I’m resurrecting a series I used to do where the concept is pretty simple: I list frequent flyer mile prices and then discuss details and deals for getting to different regions.
If you want to start getting into credit card miles or have a bunch of bank points, where do you start? Or if you’re simply interested in hearing about the best deals to a region, this is the series for you!
Let’s start by dissecting the cheapest miles to Europe!
What are the best airline award charts to Europe in general? What are some mileage discounts and constant promos that you might be able to jump on? Any hidden gems? We’ll be looking into it all!
Cheapest Region Based Award Charts To Europe
All prices are oneways:
|Virgin Atlantic||10 – 25||47.5 – 77.5||Chase UR (1:1);
Amex MR (1:1);
Citi TY (1:1)
|Etihad Miles on AA||20 – 30||50||62.5||Amex MR (1:1);
Citi TY (1:1);
|FlyingBlue||21.5 – 27||53 – 72||200||Chase UR (1:1);
Amex MR (1:1);
Citi TY (1:1);
|Alaska||22.5 – 25||55||70|
|AA OneWorld||22.5 – 30||57.5||85|
|Delta||25||75||Amex MR (1:1)|
|Singapore||27.5||72||107.5||Chase UR (1:1);
Amex MR (1:1);
Citi TY (1:1)
|Air Canada: EU 1||30||55||70||Amex MR (1:1); Cap1 (1000:750)|
|Air Canada: EU 2||37.5||57.5||80||Amex MR (1:1); Cap1 (1000:750)|
|United Star Alliance||30||70||130||Chase UR (1:1)|
|Avianca||30||63||87||Amex MR (1:1);
Citi TY (1:1);
|EVA Air||34||65||85||Citi TY (1:1);
|AeroMexico||48||110||Amex MR (1000:1600)|
|Etihad Miles on RAM||22*||44*||Amex MR (1:1);
Citi TY (1:1);
|ANA Star Alliance (roundtrip)||55||88||165||Amex MR (1:1)|
At First Glance
Note that the list item is ANA Star Alliance, which does have a region based award chart (which you can find on my Complete List of Airline Award Charts).
This is a great deal! 55k/88k (economy/business class) are two of the best deals out there. It simply requires a roundtrip.
Although, the clear winner here is using Etihad Miles for AA flights… It’s the best economy (at least with off-peak), business and first class prices so far!
If you want to get more details, read my post, Etihad Miles Using AA’s Old Award Chart.
Best deals so far:
- Economy – Etihad, Alaska, FlyingBlue, and AA for 20k to 22.5k miles.
- Business – Etihad, FlyingBlue, Alaska and AirCanada for 50k to 55k miles.
- First – Etihad, Alaska, and Air Canada for 62.5k to 70k miles.
Explaining all the Variations
Three of the airlines have “off-peak” prices to Europe… And all of them are for AA flights.
You can book the following off-peak prices to Europe:
- 22.5k AA miles
- Dates: January 10 – March 14, November 1 – December 14
- 22.5k Alaska miles on AA flights only
- Dates: October 15 – May 15
- 20k Etihad miles on AA flights only
- Dates: October 15 – May 15
AA has off-peak discounts that Alaska and Etihad copied when you redeem their miles for AA flights. The crazy thing is that AA has devalued their own miles, but Alaska and Etihad has kept their older and lower priced award chart.
Virgin Atlantic FlyingClub
The range in prices is due to off-peak and peak. Find those details here.
Here’s the Virgin Atlantic award chart for flights between US and London:
|Economy Classic||Premium||Upper Class|
|USA – Northeast
(Boston, Newark, New York JFK, Washington DC)
|10 – 20||17.5 – 27.5||47.5 – 57.5|
|USA – Midwest & South
(Atlanta, Miami, Orlando)
|12.5 – 22.5||22.5 – 32.5||47.5 – 57.5|
|USA – West
(Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle)
|15 – 25||27.5 – 35||67.5 – 77.5|
First, know that the only destination they fly to in Europe is London.
Second, their advertised fuel surcharges to Europe are between $450 and $1,460, but their search engine shows fees of $150 in economy, and $624 in “upper class”.
For those looking for a ticket to London from one of these cities, it’s still a good deal for those willing to pay $150 oneway in economy (it would add another $100 coming back, due to LHR’s airport tax) if you can get the 10k miles price. And if you’re looking for a nice business class and are willing to pay $650, this probably has better availability than most.
