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The Best Ways to Fly to Croatia With Points and Miles

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Michael McHugh
Michael McHugh's image

Michael McHugh

Former Content Contributor

63 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 15U.S. States Visited: 32

Michael fell in love with points and miles back in 2014 and since then has built up a vast knowledge of award programs and has striven to show readers how to receive the maximum value when using their...
Edited by: Kellie Jez
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

6 Published Articles 1178 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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With a sprawling coastline along the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a country located in eastern Europe. Bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, Croatia has a mix of influences that can be seen through its medieval cities, food, and beaches.

There is 1 major and 2 large regional airports in Croatia. Zagreb (ZAG) offers the most options for those flying in from the U.S., however, you’ll also want to look into seasonal flights that fly into Split (SPU) and Dubrovnik (DBV).

Best Programs to Use to Book Flights

There are currently no nonstop flights offered from the U.S. to Croatia, so you’ll likely want to connect in Europe. This actually isn’t that bad as the Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance partner airlines offer a number of flight options between the U.S. and Croatia.

As we work our way through this list, it’s important to note that the award prices shown are for round-trip flights. Outside of ANA partner airline flights and American Airlines flights using Iberia Avios (miles), you can book one-way flights to Croatia for half of the miles shown in the respective award charts. With that behind us, let’s dive into how to book your next flight to Croatia!

Best Programs to Fly to Croatia

Air Canada Aeroplan

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Cabin ClassStar Alliance Miles CostTaxes and Fees
Economy80,000$39+
Business140,000$39+

Aeroplan offers solid redemption pricing on both Economy and Business class flights to Europe. Better yet, you can add stopovers in other European cities for no extra mileage cost.

  • Newark (EWR) – Warsaw (WAW) – Zagreb (ZAG) for 140,000 Aeroplan points in LOT Polish business class
  • Washington (IAD) – Copenhagen (CPH) – Split (SPU) for 140,000 Aeroplan points in SAS business class

The steps below will help you during your booking process with Aeroplan:

  1. Search for flights on United.
  2. Confirm the same availability on Aeroplan.
  3. Book the flight online.
  4. Pay the taxes and fees.

Earning Aeroplan Points

It’s easy to earn Aeroplan points because the program is an American Express transfer partner, Chase transfer partner, Capital One transfer partner, and Marriott Bonvoy transfer partner. In addition, Aeroplan has a co-branded credit card that earns Aeroplan points directly with your spend.

You’ll want to keep the transfer ratios and transfer times in mind before transferring any points. American Express, Capital One, and Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio and Marriott point transfers take 5 days at a 3:1 ratio. With that said, here are the American Express cards we recommend:

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
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Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros
  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
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American Express Membership Rewards

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros
  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
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  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
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American Express Membership Rewards

Business owner? See our list of the best Amex business credit cards.

You can also opt to acquire the co-branded Chase Aeroplan® Credit Card, which earns 3x points per dollar spent on dining, groceries, and Air Canada, as well as 1x point per $1 spent everywhere else.

Bottom Line: Aeroplan is one of the easiest and best Star Alliance programs to use to book business class flights to Europe. 

ANA Mileage Club

United Polaris business class 787 10 window seats HND LAX
Use ANA miles to fly United business class. Image Credit: Ryan Smith
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Cabin ClassStar Alliance Miles CostTaxes and Fees
Economy55,000$108+
Business88,000$108+

The second Star Alliance program to make the list is ANA Mileage Club. ANA is primarily known for its hard product (the actual seat you fly in) and its competitive award chart when flying on its own and partner award flights.

One of the main downsides when using ANA miles is that you must book round-trip partner airline flights. Programs like Aeroplan give you more flexibility by allowing you to book one-way partner airline flights — not the case with ANA. Unless you’re flying on an ANA award flight, you must book a round-trip flight.

Hot Tip: Business class award flights are where ANA really shines —  88,000 miles is one of the lowest award prices in this list for flights from the U.S. to Croatia. 

