Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.

The Best Ways To Fly to Europe With Points & Miles [Step-by-Step]

Stephen Au's image
Stephen Au
Stephen Au's image

Stephen Au

Former Senior Content Contributor

483 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 24U.S. States Visited: 22

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used...
Edited by: Juan Ruiz
Juan Ruiz's image

Juan Ruiz

Senior Editor & Content Contributor

120 Published Articles 726 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 41U.S. States Visited: 28

Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

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 MileagePlus

Aer Lingus A330 Business Class
Aer Lingus Business Class. Image Credit: Aer Lingus

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:

  1. United miles are super easy to redeem
  2. No (or very low) fuel surcharges
  3. 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
  • Lufthansa
  • 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):

SCROLL FOR MORE

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:

  1. Visit United’s homepage.
  2. Check off the box that says Book with miles, fill out the search box’s fields, and click Find flights.
  3. 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!

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

Turkish Airlines Boeing 787 9 Business Class Seat 7A
Use ANA miles to book Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 business class. Image Credit: Greg Stone

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):

SCROLL FOR MORE

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:

  1. Go to United’s homepage and perform your award search.
  2. Write down the flight details and schedule.
  3. Go to ANA’s U.S. website.
  4. Click Award Booking in the search box.
  5. Log into your ANA account. On the redirected page, enter your search details. Click Search.
  6. 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)

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
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)

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.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

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.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

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 A330 300 economy YUL LAX cabin
Fly Air Canada’s comfortable economy class with your Aeroplan points. Image Credit: Ryan Smith

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:

SCROLL FOR MORE

Distance (Miles)

Operated By

Economy

Premium Economy

Business

First

0 to 4,000

Air Canada

35,000 to 60,000

50,000 to 80,000

60,000 to 160,000

90,000 to 180,000

Partner Airlines

35,000

60,000

90,000

4,001 to 6,000

Air Canada

40,000 to 70,000

60,000 to 90,000

70,000 to 180,000

100,000 to 200,000

Partner Airlines

40,000

70,000

100,000

6,001 to 8,000

Air Canada

55,000 to 80,000

70,000 to 100,000

85,000 to 200,000

120,000 to 225,000

Partner Airlines

55,000

85,000

120,000

8,001+

Air Canada

70,000 to 100,000

85,000 to 160,000

100,000 to 220,000

130,000 to 250,000

Partner Airlines

70,000

100,000

130,000

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:

  1. Visit the Aeroplan website.
  2. In the top-right corner, click Sign in and log into your account.
  3. On the homepage, you’ll see a search box. Toggle the slider that says Book with points Aeroplan.
  4. Fill in the search box, perform the search, and find your desired flight option.
  5. 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

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit 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.

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$95
19.99% - 29.99% (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 Credit (670-850)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.

Pros
  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
Cons
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit 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.

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$395
19.99% - 29.99% (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 (740-840)

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

 

Pros
  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • $395 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

 

Recommended Aeroplan® Credit Card

Aeroplan® Credit 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.

The Aeroplan card is a great option for Air Canada flyers looking to earn more points and receive automatic elite status.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
The Aeroplan card is a great option for Air Canada flyers looking to earn more points and receive automatic elite status.
Earn 70K bonus points after you spend $3K in the first 3 months. Apply for your 1st Aeroplan card from 7/8-7/17, and earn 40% bonus points on purchases for 40 days on up to $40K spent.
70,000 bonus points plus earn a Limited Time Anniversary offer
$1,050
95
21.74% - 28.74% 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)

Flyers based in the U.S. may think they wouldn’t have a need for a card like the Aeroplan® Credit Card, it might be much better suited for you than you think.

Not only does Air Canada offer fantastic award redemptions, but adding the card to your wallet makes the program even more rewarding by offering elite status, more points, travel coverage, and more. Let’s take a closer look and see why the Aeroplan card might make a lot of sense for you.

Pros
  • 3x points per $1 on Air Canada purchases, at grocery stores, and dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services)
  • 500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend in a calendar month (up to a maximum of 1,500 bonus points)
  • Receive Aeroplan 25K status for the remainder of the calendar year, plus the following calendar year, and continue to extend it beyond that by spending $15,000 on the card per calendar year
Cons
  • $95 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 70,000 bonus points plus earn a Limited Time Anniversary offer
  • Earn 70K bonus points after you spend $3K in the first 3 months. Apply for your 1st Aeroplan card from 7/8-7/17, and earn 40% bonus points on purchases for 40 days on up to $40K spent.
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Redeem points for both international and domestic flights with the Aeroplan® Credit Card.
  • Fly to another continent and travel the world with the Aeroplan® Credit Card.
  • Earn 3X points for each dollar spent at grocery stores, on dining at restaurants, and Air Canada directly. Earn 1X point for each dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • 500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend in a calendar month - up to 1,500 points per month.
  • Member FDIC
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.74% - 28.74% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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.

