Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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.
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.
Italy is a country with a combination of incredible food, welcoming people, and amazing sights to see. The country’s capital, Rome, is known for the Vatican, Florence is home Michelangelo’s “David,” Venice has its canals, and Milan is Italy’s fashion capital. In addition to these cities, Cinque Terre, the Italian Alps, Tuscany, Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Sicily can’t be missed.
As with any popular destination, flights to Italy during certain times of the year can be expensive. The key is to use Google Flights to find when flight costs are low or use your points and miles to get there on the mega cheap!
Here are the best programs you can use to book award flights to Italy, how to book an award flight, and how to earn enough miles for your next redemption.
It’s important to note that award space in premium cabins on certain routes to Italy can be tough to find. Typically, you’ll want to search either close-in (meaning close to the date of travel) or far out in the award calendar (10-11 months ahead of travel).
Below you’ll find a number of programs that you can use to book an award flight. We’ll cover Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, and Etihad.
The Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program offers a few options for flights from the U.S. to Italy. The airline is a member of the Oneworld alliance. This means that you can use Japan Airlines miles to fly a Oneworld airline partner to Italy. Japan Airlines also partners with Emirates, an airline that offers flights from the U.S. to Italy and Europe.
|Total Trip Distance (Miles)||Economy||Business Class||First Class|
|4||10,001 – 12,000||60,000||110,000||160,000|
|5||12,001 – 14,000||70,000||115,000||165,000|
|6||14,001 – 20,000||90,000||120,000||170,000|
|7||20,001 – 25,000||120,000||150,000||230,000|
|8||25,001 – 29,000||140,000||190,000||280,000|
|9||29,001 – 34,000||150,000||200,000||300,000|
|10||34,001 – 50,000||160,000||220,000||330,000|
|Total Trip Distance (Miles)||Economy||Premium Economy||Business Class||First Class|
Japan Airlines uses a distance-based award chart. The program’s search engine has improved recently, however, you’ll still want to leverage other Oneworld partner websites to search for flights. The Japan Airlines partner award chart determines the mileage required based on the distance of the total award itinerary of each segment and the cabin class.
Use the British Airways or Qantas websites to search for Oneworld award flights, confirming that same availability on the Japan Airlines website, and then booking the flight. If you’re unable to confirm availability on the Japan Airlines website, you can call the airline at 800-525-3663.
Here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for both Oneworld and Emirates round-trip flights to Italy:
|Partner||Cabin Class||Miles||Taxes and Fees|
Hot Tip: Need help booking this award? Here’s a step-by-step guide to booking Emirates business class.
Here are some examples of flights that you can book with Japan Airlines miles:
While not impossible, Japan Airlines miles are difficult to earn. Many airline programs have either co-branded credit cards with sizable sign-up bonuses or multiple transferable point program partners. JAL lacks in both areas.
The main way in the U.S. to earn Japan Airlines miles is by transferring Marriott points to Japan Airlines. For every 60,000 Marriott points that you transfer, you’ll receive 5,000 bonus miles.
For example, 60,000 Marriott points becomes 25,000 Japan Airlines miles. Before transferring Marriott points, keep in mind that points transfer at a 3:1 ratio and can take 7 days to transfer.
Recommended Marriott Cards
A great option for Marriott hotel fans who want a no annual fee card and automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Casual travelers who like to frequent properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy collection of brands may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.
The Marriott Bold card rewards cardholders for Marriott stays and gives them a boost towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual free night award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.
If you’re a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, there’s a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple options for redeeming points.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.
A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.
So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?
Cathay Pacific is another Oneworld member airline with redemption opportunities to Italy. The Asia Miles program uses a distance-based award chart when flying Cathay Pacific or its Oneworld airline partners.
|Cabin Class||Asia Miles Required by Distance Zone (One-Way)|
|Ultra-Short||Short||Medium||Long-Type 1||Long-Type 2||Ultra-Long|
|1-750 miles||751-2,750 miles||2,751-5,000 miles||5,001-7,500 miles||5,001-7,500 miles||7,501+ miles|
|Award Zone||Distance in actual miles||Required Miles|
|Economy||Business Class||First Class|
|2||1,001 – 1,500||30,000||60,000||80,000|
|3||1,501 – 2,000||35,000||65,000||90,000|
|4||2,001 – 4,000||35,000||70,000||95,000|
|5||4,001 – 7,500||60,000||90,000||140,000|
|6||7,501 – 9,000||65,000||100,000||150,000|
|7||9,001 – 10,000||70,000||110,000||160,000|
|8||10,001 – 14,000||90,000||135,000||220,000|
|9||14,001 – 18,000||100,000||155,000||250,000|
|10||18,001 – 20,000||105,000||165,000||260,000|
|11||20,001 – 25,000||115,000||185,000||280,000|
|12||25,001 – 35,000||130,000||210,000||300,000|
|13||35,001 – 50,000||150,000||240,000||345,000|
For Oneworld flights to Europe, Cathay Pacific uses distance-based award charts. If you’re flying a Oneworld partner to Italy, you’ll add 5,000 miles to the Asia Miles Standard Award Chart rate. If you’re flying 2 Oneworld airline partners to Italy, you’ll use the Oneworld Multi-Carrier Award Chart. The number of miles is determined by the distance and cabin class of your award flight.
