Paris in the spring.
Spain’s Costa del Sol in the summer.
Christmas markets in Germany.
No matter what time of year it is, there is always a great reason to travel to Europe!
If you book award tickets to Europe with miles and points, you can use all that vacation money you saved to enjoy the destination.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to book award flights to Europe.
Best Programs To Use To Book Flights
When you search for paid flights to Europe from the U.S., you will find a huge variety of options. From low-cost carriers to some of the world’s best first class products, there really is something for everyone. Just make sure you’re up to date regarding ETIAS and visiting Schengen countries in Europe before you book your ticket.
If you live on the East Coast, maybe you can handle the flight in economy class and save some of your points for another day.
But if you live on the West Coast, perhaps a lie-flat bed is a little more important so you can hit the ground running when you arrive at your destination.
We realize that many factors go into determining the best flight for a specific route, or even for a specific passenger: do you prefer lie-flat seats, great food, a friendly crew, or all of the above?
Choosing the best airline for you comes down to evaluating your personal preferences.
Below, we show you some of the best options for using your points for economy class, business class, and first class flights. No matter how you like to fly, we have you covered!
Hot Tip: We mainly discuss round-trip award prices, but keep in mind that many airline loyalty programs will let you book one-way award tickets for half the number of miles.
United Airlines’ MileagePlus program is one of the most popular ways to book award flights to Europe thanks to its extensive reach via the Star Alliance network.
MileagePlus is a fairly straightforward program that is easy to understand and use. Many of its partners are available to search for award space and book on the United site.
If you select Flexible Dates when doing your search, you can see a month-long calendar of award availability all at once. This makes finding award space much easier.
Although its mileage rates for award tickets to Europe are not the absolute best you can find, United has several things going for it. Specifically, the following are true:
- United miles are super easy to redeem
- No (or very low) fuel surcharges
- Great starter program for miles and points
Hot Tip: If you’re interested in learning more, don’t miss our in-depth United Airlines review!
You’ll notice that United charges more miles for partner flights than for its own flights, so you’ll want to make that consideration when thinking about which airline to fly on.
United doesn’t offer a first class product outside of North America, so if you have your mind set on flying first class, your main choice is Lufthansa.
Be prepared, though, as first class awards with Lufthansa are almost always not bookable until ~15 days before the departure date.
SWISS Air doesn’t make its first class available to partners. In fact, you’ll need top-tier elite status with SWISS Air to make these award bookings at all.
Also, nearly all European-focused Star Alliance partners such as Brussels Airlines, LOT Polish, and Turkish Airlines do not have first class.
The tradeoff when booking first class with a partner is that while it will cost a big chunk of miles, United will not hit you with carrier-imposed surcharges. This can save you over $500 in fees when you book Lufthansa first class, as other airline loyalty programs will pass those charges onto you.
If you want to fly in coach, however, choosing to fly with United or its partners doesn’t matter; it will cost the same amount of miles either way.
The following Star Alliance members and United partners operate flights between the U.S. and Europe — and are therefore bookable with your United miles:
- Aegean Airlines
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- Austrian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
- Singapore Airlines
- SWISS Air
- TAP Air Portugal
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
Here is the United MileagePlus award chart for round-trip flights (one-way tickets will cost half the miles):
||United Miles Cost
||Taxes and Fees
||~$6 to $106
||~$6 to $106
||~$6 to $106
Here are some fantastic routes you can book with United miles:
- Boston (BOS) – Dublin (DUB) round-trip in Aer Lingus business class for 154,000 United miles + ~$5.60 in taxes and fees
- Chicago (ORD) – Vienna (VIE) round-trip in Austrian Airlines business class for 154,000 United miles + ~$5.60 in taxes and fees
- Miami (MIA) – Zurich (ZRH) one-way in SWISS Air business class for 77,000 United miles + ~$5.60 in taxes and fees
- New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA) one-way in Lufthansa first class for 121,000 United miles + ~$5.60 in taxes and fees
Follow these instructions to book your award flight using United miles:
- Visit United’s homepage.
- Check off the box that says Book with miles, fill out the search box’s fields, and click Find flights.
- Locate a flight that works for your plans, redeem your United miles, and pay for taxes and fees using a credit card.