Avianca LifeMiles

United Boeing 787 Dreamliner Polaris Business Class Empty
Flying United Polaris with Avianca LifeMiles is a great way to fly to Europe! Image Credit: Chris Hassan

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:

  1. Go to the LifeMiles website.
  2. Adjust the language to English by clicking the flag icon in the top-right corner.
  3. Click Log In.
  4. Click Travel on the top banner of the homepage.
  5. Fill in your flight details and click Find Flights.
  6. Choose the desired travel date(s).
  7. 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

Citi Premier® 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.

*The information regarding the Citi Premier card has expired, and the card is no longer open to applicants.

*The information regarding the Citi Premier card has expired, and the card is no longer open to applicants.
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
60,000 points
$960
$95
21.24% - 29.24% 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 Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!

Pros
  • 3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotel purchases
  • Access to Citi transfer partners
  • Annual hotel credit
Cons
    • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 60,000 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards redeemable for $600 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 21.24% - 29.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Citi ThankYou Rewards

Asiana Club

Lufthansa First Class
Booking Lufthansa first class is a great way to use Asiana miles to fly to Europe! Image Credit: Greg Stone

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:

  1. Find award availability using United’s website.
  2. Write down all of the relevant flight details.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

We explore the large number of Marriott credit cards available in our detailed guide.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Air France 777 Business Class Middle Seats
Utilize Promo Rewards to get a great deal on Air France business class. Image Credit: Nick Ellis

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:

  • Aeroflot
  • Air France
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • ITA Airways
  • KLM

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:

  1. Visit Air France’s U.S. website.
  2. Log into your Flying Blue account.
  3. Click Book with Miles.
  4. Fill in the search box, and click Search flights.
  5. 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

GREAT STARTER CARD
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 great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
A fantastic travel card with a great welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
60,000 points
$1,200
$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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 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 Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 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.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)
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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
60,000 points
$1,200
$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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
  • $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 Travel℠ 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 Travel℠. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 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: None
Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Business Owner? Read our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.

Delta SkyMiles

Delta One Suites A350-900 Sitting Photo
Delta One Suites A350-900. Image Credit: Stephen Au

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:

SCROLL FOR MORE

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:

  1. Visit Delta’s website.
  2. At the top of the page, you’ll see a search box.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

Hot Tip: Need some help finding award space? Use this guide to search for SkyTeam award availability.

Korean Air SKYPASS

Air France 777 Business Class Pair Seats
Fly to Paris on Air France business class using Korean Air SKYPASS miles. Image Credit: Nick Ellis

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:

SCROLL FOR MORE

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):

  • Aeroflot
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Czech Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • ITA Airways
  • KLM

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:

  1. Use Delta or Air France’s website to find award availability.
  2. Write down the flight numbers.
  3. Call Korean Air SKYPASS at 800-438-5000 and feed the agent the flight details to make a SkyTeam award booking.
  4. 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.

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 AAdvantage

British Airways First Class
British Airways first class. Image Credit: Alex Miller

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.

SCROLL FOR MORE

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:

  1. Visit the American Airlines website.
  2. You’ll see a search box on the homepage. Check off the box that says Redeem miles.
  3. Fill out the search box and click Search.
  4. Find your desired flight.
  5. 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 Marriott Bonvoy.

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.

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:

Alaska Airlines fly to Europe redemption rates
British Airways award search indicating higher carrier-imposed surcharges for BA flights. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

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.

Alaska Airlines fly from EU redemption rates
British Airways award search indicating lower fees using AA. Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

The information regarding the United Club℠ Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi Premier® Card has expired and the card is no longer open to applicants.
The information regarding the Citi Rewards+® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi Double Cash® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi Custom Cash® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
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.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® 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.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to fly to Europe with points and miles?

There are many great programs you can utilize, but some of our favorites are United, ANA, and Air Canada. Others include Avianca LifeMiles, Asiana Club, Flying Blue, Delta SkyMiles, Korean Air SKYPASS, and American Airlines AAdvantage.

How many points does it take to fly to Europe?

It can take as few as 50,000 miles for a round-trip flight in economy, while the cheapest business class flights will cost 80,000 to 90,000 points round-trip. It also depends on what airlines you’re flying on.

What's the cheapest way to fly to Europe?

The cheapest way to fly to Europe using points is likely by taking advantage of Promo Rewards on Air France-KLM Flying Blue if you can get 50% off your economy award ticket.

For business class, the cheapest way to fly is probably using 80,000 Korean Air miles round-trip. Lastly, for first class, the cheapest way to fly is by using 50,000 Asiana miles one-way aboard Lufthansa first class.

How many United miles does it take to fly to Europe?

If you want to fly on United Airlines by redeeming United miles, you can redeem around 60,000 United miles for round-trip economy and as few as 120,000 miles for round-trip business class.

If you want to book an award flight on a partner like SWISS Air or Lufthansa, you can expect to redeem 66,000 United miles for round-trip economy, 154,000 United miles for round-trip business, and 242,000 United miles for round-trip first class.

Stephen Au's image

About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.

The Ultimate Lounge Playbook!

Discover the exact steps we use to get into 1,400+ airport lounges worldwide, for free (even if you’re flying economy!).

playbook cover
DMCA.com Protection Status