The Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Points: Part 1 – All the Ways to Get to Europe

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American Express Membership Rewards points are 1 of the most flexible types of points.  That’s because you can transfer them to certain airlines to get Big Travel with Small Money on flights to Europe.

Starwood points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and Citi ThankYou points are also transferable.  American Express Membership Rewards points aren’t the easiest to use compared to Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but there are a few good uses which I’ll describe in this post.

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to Air Canada to Fly to Milan, Italy

The Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Points:

  • Part 1 – All the Ways to Get to Europe
  • Part 2 – All the Ways to Get to India

Introduction to American Express Membership Rewards Points

Link:   American Express Membership Rewards

Link:   American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners

You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to certain airlines and hotels.

But you must have a card that is part of the American Express Membership Rewards First Program.  I’ve listed eligible cards below

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

American Express Membership Rewards Points Are Transferrable to Starwood Hotels Like the Westin Excelsior, Rome

You can earn transferrable American Express Membership Rewards points from the:

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to these airlines:

  • Aeromexico (1:1 ratio)
  • Air Canada Aeroplan (1:1 ratio)
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue (1:1 ratio)
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia (1:1 ratio)
  • ANA (1:1 ratio)
  • British Airways Avios (250 American Express Membership Rewards points: 200 British Airways Avios points)
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (1:1 ratio)
  • Delta Skymiles (1:1 ratio + $6 fee per 10,000 points)
  • El Al (1,000 American Express Membership Rewards points: 20 El Al)
  • Emirates (1:1)
  • Hawaiian Airlines (1:1 + $6 fee per 10,000 points)
  • Iberia Avios (250 American Express Membership Rewards points: 200 Iberia Avios points)
  • JetBlue (250 American Express Membership Rewards points: 200 JetBlue + $6 fee per 10,000 points)
  • Singapore Airlines (1:1 ratio)
  • Virgin America Elevate (200 American Express Membership Rewards points: 100 Elevate + $6 fee per 10,000 points)
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Red (1:1 ratio)
You Can Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to 17 Airlines

You Can Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to 17 Airlines

Transfers of American Express Membership Rewards points usually take ~2 days, but depending on the airline it can take longer.

Note: You’ll pay a fee of 0.06 cents per mile up to a maximum of $99 when you transfer points to US airlines.  So you’ll pay 60 cents per 1,000 American Express Membership Rewards points you transfer (or $6 per 10,000 American Express Membership Rewards points).

On the other hand, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Starwood Preferred Guest points to US airlines for free.

Using American Express Membership Rewards Points to Get to Europe

Here are some programs that are great for flights to Europe!

If you don’t have the time or don’t want to book your own award tickets, you can use an award booking service.

1.   Air Canada

Link:   Air Canada award chart

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Air Canada Aeroplan miles at a 1:1 ratio.  And you can use these miles for flights on Star Alliance carriers (such as United Airlines) to Europe!  Booking through Aeroplan from the US to Europe depends on which region of Europe you’re visiting: Europe 1 or Europe 2.

Air Canada Aeroplan Europe 1 includes:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Spain (including Balearic Islands; excluding Canary Islands)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Flying from the US or Canada to Europe 1, you’ll pay:

  • 30,000 Aeroplan miles 1-way in coach
  • 45,000 Aeroplan miles 1-way in Business Class
  • 62,500 Aeroplan miles 1-way in First Class
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly First Class 1-way to Madrid, Spain, for 62,500 Aeroplan Miles

Air Canada Aeroplan Europe 2 includes:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Romania
  • Russia (Western)
  • Serbia and Montenegro
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

From the US or Canada to Europe 2, it costs:

  • 37,500 Aeroplan miles 1-way in coach
  • 52,500 Aeroplan miles 1-way in Business Class
  • 72,500 Aeroplan miles 1-way in First Class
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

52,500 Aeroplan Miles Gets You 1 Business Class Ticket to Santorini, Greece

Fuel Surcharges

You pay fuel surcharges when you use Aeroplan miles on some airlines, but you do NOT pay fuel surcharges on the following airlines:

  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Brussels Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)
  • Singapore Airlines
  • SWISS Air
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

You pay low fuel surcharges (~$60 per segment) on LOT Airlines.

However, you pay hefty fuel surcharges if you book flights on Air Canada or Lufthansa.

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You’ll Pay High Fuel Surcharges If You Use Aeroplan Miles on Lufthansa

Best Star Alliance Airlines to Use Aeroplan Miles for Flights to Europe

For flights to Europe, you should look for flights on the following airlines:

  • Brussels Airlines (flights to Brussels)
  • LOT Airlines (flights to Warsaw – with low fuel surcharges)
  • Scandinavian Airlines (flights to Stockholm and Copenhagen)
  • Singapore Airlines (coach from New York to Frankfurt)
  • SWISS Air (flights to Zurich and Geneva)
  • Turkish Airlines (flights to Istanbul)
  • United Airlines

However, Aeroplan’s award engine won’t find every flight connection.  If you have several connections or want a stopover on an award, call Aeroplan at 800-361-5373.

2.   United Airlines

United Airlines has the most flights between the US and Europe.  United Airlines is a Star Alliance partner.  So you can use your Aeroplan miles on United Airlines.

