The Best Ways to Fly to London With Points & Miles

American Airlines Business Class Seat

There are tons of great ways to fly to Europe with miles and points, and any number of redemptions can help you get from the United States to London. However, many of these options require you to connect in another country in continental Europe.

There’s nothing wrong with a connection, and they can even be fun when you visit an amazing first class lounge — like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal (FCT) at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) when flying Lufthansa first class.

That being said, sometimes our vacation time is limited, and cutting down on transit time to pack in more fun at our destination is the number one priority. With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the best ways you can fly directly to London from the United States.

Let’s dig into some great economy, business, and first class options so you can decide how you want to book your next trip across the Atlantic.

Best Programs to Book Award Flights to London

When looking for ways to book award flights to London, you will want to keep an eye on carrier-imposed surcharges as well as the miles required by the frequent flyer program you are using.

If you do that, you can get some great value out of your miles and points and visit an amazing city.

American Airlines AAdvantage

american airlines business class 777
Enjoy a lie-flat seat and direct aisle access on your flight across the Atlantic Ocean to London. Image courtesy of American Airlines.

The American Airlines AAdvantage program will probably be the easiest option for booking flights operated by American Airlines or their Oneworld partner British Airways. You can search for award space on American Airlines’ website and complete the entire booking process online.

Book Awards With American AAdvantage Miles

Since American AAdvantage uses a region-based award chart, the miles required to book an award ticket are the same regardless of your city of origin in the United States. Here are the round-trip mileage rates for flights on American Airlines and its partners. (Note that one-way award tickets require half the miles of a round-trip booking.)

The taxes and fees on a one-way award will be determined by whether you are departing from the U.S. or the United Kingdom.

Class of Service American Flights American Taxes/Fees British Airways Flights British Airways Taxes/Fees
Economy (off-peak) 45,000 American miles ~$180 45,000 American miles ~$520
Economy 60,000 American miles ~$180 60,000 American miles ~$520
Business 115,000 American miles ~$280 115,000 American miles ~$1,275
First 170,000 American miles ~$280 170,000 American miles ~$1,275

Unlike some loyalty programs, American AAdvantage will not charge you more miles for award flights on their partners or flights on British Airways.

However, if you book an award ticket on British Airways with your American AAdvantage miles, you will incur significant carrier-imposed surcharges. While a round-trip economy class award on a flight operated by American Airlines will include about $180 in taxes and fees, an economy award on British Airways will require about $520 thanks to carrier-imposed surcharges.

This disparity is even worse when you book business or first class tickets. On an American Airlines flight, business class and first class award bookings will include about $280 in taxes and fees for a round-trip ticket. However, on British Airways, you will be responsible for roughly $1,275 when the carrier-imposed surcharges are added to the taxes and fees.

For context, consider the fact that you can find cash fares around $580 for a nonstop economy ticket from New York City (JFK) to London. This is barely more than the taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges that you would pay for an award ticket on British Airways.

When using American AAdvantage miles, you’ll want to make sure you are only booking flights operated by American Airlines. Business class and first class are where you’ll get the most value for your miles, but economy class bookings can be very useful when cash ticket prices are high.

Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking American Airlines first class and business class.

8 Nonstop Routes Bookable With American AAdvantage Miles

AA London Redemption
You can book a round-trip business class award ticket on American Airlines between Chicago (ORD) and London Heathrow (LHR) with 115,000 American AAdvantage miles and roughly $280 in taxes and fees.

American Airlines operates flights to London from a number of airports in the United States. The American AAdvantage program also uses a region-based award chart so you can add a connecting flight from smaller airports to any of these gateway airports without increasing the number of miles required.

