way (57,500 after March 22), but make sure you're avoiding British Airways metal because of their hefty fuel surcharges & fees.
Not only does United have competitive award prices for flights to Europe, but their availability is the best because they are a member of Star Alliance. Economy round-trip awards are 60,000 United miles, business class awards on United metal are 57,500 miles one-way, and business class awards on partner airlines are 70,000 miles one-way.
A round-trip flight to Europe in business class can easily run north of $10,000, so spending 115,000 United miles is a fantastic redemption. You can get almost half the miles needed for a business class award (or enough for economy class) through the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and its latest sign up offer.
And there's also the United℠ Explorer Card if you're looking to pick up miles directly with United.
You can search and book United & their partners' award flights on the United website, or by calling the United MileagePlus department at 1-800-421-4655.
Singapore Airlines is consistently ranked one of the top airlines by frequent flyers, and they have a few award gems to Europe. For example, you can fly Houston to Moscow in business class for 48,875 miles each way, or you can fly their premium “Suites Class” for 57,375 miles from JFK to Frankfurt. These flights can run anywhere from $5,000 – $9,000 each way! Two seats next to each other in Suites Class can even be made out to a bed.
Another perk of the Singapore Krisflyer program is that they are transfer partners of Chase's Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and American Express' Membership Rewards. It's easy to build up enough points for an award booking through the Singapore Krisflyer program.
You need to book Singapore awards online at their website, or by calling a rep at (213) 404-0301.
Air Canada's Aeroplan program is a member of Star Alliance, so their miles can be used to fly United, Lufthansa, Singapore, etc. You do have to watch out for fuel surcharges, but there are none on United awards booked with Aeroplan miles. That's great news since you can book one-way business class awards for only 45,000 miles.
You can book Aeroplan awards on their website (you must enroll in their program, and it's free), or by calling into a rep at 1-800-361-5373.
To get Aeroplan miles, you can transfer from American Express Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. See Amex MR cards on this page.
Getting to Europe can be quite expensive, but as you can see, with a little help from points & miles, it doesn't have to be. We hope this helps you see the value of reward miles and points and inspires you to take your next (or maybe your first) European adventure!
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