You can fly from Newark to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona
  • Belfast
  • Berlin
  • Birmingham
  • Brussels
  • Dublin
  • Edinburgh
  • Frankfurt
  • Geneva
  • Glasgow
  • Hamburg
  • Istanbul
  • Lisbon (not shown on map)
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Manchester
  • Milan
  • Munich
  • Oslo
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Shannon
  • Stockholm
  • Stuttgart
  • Zurich
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

All The Places In Europe You Can Fly On United Airlines From Newark

You can fly on United Airlines from Washington, DC (Dulles) to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Dublin
  • Frankfurt
  • Geneva
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Munich
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Zurich
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

United Airlines’ European Destinations From Washington, DC

You can fly from Chicago to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Munich
  • Paris
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly On United Airlines to Six Different Cities in Europe From Chicago O’Hare

United Airlines flies from Houston (IAH) to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Frankfurt
  • London
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

United Airlines Flies to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and London From Houston

United Airlines flies from San Francisco (SFO) to:

  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Paris
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

From San Francisco, You Can Fly On United Airlines To Frankfurt, London, Or Paris

From Los Angeles, you can fly to:

  • London
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

United Airlines’ Only European Destination From Los Angeles Is London

3.   Swiss

Swiss isn’t a direct transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards points.  So you have to transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan miles, then you can use them on Swiss.

You can fly on Swiss to Zurich from:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Montreal
  • Newark
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Eight Cities in the US That Fly to Zurich

You can fly to Geneva from:

  • Montreal
  • Newark
  • New York
  • Toronto
  • Washington, DC
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly to Geneva From Montreal, Newark, New York, Toronto, and Washington

4.   Turkish

You can use Aeroplan miles transferred from American Express Membership Rewards points to fly to Istanbul from:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Montreal
  • New York (JFK)
  • Toronto
  • Washington, DC
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

All the Places You Can Fly From on Turkish Airlines

5.   SAS

You can use your Aeroplan miles to fly coach and Business Class on Scandinavian Air Systems (SAS).  Scandinavian Air Systems flies to a number of Nordic cities from several US cities.

A.   Copenhagen

You can fly to Copenhagen from:

  • Chicago O’Hare
  • Newark
  • San Francisco
  • Washington, DC
B.  Stockholm

You can fly to Stockholm from:

  • Chicago O’Hare
  • Newark
C.   Oslo

You can fly to Oslo from:

  • Newark
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Scandinavian Air Systems Flies From Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington to Scandinavia

6.   LOT

You can also use Aeroplan miles to fly on LOT Polish Airlines in coach and Business Class to Warsaw from:

  • Chicago
  • New York (JFK)
  • Toronto
  • Washington
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly to Warsaw From Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Washington, DC

You will pay some fuel surcharges of ~$60 per segment on LOT.

7.   Brussels Airlines

After transferring your American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan miles, you can use them on Brussels Airlines.

You can fly in coach and Business Class to Brussels from:

  • New York (JFK)
  • Washington, DC
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Brussels Airlines Flies From New York and Washington, DC to Brussels

8.   Singapore Airlines 

You can use Aeroplan miles to fly on Singapore Airlines on the following routes:

  • New York (JFK) to Frankfurt
  • Houston to Moscow (DME)
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly on Singapore Airlines From New York to Frankfurt and Houston to Moscow

However, you can only redeem for flights in coach, because Business Class and First/Suites Class are unavailable to Aeroplan members.

9.   ANA

Link:   ANA award chart

ANA is a direct transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards points.

ANA has a distance-based award chart, similar to British Airways Avios points.  This means you pay for an award based on the distance you fly.

ANA is also a Star Alliance member, so you can redeem for flights on partners like United Airlines, Air Canada, and Lufthansa.

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

ANA Distance-Based Award Chart

The ANA award chart is very useful for flights between the East Coast and western Europe.

A round-trip journey between 4,001 to 7,000 flown miles costs:

  • 38,000 ANA miles in coach
  • 63,000 ANA miles in Business Class
  • 90,000 ANA miles in First Class

A flight between Newark and London is 3,465 miles each way or 6,930 miles round-trip.  So you could fly round-trip coach for 38,000 ANA miles + taxes!

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly Round-Trip Coach From Newark to London for 38,000 ANA Miles

Meanwhile, a round-trip journey between 7,001 to 9,000 miles flown costs:

  • 43,000 ANA miles in coach
  • 68,000 ANA miles in Business Class
  • 100,000 ANA miles in First Class

A flight from Chicago to Frankfurt is 4,343 miles 1-way or 8,686 miles round-trip.  So you’d pay 43,000 miles in coach or 68,000 miles in Business Class!

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

A Round-Trip Coach Flight From Chicago to Frankfurt Is 43,000 ANA Miles or 68,000 ANA Miles for Business Class

However, ANA charges fuel surcharges on some Star Alliance airlines.  So if you want to fly to Europe with minimal fuel surcharges, you should look for flights on:

  • United Airlines
  • Air Canada
A.   Using ANA Miles on United Airlines

ANA allows 3 stopovers in addition to the destination.  However, you must book a round-trip flight, but you can return to any city in the country you departed.  So you could fly from Newark and return to Washington, DC.