Earning United Airlines MileagePlus Miles
In addition to earning miles when flying with United Airlines and its partners, you can transfer miles into the program from Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Bilt and Chase transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers in around 3 business days, and it also has an improved transfer ratio of 3:1.1 instead of the standard 3:1 ratio.
If you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you will receive 22,000 United miles plus a 25% bonus, increasing your total to 27,000 miles for 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points!
Recommended United Cards
Hot Tip: Check out our guide to the best Chase United credit cards where we compare the benefits and perks of United’s co-branded cards.
ANA Mileage Club
ANA Mileage Club offers some seriously unbeatable round-trip redemption rates for business class flights! For the most part, it blows the competition out of the water in terms of value for your miles.
It doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on some airlines, so you can choose to fly ANA to minimize your out-of-pocket cost.
Here’s how flights to/from North America and Europe price out (round-trip):
|Class of Service
||Mileage Cost (Partners)
||55,000 ANA miles
||88,000 ANA miles
||165,000 ANA miles
In general, the best airlines to book with low fuel surcharges are Turkish Airlines, LOT Polish, SAS, and United Airlines.
Here are a few amazing routes you can book:
- Atlanta (ATL) – Istanbul (IST) round-trip in Turkish business class for 88,000 ANA miles + ~$532 in taxes and fees
- Chicago (ORD) – Paris (CDG) round-trip in United Polaris class for 88,000 ANA miles + ~$11 in taxes and fees
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Warsaw (WAW) round-trip in LOT Polish business class for 88,000 ANA miles + ~$601 in taxes and fees
- Newark (EWR) – Copenhagen (CPH) round-trip in SAS business class for 88,000 ANA miles + ~$20 in taxes and fees
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – London (LHR) round-trip in United Polaris class for 88,000 ANA miles + ~$11 in taxes and fees
ANA is a pretty easy program to redeem miles with. You can make bookings completely online using its award search engine. However, we recommend doing your initial search on United’s website:
- Go to United’s homepage and perform your award search.
- Write down the flight details and schedule.
- Go to ANA’s U.S. website.
- Click Award Booking in the search box.
- Log into your ANA account. On the redirected page, enter your search details. Click Search.
- Choose the flight that matches your desired booking. Redeem your ANA miles and use a credit card for taxes and fees.
Earning ANA Mileage Club Miles
There are 2 transfer partners for ANA miles: American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex transfers at a 1:1 ratio, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio with 5,000 ANA bonus miles after each 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy point transfer!
Amex takes 2 to 3 business days to transfer, while Marriott Bonvoy takes closer to 7 business days.
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards.
Hot Tip: For more ways to earn ANA miles, check out our in-depth guide on how to earn a lot of ANA miles.
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program is one of our favorite ways to fly to Europe.
On a high level, Air Canada Aeroplan is an easy program to use. It has access to the Star Alliance network, and the number of Aeroplan points required for a flight is quite reasonable.
Unlike many airline loyalty programs, Air Canada uses a distance-based award chart for flights from North America to the Atlantic region, which includes all of Europe:
|0 to 4,000
||35,000 to 60,000
||50,000 to 80,000
||60,000 to 160,000
||90,000 to 180,000
|4,001 to 6,000
||40,000 to 70,000
||60,000 to 90,000
||70,000 to 180,000
||100,000 to 200,000
|6,001 to 8,000
||55,000 to 80,000
||70,000 to 100,000
||85,000 to 200,000
||120,000 to 225,000
||70,000 to 100,000
||85,000 to 160,000
||100,000 to 220,000
||130,000 to 250,000
Hot Tip: Aeroplan allows stopovers, even on one-way flights, for an additional 5,000 points. Better yet, these stopovers are bookable 100% online! If you’re not able to see the availability you want, give Aeroplan a call at 800-361-5373.
Of its Star Alliance partners that fly to Europe from the U.S., Air Canada does not add fuel surcharges to award flights.
As a result, you can fly on airlines such as SWISS Air, Lufthansa, and Austrian Airlines without having to worry about paying hundreds of dollars out of pocket!
