The Best Ways to Fly to Greece With Points and Miles

Woman in Santorini Greece

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Located in southeastern Europe with its fifth-century B.C. capital in Athens, Greece is a mountainous country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean. The country is known for historic sites, such as the Acropolis and Parthenon, as well as picturesque island beaches, like those found at Santorini and Mykonos.

The main airport in Greece is Athens International (ATH). For this post, we’ll focus on how to fly to Athens from the U.S. using a variety of point and mile options.

Best Programs to Use to Book Flights

The great thing about Greece is that it’s easy to get there from the United States. You have both nonstop and 1-stop options helping to limit the amount of travel time.

We recommend searching for flights as far out in advance as possible to have the best award availability. The only scenario where you’ll want to search close to your departure date is for first class Lufthansa flights, whose award flights are typically released within 2 weeks of the departure date.

Greece is served by airline partners in the Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam alliances. In addition, non-alliance airlines like Emirates offer flights from the U.S. to Greece.

It’s important to note that all award pricing in this article is round-trip. Depending on the program, you can cut the award price in half if you only need a one-way flight.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

AA 777 Business Class
Use Alaska miles to fly American Airlines business class. Image Credit: American Airlines

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program is known for having sweet spots with its airline partners. Alaska Airlines is not in an airline alliance and instead has individual partnerships with airlines.

When flying to Athens, you have the option to fly its partners in American Airlines, Aer Lingus, British Airways, Condor, Emirates, Finnair, and Icelandair. When weighing fuel surcharges, award costs, and routing options, American Airlines is the partner we recommend.

Cabin ClassAmerican Airlines Miles CostTaxes & Fees
Economy Off-Peak45,000$102
Economy60,000$102
Business115,000$102
First170,000$102

Hot Tip: In addition to its sweet spots, Alaska Airlines is also known for the ability to book a stopover on one-way award flights. 

When you’re ready to book a flight, here are a couple of examples of seasonal flights that you can book to Athens (ATH):

  • Chicago (ORD) – Athens (ATH) for 45,000 Alaska miles in American Airlines economy
  • Philadelphia (PHL) – Athens (ATH) for 115,000 Alaska miles in American Airlines business class

You’ll want to follow these steps when the Alaska Airlines miles are in your Mileage Plan account:

  1. Head to the Alaska Airlines website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Click the flight that you want, click Add To Cart, and then Click Next.
  4. Book the award ticket and pay the taxes and fees with a credit card.

Earning Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

Alaska Airlines only has 1 partnership with a transferable point program in Marriott Bonvoy making it hard to earn Alaska Airlines miles. In addition to its partnership with Marriott, Alaska Airlines offers co-branded Bank of America credit cards that earn miles directly with your credit card spend.

For those of you looking to transfer Marriott points to Alaska Airlines, the point transfers take 2 days at a 3:1 ratio. With that said, here are the Marriott credit cards that we recommend you check out:

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card - Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn 6X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2X points per $1 on all other purchases.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card - Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 3X points per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. A solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Business Card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn 6x per $1 at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.

Bottom Line: Earning Alaska Airlines miles is ideal because you can book a stopover on one-way flights and the Mileage Plan program has a number of sweet spots that open up a ton of value for your miles. 

American Airlines AAdvantage

american airlines business class
Use American Airlines miles to fly American Airlines business class. Image Credit: American Airlines

In addition to using Alaska Airlines miles to fly American Airlines to Greece, you can use American Airlines’ own miles for these flights. What’s great about using American Airlines miles for flights to Europe is that the AAdvantage program has off-peak pricing for economy flights.

The AAdvantage program also allows you to use miles to fly British Airways and Iberia to Greece. Due to the fuel surcharges when flying British Airways, Iberia is the only partner airline flight we recommend.

Cabin ClassAmerican Airlines & Oneworld Miles CostTaxes & Fees
Economy Off-Peak45,000$60
Economy60,000$60
Business115,000$60
First170,000$60

Hot Tip: You’ll want to search for Iberia flights on the British Airways website and then call American Airlines at 800-433-7300 to book the flight. 

