22 Ways to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards For Flights to Europe

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Ready to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for flights to Europe? Europe is one of the most requested topics and Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most popular credit card currencies. There are some posts in the archives about redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards for Europe flights, but some partnerships, award charts, and nuances have changed, so it’s time to publish an updated list of the best ways to use Ultimate Rewards points for transatlantic flights.

To redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for flights, there are two options:

  1. Redeem points at a fixed rate for flights via the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal. 
  2. Transfer to airline partners. Chase Ultimate Rewards points become airline miles and you can redeem them according to the rules and redemption prices of the airline program to which you transfer. 

Transferring to airline partners is usually going to be the most valuable way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for flights to Europe. Occasionally though, it will make sense to use the booking portal.

You can read more about the Chase Ultimate Rewards program here.

croatia chase ultimate rewards
Hvar, Croatia.

Chase Ultimate Rewards airline transfer partners

There are 10 airline programs to which you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. For more information about each of the Chase Ultimate Rewards airline transfer partners, click here.

Chase Ultimate Rewards airline partners 2019

Chase’s airline partners are airline loyalty programs. This means that your Ultimate Rewards points become miles in whichever program you choose to transfer. You can use those miles to book flights according to the rules of the airline program. For the most part, you cannot transfer airline miles to other airlines. Instead, you can redeem miles for flights operated by an airline program’s partner airlines, which I’ll discuss more in a moment. You actually have the ability to book flights operated by more than 50 airlines.

Note: American Express Membership Rewards, my other favorite credit card points program, also has airline transfer partners. There are 8 airline programs that are partners of both Chase and Amex. They are: British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, KLM/AirFrance, and JetBlue. Any redemptions on this list with these airlines can also be booked with American Express Membership Rewards points.

Which credit cards earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

There are 3 cards that earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Points can be earned from welcome bonuses and everyday spending on these 3 cards:

Important: Other cards issued by Chase such as the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but they are not the same as transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Basically, they are cash-back cards. Points earned from these cards cannot be transferred to airlines or hotels unless you also have a CSP, CSR, or CIBP.

When you have a Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited plus one of the three transferable UR earning cards, you can redeem CF or CFU points the same way you would redeem points with CSP, CSR, or CIBP. Since CF and CFU have the potential to earn more on everyday spending, we suggest pairing the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Freedom with a CSP, CSR, or CIBP. This is a great way to boost your Ultimate Rewards points balance. Click here for more information.

Never transfer your points until you have confirmed that the ticket or tickets you’re trying to book are available for your date and destination

The most important step is to confirm that your desired flight is available to book as an award ticket on your date. The best way to do so depends on which program you use to book, and I’ll provide more info for each redemption in this list.

  • Most transfers are instant, but you may want to place the award ticket on hold if possible before transferring.
  • Once you transfer your points to one of these partners, you’re subject to that airline’s award ticket policies and pricing.
  • You cannot transfer those miles back to Chase Ultimate Rewards

The airline program you use to book the flight determines your award ticket price

In some cases, there may be more than 1 Chase airline partner that has the ability to book your desired flight to Europe. Each program has its own way of pricing award tickets. The great thing about Chase Ultimate Rewards is that you can choose the partner that results in the lowest redemption cost.

The airline loyalty program you use to book the flight determines pricing, not the airline that is actually operating the flight. For example:

  • If you use AirFrance/KLM miles to book a flight operated by Delta, AirFrance KLM Blue determines your award ticket price, not Delta Skymiles.
  • If you use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to book a flight operated by Delta, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club determines your award ticket price, not Delta Skymiles.

Related post: Types of award ticket pricing

Besides the redemption cost, there are other factors that help determine the best transfer partner:
Calculate the cents-per-point value before transferring
  • I generally consider anything around 2 cents per point a good redemption, but there are certainly times when I will book at a lower value.  Check out my post about how to calculate the value of a point or mile when redeeming if you have no idea what I am talking about.
  • Because you can often find cheap flights from the US to Europe, especially in economy, you may find that your cents-per-point value is less than 2 cents per point.  If that’s the case, you may want to consider using the Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption portal, which is first on the list.
Diocletian’s palace, Split, Croatia

22 ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for flights to Europe

Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you open a Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is enough for at least one roundtrip ticket to Europe (subject to availability).

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2019 Best credit card offers

Current offer: Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95. Earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining and 2 point per dollar on all other purchases.

You can book award tickets to Europe with 8 of the 10 airlines that partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards.  Southwest and JetBlue do not have flights or partners with flights to Europe at this time, but these airlines may still be useful for what is known as a positioning flight.