Airports With Nonstop American Flights to London
Charlotte (CLT) Miami (MIA)
Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) New York City (JFK)
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Philadelphia (PHL)
Los Angeles (LAX) Raleigh-Durham (RDU

Earn More American AAdvantage Miles

If you need to earn more American AAdvantage miles before booking, you have several options. Using one of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards from American Express is a great option since they transfer to American AAdvantage at a 1:1 ratio. Additionally, you will receive a bonus of 5,000 Amerian AAdvantage miles when you transfer chunks of 20,000 SPG Starpoints — up to 60,000 per 24-hour period for a maximum total bonus of 15,000 miles each 24 hours.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

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> 45 Best Ways You Can Use SPG Points
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Our Review
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Our Review

American Airlines has also partnered with both Citi and Barclaycard to offer co-branded cards that earn American AAdvantage miles directly. These cards often come with a very good sign-up bonus if you meet the minimum spending requirement in the requisite timeframe.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®
Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases. Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases.
Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
Our Review
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
Annual Fee: $450.
Our Review
CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations.
Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
Our Review
Citi® / AAdvantage® Gold World Elite™ Mastercard®1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on purchases.
Annual Fee: $50 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
Our Review
AAdvantage® Aviator™ Red World Elite Mastercard®Earn 2X miles on eligible American Airlines purchases
Annual Fee: $95

Hot Tip: For more ideas, check out our best ways to earn American AAdvantage miles.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Delta One Seat
Delta continues to develop its Delta One product. Hopefully, they put the new Delta One suite on their flights to London. Image courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

Moving over to the SkyTeam alliance, we have the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program. With tons of Delta flights from the U.S. to London, this is a fantastic program to book award tickets.

You might think of using Delta’s SkyMiles program initially, but give Flying Blue a look before you decide as they have better redemption rates to London.

Book Awards With Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Air France/KLM Flying Blue also has a region-based award chart. The chart below shows the round-trip mileage costs plus the round-trip taxes/fees that are required when booking awards with Flying Blue miles. If you want to book a one-way award, you will need half of the miles stated below.

The taxes and fees required will be different based on your origin. If your origin is London, the taxes and fees will be much higher as we’ll explain later.

Class of Service Delta Flights Delta Taxes/Fees
Economy 50,000 Flying Blue miles ~$220
Business 125,000 Flying Blue miles ~$320

Delta continues to develop its Delta One business class product; while not up to the level of some foreign carriers, it has been a leader among the American carriers. It’s also a great way to redeem Flying Blue miles.

Need help booking? Check out our simple booking guide that walks you through the steps of booking Delta One.

Hot Tip: Air France/KLM runs monthly Promo Awards and has some other great award booking options, so make sure you check out the best way to use Flying Blue miles.

7 Nonstop Routes Bookable With Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles

Flying Blue London Redemption
For 125,000 Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles, you can book a round-trip business class award ticket on Delta between the U.S. and London.

You can use Flying Blue miles to book nonstop flights on Delta from several airports in the United States. With its region-based award chart, you won’t need any additional miles if you are connecting from another airport.

Airports With Nonstop Delta Flights to London
Atlanta (ATL) New York City (JFK)
Boston (BOS) Portland, Oregon (PDX) – Seasonal
Detroit (DTW) Salt Lake City (SLC) – Seasonal
Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)

Earn More Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles

One major advantage of the Flying Blue program is just how easy it is to earn miles with the program. While there aren’t any American credit cards that earn Flying Blue miles directly, Air France/KLM has partnered with all 4 transferable points programs.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Starpoints. Each of these programs transfers to the Flying Blue program at a solid 1:1 ratio.

Our favorite ways to earn Flying Blue miles are through credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards, since both Chase and American Express provide cards with great bonus categories.

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🌟 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • 50,000 bonus points.
  • That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through
    Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
  • Our Review
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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> We Researched All The Benefits of This Card!
  • Earn $150 bonus
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Convert your cash-back to points if you also have the
    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card!
  • Our Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Our Review
Chase Freedom®
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases outside of rotating 5% bonus categories
  • No annual fee
  • Our Review

We generally suggest people start with Chase Ultimate Rewards because of the Chase 5/24 rule, but after that Amex Membership Rewards are a top priority.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

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> Don't Miss These 18 Valuable Card Benefits


  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Our Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Our Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Our Review

Hot Tip: Make sure you check out the best ways to earn Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles!

All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club

United Airlines Business Class
United has been slow to roll out the new Polaris business class product, but hopefully they’ll fly it to London soon. Image courtesy of United Airlines.

Next, we have our first option in the Star Alliance. All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club is a great frequent flyer program from one of the best airlines in the world. Sure, a Japanese carrier’s loyalty program probably isn’t what you’re used to for booking award tickets, but don’t overlook this one!

