Advertiser Disclosure

ITA Airways business class seat

9 Great Ways to Book Business Class to Europe for Fewer Points & Miles

We've all been there: Dreaming of flying business class across the Atlantic only to start searching and see sky-high rates of 200,000 miles, 300,000 miles each way per person … if you find any flights at all.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Just ask our Thrifty Traveler Premium members: We're sending them deals with the best ways to get to Europe and back in business class – often for the mileage rates you're used to seeing for a cramped economy seat. That includes a surefire way to fly business class to Spain from just 34,000 miles each way, roundtrip flights to Italy or Greece for just over 100,000 miles, and a workaround to book Delta One business class to Europe for 50,000 points … even when Delta itself is charging 300,000 SkyMiles or more!

Don't believe us? We brought receipts. Take a look at some of the best ways to book business class flights over to Europe.

Start getting alerts for deals like these straight to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!


Lie-Flat to Spain from 34K Points

Let's start with one of the best deals in the world of points and miles. Getting to Europe in a lie-flat seat doesn't get cheaper than this.

While most airlines charge at least 60,000 miles (if not double that) for a one-way business class ticket to Europe, you can fly Iberia business class for as low as 34,000 miles each way! It's not too good to be true: In fact, there are only a few hoops to jump through to make it happen:

  • You have to fly nonstop between Madrid (MAD) and select U.S. cities like Boston (BOS), New York City (JFK), Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD), and Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to get this low rate – other cities like Miami (MIA) and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) will cost you more miles.
  • You have to fly at the right time: These low, 34,000-mile rates are only available during off-peak periods – with rates of at least 50,000 miles, peak summer trips are pricier
  • Your searches might still turn up blank, as you need to find the award availability to actually book these flights with your miles.

We've got you covered. We do all the legwork for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members: Finding availability, in-depth booking instructions, and guiding you to the best credit card points to use to book what's typically a $4,000-plus fare. If there's a transfer bonus to Iberia (or British Airways), it can get even cheaper.


iberia business class 

Only Thrifty Traveler Premium members get award alerts like these to use their points and miles!

This is one of our favorite ways to cross the pond in style using points. Cheap? Yep. Easy to book? Check. Easy to earn the points you need to do it? Definitely.


How to Do It

Iberia miles couldn't be easier to earn, and you don't even have to step foot on an Iberia flight to get them.

Iberia Avios are one of the many Chase transfer partnersCiti transfer partners, and Amex transfer partners. That means you can easily earn the miles you need with cards like the *chase sapphire preferred* or the *amex gold card*, among other options. And since British Airways is a Capital One transfer partner, you can also send miles from a *venture x* to British Airways, then combine them with your Iberia account. Otherwise, you can just book directly through British Airways!

Read our full walkthrough on how to book Iberia business class!


Book Delta One for 50K Points … But Not With SkyMiles

It's one of the best deals in the world of points and miles. And while it's been nearly impossible to pull off for the last few years, the door has re-opened recently.

Delta regularly charges 300,000 SkyMiles for a one-way flight to Europe at the front of the plane … if not more. No joke: Delta wanted at least 375,000 SkyMiles for a business class seat on this flight from New York City (JFK) to Munich (MUC) next summer. No, thank you.

jfk to munich delta skymiles 

But if you time it right, you can book that exact same flight – same day, same flight, same lie-flat seat – for just 50,000 points through Virgin Atlantic instead. That's right: Less than a quarter of the price. Time it with a transfer bonus like the current 30% bonus from Capital One to Virgin, and it's even cheaper: Just 39,000 points! 

jfk to munich virgin 

Read our full guide on how to book Delta flights via Virgin Atlantic!

Trust us, you can do it … but making this happen is easier said than done. Finding the award availability through Virgin Atlantic to actually book these Delta business class seats can be a chore.

Still, we're always digging for when these flights pop up and alerting our Thrifty Traveler Premium members when they do, like this unicorn alert we recently sent via email (and text message, too!) for wide-open award space between New York City and Munich as well as Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Dublin (DUB) this summer!

Unicorn alert 

These seats are gone now, get the next award alert for open Delta One seats to Europe with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

Availability like this tends to come in waves. That's exactly what happened: On the same day, we sent another alert for a chance to book Delta One between several U.S. and European cities this winter and spring.

delta one alert

How to Do It

Once you get the heads-up that it's time to book, earning the 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles you need to book one of these flights is a piece of cake.

