What are the Best First Class Flight Awards to Europe? It's a question our Award Booking Clients often ask us. Unfortunately, it's gotten harder to book first class on many routes, including flights to Europe, unless willing to part with a sizable chunk of miles–if there's award availability at all. That's because airlines have been reducing first class cabin sizes and sometimes eliminating them altogether. Also keep in mind that certain first class products, such as Air France La Premiere and SWISS First Class, are essentially unavailable as awards to the average passenger, as redemptions are restricted to their top tier elite members.
Here are the best first class airline awards that can be redeemed for travel to Europe:
1. Emirates First Class Suite JFK to Milan: 85K Emirates Miles + $550
It will be easier for most North American flyers to use Emirates Skywards miles, since AMEX Membership Rewards points transfer 1:1 to Emirates Skywards. And even if you don't have quite enough Membership Rewards points, you can buy AMEX Membership Rewards points as part of a transfer.
That said, if you happen to have JAL Mileage Bank miles (or are willing to transfer a boatload of Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott, and then from Marriott to JAL Mileage Bank) you could fly roundtrip JFK-Milan-JFK in Emirates First Class for 135,000 miles, thanks to the JAL distance-based chart. Note that flying one way will be 90,000 JAL miles, so the roundtrip is a better deal.
Keep in mind that if you want the new Emirates First Class Suite pictured in the first post photo and below, you'll need to fly into Europe from Dubai, for example Dubai to Brussels, Frankfurt, or Geneva.
The JFK-MXP route features the old Emirates A380 First Class Suite, which does have the advantage of having a shower aboard:
2. Singapore Suites JFK to Frankfurt: 140K KrisFlyer Miles + $6
This is a very high demand route, so you're unlikely to find any saver award space, making it an expensive award at 140,000 KrisFlyer miles one way. It's the old Singapore Suites A380 on this JFK-FRA route, which actually I prefer due to the more comfortable bed, aided by the memory foam mattress pad.
It's just such a shame that the new Singapore Suites didn't keep the superb memory foam mattress pad of the old Suites product, which made the bed so comfortable, in the new Singapore Suites, which is flown between Singapore and Frankfurt.
3. Lufthansa First Class: 114K United Miles + $6 or 91K Miles & More Miles + taxes
Lufthansa only releases first class awards to Star Alliance partners up to 15 days in advance, so for most travelers, the best chance of reserving Lufthansa First Class is using Lufthansa's own Miles & More miles, earned through Lufthansa group flights (Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, Brussels Airlines), the Lufthansa Miles & More credit card, or transferring Marriott points to Miles & More.
4. British Airways First Class to London: 68K-100K Avios + ~$680
You'll pay 68,000 Avios + ~$680 from NYC, and 100K Avios + similar taxes from West Coast destinations such as LAX, although note that British Airways First Class awards are very sparse, particularly from the West Coast. British Airways First Class also has smaller dimensions, leading many to derisively dub it the “best business class,” since it doesn't compete at the same level as Emirates, Singapore, or Lufthansa's first class cabins.
5. American Airlines Flagship First Class LAX-LHR: 140K or More Miles + $6
Of the U.S. airlines, only AA has a first class product: Flagship First. Currently, the European routes mean flying into London Heathrow LHR from either New York JFK, Los Angeles LAX, Miami, or Dallas DFW. The good news is that sometimes you can find LAX-LHR for the same amount as JFK-LHR. The bad news is that even with complete flexibility in when you travel, you're unlikely to find a one way award for less than 140,000 AAdvantage miles, which is very high, considering that you can fly a superior product, JAL First Class, from the U.S. to Asia for 80,000 AAdvantage miles.
Which is your favorite airline first class award to Europe?
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