You can also use Virgin FlyingClub miles on Delta. Why would you pay 30k/72.5k to book Delta instead of using Delta Miles for likely less? I think the advantage here is being able to transfer from Citi and Chase and get access to Delta awards. Sometimes they have better/different availability depending on where you live.
Explaining Flying Blue Prices
I’ve done my best to group FlyingBlue’s prices into three US regions and 3 European regions… And it’s not perfect, but it gives the most likely range of prices.
Again, there are definitely exceptions, so it’s worth doing a search on AirFrance (here).
Alaska Miles Options
Alaska has different award charts for each partner.
Here are the prices to Europe depending on the airlines:
- AA – 32.5k/60k/70k (not including off-peak discussed)
- Condor – 25k/55k
- Finnair – 30k/70k
- Icelandair – 35k/55k
- Icelandair to Iceland – 30k/50k
- British Airways – 32.5k/60k/70k
Great prices in general. Condor routes can be very well priced, but you won’t always find the 25k price. IcelandAir would also allow you a stopover in Iceland.
British Airways fuel surcharges are so expensive that I put it last. But if you’re looking for a luxury experience and are willing to pay, they might have better availability than AA.
Discounts, Promos, Deals, & Other Options
FlyingBlue Promo Awards
This is a great option that I’ve never been able to use yet.
These are somewhat last minute promotions (generally, book now for the next 3 months) and only for a few routes. Often 25% off or even 50% off.
When I filter for “North America” I currently see 25% off business class to/from Dallas and Toronto.
Given how cheap FlyingBlue tickets are, if you get the chance to get 50% off, that’s a big deal!
Imagine getting a oneway economy ticket for 12k miles or a business class for 27k miles oneway, that is truly unbeatable.
This is one of the most underrated deals to Europe.
Lufthansa Miles & More “MileageBargain”
I actually didn’t know this was still alive, but upon checking it looks like Miles & More still offers discounts on their partners.
Go here – (I have the filter set to USA flights).
I see tons of options for 50% off!
Similar to PromoAwards, this is bookable now for flights in the next upcoming season.
In this case it seems to be roundtrip only.
I was ready to write this deal off as unusable because of its fuel surcharges, but these prices are great.
30k miles for a roundtrip to Europe in economy and 55k for a roundtrip to Europe in business, is a great deal! And it seems to be any US city, and right now I see 294 deals! That’s a lot of options.
At $500+, the fuel surcharges do kill the deal completely for me personally. But if you’re flying business class, $500 and 55k miles is still a deal.
If I recall correctly though, if you can find a discount on LOT, those fuel surcharges are a little over $100. However, I only see Lufthansa flights available on the deal.
With current fuel surcharges, I’m a “no” on this deal, but I know it will be useful for some – really those wanting to get discount business class, as paying $600 to redeem miles for an economy ticket is not better than a paid ticket you’d earn on.
Singapore Miles on Singapore flights for 22.5k/72k/86k
Singapore has two routes from the US to Europe: New York to Frankfurt, and Houston to Manchester. If you happen to need that route, it’s a great deal in economy.
Etihad Miles for Royal Air Maroc for 22k/44k
This is an amazing deal to Morocco, and they offer a free stopover in the terms and conditions.
I got some flack due to saying it was possible to book a stopover in Morocco, as others have apparently tried to book and found it unsuccessful, saying that agents price the ticket from the US to Morocco and the ticket onward as two separate tickets. However, others have reported to me that they have since been able to book the ticket as I described.
22k/44k for econ/biz is an amazing price to Morocco, and it could be worth calling to try to get the connection to Europe… However, note that others have been shot down.
For more on using Etihad Miles for Royal Air Maroc and the routes they offer, read Best Use Of Etihad Miles on Partners.
Etihad Miles for Brussels
- JFK – BRU = 27k/44k
- IAD – BRU = 27k/44k
If you live in NYC or DC and need a flight to Brussels, this could be a good deal, otherwise, it might not make much sense, as you have to pay per segment, and therefore a flight to Europe would be more than the above amount.
Virgin Atlantic with Hawaiian Miles or Singapore Miles
It’s only 25k/50k to redeem Singapore miles on Virgin Atlantic (or a little bit more miles using Hawaiian Miles). The problem is 1) there are limited destinations in the US (ATL, BOS, AX, LAS, MIA, NYC, MCO, SFO, SEA, IAD) and only London in Europe. So limited use.
