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You did it. You accumulated a stack of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and now want to use them to fly to Europe. This is an exciting time to maximize your points. Let’s dive in to see what options you might want to consider.
Business Class on Delta Booked T
hrough Virgin Atlantic
Enjoy a low fixed redemption rate of just 60,000 miles when booking Delta flights through Virgin Atlantic. You’ll be able to avoid fuel surcharges on roundtrip flights originating in the US when you travel to any European destination (except the UK).
Tip: It might seem counterintuitive, but don’t fly on Virgin Atlantic or to their UK headquarters in order to avoid hefty fuel surcharges that are otherwise imposed.
Business Class on Delta Booked Through
If you can find flights to Europe through the Flying Blue program that are operated by Delta, you’ll avoid fuel surcharges. If you book over the phone, you can also avoid fuel surcharges when traveling on Delta and when booking an open jaw. In fact, even a double open jaw is permitted for more flexibility (for example, flying from New York to Paris, and then from Amsterdam to Boston would price out as a round-trip AND you’d avoid fuel surcharges).
The catch: It’s really hard to find Delta partner availability using Flying Blue points, and Flying Blue uses a variable award chart which can be very expensive.
Business Class on Air France and KLM Booked T
hrough Flying Blue
Air France and KLM make much more award space available to Flying Blue members than is available to members of partner award programs. This is particularly nice in KLM’s revamped cabins, which offer
The catch: Flying Blue has a variable award chart with pricing that is all over the map and often illogical. It’s also very hard to find connecting flights on Delta to US gateway cities, so you’re best off searching to and from cities where Air France and KLM fly directly (if you don’t live in one of these cities, you may have to buy your own positioning flight).
Tip: Instead of searching exclusively to the Air France and KLM hubs of Paris and Amsterdam, try searching for flights to nearby European cities if you’re also interested in visiting these. Flights through Paris and Amsterdam en route to another city (such as Marseille or Brussels) can be less expensive than flights directly to these cities.
York – Frankfurt in Singapore Suites
Want to travel in style? Like, really in style? Singapore Airlines offers Suites class on their A380 service between New York and Frankfurt for a true “lifestyles of the rich and famous” experience. This is one of the most exclusive airline products in the world, where you can enjoy a Singapore Sling in your very own enclosed suite. This space is only made available via the Singapore Krisflyer program.
The catch: Availability at saver level is very hard to find. You’ll need to be exceptionally flexible to make this work, but if you can do so, it’s worth it!
Star Alliance Business Class Without Fuel Surcharges
If you hate the idea of paying fuel surcharges to use your points, you’ll want to focus on the United Mileage Plus program. United charges 60,000 Mileage Plus miles each way (transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards at 1:1) for flights between the US and Europe in its own Polaris business class, which includes access to their fantastic Polaris lounge. For 70,000 Mileage Plus miles, fly with StarAlliance partners such as SWISS, Austrian, and Lufthansa.
Bonus: Economy Class Sale Fares
Willing to travel in economy class? In my view, the best deals aren’t always in business class, especially if you’re leaving from a city like Boston where flights to Europe are relatively short. With fares as low as $300 round trip to Europe these days, you might be better off redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points on the portal. You can book any cash fare available through Expedia at a rate of 1.25 cents per point with most premium Chase cards, or 1.5 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card.
Tip: TAP Air Portugal often has inexpensive one-way cash fares between the US and Europe. If you can only find a business class award flight in one direction, consider buying economy class in the other direction.
Example: A $318 roundtrip sale fare from Washington, DC to Lisbon would cost 25,440 Ultimate Rewards points. Or if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it would cost just 21,200 Ultimate Rewards points.The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.