Book Awards With ANA Mileage Club

Your single Star Alliance option for flights directly to London from the U.S. is United Airlines. While United doesn’t have a glowing reputation for its inflight product or service, you won’t get hit with carrier-imposed surcharges even when booking through a partner airline such as ANA.

The mileage rates and taxes and fees in the chart below apply to round-trip award tickets. In fact, ANA Mileage Club does not allow one-way awards.

Class of Service United Flights United Taxes/Fees
Economy 55,000 ANA Mileage Club miles ~$220
Business 88,000 ANA Mileage Club miles ~$220

The miles required by ANA Mileage Club for economy class bookings are competitive but nothing special. However, the miles required for business class awards are very good at 88,000 miles for a round-trip ticket.

ANA provides an easy-to-use online search function. Just make sure you choose flights operated by United Airlines, otherwise you will have connections in Europe. With some of these other Star Alliance carriers, ANA will pass on carrier-imposed surcharges, which can be steep if you are flying on Austrian Airlines or Lufthansa.

The surcharges are particularly bad on these 2 Star Alliance partners when you book premium cabin awards. So, not only will your journey take longer, you’ll have to pay significantly more to take the trip.

If United Airlines puts its new Polaris business class product on routes to London, this will become a very nice booking.

Hot Tip: Don’t forget to check out some of the other amazing ways you can redeem ANA Mileage Club miles!

7 Nonstop Routes Bookable With ANA Mileage Club Miles

ANA London Redemption
It only takes 88,000 ANA Mileage Club miles to book a round-trip business class award ticket on United Airlines.

ANA Mileage Club can help you book nonstop flights to London on United Airlines from 6 airports across the United States. Soon, Denver will be added to the list to make it 7. If you don’t live in one of United’s hub airports, you can connect from your home airport to one of these hubs and continue to London for no extra ANA Mileage Club miles.

Airports With Nonstop United Flights to London
Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) Newark (EWR)
Denver (DEN)* San Francisco (SFO)
Houston-International (IAH) Washington-Dulles (IAD)
Los Angeles (LAX)

*Nonstop flights will begin to operate out of Denver (DEN) on March 24, 2018)

Earn More ANA Mileage Club Miles

While not as easy to earn as Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles, ANA Mileage Club miles are relatively easy to earn. You can transfer either American Express Membership Rewards or SPG Starpoints to ANA Mileage Club at a 1:1 ratio.

We recommend looking into Membership Rewards cards as there are many bonus categories you can take advantage of.

Hot Tip: Check out our guide to earning tons of ANA Mileage Club miles to learn even more fun ways to earn!

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

delta-one
If you have some SkyMiles to burn, flying Delta One to London is a great way to go. Image courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

Delta’s SkyMiles program is often derided for the unannounced devaluations that tend to happen quite regularly, but there is still some value to be found in their award chart — which they don’t publish.

Book Awards With Delta SkyMiles

Booking your award flights to London with Delta SkyMiles actually gives you an additional airline option as Delta has an individual partnership with Virgin Atlantic outside of the SkyTeam alliance.

Below we’ve laid out the redemption rates you should look for when booking awards to London (or anywhere in Europe for that matter) on either Delta or Virgin Atlantic with SkyMiles. The one-way mileage requirements are half of what is listed below. As with all other award flights to London, the taxes and fees required on the return segment will be significantly more.

Class of Service Delta Flights Delta Taxes/Fees Virgin Atlantic Flights Virgin Atlantic Taxes/Fees
Economy 60,000 SkyMiles ~$180 70,000 SkyMiles  ~$180
Business 140,000 SkyMiles ~$280  170,000 SkyMiles ~$280

While the taxes and fees are the same between Delta and Virgin Atlantic award tickets, a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class ticket will require significantly more miles.

Unfortunately, it gets even worse if you want to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class within 21 days of departure. Once within this window, a round-trip award booking will cost 204,500 SkyMiles…which is an absolute travesty.

The way Delta has set up its SkyMiles program leaves you with a couple decisions to make if you want to fly in business class. You can spend the extra miles to try the fun environment of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and their popular Clubhouse lounges, or save a big chunk of miles and fly Delta One.

To give you some context, the difference of 30,000 miles between booking Delta One and Upper Class is enough for a one-way economy class award to London or anywhere in Europe.