If you have enough American Airlines miles in your account, below are a couple of flight options to Athens (ATH) to consider booking:

  • Boston (BOS) – Madrid (MAD) – Athens (ATH) for 45,000 American miles in Iberia economy
  • Chicago (ORD) – Madrid (MAD) – Athens (ATH) for 115,000 American miles in Iberia business class

To make the AAdvantage award flight booking process easier, we recommend using these steps:

  1. Go to the American Airlines website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Book the flight, and pay the taxes and fees with a credit card.

For Iberia award flights, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the British Airways website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Write down all of the flight information.
  4. Call American Airlines at 800-433-7300 to book the flight.
  5. Pay the taxes and fees with a credit card.

Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

American Airlines miles are relatively easy to earn because it partners with Marriott Bonvoy and has a number of co-branded credit cards that can come with substantial welcome offers. By putting your spend on Marriott and American Airlines credit cards, you’ll be well on your way to booking your next award flight.

If you already have Marriott points and want to transfer them to American Airlines, the point transfer takes 2 days at a 3:1 ratio. With Marriott point transfers, you’ll receive a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 points that you transfer.

Bottom Line: Keep your eye on the American Airlines AAdvantage program as it’s highly likely the airline will move towards dynamic award pricing in the near-term. This means that there will no longer be an award chart and instead, the award price will be tied to the cash cost of the flight. 

ANA Mileage Club

ANA New 777 The Room Business Class
ANA New 777 The Room Business Class. Image Credit: All Nippon Airways

The ANA Mileage Club program is the first Star Alliance partner to keep your eye on. Mileage Club has a number of sweet spots, including partner airline flights, with one of those being flights between the U.S. and Europe.

Before getting too excited about the competitive award pricing shown above, it’s important to note that ANA partner flights must be booked round-trip. Another drawback is that the ANA search engine isn’t as easy to use as the United Airlines search engine.

Cabin ClassANA Miles CostTaxes & Fees
Economy55,000$118+
Business88,000$118+

Hot Tip: We recommend searching for Star Alliance partner flights first on United’s website, and then confirming the same award availability on the ANA website. 

There are a number of Star Alliance options that you can consider for flights between the U.S. and Greece. You’ll want to focus on LOT Polish, Singapore Airlines (economy), TAP Portugal, and United award flights. Austrian, Brussels, Lufthansa, and Swiss Air Lines award flights have high fuel surcharges, so keep that in mind before booking your flights.

Below are a couple of options to consider when you have the required number of Mileage Club miles in your ANA account:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Warsaw (WAW) – Athens (ATH) for 55,000 ANA miles in LOT Polish (ORD-WAW), Aegean economy (WAW-ATH)
  • Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) for 88,000 ANA miles in United business class

We recommend following these steps when you’re ready to book a flight with your ANA miles:

  1. Start on the United website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Confirm the same availability on the ANA website.
  4. Book the flight.
  5. Pay the taxes and fees with a credit card.

Earning ANA Miles

ANA partners with American Express and Marriott Bonvoy, so the easiest way to earn ANA miles is to transfer your points from these programs to ANA. Unlike many airline programs, ANA doesn’t offer co-branded credit cards for the U.S. market.

If you have enough American Express and/or Marriott points to book a flight, the Amex point transfers take 2-3 days at a 1:1 ratio and Marriott point transfers take 7 days at a 3:1 ratio. With that said, below are the American Express credit cards that we recommend you should consider:

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months, worth up to $600 towards travel. Terms Apply.

However — you may be eligible for a much higher offer by using the CardMatch Tool. Plus, there's no hard pull on your credit to check for personalized offers.

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass). We leverage ~$3,000+ in value from the card every year. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x. Terms Apply). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and up to $100 airline fee credit per calendar year, it's a strong choice. For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

See how we get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks, including access to 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates & fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month, such as Facebook or Google ads. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After that, you earn 1x. Terms Apply. For rates & fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This card is offering a welcome bonus of up to $300 back to boost your business. You can earn up to $100 in the form of statement credits at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. A super simple, no annual fee card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually. After that, then 1x. Terms Apply. That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year. For rates & fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Bottom Line: Aeroplan and United Airlines have the ability to book one-way partner airline flights, so only consider using ANA miles if you’re interested in booking round-trip flights. 