Here are a couple of example flights to Croatia that you can book when you have enough ANA miles in your account:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Amsterdam (AMS) – Zagreb (ZAG) for 88,000 ANA miles in United and Croatia Airlines business class
  • Houston (IAH) – London (LHR) – Split (SPU) for 55,000 ANA miles in United and Croatia Airlines economy

When booking flights to Croatia using ANA miles, the steps below will be helpful in the booking process:

  1. Search for flights on United.
  2. Confirm the same availability on ANA.
  3. Book the flight online.
  4. Pay the taxes and fees.

Earning ANA Mileage Club Miles

It’s easy to earn ANA Mileage Club miles because ANA has partnerships with American Express and Marriott Bonvoy. The points that you earn in this program can be transferred directly to ANA. There is an ANA co-branded card, however, it’s not available for the U.S. market. With that said, point transfers from American Express and Marriott will be the main way to earn ANA miles.

If you have American Express points, you’ll want to transfer those points to ANA first because point transfers take 2-3 days at a 1:1 ratio. Those of you with Marriott points will need to wait 7 days for the transfer at a 3:1 ratio.

Bottom Line: If you do not need flexibility, booking round-trip business class partner airlines to Croatia using ANA miles is a great deal. 

Asiana Airlines Asiana Club

Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 Business
Turkish Airlines 777-300ER business class. Image Credit: Chris Dong
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Cabin ClassStar Alliance Miles CostTaxes and Fees
Economy50,000$108+
Business80,000$108+
First100,000$108+

For flights to Croatia, it’s hard to beat the award pricing offered by Star Alliance partner Asiana Airlines Asiana Club. This program is primarily known for its extremely competitive partner award chart.

One of the reasons you likely don’t hear much about Asiana Airlines is because its partner award flight booking process is cumbersome. You have to call Asiana Airlines to book partner flights as they cannot be booked online.

Hot Tip: Asiana Airlines has the lowest first class award pricing to Europe. However, you won’t be able to fly first class all the way from the U.S. to Croatia. If you’re eyeing first class, flying Lufthansa to Frankfurt or Munich will be your bet, although fuel surcharges will be high. 

The Star Alliance has a ton of its members based in Europe, so you’ll have a number of award flights options from the U.S. including:

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Istanbul (IST) – Zagreb (ZAG) for 80,000 Asiana miles in Turkish Airlines business class
  • Denver (DEN) – London (LHR) – Split (SPU) for 50,000 Asiana miles in United and Croatia Airlines economy

Booking Star Alliance award flights to Croatia using Asiana Airlines miles requires a few additional steps in the process as follows:

  1. Search for Star Alliance partner flights on United.
  2. Call Asiana Airlines at 800-227-4262 between 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. PST on Monday-Friday.
  3. Book the flight over the phone.
  4. Pay the taxes and fees.

Earning Asiana Airlines Miles

You’ll likely have a tough time earning Asiana Airlines miles because they only partner with Marriott Bonvoy. However, Asiana Airlines offers co-branded credit cards that earn miles directly with your spend. The best strategy is to put your spend on a combination of Asiana Airlines and Marriott credit cards.

For those of you already with Marriott points, the point transfer to Asiana Airlines takes 4 days at a 3:1 ratio. Separately, with every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus.

Bottom Line: Asiana Airlines is a great option if you’re looking to fly in a premium cabin and are able to earn Asiana Airlines miles. 

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

British Airways First Class 787-9 Seat View
Use Cathay Pacific miles to fly British Airways first class. Image Credit: Alex Miller
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Cabin ClassOneworld Airlines Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy54,000+$88+
Business100,000+$88+
First150,000+$330+

Another Oneworld alliance program to consider using to fly to Croatia is Cathay Pacific. One of the best ways to use Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is to book British Airways award flights due to the taxes and fees. When you book British Airways flights with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, you’ll pay ~$600 roundtrip instead of $1,000 round-trip for flights to Europe.

The primary downside when using Asia Miles to book partner award flights is that the pricing isn’t that competitive. As you’ll see in this list, there are cheaper ways to use points and miles to fly transatlantic in economy, business, and first class.

