There are a number of distance based programs out there for whom there are specific routes that make east coast flights to Europe super cheap. The distance across the Atlantic is sometimes barely much more than the distance from the west coast to the east in the US. This is a post to help those living on the east coast to take advantage of some of these deals.
The real value is actually from the north east to London or Paris. But in general, distance based programs from the east coast are a heck of a lot cheaper than the west coast.
But also, the distance based programs like ANA and JAL allow multiple stopovers. So if you do stretch it a little more, it could still be well worth the effort.
First I’ll go over the distance based programs and then go over a few other details, like Singapore Miles and Air Berlin’s Companion Pass.
Distance Based Programs
JFK – LHR roundtrip
This is one of the shortest, yet most common routes, New York to London.
|Virgin Elevate||15k||35k||Amex 2:1|
|ANA||38k||63k||Amex MR, SPG|
|BA Avios||40k||120k||Chase UR|
|Asia Miles||60k||80k||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
A quick recap:
Virgin Elevate transfers from Amex 2:1 so it would take 30,000 Amex MR points for a roundtrip using Virgin Elevate miles, seemingly a killer deal, however fuel surcharges are ridiculous.
However, see the section on Virgin Elevate below for a killer deal to Frankfurt.
ANA allows multiple stopovers and has really good prices, not just for economy but business class as well. JAL is similar but the OneWorld version. ANA is highly favored because of the Amex transfer, since JAL only transfers from the coveted SPG points. The problem is that ANA’s award program is completely changing soon – so you need to book now.
ANA and JAL do pass on fuel surcharges. JAL miles can be used on Air Berlin without. See: Master Chart To Avoiding Fuel Surcharges. But according to this TPG post, ANA doesn’t seem to have YQ fees on United across the Atlantic.
MIA – XXX – VIE roundtrip
This is a flight from the furthest point on the east coast, to somewhere in central Europe. Miami to Vienna.
|Virgin Elevate||20k +||40k +||Amex 2:1|
|ANA||60k||90k||Amex MR, SPG|
|BA Avios||70k||210k||Chase UR|
|Asia Miles||85k||115k||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
Similar to last time except that ANA isn’t as much of a shining example given that 60k is a normal price for distance based programs.
LAN isn’t as bad as it looks for economy since they transfer from SPG 1:1.5. Plus SPG gives a 5,000 point bonus when you transfer in groups of 20,000. 40,00 SPG points would get you 75,000 LAN klms. Not the best deal ever since 40k spg points would get you 50k AA miles, or most anything else.
Virgin Elevate miles can still be used for Virgin Atlantic flights, but they unfortunately don’t fly to VIE and still have huge fuel surcharges. However, see the section on Virgin Elevate below for a killer deal to Frankfurt.
Region Based/Other Programs
Since a lot of these aren’t distance based, and instead based on regions/zones, the cheap flights may not only apply to east coast but anywhere in the US. But if it’s the cheapest price, it’s a better deal.
Air Berlin Companion Ticket – 90,000 miles for 2 people
One of the benefits of using Air Berlin Miles is that you can book an Air Berlin ticket and get a second ticket for 50%. Air Berlin has no fuel surcharges and I have flown it to/from and within Europe because of that, but have yet to use Air Berlin miles personally. But the price is only 60,000 miles for the first person and 30,000 for the second.
That’s 90,000 Air Berlin miles for two people to fly on Air Berlin. 45k each is a good price.
The problem is that the only transfer partner is SPG points. Although I have seen some decent bonuses for paid flights… if you do those.
British Airways Avios cheapest routes: BOS-DUB for 12.5k oneway
A lot of people know about this route, but it’s possibly the cheapest route in the post. You can use British Airways Avios on the specific route Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus. You can not book this route online and need to call to book. However, you may be able to search for routes on United.com.
It’s 12,500 Avios per direction and you can transfer from: Chase UR, Amex MR, and SPG points.
Singapore Miles – 40k miles
Singapore has a good price for their own flight from NYC to Frankfurt (and Houston to Russia). Not a lot of options here as Singapore only has these two US to Europe routes that continue onward to Singapore.
You may also be interested in flying Singapore’s First Class Suites for the experience. Singapore miles are the best for that. See the Best Use of Singapore Miles for details.
You can transfer to Singapore miles from all four of the big points earning options: Chase UR, Amex MR, Citi TY, and SPG points. See: What Credit Cards Transfer to What Airlines.
Virgin Elevate – 20k miles
Virgin Elevate also partners with Singapore Airlines and you can redeem miles on the same Singapore Airlines flight from NYC to Frankfurt and it doesn’t come with fuel surcharges. So that’s 40k Amex MR points for a roundtrip to Europe on Singapore Airlines. Way cool.
AA Off-Peak (with AA Miles and Alaska Miles) – 40k miles
American Airlines allows off-peak pricing from anywhere in the US, but it often ends up being the best prices to Europe. It’s half the year; Oct 15 – May 15.
AA miles allows you to get this price on any airline in the OneWorld alliance.
Alaska Miles only allows this price on American flights.
Lufthansa’s Mileage Bargain – 30k miles
The Miles & More program has a sale called Mileage Bargain that gives upwards of 50% off routes, making US to Europe flights as few as 30,000 points. It’s only good on Miles & More members, usually Lufthansa and Swiss, and the fuel surcharges are outrageous. You may prefer using the discount for flights originating in the US, making flights on Star Alliance members 50,000 miles.
View the changing list here.
Flying Blue Promo Awards – 12.5k miles oneway
Air France and KLM have a huge discount that might be worth the $200 fuel surcharges since some routes are 12,500 miles. But it varies greatly month to month as far as what the discount will be and for what routes.
My top picks go like this:
- ANA & JAL miles from the north east, for both economy and business class. Probably the cheapest business class.
- BA Avios on Aer Lingus from Boston to Dublin for 12,500 miles.
- AA Off-Peak using AA miles or Alaska miles.
- NYC – Frankfurt on Singapore airlines using Virgin Elevate miles for 40k Amex MR points.
If you’re lucky enough to need one of these routes from the east coast, enjoy the discount that would require a long haul just to get to the east coast for our west coast brothers and sisters.