Here are some great example routes you can book:
- Chicago (ORD) – Zurich (ZRH) one-way in SWISS Air business class for 70,000 Aeroplan points + ~$41 in taxes and fees
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Frankfurt (FRA) one-way in Lufthansa first class for 100,000 Aeroplan points + ~$41 in taxes and fees
- Miami (MIA) – Copenhagen (CPH) one-way in SAS business class for 70,000 Aeroplan points + ~$41 in taxes and fees
- New York (JFK) – Brussels (BRU) one-way in Brussels Airlines business class for 60,000 Aeroplan points + ~$41 in taxes and fees
- San Francisco (SFO) – Lisbon (LIS) one-way in TAP Air Portugal business class for 70,000 Aeroplan points + ~$41 in taxes and fees
Follow these steps to book your flight using Aeroplan points:
- Visit the Aeroplan website.
- In the top-right corner, click Sign in and log into your account.
- On the homepage, you’ll see a search box. Toggle the slider that says Book with points Aeroplan.
- Fill in the search box, perform the search, and find your desired flight option.
- Complete the booking by redeeming your Aeroplan points and providing a credit card for taxes and fees
- If you wish to add a stopover to your trip, you can book your stopover online or call Aeroplan at 800-361-5373 to book your ticket.
Earning Air Canada Aeroplan Points
In addition to earning Aeroplan points by flying Air Canada and its partners, you can transfer points into the program from American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex, Bilt, Capital One, and Chase transfer almost instantly at a 1:1 ratio, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers in 5 business days at a 3:1 ratio.
For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer to Aeroplan in a single transaction, you’ll get 5,000 extra Aeroplan points.
Recommended Capital One Cards
Recommended Aeroplan® Credit Card
Bottom Line: Several airlines fly routes between the U.S. and Europe. Aeroplan has enhanced redemption value because it does not pass on any fuel surcharges on partner flights, which lends a huge helping hand for most Star Alliance airlines.
LifeMiles is the loyalty program of Avianca. There are tons of great ways to redeem LifeMiles, and one of the best ways is either in business or first class to Europe.
LifeMiles has a Star Alliance award chart, and it prices awards based on regions. It does not allow stopovers, but it never levies fuel surcharges. This is an easy way to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on fuel surcharges!
Additionally, it periodically offers Promo Awards that can discount your flights up to 48%!
Economy class tickets are 30,000 miles, business costs 63,000 miles, and first class is 87,000 miles. Keep in mind that these prices are one-way prices.
Taxes and fees will be around $30 to $50 each way — what a steal!
And since Avianca is a Star Alliance partner, you can book Star Alliance flights to Europe.
You pretty much have to book with its online search engine. It can be clunky at times, especially with connecting flights or flights with 2 or more stops. If you’re booking nonstop flights, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Here are some of our favorite LifeMiles redemptions you can make to Europe:
- Houston (IAH) – Frankfurt (FRA) one-way in Lufthansa first class for 87,000 LifeMiles + ~$52 in taxes and fees
- Los Angeles (LAX) – London (LHR) one-way in United Polaris class for 63,000 LifeMiles + ~$52 in taxes and fees
- New York (JFK) – Vienna (VIE) one-way in Austrian Airlines business class for 63,000 LifeMiles + ~$52 in taxes and fees
- San Francisco (SFO) – Zurich (ZRH) one-way in SWISS Air business class for 63,000 LifeMiles + ~$52 in taxes and fees
- Toronto (YYZ) – Munich (MUC) one-way in Lufthansa business class for 63,000 LifeMiles + ~$52 in taxes and fees
Once you’re ready to make your booking, follow these instructions:
- Go to the LifeMiles website.
- Adjust the language to English by clicking the flag icon in the top-right corner.
- Click Log In.
- Click Travel on the top banner of the homepage.
- Fill in your flight details and click Find Flights.
- Choose the desired travel date(s).
- Select an option that you like, redeem your LifeMiles, enter your travelers’ information, and use a credit card for taxes and fees.
Avianca’s phone staff can be difficult to work with, so you’re pretty much out of luck if you can’t find the flight you want using its online award search.
Earning Avianca LifeMiles
Avianca LifeMiles is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards, Brex Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex, Brex, Capital One, and Citi transfer at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly (Brex may take up to 1 business day).
Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio, so for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred in a single transaction, you would get 20,000 LifeMiles.
Lastly, you can buy LifeMiles. There are frequent sales of pretty ridiculous bonus amounts — up to 200% bonus miles on top of your purchase.
These sales make purchasing miles very tempting, seeing as how you can fly first class for around $1,000!
Recommended Citi Cards
Asiana Airlines’ Asiana Club is what we’d consider an intermediate-to-advanced method for using points. Some of its redemption rates will blow your mind, but booking your award involves several additional steps.
Specifically, flying first class one-way from North America to Europe only costs 50,000 Asiana miles, and business is 40,000 miles!
We believe the best deal is first class for only 10,000 miles more. Yes, you will be paying fuel surcharges, but it may be worth it considering the points you would be saving.
Asiana Airlines is also a Star Alliance partner, so you can book all of the Star Alliance partners listed in the above sections.
Since there are very few Star Alliance partners that operate a first class cabin to Europe, we think the best use of Asiana miles is Lufthansa first class.
You’ll need to pay for surcharges on all partners, so prepare for that. Check out some of our favorite ways to redeem Asiana miles for flights to Europe:
- Chicago (ORD) – Frankfurt (FRA) one-way in Lufthansa first class for 50,000 Asiana miles + ~$800 in taxes and fees
- Miami (MIA) – Warsaw (WAW) one-way in LOT Polish business class for 40,000 Asiana miles + ~$250 in taxes and fees
- New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA) one-way in Lufthansa first class for 50,000 Asiana miles + ~$800 in taxes and fees
- Newark (EWR) – Tel Aviv (TLV) one-way in United Polaris class for 40,000 Asiana miles + ~$10 in taxes and fees
- San Francisco (SFO) – Frankfurt (FRA) one-way in Lufthansa first class for 50,000 Asiana miles + ~$800 in taxes and fees
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Istanbul (IST) one-way in Turkish Airlines business class for 40,000 Asiana miles + ~$300 in taxes and fees
The process for redeeming Asiana miles is a bit more complex:
- Find award availability using United’s website.
- Write down all of the relevant flight details.
- Call Asiana Club at 800-227-4262 and feed your flight details to the live agent after explaining that you’d like to book a Star Alliance award flight using Asiana miles.
- Confirm the ticket over the phone, redeem your Asiana miles, and use a credit card for taxes and fees.
Earning Asiana Miles
Unfortunately, this is where the main drawback of Asiana Airlines comes in.
Asiana Club is transfer partners with just 1 points currency: Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio to Asiana Club with a bonus of 5,000 Asiana miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to Asiana all at once. This makes it more difficult to earn Asiana miles.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue loyalty program can be a great way to book award flights to Europe, especially when it runs Promo Rewards.
With connecting flights routing through either Amsterdam (AMS) or Paris (CDG) and being bookable on either airline, Flying Blue has some of the best award availability on its own flights between the U.S. and Europe.
Air France has variable award pricing, and the best thing you can do is use Flying Blue’s award calculator and search for the lowest-level award availability.
You cannot book first class awards with Air France or KLM — you must earn elite status with Flying Blue. Since not many of us earn the required status, that means most of us can’t book first class awards, so we are leaving it out of the discussion here.
Perhaps the best part of the Flying Blue program is that it has Promo Rewards. These awards are available for a special selection of destinations and are offered for a reduced number of miles — between 25% and 50% off what would normally be required for an award flight! Promo Rewards change every month and are limited in terms of availability, when you can book, and what airlines you can fly. If your schedule is flexible or you can book a trip closer to when it takes place, these Promo Rewards can be great options.
Air France and KLM are members of the SkyTeam alliance and also partner with additional airlines. You can use Flying Blue miles to book flights on any of the following airlines between the U.S. and Europe:
- Air France
- Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- ITA Airways
Flying Blue adds carrier-imposed surcharges on its award redemptions, but depending on the routing, it often isn’t that bad.
Of course, as with any program, these surcharges are significantly higher for premium cabins. When booking an award, you will need to look at the charges and decide if it is still a good enough value.
For those partners that aren’t bookable on the Flying Blue site, you can check where to search them and then book awards by phone with either Air France or KLM.