Hot Tip: Reference the Asia Miles Standard Award if you’re flying 1 Oneworld airline partner. From there, add 5,000 miles to the cost of the award flight that’s based on the distance of your itinerary. 

Examples of award flights that you can book with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles include:

  • Boston (MIA) – Madrid (MAD) – Zagreb (ZAG) for 100,000 Cathay Pacific miles in Iberia business class
  • New York (JFK) – London (LHR) for 150,000 Cathay Pacific miles in British Airways first class

The process to book award flights using Asia Miles is dependent on the airline. For flights to Croatia, you can book Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia online. All other airline partners that fly between the U.S. and Croatia (i.e. American Airlines) require a phone call to book the flight:

  1. Search for partner airline flights on asiamiles.com.
  2. Or call Cathay Pacific at 866-892-2598 to confirm award availability.
  3. Book the flight online or over the phone.
  4. Pay the taxes and fees.

Earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific has partnerships with American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy — in other words, it’s easy to earn Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Separately, Cathay Pacific offers a co-branded credit card for the U.S. market, meaning that the spend you put on this card earns Cathay Pacific Asia miles.

If you have a stash of American Express, Capital One, Citi, and/or Marriott points, you’ll want to keep tabs on the transfer ratios and transfer times. American Express points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One Miles transfers take up to 3 days at a 1:1 ratio, Citi point transfers take 24 hours at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 5 days at a 3:1 ratio.

Bottom Line: The way to receive the most value with this Cathay Pacific redemption is to fly British Airways. The fuel surcharges will still be there, however, they will be much lower than what you’d otherwise pay. 

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

Air France 777 Business Class Business Class Cabin From Front
Use Japan Airlines miles to fly Air France business class. Image Credit: Nick Ellis
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Cabin Class Oneworld Miles Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy40,000+$+
Business80,000+$+
First100,000+$+

The last program to make our list is Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. Japan Airlines routinely offers some of the lowest award rates on its own and partner airline flights. For award flights to Croatia, Japan Airlines has one of the lowest economy, business, and first class prices to Croatia.

Japan Airlines is a program you should use, but miles are hard to earn in the Mileage Bank program. If you can generate Japan Airlines miles, you’ll open yourself up to a number of high-value award flight options.

Hot Tip: Japan Airlines has a partnership with SkyTeam member Air France. This means that you can use Japan Airlines miles to book an Air France award flight. 

The Mileage Bank program offers a number of interesting options to book flights between the U.S. and Croatia including:

  • New York (JFK) – Madrid (MAD) – Split (SPU) for 50,000 Japan Airlines miles in Iberia economy
  • Washington (IAD) – Paris (CDG) – Zagreb (ZAG) for 110,000 Japan Airlines miles in Air France business class

Booking Japan Airlines partner award flights is easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Search for Oneworld flights on British Airways.
  2. Search for saver level Air France flights on Delta.
  3. Confirm the same availability on Japan Airlines.
  4. Book the flight online.
  5. Pay the taxes and fees.

Earning Japan Airlines Miles

There are not a ton of ways to earn Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles because the airline only partners with Marriott. Japan Airlines has a co-branded credit card, however, the card has a low welcome offer and earn rates.

For those of you already holding Marriott points, the point transfers to Japan Airlines take 2 days at a 3:1 ratio. You’ll also receive a 5,000-mile bonus with every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer.

Bottom Line: Japan Airlines offers one of the cheapest ways to fly transatlantic first class. Air France first class can’t be booked with Japan Airlines miles, but you can book American Airlines and British Airways first class. 

Iberia Avios

American Airlines 787-9 Flagship Business Class seat 4L rear view
Use Iberia Avios to fly American Airlines business class. Image Credit: Stephen Au
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Cabin ClassIberia Avios CostTaxes and Fees
Economy Off-Peak34,000+$88+
Business Off-Peak68,000+$88+
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Cabin ClassAmerican Airlines Miles CostTaxes and Fees
Economy42,000+$88+
Business100,000+$88+
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Cabin ClassRoyal Air Maroc Miles CostTaxes and Fees
Economy42,000+$472+
Business100,000+$472+

Yet another Oneworld airline partner to check out is Iberia. The Iberia Avios (miles) program is likely familiar to some U.S. travelers because you can cheaply book domestic American Airlines flights using Avios.