That’s because you can transfer points to Virgin Atlantic from Chase, American Express, Capital One, Bilt Rewards and Citi. But these banks have frequently offered transfer bonuses of 30% or more to Virgin Atlantic, which could bring down the cost to just 39,000 credit card points. It doesn't get much better than that!

Just remember: Never transfer credit card points to your airline account until after you've confirmed the flights you want to book are available.

Read next: Save Points When Booking Flights: Transfer Them to an Airline Partner


Book Air France & KLM for 50K Points

The hardest part of booking a business class seat isn't piling up miles – it's finding the award availability to actually book that lie-flat seat. Some airlines make that a pain, almost next to impossible.

Air France and KLM are an exception, making their Flying Blue miles easily one of the best (and most reliable) ways to book business class to Europe. And unbelievably, this redemption has gotten even better recently after Air France/KLM lowered award rates.

Whether you want to get to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Amsterdam (AMS), or connect almost anywhere flying business class to Europe, it'll run you as few as 50,000 miles each way. Better yet, Flying Blue unleashes a monthly set of discounted routes it calls Promo Rewards, with occasionally discounted business class rates to Europe from a handful of U.S. cities. To top it all off, regular transfer bonuses (including occasional 25% bonuses if you've got Chase or Amex points), can make these already-cheap redemptions even cheaper.

Helping Thrifty Traveler Premium members get the best deal on business class flights with their points is what we're all about. And that's just what this alert from earlier this month did: Nonstop business class flights to Paris using as few as just 50,000 points … this summer, including the 2024 Olympics!

air france business class alert


Get the next incredible award deal with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

Let's be real: Any business class seat is a treat compared to economy. But some are better than others, so all our deals also help steer Thrifty Traveler Premium members toward how to get the best experience on the right routes (like the ones with new Air France business class suites) as well as the best points to use and a walkthrough on how to book it.

tt premium deal instructions

How to Do It

Earning miles with Air France/KLM Flying Blue is almost too easy.

Air France and KLM are transfer partners of all the major credit card companies. So whether you're racking up points on the *chase sapphire preferred*, an *amex gold card*, your *venture x*, or even by putting monthly rent payments on a *Bilt Mastercard*, you've got plenty of ways to get the points you need.

Read our full guide on redeeming Flying Blue miles!


Europe and Back for 88K Points

ANA Mileage Club is the frequent flyer program of Japan's All Nippon Airways. Yet it's also one of the best ways to fly business class to Europe – not on ANA, but on one of its many partner airlines. Go figure.

For just 100,000 miles roundtrip, you can fly business class on almost any Star Alliance carrier from North America to Europe and back. That's almost unbeatable, so be sure to read our full walkthrough on how to book business class flights to Europe using ANA miles.

While your options for airlines are long, you'll want to focus on a handful of carriers for which ANA won't pass on hefty cash fees and surcharges. Your best bets are United Airlines, Air Canada, LOT Polish, SAS, and TAP Air Portugal. Those airlines could get you almost anywhere in Europe and back in business class for 88,000 miles and $100 in fees – or less.

For example, we recently sent our Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers an award alert to use just 100,000 ANA miles to fly TAP Air Portugal to Lisbon (LIS) or Porto (OPO) … or connect out to the Azores, Canary Islands, and Madeira … or head to almost any major city in Europe.

Get this: United would charge 88,000 miles for a one-way flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Lisbon (LIS) in TAP Air Portugal business class. With ANA, you can book those seats roundtrip for – you guessed it – 100,000 miles and just $63 or so.

ana reservation for europe 100k business class


Check out some of the other best business class award deals to Europe we've found recently!

The only big hitch with booking through ANA is that you have to book roundtrip – one-way awards are not allowed. You can, however, book a multi-city trip to fly into Rome (FCO) and fly home from Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG), for example.

How to Do It

ANA miles are fairly easy to come by with the right credit cards.

ANA is one of the absolute best transfer partners of American Express Membership Rewards. That means you can transfer the points you earn from *amex platinum card* or the *amex gold card* straight to your ANA account.