Asiana Airlines Asiana Club

united business class
Use Asiana miles to fly United business class. Image Credit: United Airlines

Asiana Airlines Asiana Club is a second Star Alliance program to consider. Asiana continues to fly under-the-radar but Asiana Club can provide value if you know how to use it.

The main downside with Asiana Club is that Star Alliance partner flights require a phone call to Asiana to book flights. In addition, you can’t use the Asiana Airlines website to search for Star Alliance airline partner flights.

Cabin ClassAsiana Miles CostTaxes & Fees 
Economy50,000$118+
Business80,000$118+

Hot Tip: Like ANA, we recommend searching for Star Alliance partner airline flights on United’s website, and then calling Asiana to book the award flight. 

With the Asiana miles in your account, here are a couple of flights to Athens (ATH) that you can book:

  • Boston (BOS) – Lisbon (LIS) – Athens (ATH) for 50,000 Asiana miles in TAP Portugal (BOS-LIS), Aegean economy (LIS-ATH)
  • New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Athens (ATH) for 80,000 Asiana miles in Singapore Airlines (JFK-FRA), Aegean business class (FRA-ATH)

Using Asiana Club is more challenging than other programs, so we recommend the steps below to help you book your flight:

  1. Go to United.com to search for award availability.
  2. Enter your route, travel dates, number of passengers, and cabin class.
  3. Write down all the flight information, including flight numbers, dates, and times.
  4. Call Asiana Airlines at 800-227-4262 between 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. PST on Monday-Friday.
  5. Tell the representative that you want to book a Star Alliance award flight.
  6. Provide the flight numbers, travel dates, and any other flight information.
  7. Once Asiana confirms the award space, provide them with your credit card to pay for taxes and fees.

Earning Asiana Miles

It’s not easy to earn Asiana Airlines miles because the airline only has 1 transfer partner in the Marriott Bonvoy program. If you have Marriott points, the transfer takes 10 days at a ratio is 3:1, and you’ll receive a 5,000 mile bonus when transferring 60,000 Marriott points.

Asiana Airlines also has co-branded Bank of America credit cards that earn miles directly with your spend.

Avianca LifeMiles

Lufthansa A380 First Class Seat
Use Avianca miles to fly Lufthansa first class. Image Credit: Greg Stone

The Avianca LifeMiles program is yet another Star Alliance airline program that you should consider using for flights to Greece. One of the best uses of Avianca miles is to book Lufthansa first or business class.  You won’t have to pay fuel surcharges like you would with ANA and Asiana Airlines.

One major drawback with Avianca is the fact that its search engine doesn’t show the same award availability that you’ll find on Aeroplan and United Airlines. Add on the fact that calling Avianca is painful, so it’s best to only book award flights that you can find on the Lifemiles website.

Cabin ClassLifeMiles Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy60,000$118+
Business126,000$118+
First174,000$118+

Hot Tip: Before booking a flight with Avianca Lifemiles, keep in mind that Avianca charges a $25 award booking fee for one-way award flights and open-jaws and stopovers are not allowed.

For those of you who have Avianca Lifemiles, here are a couple of flight ideas to Athens (ATH):

  • Houston (IAH) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Athens (ATH) for 174,000 Avianca miles in Lufthansa first (IAH-FRA), business (FRA-ATH)
  • Miami (MIA) – Warsaw (WAW) – Athens (ATH) for 126,000 ANA miles in LOT Polish (MIA-WAW), Aegean economy (WAW-ATH)

The booking process with Avianca can be challenging so use these steps to help make the process easier:

  1. Go to Avianca LifeMiles.
  2. Change the language as necessary by clicking on the flag icon in the top right corner and choosing English.
  3. Click Log in on the top right corner using your LifeMiles Number and Password.
  4. Click Fly at the top banner.
  5. Type in your origin and destination airports, number of passengers, and cabin class.
  6. Click Find Flights.
  7. Click and select your flights.
  8. Book the flight and pay the taxes and fees with your credit card.