Hot Tip: For some other award booking options, check out our best ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles.

8 Nonstop Route Bookable With Delta SkyMiles

Delta London Redemption
You can redeem 140,000 Delta SkyMiles for a round-trip business class award ticket to London.

While it’s tough to trust that Delta won’t devalue their unpublished award chart without warning, if you have a nice chunk of SkyMiles, you can easily book a nonstop flight to London. For those not living in one of Delta’s hub cities, you might even be able to connect for no extra miles.

Airports With Nonstop Delta Flights to London
Atlanta (ATL) New York City (JFK)
Boston (BOS) Portland, Oregon (PDX) – Seasonal
Detroit (DTW) Salt Lake City (SLC) – Seasonal
Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)

Earn More Delta SkyMiles

Like ANA Mileage Club, Delta has also partnered with American Express Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints, so you’ll have plenty of ways to earn more points to transfer to your SkyMiles account.

In addition to these options, you can earn SkyMiles directly with one of the co-branded Delta credit cards provided by American Express.

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

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> Don't Miss These 17 Valuable Card Benefits
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles
  • Earn 2 miles on every dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta
  • Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms Apply.
  • Our Review
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 2X miles on purchases made directly with Delta.
  • Annual Fee: $195
  • Our Review
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 30,000 bonus miles
  • Earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card in your first 3 months.
  • Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Our Review
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Annual Fee: $195. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Our Review

Because Delta tends to devalue their program without informing SkyMiles members first, you should only earn SkyMiles if you know what you want to do with them. This shouldn’t be an issue as you can earn Amex Membership Rewards faster thanks to numerous bonus categories, and they transfer to Delta SkyMiles almost instantly.

Hot Tip: Check out our favorite ways to earn tons of Delta SkyMiles for more ideas.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

American Airlines 777 300 ER
With Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, you’ll use the fewest miles possible to fly American Airlines from the East Coast. Image courtesy of American Airlines.

If you’re looking for the cheapest mileage requirements, look no further than our second Oneworld alliance option, Japan Airlines. There’s only one exception to this: when American Airlines has off-peak economy award prices. Other than that, Japan Airlines is easily the best option if you want to use as few miles as possible.

Booking Awards With Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

As with the American Airlines AAdvantage program, you can use Japan Airlines Mileage Bank to book flights on either American Airlines or British Airways. However, you should stick to flights operated by American Airlines so you can avoid the egregious carrier-imposed surcharges passed on by British Airways.

Unlike the other programs we have looked at so far, Japan Airlines uses a distance-based award chart that is broken into tiers. The number of miles you fly — you have to add each segment of your journey — will determine the number of Mileage Bank miles that will be required for an award ticket.

Below are the round-trip requirements for both Mileage Bank miles and taxes and fees on flights from New York City (JFK) to London.

Class of Service American Flights American Taxes/Fees British Airways Flights British Airways Taxes/Fees
Economy 39,000 Mileage Bank miles ~$180 39,000 Mileage Bank miles ~$520
Business 63,000 Mileage Bank miles ~$180 63,000 Mileage Bank miles ~$520
First 100,000 Mileage Bank miles ~$280 100,000 Mileage Bank miles ~$1,275

If you are traveling from the West Coast, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank will still have the best redemption rates, though the redemption rates aren’t quite as good compared to award tickets from New York City.

Additionally, because Japan Airlines Mileage Bank uses a distance-based award chart for partners, one-way redemption rates from the West Coast won’t be as good as booking with American AAdvantage miles.

With a distance-based award chart, you also need to remember that any connecting flights will add to the total flight distance used to calculate the number of miles required for your award ticket.

Hot Tip: Check out other awesome ways to redeem Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles for some inspiration!

8 Nonstop Routes Bookable With Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Miles

JAL London Redemption
For nonstop, round-trip award bookings, you won’t find a way to book for fewer miles and points than the Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program.

Booking one of the 8 nonstop flights to London on American Airlines with Mileage Bank miles is a great way to get to London. The one caveat to keep in mind is that Japan Airlines uses a distance-based award chart for partner bookings. As a result, if you need to connect to one of American Airlines’ hub airports, your award ticket might require more mileage. Make sure you consider the impact of a connection on the total number of miles required for your award booking.