What many people are not fans of with Iberia is that American Airlines flights must be booked round-trip. If your goal is flexibility and you want to fly American Airlines, other Oneworld programs offer greater flexibility.

Hot Tip: The longer the distance of your flight, the more miles you’ll need. Both Iberia’s own and partner airline flights are distance-based. 

Examples of flights to Croatia that you can book with Iberia Avios include:

  • Boston (BOS) – Madrid (MAD) – Zagreb (ZAG) for 88,000 Iberia Avios Iberia business class off-peak
  • New York (JFK) – Milan (MXP) for 100,000 Iberia Avios in American Airlines business class

The Iberia award flight booking process will be different depending on which airline you fly:

  1. Search for American Airlines and Iberia flights on British Airways.
  2. Confirm the same availability on Iberia.
  3. Search for Royal Air Maroc flights on Royal Air Maroc.
  4. Call Iberia at 800-772-4642 to confirm award availability.
  5. Book American Airlines and Iberia flights online.
  6. Book Royal Air Maroc flights over the phone.
  7. Pay the taxes and fees.

For the Milan flight, you’ll need to book a cheap points or cash flight to continue on to Croatia. Croatia Airlines operates the MXP-ZAG route seasonally for 12,500 Avianca LifeMiles in economy class. You can transfer points from Membership Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and ThankYou to LifeMiles.

Alternatively, easyJet operates the MXP-SPU route seasonally. This flight can be had for as little at $33 one-way, and you can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to cover the flight when booked through the Chase Travel Portal. If you don’t mind flying an ultra-low-cost carrier, this is likely your best bet.

Earning Iberia Avios

Earning Iberia Avios is extremely easy because Iberia has partnerships with American Express, Chase, and Marriott. In addition, Iberia has a co-branded credit card for the U.S. market. The spend that you put on this card earns Iberia Avios.

If you’re looking to earn American Express, Chase, and/or Marriott points, American Express and Chase points transfer to Iberia at a 1:1 ratio within 24 hours. Marriott transfers also happen within 24 hours, however, the ratio is 3:1. With Marriott, you’ll want to transfer 60,000 points at a time so you’ll receive the 5,000-mile bonus.

Bottom Line: The cheapest way to fly transatlantic business class in this list is with Iberia. During the off-peak season, you’ll only need 68,000 Iberia Avios for a round-trip flight. 

Best Programs to Connect to Croatia

While not all programs book to a final destination of Croatia, there are still great options that you can get you to an airport within an easy connection to Croatia simply by purchasing an additional short flight. These flights may be great if you have miles or points to utilize with a specific program.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

American Airlines A321T Flagship Business seats 6A and 6C
Use Alaska miles to fly American business class. Image Credit: Daniel Ross
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Cabin ClassAmerican Airlines Miles CostTaxes and Fees
Economy45,000$71+
Business115,000$71+
First170,000$330+

Our first U.S. airline program is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Long-known for the ability to book a stopover on a one-way flight, another thing you may not have considered is using Alaska miles to fly American Airlines to Europe. Alaska Airlines has other airline partners, however, you’ll likely receive the most value booking American Airlines award flights.

Without a doubt, the primary drawback with Alaska Airlines is that it can be tough to earn Alaska Airlines miles. Another downside is the partner award booking fee, similar to Avianca, however, the cost is nominal.

Hot Tip: American Airlines doesn’t fly all the way to Croatia. Instead, you’ll need to book an additional flight after landing at your European destination. 

For those of you with Alaska Airlines miles, check out the examples below for the types of flights that you can book:

  • Charlotte (CLT) – Frankfurt (FRA) for 45,000 Alaska Airlines miles in American Airlines economy
  • New York (JFK) – London (LHR) for 170,000 Alaska Airlines miles in American Airlines first class

To help you with your flight booking process, reference the steps below when using Alaska miles to book an award flight:

  1. Search for flights on Alaska Airlines.
  2. Book the flight online.
  3. Pay the taxes and fees, including the $12.50 partner award flight booking fee.