All redemptions in this list are subject to availability. The cost of award tickets included in this post is the lowest cost possible (sometimes known as the saver level).  If no saver level tickets are available for your dates, you may still be able to book an award ticket, but the redemption prices will be higher.  It helps to have flexible dates.

I’ll briefly discuss fuel surcharges, taxes, and fees that may apply for each redemption, but click here for information. Basically, just try to avoid London if possible.

Need help transferring? You can find step by step transfer instructions here.

1. Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for Europe flights via the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal

You can use your Ultimate Rewards points to ‘pay’ for all or part of a plane ticket to Europe by booking through the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal. This portal is powered by Expedia, so you should see the same options for flights as what Expedia.com offers.

When redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for flights via the redemption portal, your points are worth 1.25 cents per point or 1.50 cents per point, depending on which card you hold.

The advantage to this (as opposed to transferring to airline partners) is that you have lots of options. You aren’t limited to Chase’s transfer partners. There are no blackout dates and you do not have to worry about award seat availability

The disadvantage is that you will be redeeming the points at a fixed rate. The problem is, an expensive plane ticket is going to require more miles/points. This can be a problem if you’re trying to book travel on peak dates such as holidays.

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for flights via the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal is a good option when fares are low. The other benefit is that you will actually earn miles since the ticket is issued the same way as a purchased ticket.

Transferring Chase UR to airline or hotel partners is how you can potentially get more value than 1.25-1.50 cents per point. 

2. KLM/AirFrance Flying Blue for as low as 21,500 miles one way in economy

You can redeem Flying Blue miles for flights between the US and Europe operated by AirFrance or KLM. You can also use KLM/AirFrance Flying Blue miles to book flights to Europe that are operated by Skyteam Alliance partners Delta and Alitalia.

SkyTeam member airlines 2019

Related post: Booking Delta flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue award ticket pricing

Flying Blue has a dynamic pricing model for flights operated by KLM and AirFrance. This means that it’s tough to predict the amount of miles required for any given route. You can estimate an amount with this calculator. Amounts shown are the lowest possible, which I’ll often refer to as the ‘saver’ price.

For partner flights, their website states “You can also use Miles to book flights for yourself or the person of your choice in Economy and Business with SkyTeam partners and other partner airlines. On all partner flights, the price in Miles is based on the booking class and flight distance.” It is unclear how distance is calculated when there are multiple segments, though. Sometimes, adding a segment changes the price significantly, and other times it only changes by a couple thousand miles.

Fuel surcharges:  Flights operated by KLM and AirFrance do have surcharges, but they’re usually not a deal breaker. Award tickets booked with Flying Blue but operated by Delta do not have fuel surcharges on transatlantic flights. Itineraries with Alitalia operated flights have surcharges, but they seem to be lower than KLM/AirFrance.

How to search for availability and book: You can create a free Flying Blue account and search on either AirFrance or KLM’s website. Grab a glass of wine because both websites can be frustrating. I’ve had good luck with their phone agents in the past when the website isn’t working, though.

Flying Blue usually has decent availability at the saver level for economy tickets between the US and Europe, especially on flights operated by KLM and AirFrance.

How to book flights to Italy with Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Florence

3. KLM/AirFrance Flying Blue to book Promo Awards on KLM and AirFrance for as low as 13,750 miles each way

Promo Awards are select destinations that are offered for a reduced number of miles.  If you’re able to take advantage of a promo award, you can save between 20% and 50% of the amount of miles normally required for a saver ticket. The list of destinations is updated every month and availability is limited.  The available travel dates are a few months out. So right now (December 2019), the promo prices are valid from January 31, 2020- March 30, 2020.  

Currently, business class flights between Chicago and Europe are 25% off and economy between Chicago and Europe is 50% off.  There are other promo deals, this is just one example.

I found economy seats from Chicago to Amsterdam for 13,750 miles plus $83 in fees one-way with a promo award. There are also business class seats from Chicago to Amsterdam for 53,250 miles plus $200 in fees one-way with a promo award.

Fuel surcharges: Since KLM and AirFrance operated flights are the only flights available for promo award tickets, there will be fuel surcharges, but they aren’t outrageous. In my opinion, they’re easy to justify when you’re redeeming a lower amount of miles

How to search for availability and book: The same way you would search for Flying Blue award tickets. Create a free Flying Blue account and search on either AirFrance or KLM’s website. You’ll see “Promo Reward” on all available dates.