Airports With Nonstop American Flights to London
Charlotte (CLT) Miami (MIA)
Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) New York City (JFK)
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Philadelphia (PHL)
Los Angeles (LAX) Raleigh-Durham (RDU

Earn More Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Miles

While the redemption rates with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank are often quite good, earning miles isn’t the easiest. The only transferable points program they have partnered with is Starwood Preferred Guest. SPG Starpoints transfer to Japan Airlines at a solid 1:1 ratio, and you’ll have the benefit of the 5,000-mile transfer bonus when you transfer a chunk of 20,000 points.

Hot Tip: Take a look out our favorite ways to earn more Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles.

United Airlines MileagePlus

United Polaris Middle Seats
You can transfer Ultimate Rewards to United to fly to London. We hope to see their Polaris product flying to London soon. Image courtesy of United Airlines.

Our second Star Alliance option is United Airlines MileagePlus. While it doesn’t have as competitive redemption rates as ANA Mileage Club, particularly for business class award tickets, it does open up different points-earning options.

Book Awards With United Airlines MileagePlus

As we mentioned earlier, United Airlines is the only Star Alliance option to fly directly from the United States to London. While not the best product on the market, the lack of carrier-imposed surcharges makes it a solid choice when booking to London so you can save some serious cash.

You can see the round-trip redemption rates plus the taxes and fees in the chart below.

Class of Service United Flights United Taxes/Fees
Economy 60,000 MileagePlus miles ~$180
Business 120,000 MileagePlus miles ~$280

The 60,000 MileagePlus miles required for an economy class award are not far from the 55,000 Mileage Club miles required by ANA, but ANA is a much better choice for business class if you have the necessary points.

Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking United business class.

Hot Tip: Check out some other great ways to book award flights with United MileagePlus miles.

7 Nonstop Routes Bookable With United MileagePlus Miles

UA London Redemption
United MileagePlus is an easy program to use if you want to book an award flight to London.

United Airlines’ MileagePlus program is a great way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book award flights to London. They don’t have the best redemption rates, but the program is easy to use and won’t require more miles if you need a connecting flight.

Airports With Nonstop United Flights to London
Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) Newark (EWR)
Denver (DEN)* San Francisco (SFO)
Houston-International (IAH) Washington-Dulles (IAD)
Los Angeles (LAX)

*Nonstop flights will begin to operate out of Denver (DEN) on March 24, 2018

Earn More United MileagePlus Miles

United MileagePlus has a big advantage when it comes to earning miles for awards, though. You can transfer Chase Ulitmate Rewards at a solid 1:1 ratio, and transfers process almost instantly. Technically, you can transfer SPG Starpoints to your United MileagePlus account, but the ratio is a terrible 1:0.5. You should avoid this if at all possible.

However, United Airlines has one big advantage thanks to their co-branded cards provided by Chase. This gives you an easy way to earn United miles directly in addition to the Ultimate Rewards points you earn and transfer.

Hot Tip: Check out some other great ways to earn United MileagePlus miles!

Bonus Options

The above carriers will generally be the go-to options when booking awards from the United States to London. However, there are a couple other interesting ways to book business class awards.

If you were wondering when we would discuss using British Airways Avios, this is where we do that. Additionally, we’ll show you another SkyTeam alternative with the Korean Air SkyPass program

British Airways Executive Club

British Airways First Class 787-9
To get the most out of your British Airways Avios when flying to London, use the British Airways Travel Together Ticket.

As we discussed above, booking round-trip British Airways awards to London from the United States will cost you a ton of cash. Unfortunately, that is also the case when booking with British Airways Avios even if your flight is operated by American Airlines.

However, there is a special circumstance in which these high carrier-imposed surcharges might be worth it. To really make using Avios worth it for your trip to London, you’ll want to use the British Airways Travel Together Ticket.

This awesome perk is available to cardholders of the Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card who spend $30,000 on the card within a calendar year. Once you have earned the Travel Together Ticket, you have up to 2 years to use it for a round-trip award booking originating in the United States.

With the Travel Together Ticket, you can book an award ticket and bring a companion along for the price of the taxes and fees. This means if you book a round-trip first class award ticket on British Airways from Los Angeles (LAX) for 200,000 Avios and just over $1,250 in taxes and fees, your companion can sit in first class with you for no extra miles — just the taxes and fees. That’s 2 first class tickets that would normally cost at least $14,000 for only about $2,500 in taxes and fees.

