Tips for Booking Award Flights to Paris
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Tips for Booking Award Flights to Paris

 

Paris, France is a favorite trip for many, but with ticket prices soaring even for economy tickets, and business class often going for $3000-8000, it's time for some tips on booking award flights to Paris. 

  • Now that Lufthansa and Swiss have virtually eliminated advance first class award availability (see How to Deal with No More Lufthansa Advance First Class Availability), the best Star Alliance first class product that is bookable in advance is arguably United; US Airways Envoy Suites offer better value if you can get them at the off-peak saver rate
  • The best oneworld first class product is British Airways, but you'll incur high fuel surcharges flying into London. It can still be well worth it if you have plenty of Avios points to burn, or are using a Travel Together Ticket, however: two first class roundtrip tickets for 120K Avios + ~$2000
  • The best business class award products, at least if you want a fully flat seat, are the US Airways A330-200 Envoy Suites, United 767-300, and Delta 767-400ER to London (then Eurostar or flight to Paris)
  • For a business class award, if you hope to get some sleep, avoid carriers with an angled flat seat or recliner seat. This includes Lufthansa (angled flat), Air France (angled flat), American Airlines (angled flat), United 767-400 (recliner), US Airways 767-200 (recliner) and Airbus 330-300 (recliner)
  • Since there are a number of low-cost European carriers, consider flying into another European city and taking a cheap flight to and from Paris
  • If flying into London or Brussels, you have the option of taking the Eurostar train to Paris

 

First Class on a United 767-300 from EWR to Paris via Zurich: 135,000 United Miles

  • Just 6 seats in United First
  • Great first class seats are comfortable for sleeping, although blanket a bit thin
  • Soft product (service and food) are typically average, and inferior to Asian carriers such as Singapore and Cathay Pacific
  • Links to earn the miles:
  • Ink Bold Business Card - 50,000 points (50,000 points transfer 1:1 to United miles)
  • Ink Plus Business Card - 50,000 points (50,000 points transfer 1:1 to United miles)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa - 40,000 points (40,000 points transfer 1:1 to United miles) 


First Class on Lufthansa (Last Minute): 135,000 United Miles

  • This is only an option if booking last minute; first class award space is no longer released in advance. Below, I found availability for a May 2 flight BOS-MUC-CDG
Tips for Booking Award Flights to Paris

 

  • 8 seats in the Lufthansa First
  • Lufthansa's new first class suites on the A340-600 are very comfortable and offer more privacy than the old Lufthansa first class, but aren't as private as, say, Cathay Pacific. Turndown service provides a comfortable mattress, duvet, and pillow.
  • Soft product remains strong, with usually attentive service, although food by most accounts isn't as stellar as Asiana or Singapore
  • See links above to earn the miles


Tips for Booking Award Flights to Paris


First Class on British Airways to London: 120,000 Avios + $1097 plus Eurostar or cheap flight to Paris

  • 14 seats
  • British Airways' new First Class is available on NYC JFK-London LHR flights
  • New First Class seats are wider at the shoulder and turndown service is offered, with mattress, 400-thread count Egyptian cotton duvet and pillow
  • Individual wardrobe to hang coats and suits
  • Soft product: in-flight service generally very attentive and friendly; food is very good, Concorde Room design and facilities excellent, although lounge service can be lacking.

 

Business Class on a United 767-300 to Paris: 100,000 United Miles

  • United usually has good saver business class availability between Washington Dulles (IAD) and Paris (CDG). Just make sure your aircraft is the 767-300 with fully flat seats, and not the 767-400 with recliner seats
  • 26 business class seats: Here's an example of the seat map:

Tips for Booking Awards Flights to Paris

 

  • Fees can be very reasonable--see this example of one-way business class EWR-IAD-CDG for 50,000 United miles + $5

Tips for Booking Award Flights to Paris

 

  • If flying from the West Coast, consider an itinerary that goes through Brussels, such as the following: SFO-BRU-CDG for 50,000 United miles + $25 one-way in Business Class, or 67,500 miles + $25 one-way in First:

Tips for Booking Award Flights to Paris


Business Class (Envoy) on US Airways A330-200 to Paris: 60,000 Dividend Miles (Off-Peak)

  • While it will probably require some planning ahead, and you do have to go during low season to get the off-peak saver award (Jan. 15-Feb. 28 2013 currently bookable), this is a great deal if the flights and timing work for you.
  • If you have the US Airways MasterCard, the award costs just 55,000 Dividend Miles
  • Here's a LAX-PHL-CDG route; you can see that one-way pricing is 30,000 miles + $30

Tips for Booking Award Flights to Paris-US Airways Envoy Suites Business Class

 

Business Class on Delta 767-400ER: 100,000 Skymiles (Low level award)

  • While I personally don't earn or redeem Skymiles, I've heard good things about Delta's fully flat business class product on the 767-400ER
  • Keep in mind that Delta doesn't offer first class to Europe, and Skymiles partner awards are only for business class; no first class award redemptions on partners
  • Apart from earning Skymiles directly by flying Delta or via a Delta credit card, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card is good for earning Membership Rewards points, that you can then transfer to Delta, hopefully during a time when they're offering a transfer bonus. 

 

Business Class on Aer Lingus Boston to Dublin: 50,000 British Airways Avios points + cheap flight to Paris

  • If you can manage to leave from Boston and get a cheap flight from Dublin to Paris, this is a great deal: 50,000 Avios points roundtrip (flight from Dublin to Paris is additional)
  • If you and your spouse or friend both sign up for the British Airways Visa and each just use the card once, you have enough points for each of you to get a round trip business class award to Europe
  • Main con is that Aer Lingus Business Class seats are angled flat, so you may not get great rest on them. Boston-Dublin is only a 6 hour flight though, so not as crucial as, say, U.S. West Coast to Paris

 

Coach on Aer Lingus to Dublin: 25,000 British Airways Avios points + cheap flight to Paris

  • If you're simply looking for the cheapest award flight, it's hard to beat Aer Lingus from Boston to Dublin in coach for 25,000 Avios + $146 in fees, then get a cheap flight on Ryanair to Paris. That way you get to see Dublin as well, while avoiding the hefty fees associated with most Avios award redemptions to Europe.

Related Posts

Airlines and Routes with First and Business Class Award Availability for Europe

Best International Business Class Seats for Sleeping

Maximizing British Airways Avios-Fly Aer Lingus to Europe and Avoid Fuel Surcharges

How to Find Star Alliance Award Space

How to Find Oneworld Award Space

Romantic Paris

 

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Comments
User_avatar_default ryan y. commented 24 Apr 2012
So you recommend RyanAir from Dublin to go to Paris vs other airlines or a train? Thanks!
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 24 Apr 2012
Ryan, yes, if you don't mind the total no frills of Ryanair, since it's just a 1.5 hour flight. For example, just did a price check for a late May flight, and it's 43 EUR (~$57) roundtrip per person, although of course Ryanair is notorious for their additional fees for checked baggage, (15-35 EUR for 1st bag depends on low/high season and bag weight), reserved seating, etc. See http://www.ryanair.com/en/terms-and-conditions#regulations-tableoffees Can still end up cheaper than other Dublin-Paris flights though. Not aware of a train from Dublin to Paris, only Eurostar from London to Paris :)
Picture?type=large Edward H. commented 14 Jun 2012
Great idea for United??? They don't fly a 767 anymore from IAD to CDG, just a tiny 757, get your suggestions up to date. Good luck with getting anything from the NEW United
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 14 Jun 2012
Edward, well then United is consistently coding this wrong in their system. See my screenshot above for the March 12, 2013 flights where I've highlighted 767-300 for IAD-CDG. I just did another quick search on United and still see 767-300 for plenty of other IAD-CDG flights. Also note this poster on FT, Cova, who wrote on 3/28/12 "IAD to CDG has switched back to a 3-class 763. Flight number changed back from 130 (the CO#) to 914 (the old UA#)."
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