Flight prices seem to keep ticking higher and higher if you've got a trip to Europe in mind for this summer. Don't count on using points and miles, either – especially in business class, as award availability is borderline nonexistent. Except for this.
We found and sent Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members an award alert earlier this week for a chance to book SWISS business class from New York City (JFK) to Geneva (GVA) for two to four (or more!) passengers … throughout summer 2023! That means you can book a trip to Switzerland in style for the family in July or August using points and miles instead of forking over a not-so-small fortune.
Since SWISS is part of the Star Alliance, you can book these excellent business class seats to Switzerland for just 60,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles apiece – and those miles are easy to earn. Because Aeroplan is a Chase transfer partner, an Amex transfer partner, and a Capital One transfer partner, you can instantly transfer all the points you need to book from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the American Express® Gold Card, or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. Keep reading for instructions to see how it's done!
Some of the peak-summer availability has been snatched up in the days since we first sent our Premium+ members an award alert, but there are still many dates in July and August available to book. There's also solid availability through the fall and into the winter, if you fancy a trip to Europe later this year to explore Switzerland – maybe even hit the slopes.
Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members get award alerts like this one to use their miles wisely, with a list of available dates and in-depth booking instructions!
At a time when flying economy to Europe this summer costs $1,500 or more, this is unprecedented. Finding just one or two business class seats to Europe in the summer using miles is a rarity, as almost every airline is angling to sell seats at a high cost rather than allow travelers to redeem them using miles. But on this route, you can find many dates in July, August, and through the fall and beyond.
You might need to be flexible for a summer trip in business class to Switzerland, as not every day is bookable from July through August – but the fact that there are any seats available, period, is notable here. Dates shown below in green at 73,000 miles should be bookable through Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, and other Star Alliance airline programs. There's also availability in early July and late August.
Return availability is solid too, if you want to make a roundtrip in business class. Sadly, SWISS's nonstop routes from the U.S. to Zurich (ZRH) aren't bookable over this same span.
While most travelers might automatically search for flights into Zurich, Geneva is an underrated starting point to explore Switzerland thanks to its location in the far western part of the country. Plus, getting in is easy: Switzerland dropped all its travel restrictions requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test for entry almost a year ago.
No matter the time of year, SWISS is one of our favorite ways to fly business class to Europe thanks to its comfortable seats, solid service and great food onboard. That you can snag one of these seats using miles for a trip this summer almost seems too good to be true.
Read our full review of SWISS business class!
How to Book SWISS
SWISS is a member of the Star Alliance, which leaves you with plenty of ways to book these business class seats. But one stands out:
- Air Canada Aeroplan is the best option of the bunch, as the airline charges just 60,000 miles each way. Aeroplan is a transfer partner with Chase, Amex, Capital One, and even Bilt Rewards, which makes it incredibly easy to get the miles you need to book.
- You can also book with 63,000 Avianca LifeMiles, which you can transfer from Capital One, Amex, and Citi ThankYou points. Just beware that LifeMiles has notoriously poor customer service and charges $200 to cancel your award ticket to get your miles back.
- You can also book using 73,000 United MileagePlus miles, which are transferrable from Chase as well
But before you transfer any points, you'll want to scope out award availability to make sure the flights you want are bookable – though with this much availability, it shouldn't be too hard if you're flexible. We recommend turning to United.com, whose ability to filter for nonstop business class flights and get a monthlong view makes it one of the best sites to find award availability and zero in on what you want to book.
Just be sure to search for how many seats you want: 1, 2, 4, or more. Use United's handy tools to filter only for nonstop results in business class, too. If you see a result through United bookable at 73,000 miles, that should be bookable through other airline programs like LifeMiles or Aeroplan.
Just plug your date into LifeMiles or Aeroplan and confirm the seats you want are there – and they should be. After that, instantly transfer your credit card points and book your amazing summer getaway to Switzerland!
Great business class availability to Europe during the middle of summer? And on a great airline, to boot?
Book it while you can. These seats are disappearing fast as travelers lock in their plans for a trip this summer.
Get alerted to more opportunities to use your points and miles with Thrifty Traveler Premium+!