Hot Tip: For some more great ways to book, check out our best ways to redeem British Airways Avios for award travel.

From Chicago or New York City (JFK), you will need 160,000 Avios to book round-trip first class awards on Britsh Airways; from many other U.S. cities you’ll need 200,000 Avios. If you prefer, you can book a business class award ticket…but the taxes and fees for each person will be the same as those on a first class award.

With numerous nonstop British Airways flights from the United States to London, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a departure airport. Just remember that British Airways Avios utilize a distance-based award chart, so connecting flights could increase the number of Avios needed to book your award ticket.

Airports With Nonstop British Airways Flights to London 
Atlanta (ATL) Los Angeles (LAX) Phoenix (PHX)
Baltimore (BWI) Miami (MIA) San Diego (SAN)
Boston (BOS) Nashville (BNA)* San Francisco (SFO)
Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) New Orleans (MSY) San Jose (SJC)
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) New York City (JFK) Seattle (SEA)
Denver (DEN) Newark (EWR) Tampa  (TPA)
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) Oakland (OAK) Washington-Dulles (IAD)
Houston-International (IAH) Orlando (MCO)
Las Vegas (LAS) Philadelphia (PHL)

Need help booking? Take a look at our step-by-step guide to make booking British Airways first class and business class a breeze.

Don’t forget that British Airways is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest — so you’ll have plenty of ways to earn the necessary Avios to ensure you have enough for an awesome award booking.

Hot Tip: Check out some of the best ways to earn tons of British Airways Avios so you’re ready to book your Travel Together Ticket!

Korean Air SkyPASS

Korean Air SkyPASS is an interesting SkyTeam option for booking awards to London. They have solid redemption rates, but the surcharges on tickets are particularly steep (especially with economy class bookings). For that reason, we don’t recommend using Korean Air SkyPASS if you are flying economy class.

Class of Service Delta Flights Delta Taxes/Fees
Economy 50,000 Korean Air miles ~$520
Business 80,000 Korean Air miles ~$618

You’ll notice in the chart above that there isn’t a big difference in the taxes and fees on a round-trip business class award and an economy class award. While the taxes and fees for business class aren’t cheap, it’s not such a bad deal when you consider that the same seat with cash on Delta could cost over $4,000.

Delta operates nonstop flights from 8 hub airports, as we discussed above. You can book nonstop award flights from any of these airports or connect from other airports for no extra miles.

Hot Tip: Take a look at some other awesome ways to redeem Korean Air SkyPASS miles for a little travel inspiration!

You can search for award space on Korean Air’s website, but make sure you select that you are searching for a SkyTeam Award (otherwise the search will only look for Korean Air flights). In fact, it won’t even let you choose the airports you need, since Korean Air doesn’t fly between U.S. airports and London.

Once you find the space online, it’s easy to book. If you don’t already have the miles in your account, you can place an award on hold by calling them. This will allow you time to transfer either Chase Ultimate Rewards points or SPG Starpoints into your account. We love this ability to hold awards because it prevents award space from disappearing before your points transfers process.

Hot Tip: To help you get started, we’ve put together some of the best ways to earn tons of Korean Air SkyPASS miles.

What You Need to Know About the Air Passenger Duty (APD) Fee

heathrow british airways
Flying out of London means paying the Air Passenger Duty (APD) fee. It’s particularly expensive for long-haul business class and first class bookings.

Now that we have taken a look at some of the best ways to book award flights, we need to discuss an important aspect of booking trips to London: the Air Passenger Duty (APD) fee.

Be aware of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) that applies to flights departing from the United Kingdom. The cost of this fee is determined by both your class of service and the distance of your flight. Currently, the APD fees are as follows:

Flight Distance Class of Service APD Fee (GBP/USD)
Short-haul Business £26 / ~$35
Short-haul Economy £13 / ~$18
Long-haul Premium Economy, Business, First £150 / ~$200
Long-haul Economy £75 / ~$100

The APD fees on all long-haul routes, regardless of class of service, will see an increase on April 1, 2018. Premium cabin long-haul flights will increase by £6 (~$10) and economy class long-haul flights will increase £3 (~$5).