With huge bonuses of up to 75,000 points available on the American Express Gold Card after spending $4,000 within six months available via CardMatch, that's a strong option – or better yet, get a 150,000-point bonus on the Platinum Card via CardMatch, too. With that bonus alone, you can book a roundtrip to Europe in business class … and then some.

One thing to beware of: These transfers can take a day or two to hit your account. That could put you in a time crunch if you're looking to book award space that could disappear after you receive a Thrifty Traveler Premium alert.


Take a Cheap(er) Flight Deal & Make It Free with Points

At Thrifty Traveler, we pride ourselves on finding some amazingly cheap flight deals like $200-some roundtrip flights to Europecheap flights to Hawaii and back for under $200, and even $63 roundtrip fares to Chile. Cheap business class flights, though? Though are much tougher to find …

… but not impossible. We're constantly searching to find our Thrifty Traveler Premium members some fantastic lie-flat fares across the pond for under $2,000 roundtrip – and sometimes closer to $1,000. Here's a recent find, flying the world's reigning #1 airline, Singapore Airlines, from Houston-Intercontinental (IAH) to Manchester (MAN) in the U.K. and back for just $1,750.

houston manchester 

Get business class deals like this plus cheap economy fares sent straight to your inbox with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

But this post is all about using your credit card points and miles, right? Well, when prices get this low, sometimes the best method is to skip airlines and transfer partners altogether and use your credit card points directly through something like the Chase travel portal or Amex Travel.

Rather than paying cash, you're using your credit card points as if they were cash. And that's a goldmine when you can harness a cheap fare you find using Google Flights or get straight to your inbox from Thrifty Traveler PremiumAnd unlike when you redeem airline miles, you won't have to pay any additional taxes or fees – they're covered by your points. You'll even earn extra points on your free flight!


How to Do It

Once you've got that cheap business class fare in your inbox, you've got a few options to use your points to make it free.

There's no easier way than using Capital One Venture Miles to cover your travel purchases. Just charge your flight to your *venture x* or a *capital one venture card*, wait a few days, and then go back and cover your purchase using Venture Miles. Every 1 Venture mile is worth 1 cent toward travel so that $1,750 roundtrip business class flight would run you 175,000 Venture Miles.

You get a bit more bang for your buck using points from Chase cards like the *chase sapphire preferred* booking flights through the Chase travel portal. Every point is worth 1.25 cents apiece, so this $1,750 fare all the way to England is all yours for 140,000 points. Points from the *chase sapphire reserve* go even further: This same ticket would be less than 117,000 points!


Lie-Flat to Rome from 58K Points

If you're looking to get to Italy in comfort as quickly as possible, look no further. There's a new way to fly business class to and from Italy this summer, too, and it belongs to Italian flag carrier ITA Airways.

When ITA first unveiled its new business class seats, we assumed booking these nonstop business class flights to Rome (FCO) would be hard. We were wrong. 

After partnering last fall, you can book ITA flights with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points. And these flights start as low as just 75,000 points – or as much as 100,000 points each way for longer routes from the West Coast. Best of all, you won't pay a mountain of additional taxes and fees: Virgin Atlantic doesn't pass on fuel surcharges on these ITA awards, so you'll pay just $5.60 for a one-way to Rome and 56 euros (about $62 USD) for the return flights to the states.

One of the regular 30% transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic from banks like Chase, Amex, and Capital One can make it even cheaper: As low as just 58,000 points each way!


ITA business class


Get alerts like this one with Thrifty Traveler Premium! 


How to Do It

It's incredibly easy to get the points you need.

Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner with all the major banks: American Express, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase, and Citi. Just be sure to scope out award availability on Virgin Atlantic's site (and use the trick to see a full month's worth!) before transferring any of your hard-earned credit card points.


A One-Way to Lisbon for 35K Points

Ready for a weird one?

You can fly to Lisbon (LIS) in TAP Air Portugal business class for just 35,000 miles one way by using Avianca LifeMiles. But this is a unicorn, as it only works at that ultra-low rate on a single route: New York City (JFK) to Lisbon. Oddly, even a flight from Newark (EWR) or the return flight back to JFK from Lisbon will cost you the full 63,000 miles.