And 2) fuel surcharges are likely expensive. Might be worth it for Virgin upperclass for some of you.
Basically, the same as above in the Virgin FlyingClub section, but slightly more in economy, and could be cheaper if business class.
Interesting Region Definitions
A few observations:
- Turkey is considered Europe (which is technically true for the IST airport) by many, like AC Aeroplan, United, AA, etc…
- Canary Islands (and nearby “European” islands in the Atlantic) are often considered Europe, like by AA, Singapore miles, etc…
- Iceland is almost always considered “Europe”.
The best deal is that AA, United, and AC Aeroplan miles consider Caucasus countries (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) as part of “Europe” and therefore the same price. (Although Azerbaijan is not considered Europe with United miles).
Therefore, if you’re thinking of visiting Georgia, consider AA, United, or AC miles.
This also means you could get a oneway “within Europe” and go all the way from western Europe to Georgia for only 10k AA miles.
Comparing Distance Based Programs
Since distance based award charts are based on the mileage flown, which is different for each route, I wanted to choose 3 examples to price out in miles – a short, medium, and long version of US flights to Europe.
Check out the award charts:
I’ll explain them a little bit more after the examples.
Also, note that the award charts above were in oneways, but the following are for roundtrip.
New York to London (prices for roundtrip):
Denver (layover in NYC) to Rome (prices in roundtrip):
LA to Istanbul (prices in roundtrip):
Breaking down the distance based award charts
British Airways Avios is unique in that it is priced per segment. You can look at the British Airways Avios Award Chart, BA Award chart and then head over to a distance tool like gcmap.com to calculate and then price out distances.
To see the distances using gcmap.com just type in your route (like “DEN-JFK-FCO”) and it will spit out the total segments’ distances (which you need for most distance-based award charts), and it will also show you the distances for each segment (which you need for BA Avios).
The best deal with BA Avios to Europe is Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus for only 12.5k miles. That particular route falls under that cheapest price bracket.
The winner here in most cases is JAL Miles.
Here’s a look at the JAL award chart:
The reason I made every route on the distance based award chart roundtrip, is because it’s a requirement with JAL miles.
When you compare JAL’s roundtrip prices to the regular region based award charts above, assuming they’re doubled to be roundtrip, JAL prices are great.
The JAL miles prices above as roundtrips are 50-70/85-115/110-165. As a oneway (which you can’t do but just to compare to the above) it would be 25-35/42.5-57.5/55-82.5.
That’s amazing. A business class ticket to Europe for 42.5k, or a first class ticket for 55k miles, is a great deal.
The JAL and Asia Miles prices are particularly great the shorter the route is. For those leaving from the east coast or center of the country, the prices are among the best, if not the best premium cabin prices, for sure.
But for those on the west coast, it becomes less obvious.
The other perk would be the stopovers that are generally more generous with distance based programs, which I’ll discuss in a minute.
ANA’s RTW Award Chart
But first, I have to mention ANA, as it’s a great program, but it would require more than Europe.
Here’s the ANA RTW award chart:
You simply add up the miles flown to get the price, like many other distance based programs… However, you are only allowed to go one direction, like most Round The World Award Charts.
Meaning, you could fly from the US to Europe, and then you would have to fly east to continue home… Like via Asia. You’d have to cross the Pacific, basically.
Distance based programs
Stopovers for each program are as follows:
- JAL Miles = 7 stopovers
- Asia Miles = 5 stopovers
- ANA Miles = 8 stopovers
That’s insanely awesome. The only problem with using them in Europe is that the airport taxes in Europe add up.
With these programs, again, you just add up the distance flown. It’s actually quite easy, as most anything is possible.
Aeroplan. Given that AC had good prices, it’s worth mentioning that you can book two stopovers with Aeroplan miles. And you can book one stopover on Aeroplan.com without much issue, but if you want an open-jaw or second stopover, you have to call.
Alaska Stopover Trick To Europe
I’ve written a lot about Alaska Stopover Tricks, and the thing about Alaska miles is that you can only use 1 partner at a time, plus Alaska flights.
So if you redeem Alaska miles for AA flights, since AA doesn’t have intra-Europe flights, your stopover would have to be in a place like New York. However, that could make a lot of sense if on your return you want to stopover in your home and then tack on a flight to Hawaii, or Central America, or the Caribbean, for no extra cost.
For example, you do London to Seattle and stopover in Seattle for 6 months. But as part of the same ticket Seattle is your “stopover” “on the way” to Hawaii.