Earning Avianca LifeMiles

American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy partner with Avianca. These partnerships make it easy to earn Avianca LifeMiles that can then be used to book an award flight.

Before transferring any points, keep in mind that points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio for both American Express and Citi. Capital One Miles transfer instantly at a 2:1.5 ratio. Marriott point transfers take less than 24 hours at a 3:1 ratio. In addition, for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer to Avianca, you’ll receive a 5,000 mile bonus.

Additional ways to earn Avianca LifeMiles is by putting your spend on its co-branded credit cards or by buying LifeMiles when a discount is offered.

Citi has a number of credit cards that we recommend below that earn ThankYou points that can be transferred directly to Avianca:

Best Citi Credit Card for TravelBenefitsDrawbacks
Citi Premier℠ Card3 ThankYou Points/dollar spent on travel/gas stations, 2 points/dollar on dining/entertainment, 1 point/dollar all other purchases$95 annual fee
Citi Prestige® Card5 ThankYou® Points/dollar spent on airlines and dining, 3 points/dollars on hotel and cruise lines, 1 point/dollar on all other purchases, transfer points to airline partners, 4th hotel night free (limited to 2 uses per calendar year), $250 airline credit, Priority Pass Lounge access + 2 guests, and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit$495 Annual Fee, must be a frequent traveler to maximize the benefits of the card.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class Window Seat
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350 Business Class Window Seat. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Cathay Pacific is our second Oneworld program to use in addition to American Airlines. There aren’t a ton of sweet spots within the Asia Miles program, but one potential one to mention is to use Asia Miles to fly British Airways with reduced fuel surcharges.

Not all Cathay Pacific airline partners can be booked online, so that’s one major drawback to using Asia Miles. In theory, you should be able to book Iberia flights online. However, the booking process will likely not piece together the Iberia flights that you want. So you’ll want to call Cathay Pacific to book Iberia flights.

American Airlines is one of the Cathay Pacific airline partners that you can’t book online. Like Iberia, you’ll have to call Cathay Pacific to book American Airlines flights.

With that out of the way, it’s important to note that the Asia Miles program doesn’t have an award chart when you’re flying a Oneworld airline partner.

Cabin ClassCathay Pacific Asia Miles CostTaxes and Fees
Economy54,000-70,000$183+
Business100,000-140,000$183+

Hot Tip: To figure out the amount of miles needed for an award flight, you’ll need to reference the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Standard Award chart and add 5,000 miles to the award pricing shown in that chart.

American Airlines and Iberia are the 2 Cathay Pacific airline partners that we recommend for flights to Greece. British Airways is an option, however, the fuel surcharges are high and will eat up the value of your Asia Miles. With that said, here are the partner award flights to Athens (ATH) that you should consider:

  • Boston (BOS) – Madrid (MAD) – Athens (ATH) for 54,000 Cathay Pacific miles in Iberia economy
  • Boston (BOS) – Madrid (MAD) – Athens (ATH) for 100,000 Cathay Pacific miles in Iberia business class

When you’re ready to book an award flight, reference the steps shown below during the booking process:

  1. Head to the British Airways website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Write down all of the flights details.
  4. Call Cathay Pacific at 866-892 2598 to confirm award availability.
  5. Book the flight and pay the taxes and fees with your credit card.

Earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy are all Cathay Pacific Asia Miles partners, making it easy to earn Cathay Pacific miles.

Before transferring any points to Cathay Pacific, keep the transfer ratios and transfer times in mind: American Express point transfers take 1-4 days at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One point transfers take 36 hours at  2:1.5 ratio, Citi point transfers take 24 hours at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 5 days at a 3:1 ratio.

Another way that you can earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is by putting your spend on the co-branded credit cards from Synchrony Bank. The spend that you put on these cards will directly earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

For those of you wanting to earn Capital One Miles, here are the credit cards that we recommend you consider applying for:

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - This card is packed with a lot more benefits and perks. Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 mile sign up bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. We recommend this as a no-brainer card if you even semi-regularly stay at hotels.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 1.25x miles per $1 on every purchase. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200 toward travel) after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.

