The 9 Best Ways to Book Business Class to Europe with Your Points & Miles

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best ways to book business class to europe

The 9 Best Ways to Book Business Class to Europe with Your Points & Miles

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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. Or maybe you find no flights at all.

It doesn't have to be that way. Just ask our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members: We're experts at finding 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.

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

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 (or much more) 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.
  • You have to fly at the right time: These low, 34,000-mile rates are only available during off-peak periods – 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 just like it did on this deal we sent subscribers for a trip to Spain this fall.

iberia business class deal 

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® Card or the American Express® Gold Card, among other options. And since British Airways is a Capital One transfer partner, you can also send miles from a Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card 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!


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 deals, 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 with fares to cities throughout Italy, France, Germany, and beyond as low as $1,600 total.

business class fares to Europe 

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 by skipping airlines and transfer partners altogether and using 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 Premium+And 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 Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, wait a few days, then go back and cover your purchase using Venture Miles. Every 1 Venture mile is worth 1 cent toward travel, so that $1,600 roundtrip business class flight would run you 160,000 Venture Miles.

You get a bit more bang for your buck using points from Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card booking flights through the Chase travel portal. Every point is worth 1.25 cents apiece, so this $1,645 fare all the way to Florence (FLR) is all yours for under 132,000 points. Points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve® go even further: This same ticket would be less than 110,000 points!

chase travel portal business class fare 

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 88,000 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, Turkish 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 sent our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ subscribers an award alert last month to use just 88,000 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.

tap air portugal business classs 

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 The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card straight to your ANA account.

With record-high 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 90,000-point bonus through a personal referral link for the Gold Card. With that bonus alone, you can book a roundtrip to Europe in business class.

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.


Turn to Air France & KLM

Some airlines make finding the award space to actually book that lie-flat seat over the Atlantic a pain. 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.

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 only 55,000 to 58,000 miles each way. Better yet, Flying Blue unleashes a monthly set of discounted routes it calls Promo Rewards, with discounted business class rates to Europe from a handful of U.S. cities. To top it all off, regular transfer bonuses (including identical 25% bonuses if you've got Chase or Amex points), make it 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 or Amsterdam (AMS) using as few as just 28,000 points. 

flying blue deal 

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 as well as the best points to use and a walkthrough on how to book it.

thrifty traveler 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® Card, an American Express® Gold Cardyour Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, or even by putting monthly rent payments on a Bilt Rewards Mastercard®you've got plenty of ways to get the points you need.

Read our full guide on redeeming Flying Blue miles!


Fly Turkish for 45K to … Anywhere?

From the excellent onboard catering to the spiffy new seats to not one but two incredible lounges at its home airport, Turkish Airlines business class is one of the best ways to fly. And it's incredibly reasonable to do it with miles, too.

You can fly nonstop from more than a dozen U.S. cities to Istanbul (IST) for just 45,000 miles each way via Turkish's own Miles & Smiles program. Want to head up to Italy? Still 45,000 miles each way. Take the long way to London-Heathrow (LHR)? Yep, still just 45,000 miles.

It's one of the cheapest and coolest ways to get almost anywhere in Europe flying business class. Thrifty Traveler Premium+ members know just how to make it happen thanks to alerts like this one.

Turkish Airlines business class flight deal 

Booking through Turkish's mileage program isn't the most intuitive process. But considering you could book these flights for 45,000 miles each way when other airlines like United charge closer to 80,000 miles or more, it's worth a bit of extra homework. Check out our full guide to redeeming through Turkish Miles & Smiles!

How to Do It: Don't worry about flying Turkish to rack up their miles. There's a better way.

Turkish Airlines is one of the best transfer partners of both Capital One and Citi. So if you've got points saved up on either the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or the Citi Premier® Card, you've got what you need.

The best part? These are instant transfers. And if you're earning points on rent, you can also transfer Bilt Rewards to your Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles account.


Book Delta One for 50K … But Not With SkyMiles

I'll be honest: This one has gotten almost impossible to pull off lately. But it's worth keeping in mind because it's such an incredible deal.

Delta regularly charges 300,000 SkyMiles for a one-way flight to Europe at the front of the plane. No joke: Delta wanted at least 240,000 SkyMiles for a business class seat on the flight from New York City (JFK) to Brussels (BRU) earlier this spring. No, thank you.

skymiles pricing

But if you wait for a Thrifty Traveler Premium+ alert, 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 Chase to Virgin, and it's even cheaper: Just 39,000 points!

virgin atlantic jfk brussels

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

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 – especially lately.

Still, we're always digging for when these flights pop up and alerting our members when they do, like this incredibly rare chance to fly from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Amsterdam (AMS) in Delta One earlier this year.

msp to amsterdam alert 

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

How to Do It: Once you get the heads-up that its 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.


A One-Way to Lisbon for 35K

Ready for a weird one?

You can fly to Lisbon (LIS) in TAP Air Portugal's 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 your Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® 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 Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

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


A Summer Ride in SWISS for 60K

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

swiss business class deal 

That's right: Business class seats from New York City (JFK) straight into Geneva (GVA) this summer for two … or four … or as many as nine passengers! SWISS business class is one of our favorite ways to fly to Europe. But snagging these seats for a summer (or Thanksgiving) trip thanks to one of our Thrifty Traveler Premium+ award alerts? For just 60,000 points each way? Unreal.

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: SWISS is part of the Star Alliance, so there are two dozen-plus ways to book this flight. But one option stands out.

It's Air Canada Aeroplan, one of our favorite ways to book business class flights, period. Aeroplan charges just 60,000 points each way for these nonstop flights to Switzerland and low fees, too.

Getting those points is easy. Aeroplan is a  Chase transfer partner, Amex transfer partner, Capital One transfer partners, and a Bilt transfer partner, too. To top it all off, searching and booking through is a seamless process.


Italy or Greece And Back for 108K

This deal has taken a hit recently, 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.

thrifty traveler premium deal to europe with emirates  

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

The flights to Athens are also an option, but the ride over to Italy with Emirates is our top choice because Emirates flies its A380 on that route. Guess what that means? An onboard bar at 35,000 feet! 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 Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardAmerican Express® Gold CardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or the Citi Premier® Card 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.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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