Search for British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia award availability on the British Airways or Qantas websites, confirm the same availability on the Cathay Pacific website, and then book the flight.
If you’re wanting to search for American Airlines’ flights, you’ll need to search for American Airlines award availability on the British Airways or Qantas websites, and then call Cathay Pacific at 866-892-2598 to confirm availability and book the flight.
Here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for Oneworld round-trip flights to Italy:
|Cabin Class||Oneworld||Taxes and Fees|
*First class only on transatlantic segment
Hot Tip: Need help booking this award? Here’s a fantastic step-by-step guide to booking American Airlines business class.
Here are some examples of Oneworld flights that you can book with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles:
Earning Asia Miles is made easier by the fact that Cathay Pacific is an American Express transfer partner, Chase transfer partner, and a Marriott transfer partner. Cathay Pacific also has a co-branded credit card that offers a solid sign-up bonus.
If you’re looking to transfer points from 1 of these programs, keep in mind the transfer ratios and transfer times. American Express points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 24 hours at a 3:1 ratio.
With that said, Amex and Chase points are more valuable since they transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
This card is undoubtedly the #1 card for luxury travel benefits. From the best lounge access (of any card) to statement credits, to complimentary elite status, you can’t go wrong.
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.
This is the go-to card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants and those who want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
The American Express® Gold Card is definitely 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 a number of other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
Business owner? See our list of the best Amex business credit cards.
Korean Air’s SkyTeam airline partner award pricing for flights to Europe is one of the most competitive you’ll find. With Delta and ITA providing transatlantic flights, the SKYPASS program opens up value with your Korean Air miles.
|Route||Economy||Business Class||First Class|
|North America – North America||25,000||45,000||45,000|
|North America – Central America||35,000||75,000||75,000|
|North America – South America||50,000||110,000||110,000|
|North America – Europe||50,000||80,000||100,000|
|North America – Middle East, Africa||80,000||120,000||160,000|
|North America – Asia 1||80,000||140,000||180,000|
|North America – Asia 2||90,000||155,000||200,000|
|North America – Asia 3||100,000||170,000||230,000|
|North America – Oceania||110,000||185,000||260,000|
Korean Air uses a zone-based award chart for its SkyTeam partner airline flights. This means that all SkyTeam flights between North America and Europe, regardless of the departing U.S. city, will require the same number of Korean Air miles.
For example, Delta flights between Atlanta (ATL) and Amsterdam (AMS) or Detroit (DTW) and Rome (FCO) will cost you the same number of miles.
Search for SkyTeam partner airline flights on the Delta or Flying Blue (Air France or KLM) websites. When you find a flight that works, confirm the same award availability on the Korean Air website, and then book the flight. Another option is to locate award availability via the Delta or Flying Blue websites, and then call Korean Air at 800-438-5000 to book the flight.
Here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for round-trip SkyTeam flights to Italy:
|Cabin Class||SkyTeam||Taxes and Fees|
Hot Tip: Need help booking this award? Here’s our step-by-step guide to booking Delta business class.
If you’re looking to book a trip to Italy, below are some examples of SkyTeam flights to Italy that you can book with Korean Air miles:
Korean Air has 1 transferable point partner in Marriott Bonvoy. In addition, Korean Air offers a co-branded credit card with a material sign-up bonus. For those looking to transfer Marriott points to Korean Air, the transfer time takes 7 days at a 3:1 ratio.
Virgin Atlantic is a niche program that can be utilized for flights to Italy. Virgin Atlantic is not in an airline alliance and instead has individual partnerships with airlines. What’s great about this is that you can sometimes find out-sized value that you won’t find in an airline that’s a member of 1 of the 3 major airline alliances.
|Route||Delta Main Cabin||Taxes and Fees||Business / First||Taxes and Fees|
|U.S. to Europe||60,000||$54+||100,000||$54+|
|Route (to/from UK)||Delta Main Cabin||Taxes and Fees||Delta One||Taxes and Fees|
|US East Coast (BOS, JFK,PHL)||20,000||$526||90,000||$1,288|
|US Central (ATL,DTW, MSP)||25,000||$526||95,000||$1,288|
|US West Coast (PDX,SLC)||30,000||$526||135,000||$1,288|
|Standard season travel dates: April 17 to June 21, 2018, and September 7 to December 12, 2019.|
|Air New Zealand Round-Trip|
|Route||Economy||Taxes and Fees||Business Class||Taxes and Fees|
|Los Angeles – London||50,000||$349||155,000||$349|
You’ll use a zone-based award chart when flying Delta or Air New Zealand with Virgin Points. For Delta flights, the closer to Europe from the U.S. that you fly from, the fewer miles you’ll need. Air New Zealand only flies 1 route, so the amount of miles is either 55,000 for economy or 155,000 for business class.