If you’re a business owner, consider Capital One’s business credit cards.

Bottom Line: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles are easy to get a hold of because of Cathay Pacific’s partnerships with American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy. 

Etihad Guest

brussels airlines business class
Use Etihad miles to fly Brussels Airlines business class. Image Credit: Brussels Airlines

Similar to Alaska Airlines, Etihad is not in an airline alliance. The airline instead has partnerships with individual airlines that allow you to use Etihad Guest miles to book an award flight on that airline partner. The Etihad Guest program is full of sweet spots, including flights between the U.S. and Europe, and the U.S. and Africa.

Cabin ClassEtihad Miles (American) Cost Taxes & Fees
Economy Off-Peak40,000$60
Economy60,000$60
Business100,000$60
First125,000$60
Cabin ClassEtihad Miles (Brussels) Cost Taxes & Fees
Economy44,000$522
Business88,000$522
Cabin ClassEtihad Miles (Royal Air Maroc) Cost Taxes & Fees
Economy44,000$520
Business88,000$520

Hot Tip: One main downside with using Etihad Guest miles is that you’ll have to call Etihad to book a partner award flight. From personal experience, the Etihad Guest agents are competent making the booking process relatively easy.

Etihad offers 2 different types of options for flights to Greece with a couple of ideas shown below. You can fly to Athens (ATH) nonstop on American Airlines with lower fees or fly Brussels or Royal Air Maroc with higher fees and less miles than American Airlines would require for business class.

  • Washington (IAD) – Brussels (BRU) – Athens (ATH) for 44,000 Etihad miles in Brussels economy
  • Miami (MIA) – Casablanca (CMN) – Athens (ATH) for 88,000 Etihad miles in Royal Air Maroc business class

The booking process is different depending on the partner that you fly. Here are the steps for each option:

  1. Search for flights:
    1. Go to the British Airways website for American Airlines flights.
    2. Go to the United website for Brussels Airlines flights.
    3. Go to the Royal Air Maroc website for Royal Air Maroc flights.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Write down all of the flight details.
  4. Call Etihad at 877-690-0767 to confirm award availability.
  5. Book the flight and pay the taxes and fees with your credit card.

Earning Etihad Guest Miles

It’s easy to earn Etihad Guest miles because the airline partners with American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy. The points and miles that you earn in each of these programs can be transferred directly to Etihad to book an award flight.

It’s important to keep the transfer ratios and transfer times in mind before transferring any points or miles: American Express points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One point transfers take 36 hours at 2:1.5 ratio, Citi point transfers take 6 days at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 5 days at a 3:1 ratio.

Etihad doesn’t currently offer credit cards for the U.S. market, so you’ll want to earn points and miles in these programs and then transfer them to Etihad.

Bottom Line: Etihad Guest is a program that you can use to fly its partner airline flights, including American Airlines, at competitive award prices. 

Iberia Avios

Iberia Business Class Bed
Use Iberia Avios to fly Iberia business class to Greece. Image Credit: Iberia

Our third Oneworld Alliance airline program to consider is Iberia. It’s a program travelers in the U.S. may be familiar with as you can use Iberia Avios (miles), similar to British Airways Avios, to book American Airlines flights.

Cabin ClassIberia Avios Cost (Iberia)Taxes and Fees
Economy Off-Peak42,500-51,000$183+
Business Off-Peak85,000-102,000$183+

Hot Tip: The primary difference when booking American Airlines flights with Iberia versus British Airways is that Iberia requires you to book round-trip partner airline flights. 

When booking flights to Greece using Iberia Avios, you’ll want to book Iberia’s own flights. You do have the option to book Oneworld partner airline flights. However, Iberia offers the best option when taking into account fuel surcharges, award pricing, and routing. Flights options to Athens (ATH) that you can book include:

  • Boston (BOS) – Madrid (MAD) – Athens (ATH) for 85,000 Iberia Avios in Iberia business class
  • Miami (MIA) – Madrid (MAD) – Athens (ATH) for 51,000 Iberia Avios in Iberia economy

Once the Iberia Avios are in your account, follow the steps below when you’re ready to book an award flight:

  1. Go to the Iberia website.
  2. Search for your routing, dates of travel, cabin class, and number of passengers.
  3. Book the award flight and pay the taxes and fees with your credit card.