Do this in reverse and you’ve got a sweeter deal.
I personally don’t like going to Europe in winter anymore. I’m done with that. But I want off-peak prices for AA flights. Here’s what I can do…
Book the flight to Europe starting from another region, like Hawaii or Mexico or something. So you’re booking a ticket from Hawaii and doing a stopover in your home area for 6 months (or however long you want).
As long as your first flight starts in the off-peak dates, then your entire oneway to Europe gets the off-peak price, even if the actual flight to Europe is in summer.
Does that make sense? Hawaii (or Central America or something reached by AA) to Europe is the ticket, it’s just via your home for a “stopover”. You could do Hawaii to LA in Feb, and then continue LA to London in June, and it will still be 22.5k Alaska miles.
That’s a fantastic price to Europe, the cheapest economy flight in summer. And yet, for the same price you can also book a ticket returning from Hawaii or similar.
You may also be able to book similar tickets with Etihad Miles on AA flights.
The option for stopovers actually in Europe with Alaska miles is flights on Condor (I mean, you could redeem Alaska Miles for BA flights, but the fuel surcharges are insane). You’re looking at 25k/55k prices, and they cover lots of places, including Middle East and Africa.
Condor also serves a unique set of US airports: BWI, LAS, LAX, MSP, MSY, PHX, PIT, PDX, SEA.
(I looked at a couple of OMAAT’s Review of Condor Business Class, and his “bottom line” section seems to give his stamp of approval, and he’s tried everything, so he has better judgment. But he also says it’s an “angled” lie-flat, which is un-sleep-able for me personally).
The obvious option with United stopovers is to have your “free segment” within Europe. Lots of stuff is possible, as you get unlimited open-jaws.
You could fly into London and then depart for your free segment from Paris to Venice, and then fly home departing Rome. All that is still only 60k UA miles roundtrip.
If you want to read about more complicated options, check out Complete Guide To United Stopover Tricks.
Conclusion / Best Uses of Miles To Get To Europe
Best Economy deals
- Flying Blue routes for 21.5k/53k oneway, is a great deal. FlyingBlue consistently has some of the cheapest economy flights.
- Those prices are 25% to 50% off with promo awards, which is a crazy good deal!
- Off-peak 20k – 22.5k miles in economy:
- AA miles
- Etihad Miles on AA flights
- Alaska Miles on AA flights
- Plus a stopover – giving you two tickets for the price of one, and allows you to get the off-peak price year round.
- Virgin Atlantic is another off-peak, as cheap as 10k to 15k depending on location. Even it’s peak season prices are 25k at most expensive. However, fees begin at $150.
- BA Avios Boston to Dublin for 12.5k miles.
- Singapore miles for the US to Europe Singapore flight for 22.5k is a good deal (IAH-MAN and EWR-FRA).
The best business and first class flights:
- Etihad Miles on AA flights for 50k/62.5k for business/first class.
- These are among the cheapest business & first class options (although AA first is hard to find), and the cheapest first option with the exception of short JAL flights.
- ANA’s region based award chart at 55k/88k roundtrip for econ/business class, is a fantastic deal, as this is the cheapest business class.
- However, you can do a round the world trip for not much more.
- Flying Blue routes for 21.5k/53k oneway is again, a good deal.
- Plus, 25% to 50% off with PromoAwards. With either discount, this would be the cheapest business and economy.
- JAL Miles for 85k/110k roundtrip for business/first class (from US east coast).
- 110k/160k from Midwest example.
- Virgin Atlantic miles start “Upper Class” at 47.5k, but fees start at $650.
- Similarly, Asia Miles for 90k to 135k in business class to Europe.
- Air Canada Aeroplan miles to “Europe 1” for 30k/55k/70k is a good deal.
- Alaska Miles for Condor flights for 25k/55k economy/business class. The main appeal is that it seems to have way better availability than AA (but “angled”).
I was actually surprised to see FlyingBlue often the cheapest for economy. But the big surprise is seeing just how Etihad Miles for AA flights is by far the best deal. Consistently the cheapest for economy, business, and first class.
Check out Using Etihad Miles for AA’s old award chart.
Per usual these days, the distance based programs like JAL, Asia Miles, and ANA keep coming up as great deals (as they’re currently slower to devalue).
In the end, finding flights for 20k to 25k miles is very possible. There are also lots of business class options for 44k to 60k.