Since American Airlines doesn’t fly all the way to Croatia, you’ll need to book an additional jumper flight from Frankfurt or London to Croatia. You can book LHR-ZAG for just 7,500 British Airways Avios in economy class — British Airways is an American Express transfer partner, Chase transfer partner, and a Marriott transfer partner. Alternatively, you can fly LHR-ZAG and LHR-SPU (seasonally) on Croatia Airlines for 12,500 Avianca LifeMiles.

Croatia runs year-round service between FRA and DBV, SPU, and ZAG airports. Further, Lufthansa flies year-round to ZAG and seasonally to SPU. Both of these airlines are in the Star Alliance, and the route can also be booked using LifeMiles as well. However, this route only costs 8,000 as it’s a shorter flight from FRA than LHR.

Earning Alaska Airlines Miles

Alaska Airlines miles can be challenging to earn as they only partner with Marriott Bonvoy. However, Alaska Airlines offers co-branded credit cards and the spend on these credit cards will directly earn Alaska Airlines miles.

For those of you with Marriott points, the transfer takes 2-4 days at a 3:1 ratio. If you’re looking for additional Alaska Airlines miles earned from Marriott transfers, here are the Marriott credit cards we like:

There are a number of Marriott credit cards available which we cover in our in-depth guide.

Bottom Line: The best value for Alaska Airlines redemption is to book economy flights. Business class pricing is middle-of-the-road relative to the other options in this list. 

British Airways Executive Club

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Cabin ClassAer Lingus CostTaxes and Fees
Economy Off-Peak26,000+$120+
Economy40,000+$120+
Business100,000+$120+

For U.S. travelers, Oneworld partner British Airways is known for the ability to book cheap, short-haul American Airlines flights within the U.S. British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, so the less distance that you fly, the fewer miles that you’ll need.

Although this doesn’t affect Aer Lingus flights, British Airways recently devalued its partner airline award flight chart. The number of miles required for award flights didn’t increase across the board, however, some airline routes require additional miles.

Hot Tip: Flying Aer Lingus from Boston (BOS) – Dublin (DUB) during off-peak dates is the cheapest way to fly transatlantic. If you book this flight, you’ll only need 13,000 British Airways Avios (miles) each way. 

Examples of award flights that you can book with British Airways Avios include:

  • Boston (BOS) – Dublin (DUB) for 26,000 British Airways Avios in Aer Lingus economy
  • Chicago (ORD) – Dublin (DUB) for 100,000 British Airways Avios in Aer Lingus business class

To book Aer Lingus flights using British Airways Avios, use these steps:

  1. Search for Aer Lingus flights on British Airways.
  2. Book the flight online.
  3. Pay the taxes and fees.

For these flights, you’ll need to purchase a separate, cheap flight from Dublin to Croatia. Aer Lingus flies nonstop from DUB to DBV and SPU seasonally, and you can use just 10,000 Aer Lingus Avios to fly one-way on-peak or 8,500 Avios off-peak. You can transfer to Aer Lingus from Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Earning British Airways Avios

You’ll have no issues earning British Airways Avios because the airline partners with American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Marriott Bonvoy. The points earned in these programs can be transferred directly to British Airways. In addition, British Airways has a co-branded credit card with a sizeable welcome offer available to the U.S. market.

Transfer ratios and transfer times differ across these programs. With that said, American Express, Capital One, and Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio and Marriott point transfers take 24 hours at a 3:1 ratio. If you transfer 60,000 Marriott points, you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus. In short, these are the Chase cards that you should consider:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth over $900 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠.
75,000 points
$1,500
$95
21.49%-28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros
  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s over $900 when you redeem through Chase TravelSM.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase TravelSM, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase TravelSM. For example, 75,000 points are worth $937.50 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.49%-28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth $1,125 when redeemed through Chase Travel℠.
75,000 points
$1,500
$550
22.49%-29.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros
  • 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
Cons
  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,125 toward travel when you redeem through Chase TravelSM.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase TravelSM immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase TravelSM. For example, 75,000 points are worth $1125 toward travel.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: $0
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Business owner? See our list of the best Chase business credit cards.