New York to Lisbon in business class for 35k LifeMiles 

Avianca LifeMiles isn't our favorite way to book flights using miles, as its website is wonky and customer service can be quite bad. But when you can book a business class seat to Portugal for just 5,000 miles more than economy, it's worth it. We recently gave Thrifty Traveler Premium members the heads-up on how to book this deal for a trip this fall.

thrifty traveler deal to portugal

How to Do It

For years, LifeMiles were fairly difficult to earn – other than frequent bonuses to buy their miles on the cheap.

But that has changed. A few years back, American Express added LifeMiles as a transfer partner. That means you can transfer points from *amex platinum card* or the *amex gold card* to your LifeMiles account – and these transfers are typically instantaneous. LifeMiles can also be one of the best Capital One transfer partners if you've got a big stash of Venture Miles after opening either the *venture x* or the *capital one venture card*.

You can also transfer points to LifeMiles from your Marriott Bonvoy account as well as Citi ThankYou points.


A Summer Ride to Europe for 70K Points (or Less)

Trying to score a ride overseas in business class next summer? Good luck. It's a tall task … unless you get an award alert like this one.

lufthansa business class alert 

That's right: Lufthansa business class seats straight into Frankfurt (FRA) during peak summer 2024. But it wasn't just Frankfurt: You could also connect onward to Munich (MUC) or Berlin (BER) … or head down to Italy to visit Rome (FCO) or Florence (FLR) … or even head to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in time for the summer games!

It's all thanks to Lufthansa's brand-new routes to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU) starting this summer. New routes are a constant source of great flight deals, and both routes had wide-open award space all summer and fall long.

msp to paris lufthansa 

Considering you'll get a blank calendar searching for summer business class flights to Europe with almost any other airline, this could even be the best option on the entire list.


How to Do It

Lufthansa is part of the massive Star Alliance, which gives you a ton of options to book these fares, including:

  • Most flights will cost you 70,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points each way, which you can transfer from Amex, Chase, Capital One, and Bilt.
  • Avianca LifeMiles charges just 63,000 miles each way for these flights, whether you're flying nonstop or connecting onward in Europe. You can transfer points to LifeMiles from Amex, Citi, Capital One, and Bilt.
  • United MileagePlus is another option, though the airline charges 88,000 miles for these same flights. You can top off your United account by transferring Chase points.

But transfer bonuses can make these deals even better. Under 60,000 points for a business class flight to Europe over the summer? That's unbeatable.


Italy or Greece And Back for 108K

This deal has taken a hit, but it's still a stellar way to get to Europe and back in style on one of the world's best airlines.

Emirates operates two funky fifth-freedom flights between the U.S. and Europe: One from New York City (JFK) to Milan (MXP) and another from Newark (EWR) to Athens (ATH). On either route, you can snag a seat in Emirates business class for as low as 108,000 Skywards miles roundtrip – plus under $250 in fees.

But the trick is finding the award availability at those lowest rates: Searching yourself on Emirates, you might only see flights for closer to 200,000 miles … if you see anything at all. Thrifty Traveler Premium has you covered there, too, pinpointing you to the exact dates you can travel to book.

emirates business class alert 

These seats all got booked – get the next award alert to fly business class with Thrifty Traveler Premium!

You can even try your luck at upgrading to Emirates First Class at the airport!


How to Do It

You'll need more Emirates miles to book this flight than just a few months ago thanks to a recent devaluation. Fortunately, those miles are still easy to earn.

You can transfer them from ChaseAmexCapital OneCiti, and even Bilt Rewards. That means a stash of 108,000 points on cards like the *venture x**amex gold card*, *chase sapphire preferred*, or *citi premier* is all you need, as all those points transfer to Emirates on a 1:1 basis instantly.


Bottom Line

Even if you've got a million points and miles to burn, booking a business class seat across the pond can feel impossible. Heck, even scoring a seat in economy to Europe can be tough at times.

That's what our Thrifty Traveler Premium service is all about: Doing the legwork for you so you can score business class seats around the world without breaking a sweat.

1 Responses

  • The problem with flying Iberia business class is that they don’t release more than two awards tickets per flight. As a family of four our only options would be to either split up onto different flights or split up who gets the business class tickets. I tried doing two business class one directions, two back but it’s difficult to find the low business class tickets for one day, let alone two that works within your itinerary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Free Flight Alerts

Cheap international and domestic flight deal email alerts

Get Cheap Flight Alerts