Earning Iberia Avios (Miles)

American Express, Chase, and Marriott Bonvoy partner with Iberia making it easy to earn Avios to book an award flight.

You’ll want to keep these guidelines in mind before transferring any points as the transfer times and ratios across the programs are different: American Express point transfers take 2 days at a 1:1 ratio, Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 24-36 hours at a 3:1 ratio.

For those transferring Marriott points to Iberia, remember that you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer.

Iberia also offers a co-branded Chase credit card that allows you to earn Iberia Avios with your spend. The Avios that you earn can then be used to book an award flight. A combination of the Iberia co-branded credit card and these Chase credit cards will ensure you have enough Avios to book your next award flight:

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® - This is our favorite beginners travel rewards card which currently has a limited time offer of 80,000 point bonus (highest ever!) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, this card earns 2x points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide, eligible delivery services, take out and dining out, 5x points per $1 on Lyft rides, a 12-month subscription for DoorDash DashPass, flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and great travel insurance coverage.

This sign up bonus is worth $1,000 in travel purchases (flights, hotels, car rentals etc) when you redeem your points through Chase's travel portal, which works like Expedia. The bonus alone could get you multiple round-trip flights or hotel stays.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® - Consider this premium card if you want to get into a lot of airport lounges. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. You'll also get a $300 travel credit per year which wipes away a big chunk of the $550 annual fee.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® - A fantastic, no annual fee card that earns you a $200 bonus after you spend $500 in your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash-back on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash-back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash-back on all other purchases, but you won't get any travel benefits with this card.

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card - this is our #1 recommended business card and right now comes with a 100,000 sign up bonus after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. This bonus is worth $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases (flights, hotels etc). Pay your cell phone bill with this card to receive up to $600 in cell phone insurance coverage per year.

Earn 3x on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year, plus 1x on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn. All for an annual fee of $95.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card - earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.

This no annual fee business card earns up to 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year, plus 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary.
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card - earn unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase made for your business.

Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. There's no annual fee.

Bottom Line: U.S. travelers should turn to Iberia when looking to book American Airlines flights. The award rates can be lower than what you’ll find when using British Airways to book American Airlines flights. 

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

emirates first class
Use Japan Airlines miles to fly Emirates first class. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

A fourth Oneworld Airline partner to consider using for flights to Greece is the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program. Award pricing in the Mileage Bank program continues to be competitive, especially for those looking to book a luxurious experience on Emirates.

Japan Airlines uses a distance-based award chart so we recommend that you calculate your distance first, and then use the mileage calculated to see how many miles you’ll need to use in the Japan Airlines Oneworld and Partner airline award charts.

Cabin ClassJapan Airlines Cost (American)Taxes and Fees
Economy60,000$60+
Business110,000$60+
Cabin ClassJapan Airlines Cost (Emirates)Taxes and Fees
Economy47,000$408
Business85,000$1,142
First135,000$1,142

Hot Tip: Great Circle Mapper is the site we use and recommend if you need to calculate the distance of your flight. 

For those looking to use Japan Airlines miles for flights to Athens (ATH), American Airlines and Emirates will be your 2 best options. Here are a couple of routes to show you what’s possible to book:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Athens (ATH) for 110,000 Japan Airlines miles in American Airlines business class
  • Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) for 135,000 Japan Airlines miles in Emirates first class

When the time comes to book your flight, we recommend using the steps below as you go through the process:

  1. Search for flights:
    1. Head to British Airways for American Airlines flights.
    2. Head to Alaska Airlines for Emirates flights.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Confirm the same award availability on the Japan Airlines website.
  4. Book the award flight and pay the taxes and fees.

Earning Japan Airlines Miles

Japan Airlines only has a partnership with Marriott Bonvoy, so earning Japan Airlines miles isn’t easy. On top of that, Japan Airlines doesn’t offer a co-branded credit card to the U.S. market that has a sizeable welcome offer.