How to book flights to Europe with Chase Ultimate Rewards points; redeem Flying Blue miles for promo awards

4. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to book Singapore Airlines fifth freedom US-Europe routes for 22,500 miles each way in economy  

Singapore Airlines operates two routes between the US and Europe:  These are JFK-Frankfurt and Houston-Manchester.

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer award ticket pricing

When you redeem Singapore Airlines miles for flights operated by Singapore Airlines, the award ticket pricing is zone-based. Like American Airlines, there are saver awards and there are Singapore’s version of AAnytime awards. These are called Advantage awards (not to be confused with American Airlines AAdvantage). Usually, saver awards are the only ones worth booking.

You can add a connecting flight (such as DFW-IAH), but that flight would be operated by United, therefore, Krisflyer’s Star Alliance pricing would apply, which is 5k more miles each way in economy. As always, adding a connection is subject to availability.

Singapore airlines award chart 2019
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer chart for Saver award tickets on flights operated by Singapore Airlines

Fuel surcharges: There are no fuel surcharges when you use Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles to book flights operated by Singapore Airlines.

How to search for availability and book: You can search for award flights operated by Singapore Airlines on their website and then book online with a Krisflyer account. If you do not already have one, you can register for free.

5. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to book United/Star Alliance partner flights in economy for 27,500 miles each way

You can also redeem Krisflyer miles for flights operated by Star Alliance partners:

Star alliance member airlines 2019

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer award ticket pricing for flights operated by Star Alliance partners

When you redeem Singapore Airlines miles for flights operated by Star Alliance partners, Krisflyer’s award chart is zone-based, but it’s different than the chart for itineraries operated by Singapore Airlines. Connecting flights do not add to the amount of miles required, which is always a good thing.

Save some points on United operated flights: If you’re using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book flights to Europe, you can transfer them to either United or Singapore Airlines to book Star Alliance award flights. Once you find saver availability for a United flight, the intuitive thing to do is transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to United to book the ticket. But transferring to Singapore saves some points.

This is subject to availability, and United doesn’t necessarily make all saver seats available to partners. So always check for availability with Singapore before you transfer any Chase points.

  • United Mileage Plus US-Europe one way in economy requires 30,000 United miles for a flight operated by United*
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer requires 27,500 miles for the exact same United flight

*United changed their award ticket pricing last month. Instead of an award chart, they have what is commonly referred to as dynamic pricing. You can read more about that here, but it basically means United pricing is going to be unpredictable. In general, I’m still finding 30k each way in economy to be the lowest redemption price, which means Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles would be a better way to book.

Fuel surcharges: There are no surcharges if United operates the flight. Most other European Star Alliance partners do have surcharges when you use Krisflyer miles, though some are worse than others. Since Singapore Airlines Krisflyer imposes fuel surcharges on other Star Alliance partners with US-Europe routes, United Mileage Plus is probably the better partner for booking those airlines. I realize this is a little confusing so I’ll restate it:

  • You can redeem 27,500 Krisflyer miles each way for Star Alliance partner flights in economy, but you may pay a couple hundred out of pocket in fuel surcharges
  • Or you can redeem 30,000 United miles and pay no surcharges on Star Alliance partner flights

Depending on the amount of fuel surcharges, it may be worth redeeming the extra 2,500 miles to keep the out of pocket costs to a minimum.

How to search for availability and book: You can book award flights operated by most Star Alliance partners online with a Krisflyer account. If you do not already have one, you can register for free. To search availability for Star Alliance partners, I find United’s website the easiest. Basically, any Star Alliance operated route in economy that is 30k each way when you search on United should also be bookable with Singapore Airlines Krisflyer.

6. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to book Singapore Airlines Suites in their fancy A380 for 86,000 each way

Keep in mind there are only 2 routes between the US and Europe on Singapore Airlines.  These are JFK-Frankfurt and Houston-Manchester.  Only the JFK-Frankfurt and Frankfurt-JFK flights are operated by the A380, so this is the only route between the US and Europe for which you can book a Singapore Airlines suite.

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer award ticket pricing

This route is 86k each way for a saver ticket.

You can add a United flight from your home airport to JFK as long as United has saver availability, but I don’t suggest it.  If you have to add a United flight to get from your home airport to JFK, you will be subject to Krisflyer’s partner airlines chart so it will be 107,500 miles each way.  An extra 21,500 miles one way for a connecting flight is a lot. Most likely, you’re better off booking your own positioning flight to New York instead (either with cash or with another airline’s miles).