Here are some of our favorite redemptions you can make:
- Atlanta (ATL) – Frankfurt (FRA) one-way in Delta One for 53,000 Flying Blue miles + ~$730 in taxes and fees
- Chicago (ORD) – Paris (CDG) one-way in Air France business class for 58,000 Flying Blue miles + ~$298 in taxes and fees
- Houston (IAH) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class for 72,000 Flying Blue miles + ~$310 in taxes and fees
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Rome (FCO) one-way in ITA business class for 53,000 Flying Blue miles + ~$325 in taxes and fees
To book your flights, follow these steps:
- Visit Air France’s U.S. website.
- Log into your Flying Blue account.
- Click Book with Miles.
- Fill in the search box, and click Search flights.
- Choose the desired flight, enter the travelers’ personal information, use your Flying Blue miles, and supply a credit card to pay for any taxes and fees.
Earning Flying Blue Miles
In addition to earning miles when flying with Air France, KLM, and their partners, you can transfer points into the program from American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Brex Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex, Bilt, Brex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi all transfer at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio in 3 business days. Also, when you transfer 60,000 points in a single transaction, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Flying Blue miles.
Having all of these transfer partners really makes it easy to earn enough miles for your trip!
For more recommendations, read our post on how to earn lots of Flying Blue miles.
Recommended Chase Cards
Business Owner? Read our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.
Although Delta SkyMiles uses variable award pricing and has removed its award chart, there is still good value to be had utilizing Delta SkyMiles to book flights to Europe.
Delta Air Lines is the flagship U.S. SkyTeam partner, so it makes sense that it’s a must-use for U.S.-based travelers.
Its online booking system is very robust, partner award rates are reasonable, and there are tons of ways to earn SkyMiles.
Delta’s award pricing system is very complicated for flights on its own metal. For partner flights, though, it’s usually a set price to Europe:
|Class of Service
||One-way Delta SkyMiles Cost (Partner Flights)
||35,000 SkyMiles (55,000 within 21 days of departure)
||120,000 SkyMiles (195,000 within 21 days of departure)
You won’t pay for fuel surcharges except for flights originating in Europe.
The best part about Delta’s online award search is that you can search using a flexible date and 5-week search! This will allow you to save tons of time when looking for award availability, so you can book awards quickly and completely online.
Check out some great example redemptions to make:
- Atlanta (ATL) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class from 120,000 Delta SkyMiles
- Detroit (DTW) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in Delta One business class from 120,000 Delta SkyMiles
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Moscow (SVO) one-way in Aeroflot business class from 120,000 Delta SkyMiles
- Miami (MIA) – Madrid (MAD) one-way in Air Europa business class from 120,000 Delta SkyMiles
- New York (JFK) – Milan (MXP) one-way in ITA business class from 120,000 Delta SkyMiles
Here’s how to book your flights using Delta SkyMiles:
- Visit Delta’s website.
- At the top of the page, you’ll see a search box.
- Populate the search details, and click Shop with Miles. Click Advanced Search and choose Delta One if you’re looking for business class award flights.
- Find the flights you like, redeem your SkyMiles, and enter your credit card information for taxes and fees.
Earning Delta SkyMiles
There are loads of ways to earn Delta SkyMiles, but Delta is a transfer partner with American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
There are also a bunch of different co-branded Delta credit cards from American Express that can give you a huge boost in SkyMiles, especially from the welcome bonuses!
Recommended Delta SkyMiles Cards
Hot Tip: Need some help finding award space? Use this guide to search for SkyTeam award availability.
Korean Air SKYPASS
Though Korean Air SKYPASS is sort of strange with its requirements for booking awards for other passengers, it’s still hugely worth it to save tons of miles.
We love Korean Air because of 1 main reason: redemption rates.
There are a few rules you must follow to book awards, such as booking round-trip awards for SkyTeam partners.
Other than that, the only hiccup is for booking other passengers. You can get around this by creating a Korean Air SKYPASS account for each passenger.
Here’s what Korean Air SKYPASS charges for round-trip flights to Europe:
|Class of Service
||Korean Air Miles Cost (Partners)
You’ll be responsible for fuel surcharges regardless of which airline you fly.