Search for Delta flights on the Virgin Atlantic website, and then book the flight. If you’re not able to book the flight online, call Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500 to book the flight. You’ll use the United website to search for Air New Zealand flights. When you find a flight that works, call Virgin Atlantic to book the flight.
Here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for round-trip Air New Zealand and Delta flights to Italy:
|Cabin Class||Air New Zealand and Delta||Taxes and Fees|
Hot Tip: Redeeming Virgin Points to fly on Delta will work best if you’re flying non-stop. If your itinerary requires a connecting flight or stopover, you will be charged additional miles for each segment.
For those wanting to transfer points from Amex, Citi, Chase, and/or Marriott, it’s important to know the transfer times and ratios.
American Express points transfer in 1-2 days at a 1:1 ratio, Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Citi points transfer in 2 days at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 24 hours at a 3:1 ratio.
In short, Chase tends to get you the most value given the 1:1 ratio. Here are some Chase cards that earn transferable miles:
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
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.
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.
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!
Business owner? See our list of the best Chase business cards.
The Etihad Guest program is one that you can use if you’re looking to fly select airline partners to Italy. Etihad is not a member of an airline alliance. Instead, it has individual partnerships similar to Virgin Atlantic. With that said, you can use Etihad miles to book award flights on American Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Royal Air Maroc.
|American Airlines Round-Trip|
|Economy Off-Peak||Economy Peak||Business Class||First Class|
|Economy Off-Peak: May 15 to October 15.|
|Brussels Airlines Round-Trip|
|New York (JFK)||Brussels||54,000||88,000|
|Brussels Airlines Round-Trip|
|Royal Air Maroc One-Way|
|Distance Travelled||Economy||Business Class|
|2,001 and above||22,000||44,000|
Etihad uses a zone-based award chart for American Airlines and Brussels Airlines and a distance-based award for Royal Air Maroc. The Etihad website doesn’t allow you to book these partner flights online, so you’ll need to find space elsewhere and then call Etihad Guest at +1-0-877-690-0767 to book the flight.
Use the British Airways or Qantas websites to search for American Airlines award flights. Brussels Airlines flights can be found by searching on the United website. For those looking to fly Royal Air Maroc, search for flights using Expert Flyer or call Etihad Guest to search for the award flight.
The taxes and fees should be close to those shown in the chart below, but confirm with Etihad Guest over the phone.
|Cabin Class||American Airlines*||Taxes and Fees|
*Non-stop only flights
|Cabin Class||Brussels Airlines**||Taxes and Fees|
**Requires 2 separate award flights
|Cabin Class||Royal Air Maroc||Taxes and Fees|
Hot Tip: Etihad is a program to use if you’re familiar with booking award flights. The inability to search for and book award flights on the Etihad website makes redeeming award flights with its airline partners more challenging.
Here are some examples of flights that you can book with Etihad Guest miles:
Etihad makes it relatively easy to earn its miles by partnering with 4 transferable point programs in American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott. The airline doesn’t offer a credit card for the U.S. market, so earning points that can be transferred directly to Etihad is the best way to earn Etihad miles.
For those looking to transfer points to Etihad, it’s helpful to know the transfer times and transfer ratios. American Express points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One points transfers take 36 hours at a 1:1 ratio, Citi point transfers take 6 days at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 5 days at a 3:1 ratio.
We recommend transferring American Express points first for your next award flight.
Italy is a country that has a rich history and offers tons of diverse experiences. From the mountainous regions in the north to the vineyards in Tuscany to the beautiful coastal cities in the south — Italy has it all!
The key to getting to experience the country is knowing how best to leverage your points and miles with the programs that offer the best redemptions. With several programs at your disposal, you have more than enough ways to fly in a cabin class that makes sense for you.
What may be noticeably absent from this article is the ability to fly on an award ticket from the U.S. to Europe, and then buy a ticket on a low-cost carrier from that city to Italy. This is certainly an option too — and one that we recommend if you don’t mind a connection and spending a small amount of cash on a cheap flight.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the 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 Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
Emirates, American Airlines, and Delta all impose some form of surcharges on flights to Italy.
Japan Airlines and Etihad require the fewest number of miles to fly economy, at 39,000-40,000 miles round-trip.
Japan Airlines requires the fewest number of miles to fly business class, at 63,000-80,000 round-trip.
JAL requires the fewest number of miles to fly first class, at 100,000-120,000 miles round-trip. The route is between New York and Milan on Emirates.
Was this page helpful?
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn’t travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since.
Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend’s phone about a mistake fare. That’s where the love affair with points and miles began.
Travel is changing fast... Stay on top of all the points strategies, exclusive offers & pivotal news - and lock in huge savings along the way.
Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.