These are among the most coveted seats in the world, so award space pretty much disappears as soon as it becomes available. But if you manage to find availability, you can book it for 86k and no fuel surcharges!

singapore airlines suites jfk-fra, europe with ultimate rewards
Fly one of the fanciest first class products in the world for free! Photos courtesy of Singaporeair.com

Fuel Surcharges: Singapore Airlines does not collect fuel surcharges on award flights that are operated by Singapore Airlines.

How to search for availability and book: You can search for award flights operated by Singapore Airlines on their website and then book online with a Krisflyer account.

7. Singapore Airlines to book Singapore Airlines business class for 72,000 each way

Keep in mind there are only 2 routes between the US and Europe on Singapore Airlines (JFK-Frankfurt and Houston-Manchester).

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer business class award ticket pricing

When you redeem Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles, the award ticket pricing is zone-based. Saver business awards between the US and Europe on Singapore Airlines operated flights require 72,000 Krisflyer miles each way.

You can add a United flight from your home airport to JFK or IAH as long as United has saver availability.  If you have to add a United flight to get from your home airport to JFK, the price would not change since Krisflyer requires the same amount (72,000) for Star Alliance business class flights.

Star Alliance partners would also be 72k miles each way for flights between the US and Europe, but since United is 70k and does not pass on fuel surcharges, you would be better off using United to book Star Alliance flights in business class.

Fuel surcharges: Singapore Airlines does not impose any extra fuel surcharges on their own flights for award tickets booked with Krisflyer miles.

How to search for availability and book: You can search for award flights operated by Singapore Airlines on their website and then book online with a Krisflyer account.

Availability can be a challenge. Start your search as early as possible (up to 350 days prior to departure).

Sidenote: Technically, you should be able to book Singapore Airline business class seats with United Mileage Plus for 70k United miles and no fuel surcharges, but Singapore Airlines rarely releases business class seats to partners. Your best chance of finding business availability on Singapore Airlines operated flights is to use Singapore Airlines Krisflyer.

Fly to Amsterdam on AA flights with Etihad miles

8. United Mileage Plus to book United flights for 60,000 each way in business class

United Mileage Plus award ticket pricing

Earlier this year, United announced a change in the way award tickets are priced. Basically, they switched to a dynamic pricing model for their own flights and award charts were eliminated.

The lowest redemption price for United operated flights in business class still seems to be 60,000 miles one way.  Connecting flights do not seem to add to the redemption cost. This is good if you live in a city that is not a United hub.

Fuel surcharges: United does not collect fuel surcharges on any award flights.

How to search for availability and book: United’s website is easy to search, and you can book online.

9. United Mileage Plus to book Star Alliance/partner business class flights for 70,000 each way in business class

You can redeem United Mileage Plus miles for flights operated by Star Alliance partners. United also has some non alliance partnerships, one of which is Aer Lingus.

Star alliance member airlines 2019
United Mileage Plus partner award ticket pricing

When United first announced the change in award ticket pricing, they stated that partner charts will remain as is . However, their website was updated to state “The partner award chart will remain in effect for travel through November 14, 2019. For travel on or after November 15, 2019, there may be flights that require a higher number of miles than the amounts indicated on the award chart. When you search for awards while booking, you’ll see the applicable award level.”

At the time of publishing, Star Alliance redemption prices can still be found here, and I found lots of partner business class seats for 70k each way. Remember, these flights are subject to availability.

Fuel surcharges: United does not collect fuel surcharges on any award flights, including partner flights. This is great for those who want to book flights on airlines such as Lufthansa that would normally have steep fuel surcharges.

How to search for availability and book: United’s website is easy to search, and you can book online.

Tip: Note that if you search with calendar view, mixed cabin itineraries may not always show up as available. What are mixed cabin itineraries? It’s when at least one segment is booked in a different cabin than the other segment(s). So if you have DFW to Frankfurt with a connection in Houston and the DFW-IAH segment is economy but IAH to Frankfurt is business class, this would be a mixed cabin itinerary. United allows mixed cabin itineraries and would require the number of miles for the highest segment, so the price would be 70k (or 60k if the whole itinerary is operated by United).

Anyway, it’s important to sort the business saver awards by price to check for mixed cabin itineraries on United’s website. Calendar view may show business saver as unavailable when there is in fact space on the long haul segment. DFW-IAH is such a short flight that I don’t care if it’s economy. I would still redeem the miles to get the transatlantic segment in business class.

10. United Mileage Plus to book Star Alliance/partner economy flights for 30,000 each way

The lowest redemption price for Star Alliance/partner operated flights in economy still seems to be 30,000 miles one way.