Here are the partners you can book directly online (the others you’ll need to call to book):
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- China Eastern
- China Southern
- Czech Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Garuda Indonesia
- ITA Airways
Here are some great example routes you can book with Korean Air miles:
- Boston (BOS) – Paris (CDG) round-trip in Air France business class for 80,000 Korean Air miles + ~$1,817 in taxes and fees
- Detroit (DTW) – London (LHR) round-trip in Delta business class for 80,000 Korean Air miles + ~$1,972 in taxes and fees
- Miami (MIA) – Rome (FCO) round-trip in ITA business class for 80,000 Korean Air miles + ~$1,712 in taxes and fees
- San Francisco (SFO) – Amsterdam (AMS) round-trip in KLM business class for 80,000 Korean Air miles + ~$1,739 in taxes and fees
Once you’re ready to book, you can follow these instructions:
- Use Delta or Air France’s website to find award availability.
- Write down the flight numbers.
- Call Korean Air SKYPASS at 800-438-5000 and feed the agent the flight details to make a SkyTeam award booking.
- Pay with your SKYPASS miles and use a credit card for taxes and fees.
Earning Korean Air Miles
Unfortunately, Korean Air is only a transfer partner with Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott transfers to Korean Air at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 SKYPASS miles after transferring 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points in a single transaction.
There are a few other ways to earn Korean Air miles, including the co-branded U.S. Bank credit cards that earn SKYPASS miles directly.
American Airlines’ AAdvantage program can help you book award tickets on its own flights, as well as on several of its Oneworld alliance partners.
It has an easy-to-read award chart, so you will always know the saver award price for the flights you are trying to book.
One great thing about the AAdvantage program is that it offers off-peak awards for economy travel to certain regions at certain times of the year.
These are discounted redemption rates and include flights on its partners as well as on its own planes.
Hot Tip: The off-peak awards date ranges will vary, and the best way to find out is to visit AA’s flight award chart. Then, click on Details on award travel to see the off-peak travel dates.
|American Airlines Miles Required To Book Round-trip U.S. to Europe
||45,000 American miles
||60,000 American miles
||115,000 American miles
||170,000 American miles
Of American’s partners, you can fly between Europe and the U.S. on American, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia.
Taxes and fees on some American Airlines awards can be quite high. In addition, it adds carrier-imposed surcharges to award flights on British Airways and Iberia.
The surcharges aren’t as bad on Iberia as they are on British Airways, but you should still keep an eye on them. If you can find availability on other airlines instead, you can save a significant amount of money when booking your awards.
For more information, check out our guide to the best ways to search for Oneworld award availability.
Hot Tip: Check American Airlines’ region definitions to confirm that your destination falls within the European region.
Here are some great routes you can book using AAdvantage miles:
- Dallas (DFW) – Paris (CDG) one-way in American Airlines business class for 57,500 AA miles + ~$15 in taxes and fees
- Miami (MIA) – Helsinki (HEL) one-way in Finnair business class one-way in American Airlines business class for 57,500 AA miles + ~$6 in taxes and fees
- New York (JFK) – Madrid (MAD) one-way in Iberia business class for 57,500 AA miles + ~$200 in taxes and fees
- San Diego (SAN) – London (LHR) one-way in British Airways business class for 57,500 AA miles + ~$350 in taxes and fees
Check out the following directions to book your Europe flights using AAdvantage miles:
- Visit the American Airlines website.
- You’ll see a search box on the homepage. Check off the box that says Redeem miles.
- Fill out the search box and click Search.
- Find your desired flight.
- Enter the traveler details, pay with AAdvantage miles, and use a credit card for any taxes and fees incurred.
Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
In addition to earning AAdvantage miles by flying American Airlines and its partners, you can transfer miles into the program from Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
Bilt Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 almost instantly.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers to AAdvantage at a 3:1 ratio in 2 business days.
We’ve also covered many other ways to earn lots of American miles, which include signing up and using various co-branded credit cards.
Recommended American Airlines Cards
Tips and Tricks
Wherever you are headed in the world, when booking award tickets, you may run into a few unexpected snags.
Every segment may not be available, fees on the ticket may be very high, or maybe there just aren’t enough available seats.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help make your life easier when booking flights to Europe with points.