For those of you who have Marriott points and are looking to transfer them to Japan Airlines, the transfer time takes 2 days at a 3:1 ratio. It’s also important to remember that for every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive a 5,000 mile transfer bonus.

Bottom Line: Japan Airlines requires the least number of miles to fly Emirates to Athens. You can use Alaska Airlines miles, however, the number of Alaska Airlines miles that you’ll need to book an Emirates flight is significantly more. 

Korean Air SKYPASS

Delta One Suites A350-900 seat 8B
Delta One Suites A350-900 seat 8B. Image Credit: Stephen Au

The lone SkyTeam partner making our list is the Korean Air SKYPASS program. The award costs are competitive, however, fuel surcharges and the difficulty in earning SKYPASS miles lowers the overall value.

Korean Air uses a zone-based award chart meaning it’ll cost the same number of miles no matter what route you fly from the U.S. to Greece. For example, you’ll need the same number of SKYPASS miles to fly from New York nonstop to Athens as you will to fly from Detroit through Amsterdam to Athens.

Cabin ClassKorean Air Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy50,000$232+
Business80,000$232+

Hot Tip: The SKYPASS search engine is challenging to use so we recommend using Air France, Delta, and KLM to search for SkyTeam award flights

When you have the required number of SKYPASS miles for a flight to Athens (ATH), here are a couple of SkyTeam partner airline flights that you can book:

  • New York (JFK) – Athens (ATH) for 50,000 Korean Air miles in Delta economy
  • Detroit (DTW) – Amsterdam (AMS) – Athens (ATH) for 80,000 Korean Air miles in KLM business class

The booking process is straightforward with Korean Air by using these steps:

  1. Go to Air France, Delta, or KLM.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Confirm the same availability on Korean Air or call Korean Air 800-438-5000 to confirm availability.
  4. Book the flight online or over the phone.
  5. Pay for the taxes and fees with a credit card.

Earning Korean Air SKYPASS Miles

With only 1 transferable point program partner in Marriott Bonvoy, it’s not easy to earn Korean Air SKYPASS miles. If you have enough Marriott points for this redemption, keep in mind that the transfer ratio is 3:1 and points take 7 days to transfer from Marriott to Korean Air.

Another way to earn Korean Air SKYPASS miles is to sign up for a Korean Air credit card. The welcome offers on these co-branded credit cards can be up to 45,000 Korean Air miles helping you to earn the miles that you need.

Bottom Line: The Korean Air SKYPASS lost a ton of value when its partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards ended. Outside of flying Korean Air or SkyTeam partner airline flights, the main way to earn Korean Air miles is through Marriott Bonvoy.

United Airlines MileagePlus

United Polaris 787-10 seat
Use United miles to fly United business class. Image Credit: Stephen Au

United’s MileagePlus program underwent major changes as of November 15, 2019. The program moved to dynamic pricing, which means that there will no longer be an award chart. The award pricing will instead be tied to the cash cost of the flight.

Cabin ClassUnited Mileage Cost Taxes & Fees
Economy60,000$118+
Business120,000$118+

Hot Tip: It’s important to note that you can book both Star Alliance and United flights for 60,000 miles. If you’re looking to fly business class, you’ll need 120,000 miles to fly United and 140,000 miles to fly a Star Alliance airline partner. 

The Star Alliance has a number of European-based airline partners, so here’s a couple of routes to Athens (ATH) that you should consider:

  • Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH) for 120,000 United miles in United Airlines business class
  • Washington (IAD) – Vienna (VIE) – Athens (ATH) for 60,000 United miles in Austrian economy

When you have enough United Airlines miles in your account, the booking process you’ll want to follow is:

  1. Go to the United website.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Select the flight that you want.
  4. Pay the taxes and fees with a credit card to book your flight.

Earning United Airlines MileagePlus Miles

Chase and Marriott Bonvoy are both United Airlines transfer partners so you’ll have no problem earning United Airlines miles. Each partner has a number of personal and business credit cards; the points that you earn in each program can then be transferred directly to United.