Fuel surcharges: None, which is why this is appealing.

I discussed this earlier but if you’re skipping through the list, this is 2,500 more miles than Singapore’s pricing for Star Alliance partner flights between the US and Europe. It may be worth redeeming the extra 2,500 miles, though. This is because some Star Alliance partners have high fuel surcharges. Singapore Airlines Krisflyer passes on these surcharges, whereas United does not.

How to search for availability and book: You can search and book United and their partner flights online on United’s website.

How to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for Europe
Positano

11. Iberia Plus to book Iberia business class for as low as 34,000 each way

Even if you’re headed to a European city other than Madrid, it may make sense to make Madrid your “gateway”. Iberia connects to several other European cities via Madrid, but if a connecting flight is not available to book as an award ticket, you could book the transatlantic segment, then pay for a cheap flight to your destination.

Iberia award ticket pricing

Iberia Plus has distance-based award ticket pricing for award flights operated by Iberia (and most partner airlines). Click here to see Iberia’s award table.

New York (JFK) to Madrid and Boston to Madrid nonstop are in the 3,001-4,000 mile distance range which is priced at 34,000 (off peak) or 50,000 (peak) Iberia Avios each way in business class. City pairs with further distances will have higher redemption costs, but it can still be a good deal, especially on off peak dates.

Fuel surcharges: Iberia adds surcharges to their flights to Europe. A business class ticket would have about $450 in taxes and fees roundtrip, but considering how low the Avios redemption cost is, it could be worth paying the fees.  

How to search for availability and book: You can search for availability by signing up for a free Iberia Plus account. You can also complete the booking online.

When redeeming Iberia Avios for Iberia operated flights, one way redemptions are allowed.

12. Iberia Plus to book Madrid to/from the east coast for as low as 34,000 roundtrip in economy

New York (JFK) to Madrid and Boston to Madrid are priced at 17,000/20,000 Avios (off-peak/peak) each way, or 34,000/40,000 roundtrip in economy. Adding a connection will add to the redemption cost, but it may still be a good deal.

Fuel surcharges: Iberia collects surcharges on Iberia operated flights, but economy is somewhat reasonable.

How to search for availability and book: Iberia’s website will allow you to search for and book award flights operated by Iberia. Just create a free Iberia Plus account.

13. Iberia Plus to book flights to Madrid on American Airlines for as low as 42,000 roundtrip in economy

You can book flights operated by American Airlines and other Oneworld partners with Iberia Avios. Iberia also has some non alliance partners, but none that are useful for US-Europe.

Oneworld alliance member airlines 2019
Iberia partner award ticket pricing

Each partner has its own redemption table, but charts are distance based. Iberia calculates the distance using the sum of all segments. This results in different pricing than that of the British Airways loyalty program for AA and other partner flights. Iberia is generally the better program if you live in a city that is going to require a connection on an AA operated itinerary. Click here to see the charts.

New York (JFK) to Madrid operated by American Airlines is priced at 42,000 Avios roundtrip in economy. A city further west in the US or a connecting flight may require more Avios. For example, DFW to Madrid is 65,000 Avios roundtrip.

42,000 roundtrip to Europe is a great redemption considering American Airlines would require 60,000 AAdvantage miles roundtrip on peak dates for these routes.

The fuel surcharges are more reasonable when using Iberia Avios if AA operates the flight: Iberia adds surcharges to their flights to Europe, and unfortunately they also collect fuel surcharges on transatlantic partner flights such as American Airlines.  But for some reason, redeeming Iberia Avios for flights to Madrid that are operated by American Airlines requires about $100 in fees (roundtrip), which is about $80 less than Iberia operated flights!  

How to search for availability and book: Iberia’s website will show AA availability, but I find aa.com easier to use if your dates are flexible. Search for MileAAver availability on AA.com, then you can use Iberia to complete the booking. Sometimes their website is glitchy, especially with AA flights, so you might have to call.

The catch is that you can only redeem Iberia Avios for roundtrip American Airlines flights. So there has to be availability both ways.

As I stated earlier, even if you’re headed to a European city other than Madrid, it may make sense to make Madrid your gateway and then purchase a positioning flight to connect to your destination. Likewise, if you’re heading to Madrid but do not live on the east coast, it sometimes makes sense to purchase a positioning flight from your departure city so that you can take advantage of east coast pricing.

14. British Airways Avios for flights between the East Coast and Europe for as low as 13,000 Avios each way in economy

The program of British Airways is great for so many routes, but you mostly want to avoid British Airways (the loyalty program AND flights operated by BA) for US-Europe routes. This is due to absurd fuel surcharges and high taxes and fees.