Taxes and Fees
In Europe, certain airports are much more expensive to fly through than others. Avoiding the more expensive airports can save you as much as a few hundred dollars on your trip!
When searching for award space, be sure to look at a couple of routes to see the difference in taxes and fees. By adjusting the departure or even the connection location, you can sometimes cut costs significantly.
The U.K., for example, adds a hefty Air Passenger Duty (APD) onto each ticket departing the U.K. and flying over 2,000 miles. This fee is a whopping £180 per person (approximately $195) if you are flying in a premium cabin.
But avoiding this fee is easy! Just make sure your return from Europe doesn’t depart from the U.K. If you want to visit London, simply add in a few days in another country before your return to the U.S.
You’ll get to see another place, and it could save you a lot of money (especially if you are traveling with several passengers). Here you can see what we mean:
In this first example, we are looking at a one-way flight from London to New York. You can see that in economy class, the taxes and fees on an American Airlines-operated flight are $188.
In business class, the fees are $631 on a British Airways-operated flight. This larger amount is partially because British Airways adds hefty carrier-imposed surcharges to its flights, and partially because of the U.K. Air Passenger Duty. Now let’s look at flights on the same day from Paris.
You can see above that the taxes and fees are significantly less for these flights on the same operators out of Paris.
The American Airlines coach flight’s fee drops to $87, and the British Airways business class flight drops to $389.
You may notice that the business class flight does not decrease by the entire amount of the U.K. Air Passenger Duty — this is because there are 2 flights on British Airways with this award, so there are added carrier-imposed surcharges.
London and Paris were used in these examples because they are well-known cities, and it was easy to find award space on the same day on multiple carriers.
You should know, however, that Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is one of the more expensive airports in continental Europe to fly out of.
By looking at other European cities (especially Istanbul, Oslo, Stockholm, and Warsaw), you can often get the taxes and fees to drop even further than what we have shown.
Lots of City Options
One of the great parts of award travel to Europe is that you don’t necessarily need to find available flights to the exact place you want to go.
Europe has a combination of multiple low-cost carriers and excellent rail service. Together, these mean it’s easy and fairly inexpensive to hop between cities.
Want to go to Munich but can only find availability to Frankfurt? No problem. Grab a cheap Eurowings flight, hop on a Deutsche Bahn train, or even buy a Eurail Pass and you’ll be there later that day. Maybe even add a night or 2 in Frankfurt and see what the city has to offer.
This same idea works with cities all over Europe, so be sure to stay flexible when choosing your flight destinations.
Finding More Seats
A general issue for award travel (not just on flights to Europe) comes into play when you are traveling with multiple people in your party.
Looking for a single ticket? You’re in luck — those are much easier to find.
Traveling as a couple, a family of 4, or an even larger group? Finding award tickets for everyone in your party can be tough.
When traveling with a large party, you generally want to start searching for award seats right when the schedule opens for booking. However, even if you do this, there often won’t be enough seats for a larger group. This is where it helps to be a little flexible.
If possible, splitting up your group will give you a better chance of all flying on award tickets.
Splitting up could mean that part of your group flies on the next flight on the same day, or it could mean part of the group even flies on a different day.
If you have miles available with airlines in different alliances, your choices increase. Sometimes you can even find award seats with 2 different alliances that arrive at your destination within minutes of each other. That way you can meet up before even leaving the airport!
Obviously, splitting up the group isn’t an ideal situation, but it could mean you can all experience an amazing business class product.
In other cases, it could mean that you can all get to a top destination during peak times. It’s up to you whether finding award seats is worth flying separately.
Europe is a fantastic destination for your travels from the U.S. For those who are new to traveling, you can find many of the comforts of home and plenty of people who speak English.
If you are a history buff, you will love strolling through the cobbled alleyways and visiting the historic castles and churches scattered throughout the countryside. If you are a foodie, it’s hard to beat the amazing cuisine served in France and Italy.
Europe has something for everyone — with so many airlines flying between the U.S. and Europe, it should be easy for you to book your next flight using miles and points.
The question simply becomes whether you want to fly in a premium cabin or in coach, and which airline miles you will use to make your booking. Happy traveling!
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