If you’re transferring points from Chase, the points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio. If you’re transferring points from Marriott, the point transfers take 2 days at a 3:1.1 ratio. Marriott point transfers have a 10% added bonus in addition to the 5,000 mile bonus you’ll receive when transferring 60,000 Marriott points.

Another way to earn United miles is by applying for its co-branded credit cards from Chase. When you put your spend on these credit cards, you will earn United Airlines miles.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Delta Air Delta One
Use Virgin Atlantic miles to fly Delta One. Image Credit: Delta

Virgin Atlantic, like Alaska Airlines and Etihad, is not in an airline alliance. The airline has partnerships with individual airlines that allow you to fly that airline with your Virgin Atlantic miles.

For flights to Europe, the airline partner that you’ll use is Delta. There’s only 1 seasonal nonstop Delta flight from the U.S. to Greece so you may need to book a flight from a U.S. Delta hub to Europe, and then another flight from that destination to Greece.

Cabin ClassVirgin Atlantic Cost Taxes & Fees
Economy60,000$232+
Business100,000$232+

Hot Tip: Virgin Atlantic doesn’t allow you to book all of its partner airline flights online. While that’s not ideal, the Virgin Atlantic agents are knowledgeable, making the booking process over the phone easy. 

If you have enough Virgin Atlantic miles in your account, here are a couple of route options to consider:

  • New York (JFK) – Athens (ATH) for 100,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in Delta business class
  • Atlanta (ATL) – Rome (FCO) – Athens (ATH) for 60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles in Delta economy

The New York to Athens route can’t be searched online so the process will be as follows depending on what you decide to book:

  1. Go to the Virgin Atlantic website.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Book the flight online.
  4. Pay the taxes and fees with a credit card.

If your destination doesn’t show up on Virgin Atlantic:

  1. Go to the Air France, Delta, or KLM website.
  2. Enter your travel dates, origin and destination airports, number of travelers, and desired class of booking.
  3. Write down your flight information.
  4. Call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 to book the flight.
  5. Pay the taxes and fees with a credit card.

Earning Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles

It’s not hard to earn Virgin Atlantic miles because the airline partners with American Express, Chase, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy. The points that you earn in these programs can be transferred directly to Virgin Atlantic.

Before transferring any points to Virgin Atlantic, keep these transfer times and ratios in mind: Amex point transfers take 1-2 days at a 1:1 ratio, Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Citi point transfers take 2 days at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 1 day at a 3:1 ratio. For Marriott point transfers, remember that you’ll receive 5,000 bonus miles when transferring 60,000 Marriott points.

Virgin Atlantic also has co-branded credit cards. The spend that you put on these cards will directly earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles.

Bottom Line: Virgin Atlantic has a ton of sweet spots including ones with Air New Zealand, ANA, and Delta. 

Final Thoughts

Greece is a popular destination with a rich history and so much to offer. Its location also makes it a great place to jumpstart a trip to Northern Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and West Asia.

We recommend earning transferable points when planning your next trip to Greece. That way you have the most flexibility when the time comes to book your flight.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Citi Premier℠ Card, Citi Prestige® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here. 
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.

 


Frequently asked questions

Which Oneworld airline program offers the cheapest economy and business class to Greece?

Iberia requires the least number of miles book an economy flight.

Iberia and Japan Airlines require the least number of miles to book a business class flight.

Which Star Alliance airline program offers the cheapest economy and business class to Greece?

Singapore Airlines requires the least number of miles book an economy flight.

Asiana Airlines require the least number of miles to book a business class flight.

Which SkyTeam airline program offers the cheapest economy and business class to Greece?

Korean Air requires the least number of miles book an economy and business class flight.

We recommend checking both Air France, Delta, and KLM to see how many miles each of these programs will require.

Which non-alliance airline program offers the cheapest economy and business class to Greece?

Etihad requires the least number of miles book an economy and business class flight.

Michael McHugh

About Michael McHugh

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn't travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since. Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend's phone about a mistake fare.  That's where the love affair with points and miles began.

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