Now the good news: you can book flights between the east coast and Europe for as low as 13,000 Avios each way. 13,000 each way or 26,000 roundtrip is a relatively low redemption price, so if cash fares are high, sometimes it makes sense to to book this way even with the fuel surcharges.

Another issue with using British Airways to get across the pond is that their flights will route through London. London has the highest government/airport taxes and fees in the world. So you have high fuel surcharges plus high taxes and fees. Click here for more info about surcharges and fees. 

British Airways award ticket pricing

British Airways has distance-based award ticket pricing for all award flights. British Airways calculates the cost per segment, so nonstop flights are going to be best. The pricing for flights operated by British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus is slightly different than if the flight is operated by a partner such as AA. Click here to see the charts.

How to fly to Europe with Chase Ultimate Rewards points 2019

Fuel surcharges: British Airways collects fuel surcharges on transatlantic flights no matter which airline operates the flight.

15. British Airways Avios for nonstop AA flights

You can redeem British Airways Avios for AA and other Oneworld flights, but British Airways collects higher fuel surcharges than Iberia on AA operated transatlantic flights.

British Airways also has a non alliance partnership with Aer Lingus, and Air Italy.

Oneworld alliance member airlines 2019
British Airways award ticket pricing

British Airways has distance-based award ticket pricing for all award flights. British Airways calculates the cost per segment, so nonstop flights are going to be ideal. Click here to see the charts.

Fuel surcharges: British Airways collects fuel surcharges on transatlantic flights even if American is operating the flight, but a few scenarios make British Airways a viable Chase Ultimate Rewards option:

Iberia has lower fuel surcharges on AA operated flights than British Airways, but you can only use Iberia to book roundtrip itineraries for AA operated flights. This can be a problem if only one way is available. British Airways will let you book one way. Then you can use another Chase partner to book the other way.

Even if you are booking roundtrip, British Airways may result in a lower redemption price than Iberia. British Airways and Iberia calculate distances differently, and each has a different award chart for AA operated flights. As a result, some AA routes may require a lower amount of British Airways Avios than Iberia Plus, so it is important to check the prices with each program.

  • JFK to Madrid nonstop operated by AA is 20,750 each way or 41,500 British Airways Avios roundtrip, which is very similar to Iberia’s pricing (42k for this route). Fuel surcharges would be ~$222 roundtrip if you book this itinerary with British Airways. Since Iberia has a similar redemption price but lower fuel surcharges, Iberia would be the better way to book this itinerary.
  • DFW to Madrid is 25,750 each way and ~$200 in fuel surcharges if you book with British Airways Avios. Roundtrip is 51,500 plus ~$440 in taxes, fees and surcharges. Iberia’s pricing for DFW-MAD roundtrip operated by AA is 65,000 Iberia Avios. That’s a difference of 14k Avios, which is pretty significant. You would probably want to use British Airways for this route, but it depends on the difference in fuel surcharges.

16. Aer Lingus to book flights to Dublin for as low as 13,000 each way in economy

Aer Lingus award ticket pricing 

Aer Lingus has distance-based award ticket pricing. This chart found on the Aer Lingus website has zones, but it seems that the zones correspond with distances. 

The distances between these North American cities and Dublin fall into the 13,000/20,000 (off-peak/peak) Aer Lingus Avios range each way:

Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Minneapolis, Montreal, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington

Other US cities to Dublin on Aer Lingus are going to require more Avios, but it can still be a good deal, especially on off-peak dates. The distances between these US cities and Dublin fall into the 16,250/25,000 (off-peak/peak) Avios range each way: 

Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle

Aer Lingus calculates the cost per segment

This is the same way British Airways calculates redemption costs.  To calculate how many Avios you need, you will first need to figure out your route.  Then you will want to check the distance of each segment.  

For example, Boston to Dublin is a nonstop flight.  But if your destination is another city in Europe, such as Paris, you would need to calculate Boston to Dublin PLUS Dublin to Paris.  Boston to Dublin falls into the 5th tier, so that’s 13,000/20,000 (off-peak/peak).  Dublin to Paris falls into the first tier so that’s 4,000/4,500 (off-peak/peak).  The cost would be 17,000/24,500 (off-peak/peak) each way.

Fuel surcharges: Aer Lingus collects fuel surcharges, but they aren’t as outrageous as British Airways on US-Europe routes.  Your roundtrip total for the east coast routes on off peak dates would be 26,000 Chase points transferred to Aer Lingus plus ~$270 in taxes and fees.  Given the low redemption cost, this could still be a good deal, especially when cash fares are higher. 