Bottom Line: If economy is your style, you can’t beat using less than 30,000 Avios to fly Aer Lingus economy across the Atlantic. 

Etihad Guest

SCROLL FOR MORE
Cabin ClassAmerican Airlines Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy Off-Peak40,000$88+
Economy60,000$88+
Business100,000$88+
First125,000$88+
SCROLL FOR MORE
Cabin ClassRoyal Air Maroc Cost Taxes and Fees
Economy44,000$472+
Economy88,000$472+

The second airline not in a major airline alliance to make the list is Etihad. Its Etihad Guest loyalty program is fantastic, especially for those looking to fly in a premium cabin. American Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Royal Air Maroc are airline partners to keep an eye on.

It’s not all great news with Etihad, as partner award flights need to be booked by phone. The process isn’t as bad as it sounds, however, it’s not as simple as booking the flight online.

Hot Tip: Etihad Guest partners with an array of airline partners. Many of these partners have prices in their award charts that you simply will not find as low anywhere else. 

American Airlines and Royal Air Maroc fly a number of routes that will get you close to Croatia. From there, you’ll book a cheap cash or points flight to get the rest of the way.

  • Miami (MIA) – Milan (MXP) for 100,000 Etihad miles in American Airlines business class
  • Washington (IAD) – Casablanca (CMN) for 88,000 Etihad miles in Royal Air Maroc business class

As mentioned, a phone call is required to book Etihad partner airline flights:

  1. Search for American Airlines flights on British Airways and Qantas.
  2. Search for Brussels Airlines flights on United.
  3. Call Etihad at 877-690-0767 to confirm award availability.
  4. Book the flight over the phone.
  5. Pay the taxes and fees.

Flying MIA-MXP? See the above “Iberia Avios” section on booking hopper flights from MXP to Croatia — we’ll go in-depth there!

There are no non-stop flights between CMN and Croatia, so you have 2 options: fly to another European city nearby, hang out there for a few days, and then head to Croatia, or fly on a 1-stop itinerary to Croatia. One of the best ways to book a 1-stop itinerary is by using Iberia Avios to fly via Madrid. Flying CMN-MAD-ZAG costs 12,000 Iberia Avios off-peak or 13,250 on-peak in economy class.

You can transfer Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy points to Iberia Avios. Plus, you can transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios so long as both accounts have been open for 90+ days.

Earning Etihad Guest Miles

Etihad has partnerships with American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott. For this reason, it’s super easy to earn Etihad Guest miles. The points that you earn in these programs can be transferred directly to Etihad.

For those of you looking to transfer points, American Express points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One Miles transfers take 36 hours at a 1:1 ratio, Citi transfers take 7 days at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 3 days at a 1:1 ratio. With Marriott transfers, you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus with every 60,000 points that you transfer.

Bottom Line: 88,000 miles for business round-trip on Royal Air Maroc is one of the cheapest transatlantic business class flights that you’ll find. 

Final Thoughts

Although you can’t fly nonstop to Croatia from the U.S., it’s an easy 1-stop flight. The country is incredibly beautiful and should certainly be added to your dream travel list.

To wrap things up, earn transferable points before booking your next trip to Croatia. American Express, Capital One, Chase, Citi, and Marriott each have airline partners that will help you to book an incredible trip to this eastern European country.

The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

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 Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many air miles do you need for Europe?

The lowest number of miles needed for economy, business, and first class flights in this list are 26,000, 68,000, and 100,000 miles respectively.

How do you travel with points?

Banks and hotels have partnerships with airlines. These partnerships allow you to transfer points from a bank and/or hotel. With the transferred points, you can book an award flight or hotel.

How do you use credit card points for free travel?

American Express, Capital One, Chase, Citi, and Marriott earn transferable points. These points can be transferred directly to their airline and hotel partners for award flights and hotel rooms.

Michael McHugh's image

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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