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If you're planning to fly to Europe, hopefully, you aren't planning to visit just one city. Europe is renowned for its rail network. But sometimes, a flight can get you where you want to go much cheaper and faster. And, by using points and miles, you can book these intra-Europe flights for a surprisingly reasonable number of miles.
Let's show you some cheap intra-Europe flights you can book using points and miles.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
Cheap intra-Europe flights
1. Zero additional United Airlines miles
The best mileage deal available for European flights costs just zero United miles. By booking a qualifying itinerary using United's Excursionist Perk, you can book an intra-Europe flight for zero additional miles.
The rules of the Excursionist Perk can be a bit complicated, but here's a straightforward example: Use United miles to book Chicago to Dublin, Dublin to Zurich and then Zurich back to Chicago. The flight from Dublin to Zurich will price at exactly zero miles by booking this as one itinerary. However, you'll still need to pay taxes and fees.
While you won't need miles for this flight, you may need to top off your MileagePlus account with miles to book the other flights in this itinerary. You can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio from Chase Ultimate Rewards® or Bilt Rewards. You can also convert Marriott Bonvoy points into United miles at a rate of 3,000 to 1,100.
2. 4,000 Virgin points for Air France and KLM flights
The cheapest intra-Europe award flights we can find — besides zero — are using Virgin points to fly on short Air France or KLM flights. During off-peak dates, you can book routes up to 600 miles in distance for just 4,000 Virgin points. That's far enough to cover routes like Berlin to Paris or Amsterdam.
You can even book connecting flights for just 4,000 points if the cumulative distance is under 600 miles. So, for example, fly from Munich to Rome via Paris for just 4,000 points each way.
Best of all, Virgin points are really easy to accumulate. You can transfer points to Virgin at a 1:1 transfer rate from:
American Express Membership Rewards.
Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Citi ThankYou Points.
» Learn more: The guide to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
3. 4,500 Avios for Iberia flights under 650 miles
Whether you're flying within Spain or looking for cheap flights between European countries, Iberia Plus offers award flights for as few as 4,500 Avios. To get this rate, you must fly nonstop on a route under 650 miles during off-peak dates. Standard dates on the same routes cost a bit more at 5,000 Avios each way.
A great example of where this can come in handy is for a flight from Barcelona to Rome for just 4,500 Avios. And Iberia has no shortage of available awards on this route.
You don't need to earn Iberia Plus Avios directly to take advantage of these cheap intra-Europe flights. Instead, transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfer), Chase Ultimate Rewards® (1:1), Marriott Bonvoy (3:1) or another Avios airline loyalty program.
4. 4,750 Avios for British Airways flights under 650 miles
For short flights in and out of London, consider booking British Airways awards. Although British Airways doesn't publish an award chart, we've found that reward flights under 650 miles cost 4,750 Avios on off-peak dates or 5,250 on peak dates.
Technically, you can pay as few as 2,950 Avios for these award flights by paying a higher cash co-pay. Or you can pay just $1 out of pocket by paying 8,500 Avios. But, the value sweet spot for most travelers is spending 4,750 Avios plus $31 in taxes and fees.
Top off your British Airways Executive Club account with point transfers from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1), Capital One Miles (1:1), Chase Ultimate Rewards® (1:1) or Marriott Bonvoy (3:1).
» Learn more: The complete guide to the British Airways Avios program
5. 6,000 United MileagePlus miles for intra-Europe flights
Another great way to book cheap intra-Europe flights is by using United miles. United removed its award chart in 2019, so award rates aren't published. But, we are finding several intra-Europe routes pricing as low as 6,000 MileagePlus miles each way. Examples include:
Athens to Istanbul.
London to Brussels.
Munich to Frankfurt.
Rome to Zurich.
6. 7,500 Aeroplan points on Star Alliance airlines
Europe is packed with Star Alliance airlines. And you can book award flights up to 1,000 miles in distance on any of these airlines for as few as 7,500 Aeroplan points. That unlocks tons of possible awards on airlines, including:
LOT Polish Airlines.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).
And you aren't limited to nonstop flights. As long as the combined distance is under 1,000 miles, you'll pay just 7,500 Aeroplan points. So, for example, you can fly from Aalborg, Denmark, to Zagreb, Croatia, for just 7,500 Aeroplan points among the nearly endless city combinations.
Aeroplan points are also very easy to accumulate. You can transfer points to Aeroplan from:
Aeroplan recently overhauled its award chart by moving to a semi-dynamically priced model. Its award pricing is based on the regions you're flying between and the distance of the route. See more details about the changes here.
Booking cheap flights through bank portals
Thanks to intense competition from the many airlines that fly within Europe, travelers can often find cheap Europe flights. And many of the mileage options we've covered so far can have hefty taxes and fees. So, it's worth checking the cash prices for flights around Europe to see if you're better off booking a paid fare than redeeming miles.
For example, you can book a 3-hour flight from Madrid to Berlin for as little as $46. At that rate, it's not worth redeeming miles and paying taxes and fees on an award booking.
Instead, you could use bank points to book these cheap intra-Europe flights through a bank's travel portal. In this case, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can book this paid flight through the Ultimate Rewards® portal for just 3,664 points. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders would have to pay just 3,053 points for this flight.
Also, keep in mind that several bank point programs now reward you with bonus points for booking paid flights through its travel portal. Here are some of the best options:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: earn 5x points on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: earn 5x points on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: earn 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
Cheap airfare around Europe recapped
Several airline loyalty programs offer affordable mileage rates for award flights intra-Europe — from 4,000 Virgin point awards on Air France and KLM to sub-5,000-Avios awards on British Airways or Iberia.
Finding the sweet spot that works with your travel plans and mileage balances is vital. While most of these sweet spots include booking through non-U.S. airline loyalty programs, it's easy to generate most of these points by using major transferable points programs.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card