How to search for availability and book: Create an account with Avios.com. Then you can search and book.

One way award tickets are allowed. 

Amex transfer bonus for avios 2019
Fly roundtrip from San Fran to Dublin for as low as 32,500 Chase points in economy

17. Aer Lingus to book Dublin on Aer Lingus in business class for as low as 50,000 each way

The distances between the east coast US cities (Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Minneapolis, Montreal, Newark, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington) listed above and Dublin fall into the 50,000 Avios range each way for Off-peak dates.  (Peak is 60,000).  

The distances between the other US cities (Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle) and Dublin fall into the 62,500 Avios range each way for off-peak dates. Peak is 75,000. 

Fuel surcharges: Aer Lingus does have fuel surcharges, but they are more reasonable than British Airways. Depending on the paid fare of your route, fuel surcharges may or may not be a deal breaker. 

How to search for availability and book: Create an account with Avios.com. Then you can search and book.

18. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book Delta business class seats for as low as 50,000 each way

Virgin Atlantic is not in an alliance, but there are some non alliance partner airlines for which you can redeem Flying Club miles. Delta is a great partner for US-Europe flights.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club partner award ticket pricing

Virgin Atlantic has different charts for each partner, but all are zone-based. Here is the chart for flights operated by Delta:

Delta operated flights booked with virgin Atlantic miles chart 2019; europe with ultimate rewards

One way is half the amounts shown.

If the itinerary requires a connection, the additional amount of points for that particular segment is required. For example, Atlanta to Paris is 100,000 miles roundtrip in business as shown. But a flight from DFW that connects in Atlanta would require miles for the DFW-ATL segment which is 45,000 roundtrip. So the total for the roundtrip would be 145,000.

Nonstop flights are definitely the best value. If you are departing from an airport that requires a connection, you may be able to get positioning flights for less than the miles you would have to redeem for the connecting segment. In other words, you could just book ATL-CDG and then find a positioning flight between DFW and Atlanta.

Fuel surcharges: If the flight routes to/through London, there are fuel surcharges when booking Delta operated flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. There are not fuel surcharges to other European destinations if the itinerary is operated by Delta. Fly to Paris, Amsterdam, or another city served by Delta to avoid fuel surcharges.

How to search for availability and book: Create an account with Virgin Atlantic. Then you can search and book. Sometimes the website is glitchy and will not recognize airport names. If that happens, you can click “Full Airport List” and manually select the airport.

how to book delta flights with chase ultimate rewards points; europe with ultimate rewards

19. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book Delta economy flights between the US and Europe for as low as 30,000 each way

Virgin Atlantic is best for nonstop Delta routes as connecting flights require additional miles (see award ticket pricing info above). For Delta itineraries with connections, AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue is usually the best Chase partner.

Fuel surcharges: If the flight routes to/through London, there are fuel surcharges when booking Delta operated flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. There are not fuel surcharges to other European destinations if the itinerary is operated by Delta.

How to search for availability and book: Create an account with Virgin Atlantic. Then you can search and book.

20. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to book Virgin Atlantic for as low as 20,000 miles roundtrip

Award tickets booked with Flying Club miles between the US and London on flights operated by Virgin Atlantic are as low as 20,000 miles roundtrip. This is the lowest redemption rate to Europe of all the Ultimate Rewards partners, but there are fuel surcharges.  With the ultra-low amount of miles required, paying fuel surcharges may not necessarily be a deal breaker.

I kind of equate this to a points + cash redemption.  You redeem a lower amount of miles, but you have to pay a cash copay.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award ticket pricing

Virgin Atlantic’s charts for flights operated by Virgin Atlantic are zone-based. There are two different charts. One is for peak season and one is for standard (off peak). Both are an excellent redemption price in terms of miles.

This is the standard chart:

virgin Atlantic off peak chart 2019; europe with ultimate rewards

Fuel surcharges: There are fuel surcharges, and they can get pretty crazy. Like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic operated flights are going to involve London, which means high taxes and fees in addition to fuel surcharges. For roundtrip economy, it will be around $435 total in fees. This is similar to British Airways, but Virgin Atlantic has lower redemption costs.

How to search for availability and book: Create an account with Virgin Atlantic. Then you can search and book online.

