The best ways to travel to Europe using points and miles


Traveling to Europe is a dream for many, but the costs can be daunting. Fortunately, savvy travelers know that points and miles can turn that dream into reality without breaking the bank. Here are the best ways to maximize your points and miles for a European adventure.

Choose the Right Credit Cards

The first step is to have the right travel credit cards that offer generous sign-up bonuses and rewards on everyday spending. Cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, American Express Platinum, and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card are popular choices. These cards not only provide significant points bonuses but also offer travel perks such as lounge access, travel insurance, and no foreign transaction fees.

Transfer Points to Airline Partners

Most travel credit cards allow you to transfer points to airline partners. For instance, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to airlines like United, British Airways, and Air France-KLM. Similarly, American Express Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Delta, British Airways, and Emirates. Transferring points to airlines can often yield better value than booking directly through the credit card’s travel portal.

Book During Off-Peak Times

To maximize your points and miles, book flights during off-peak times. Airlines often charge fewer miles for flights during these periods. For example, flying to Europe in the fall or spring, rather than during the summer high season, can save you a substantial amount of points. Additionally, mid-week flights are generally cheaper in terms of points compared to weekend flights.

Utilize Airline Alliances

Airline alliances like Star Alliance, Oneworld, and SkyTeam can expand your options. For instance, if you have United MileagePlus miles, you can use them to book flights on any Star Alliance partner, such as Lufthansa or Swiss Air. This flexibility can help you find the best routes and availability for your European trip.

Look for Award Sales and Promotions

Keep an eye out for award sales and promotions from airlines and credit card programs. Airlines periodically offer discounted award tickets to various destinations. Signing up for newsletters and following airlines on social media can help you stay informed about these deals.

Redeem Points for Business or First Class

One of the best ways to maximize the value of your points and miles is to book business or first-class tickets. While these premium seats require more points, they offer a significantly better value per point compared to economy tickets. Enjoying lie-flat seats, gourmet meals, and access to exclusive lounges can make your journey to Europe much more comfortable and enjoyable.

Combine Points from Multiple Sources

If you don’t have enough points in one account, consider combining points from multiple sources. Some credit card programs allow you to pool points with family members or transfer points between different programs for a fee. This strategy can help you accumulate enough points for your desired trip.

Use Hotel Points for Accommodation

Don’t forget about accommodation. Hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and World of Hyatt offer excellent opportunities to redeem points for free stays in Europe. Combining free flights with free hotel nights can make your European vacation even more affordable.

In conclusion, traveling to Europe using points and miles requires strategic planning and flexibility. By choosing the right credit cards, transferring points to airline partners, booking during off-peak times, utilizing airline alliances, looking for award sales, redeeming points for premium seats, combining points from multiple sources, and using hotel points, you can enjoy a memorable European adventure without the hefty price tag. Happy travels!


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