“What are the Best Business Class Awards to Europe with Miles and Points?” is a question we often get asked. And the answer a year or so ago would have been different than it is now, due to changing award availability. For example, we took Austrian Business Class to Europe recently, but there is much less award availability released to Star Alliance partners than previously; the same with Brussels Airways, so I haven't included them in the list below, even though they are both good business class products.
Instead, I've ordered the list below primarily by the amount of miles and taxes required for the award, and focused on awards that I've actually seen available to book on more than just a few dates.
1. 88K ANA Miles + ~$65 Roundtrip for SAS Business Class NYC EWR to Stockholm ARN
ANA is hard to beat in terms of the number of miles required: just 88,000 miles roundtrip, although this does mean you must find award availability for both your outbound and return dates on the same airline, which can sometimes be an issue.
SAS Business Class on the A340 or A330 is a decent flat bed business class product in a staggered configuration. Just be sure to watch out for the LN-RKP old business class, which, while it has flat bed seats, is a super old LAN plane that you want to avoid.
Earning ANA Miles: For most flyers who don't earn ANA miles by flying, the best route is to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points 1:1 to ANA Mileage Club.
2. 88K ANA Miles + ~$250 Roundtrip for LOT Business Class NYC JFK to Budapest or Warsaw
There's often quite good award availability for 1-2 seats on the NYC-Warsaw route, and slightly less good award availability on the newer NYC-Budapest route. The taxes are higher, at ~$250, but given the mileage bargain of 88,000 ANA miles, it's still a great deal. Budapest is well connected to other European cities, with flights to Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Lisbon, Madrid, Moscow, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna and others.
3. 55K Aeroplan Miles + $6 for SWISS Business Class NYC JFK to Zurich ZRH
SWISS Business Class is a great way to get to and from Europe, especially if you can select a seat in the mini cabin of rows 11-12 between First Class and the main business class cabin, or at least a “throne” seat with extra space around it. And booking with Aeroplan for 55,000 miles between the U.S. and Switzerland will save you 15,000 miles over United MileagePlus.
While it's possible to use 88,000 ANA miles for a roundtrip award, you probably won't want to due to the surcharges, which add on about $1300 in taxes and fees.
Earning Aeroplan Miles: Unless you earn Aeroplan miles from flights, the easiest path will likely be transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points 1:1 to Aeroplan.
4. 57,500 AAdvantage Miles for Air Tahiti Nui LAX to Paris CDG
It's easy to overlook this Air Tahiti Nui Fifth Freedom flight from LAX to Paris CDG, but if you have AAdvantage miles and the patience to deal with AAdvantage agents (not all of whom know how to book this award) it can be a secret weapon for those on the West Coast able to book far in advance. Typically no more than 2 seats are released for a given flight.
The good thing is that Air Tahiti Nui now normally flies its new 787-9 on this flight with flat bed seats (instead of the old angled flats) although keep in mind they're in a 2-2-2 configuration, so better for couples than solo travelers.
Earning AAdvantage miles: AAdvantage is NOT a transfer partner with AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou points, so you need to earn AAdvantage miles through credit card bonuses, spend, or other AAdvantage partners; by transferring Marriott Bonvoy points (although transfers are not instant); or by buying AAdvantage miles.
5. 63K Avios + ~$271 for Iberia Business Class Mexico City MEX – Madrid MAD
While this flight isn't from the U.S., it can be a good deal for those living on the West Coast who are able to route through Mexico City and want to visit Spain. There are usually 2 award seats per flight, and it's a relative bargain, especially if able to take advantage of a transfer bonus to British Airways Avios (see AMEX 40% Transfer Bonus to British Airways Avios).
Earning British Airways Avios: Avios are easily earned, since AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points all transfer to them.
6. 78K Avios for Air Italy Business Class NYC JFK to Milan MXP
Air Italy Business Class is the rebranded Meridiana, which took investment from Qatar. That's resulted in an interesting mix of a slightly underpar hard product (a slightly angled flat seat, although quite close to flat) but a very good soft product, with food, drinks, amenities and service that generally get good reviews. My husband will be flying Air Italy Business Class fairly soon and will be reporting back.
7. 93K Avios + ~$386 for Air Italy Business Class San Francisco SFO – Milan MXP
For those on the West Coast not inclined to go through Mexico City, Air Italy Business Class from SFO for 93,000 Avios can be decent value, especially if taking advantage of the current 40% transfer bonus from AMEX Membership Rewards points, as that equates to 67,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points. When booking well in advance, there can be as many as 4 award seats on a given flight.
8. 50K Avios + $629 for Iberia Business Class NYC JFK to Madrid MAD
Taxes and fees are high on this award, but as with the above itineraries, there are substantial savings with the 40% AMEX transfer bonus to Avios: just 36,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points, even lower than half the ANA roundtrip award price.
9. 75K Delta Miles + $6 for Delta One NYC to Paris CDG
Given how little Delta SkyMiles are worth, 75,000 SkyMiles + $6 in taxes is about as good as it gets for one way Delta One Business Class award travel to Europe, absent a special sale.
It's important to note that Delta no longer publishes Delta SkyMiles award charts (see Delta's Missing Award Charts) and rates for the same route can vary enormously. This exact same route on another day could cost 320,000 Delta SkyMiles.
Earning Delta SkyMiles: Apart from earning Delta SkyMiles through credit card bonuses, spend, Delta flights and SkyMiles partners, AMEX Membership Rewards points transfer 1:1 to Delta SkyMiles.
10. 72K KrisFlyer Miles + $6 for Singapore Business Class NYC JFK to Frankfurt FRA
Singapore Business Class, even on the A380, isn't my favorite business class product, due to the very firm bed and need to angle yourself, at least if you're tall. Nevertheless, KrisFlyer does have the advantage of being able to book earlier, since the award calendar opens 354 days in advance, vs. the 330-337 days typical with many U.S. frequent flyer programs.
What do you consider the best business class awards from North America to Europe that are actually available to book?
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