Flight Distance Class of Service APD Fee (GBP/USD)
Short-haul Business £26 / ~$35
Short-haul Economy £13 / ~$18
Long-haul Premium Economy, Business, First £156 / ~$210
Long-haul Economy £78 / ~$105

If you’re really planning ahead, another increase to the APD is coming a year after that on April 1, 2019, for premium cabin long-haul flights. This time the increase will be an additional £12 (~$15). There will not be another increase to economy class long-haul flights.

Flight Distance Class of Service APD Fee (GBP/USD)
Short-haul Business £26 / ~$35
Short-haul Economy £13 / ~$18
Long-haul Premium Economy, Business, First £172 / ~$230
Long-haul Economy £75 / ~$105

Fortunately, these fees are not imposed on flights landing or connecting in the United Kingdom. If you want to avoid these large fees, you can take a short flight to another country within Europe and book your return from there. Since the APD fee is much more manageable on short-haul routes, you can pay that instead of the long-haul APD fee.

Keep in mind that these will have to be separate bookings. If you book a flight back to the United States that connects in another European country, you will still get hit with the long-haul APD fee.

Final Thoughts

It’s no surprise that London is a popular destination for many Americans, with its rich history and ease of travel thanks to our common language. For those on the East Coast, it’s also one of the closest international destinations available.

London also has the benefit of being one of the easier destinations to reach with an award ticket. With 5 airlines flying nonstop routes from the United States, you’ll be able to avoid connections in Europe so you can have more time in London and less time in airports if you so choose.

Even better, all 4 transferable points programs — Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Starpoints — can help you get there thanks to their airline partnerships.

Now, as we discussed, taxes and fees for round-trip bookings are steep because of the Air Passenger Duty fees. This is especially frustrating for business class and first class award tickets, and even worse if you book on an airline that hits you with steep carrier-imposed surcharges (such as British Airways).

Even with these concerns, though, you can see that there are plenty of ways to book award tickets and save a ton of cash on your flights to London. Using the information above, you’ll have no trouble figuring out which option is best for you.

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FAQ

Which airlines include carrier-imposed surcharges on award flights to London?
Regardless of frequent flyer program, if you book a flight on British Airways, you will be required to pay carrier-imposed surcharges. Additionally, if you book a flight on American Airlines with British Airways Avios, you will be required to pay carrier-imposed surcharges.

Korean Air requires you to pay the surcharges on Delta flights to London. It’s not a bad way to book business class award tickets, but you shouldn’t book economy class with the Korean Air SkyPASS program.

ANA Mileage Club does pass on carrier-imposed surcharges when booking award tickets with many partners, but not on flights with United Airlines, so you won’t have to worry about that when flying to London.

What is the fewest number of miles you can use to book an economy class award flight to London?
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank will require the fewest miles from the East Coast for an economy class award ticket, at just 39,000 Mileage Bank miles round-trip. Just make sure you book award flights on American Airlines and not British Airways so you don’t get hit with high surcharges.

Because Mileage Bank miles are a bit harder to earn, it could be easier for you to use American AAdvantage miles to book off-peak economy class award tickets for 45,000 miles round-trip on flights operated by American Airlines. These miles are easier to earn since American Airlines is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), and they also have co-branded cards provided by Citi that earn AAdvantage miles directly.

What is the fewest number of miles required to fly business class to London?
From the East Coast, Japan Airlines requires 63,000 Mileage Bank miles to book a round-trip business class ticket on American Airlines.

To fly United Airlines, you can use 88,000 ANA Mileage Club miles for a round-trip award.

You can book an award seat in Delta One (business class) with 80,000 Korean Air SkyPASS miles.

What is the fewest number miles required to fly first class to London?
If you want to fly first class to London, you will need to fly either American Airlines or British Airways — they’re the only carriers to offer a first class product between the United States and London.

When booking with American AAdvantage miles or Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles, you will want to make sure your flights are operated by American Airlines to keep your cash cost low.

Generally, the only time it makes sense to book a British Airways first class award is by using the British Airways Travel Together Ticket so you can get 2 first class seats for the miles of on. You will have to pay the very steep taxes and fees for each ticket, which will come out to around $2,500 total.