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Whether you’re fantasizing about touring the ruins of Athens, eating your way through Italy or exploring the art scene in Berlin, chances are a European vacation is on your list. While airfare to Europe has been dropping over the years, thanks to low-cost carriers and basic economy deals, it can still be tough to budget for a big trip. That’s where points and miles come in. Stock up on the right points currency and you can fly to Europe on points and save your cash for fun once you get to your destination.
» Learn more: How to choose a credit card for Europe travel
Here are five of the cheapest ways to fly to Europe using points and miles:
American Airlines AAdvantage
At 45,000 miles round-trip, American Airlines’ off-peak economy class awards to Europe are a bargain. The airline defines “off-peak” travel to Europe as Jan. 10 to March 14 and Nov. 1 to Dec. 14. If you can make these dates work, this is a great way to get to Europe on points. Best of all, you can swing it with a single credit card welcome bonus thanks to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®.
Delta SkyMiles are vastly underestimated as a rewards currency. While the airline’s dynamic pricing model can make redemption rates unpredictable, you can find some incredible deals when it comes to flights to Europe. For example, in October and November, you can find fares between San Francisco and London for as low as 22,000 miles and $182 round-trip.
Delta’s price calendar is a great tool to determine the lowest redemption rates year-round. It’s definitely a good idea to book in advance — having a nice stash of Delta SkyMiles on hand helps. Currently, the Delta SkyMiles credit cards are offering higher welcome bonuses. With these increased welcome bonuses, you can book at least two round-trip tickets between San Francisco and London — assuming you get in on the 22,000-mile redemption rate.
» Learn more: What does the new SkyMiles Card welcome bonus get you?
Korean SkyPass has some of the cheapest options if you’re looking for award flights to Europe. A round-trip economy class award costs just 50,000 miles while business class is just 80,000. Korean SkyPass is part of the SkyTeam alliance, providing plenty of partner booking options to Europe including flights on Delta and Air France.
The one downside is that ever since Korean SkyPass ended its relationship with the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, there is no longer a way to transfer points to your SkyPass account. The only other option is to pick up one of the co-branded SkyPass credit cards:
Skypass Visa Business.
SKYPASS Visa® Signature Credit Card.
Skypass Visa Classic Card.
Skyblue Skypass Visa.
SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card.
ANA Mileage Club
All Nippon Airways Mileage Club has several sweet-spot redemptions, and flights from the U.S. to Europe is one of them. A partner award ticket to Europe costs just 55,000 miles round-trip in economy or 88,000 in business class. Considering how easy it is to earn ANA miles, you should have no problem saving up for an award. ANA is a transfer partner of AmEx Membership Rewards, meaning you can top off your Mileage Club account with rewards from the following credit cards:
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club offers some of the cheapest award flights to Europe. You can fly between the U.S. and U.K for as little as 20,000 miles and $350 round-trip. That’s a spectacular deal, especially if you’re flying during the summer months when fares tend to be higher. Since the taxes on these awards are higher than usual, it’s important to compare these rates with the cost of paid airfare to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Boston, Newark, New York JFK, Washington DC: 20,000 miles and $350.
Atlanta, Miami, Orlando: 25,000 miles and $435.
Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle: 30,000 miles and $475.
The information related to the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
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 2023, 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