21. Emirates Skywards to book Emirates business or first class on fifth freedom routes between the US and Europe

Emirates is not in an alliance. There are some redemption partners, but none are really worth mentioning for US-Europe routes. The best way to redeem Emirates miles for flights between the US and Europe is for their own flights. There are two fifth freedom routes between the US and Europe that are operated by Emirates:

  • Newark to Athens (on a 777)
  • JFK to Milan (on an A380) 

Click here for a comprehensive post about redeeming Emirates miles for Emirates and partner flights.

Emirates Skywards award ticket pricing

For flights operated by Emirates, the redemption prices are zone-based.

For roundtrip nonstop flights, here are the amounts you’ll need to redeem for either US-Europe route:

  • Economy: 45,000
  • Business: 90,000
  • First: 135,000

Here are the one way redemption costs. One way is more than half of roundtrip, so it’s best to book roundtrip if possible:

  • Economy: 38,750
  • Business: 62,500
  • First: 85,000

Emirates miles can be valuable, but the best ways to redeem Emirates miles are going to have some out of pocket expenses.

Fuel surcharges: Emirates collects fuel surcharges when you redeem miles for their flights or most partner flights.

How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for Emirates flights to Europe
Chase Ultimate Rewards Emirates flights to Europe

Since Emirates business and first class seats are some of the best in the world, I don’t really consider the high surcharges a deal breaker. Also, the amount of miles required is reasonable. If you look at the paid fares, you’re still getting a good redemption value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Emirates flights to Europe
Chase Ultimate Rewards Emirates flights to Europe

Economy: 45k is a decent redemption price for a roundtrip economy ticket between the US and Europe, but the fuel surcharges are over $400 and you can buy an economy ticket for around $400. For that reason, economy award tickets on Emirates are almost always a no go.

Business: 90k miles for a roundtrip business class ticket to Europe is a good redemption price. Roundtrip business class fares for this route start at ~$3000, so even after factoring in the fuel surcharges, the cents per point value is around 2. There is another way to book business class though, which is next on this list.

First: This is the best value. 135k for a roundtrip first class ticket to Europe is great compared to the prices of other programs for international long haul first class flights. In fact, it’s less than the amount of miles required by several airline programs for business class between the US and Europe. For example, if you use United to book partner business class flights to Europe (such as Lufthansa) your redemption price would be 70k each way or 140k roundtrip.

First class fares start at ~$5000 for this itinerary. To calculate the cents per point value, you need to subtract the fuel surcharges first: 5000-1133=3867.

  • 3867/135000=0.0286
  • 0.0286 X 100=2.9

So redeeming 135k for this first class award ticket would be a value of almost 3 cents per point.

You can easily get to other Italian/European destinations from Milan via train or cheap intra-Europe flights

22. Emirates Skywards to book Emirates business class for as low as 78,000 miles roundtrip on fifth freedom routes

Another way to score Emirates business class seats is to buy an economy ticket and upgrade with miles. Not only will this require less miles than the 90k required for a business award ticket, but your out of pocket costs could also be lower. Upgrades are subject to availability and the amount of miles required to upgrade depends on the type of economy ticket you purchase. Economy flex is usually the best. To upgrade a roundtrip flex economy ticket, you would need 78,000 miles roundtrip for Emirates US-Europe routes.

Sometimes the cash price of a roundtrip flex economy ticket is less than the amount of fuel surcharges on a business class award ticket. For example, the JFK-MXP itinerary above is available as an economy flex ticket for $1072 roundtrip. So here are your options:

  • Book a business class award seat for 90k miles plus $1133 in fuel surcharges and fees
  • Book an economy flex ticket for $1072 and upgrade with 78k Emirates miles and no surcharges. Plus, you earn miles on the paid ticket.

In this scenario you would definitely want to buy a ticket and upgrade. But if economy fares are significantly higher than award ticket fuel surcharges, it may be better to redeem the 90k for the award seat.

Either way, the best ways to redeem Emirates miles are going to have associated costs. You have to think of it more like a cash and points redemption. You’re redeeming a lower amount of miles than you would with several other programs, but you have a co-pay.

You can find more details about upgrading Emirates economy tickets with miles here.

Conclusion

Whether you want economy or premium cabin seats, there are several great ways to book flights to Europe with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Transfer partners will usually result in a better value than the redemption portal, but remember that you always need to check for availability before transferring.

If you’re new to award travel, you may want to read the comprehensive beginner’s guide.

Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you open a Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is enough for at least one roundtrip ticket to Europe (subject to availability).

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2019 Best credit card offers

Current offer: Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95. Earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining and 2 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Chase how to redeem 2020; europe with ultimate rewards

Advertiser disclosure: The Miles Genie has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products.  The Miles Genie and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The comments 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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