From the East Coast, you can redeem 1-way flights to Europe for fairly cheap using United Airlines miles.  You should book with Aeroplan miles from the West Coast because you gain more flexibility with different airline partners.

1.   Newark

You can fly from Newark to:

  • Amsterdam – 3,656 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Barcelona – 3,848 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Belfast – 3,177 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Berlin – 3,980 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Birmingham – 3,392 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Brussels – 3,681 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Dublin – 3,193 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Edinburgh – 3,268 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Frankfurt – 3,869 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Geneva – 3,878 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Glasgow – 3,228 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Hamburg – 3,824 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Istanbul – 5,029 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Lisbon (not shown on map) – 3,384 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • London – 3,465 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Madrid – 3,606 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Manchester – 3,354 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Milan – 4,010 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Munich – 4,052 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Oslo – 3,697 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Paris – 3,649 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Rome – 4,293 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Shannon – 3,095 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Stockholm – 3,930 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Stuttgart – 3,936 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Zurich – 3,945 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

All The Places You Can Fly On United Airlines From Newark

2.   Washington, DC

United Airlines flies from Washington, DC (IAD) to:

  • Amsterdam – 3,867 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Brussels – 3,892 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Dublin – 3,404 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Frankfurt – 4,080 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Geneva – 4,091 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • London – 3,677 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Manchester – 3,565 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Munich – 4,263 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Paris – 3,861 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Rome – 4,505 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Zurich – 4,157 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

United Airlines’ European Destinations From Washington, DC (Dulles)

3.   Chicago

You can fly from Chicago to:

  • Amsterdam – 4,120 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Brussels – 4,159 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Frankfurt – 4,343 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • London – 3,953 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Munich – 4,530 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Paris – 4,152 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly on United Airlines to 6 Different Cities in Europe From Chicago O’Hare

If you don’t live in Newark, Chicago, or Washington, DC, you can book connecting United Airlines flights to these cities.  But those flights will count against the total distance on your journey.

B.   Using ANA miles on Air Canada

Air Canada has many flights from Canada to Europe.  You can find award seats in coach and Business Class.

Air Canada is a Star Alliance partner, and many Star Alliance partners fly to the US and Canada.  So, you can fly from the US to Canada and then to Europe!

1.  Toronto

You can fly from Toronto to:

  • Athens – 5,063 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Barcelona – 3,998 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Copenhagen – 3,907 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Dublin – 3,278 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Edinburgh – 3,330 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Frankfurt – 3,952 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Geneva – 3,990 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • London – 3,556 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Madrid – 3,774 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Munich – 4,138 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Paris – 3,751 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Rome – 4,415 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Venice – 4,270 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Zurich – 4,044 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly From Toronto to 14 European Cities on Air Canada

2.  Montreal

You can fly from Montreal to:

  • Athens – 4,754 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Brussels – 3,461 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Frankfurt – 3,648 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Geneva – 3,680 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • London – 3,249 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Paris – 3,442 flown miles 1-way (22,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
  • Rome – 4,103 flown miles 1-way (38,000 Aeroplan miles) or 30,000 United Airlines miles
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Air Canada Flies from Montreal to Athens, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Paris, and Rome

You have to book a connecting flight on Air Canada or United Airlines to Toronto or Montreal to fly these flights.  And those connecting flights would count towards the total distance traveled.

But you can NOT have an open-jaw flight between the US and Canada.  So you can NOT begin your trip in Newark and end your trip in Toronto because that would be an open-jaw between 2 countries.  But you can have a stopover in Canada on your way to Europe!

10.   Delta Airlines

Link:   Delta award charts

Delta Airlines is a direct transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards points.  Delta Airlines is known for not having many saver award flights, but you may be able to find a seat.

From the US or Canada to Europe, you will pay:

  • 60,000 Delta miles round-trip in coach
  • 125,000 Delta miles round-trip in Business Class
  • 162,500 Delta miles round-trip in First Class

You are allowed 1 stopover and 1 open-jaw on an award ticket!

A.   Atlanta

You can use Delta Airlines miles to fly from Atlanta to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Düsseldorf
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Manchester
  • Munich
  • Paris
  • Stuttgart
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Delta Airlines’ European Destinations From Atlanta

B.   New York

From New York, you can fly to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona
  • Brussels
  • Dublin
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Milan
  • Paris
  • Zurich
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Delta Airlines Flies From New York to 9 Cities in Europe

C.   Newark

You can fly from Newark to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Paris
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

From Newark You Can Fly to Amsterdam and Paris on Delta Airlines

D.   Detroit

You can use Delta Airlines miles to fly from Detroit to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Paris
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly From Detroit to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, and Paris

E.   Minneapolis

From Minneapolis, you can fly to:

  • Amsterdam
  • London
  • Paris
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Delta Airlines Flies from Minneapolis to Amsterdam, London, and Paris

F.   Boston

You can fly from Boston to:

  • Amsterdam
  • London
  • Paris (seasonal)
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

From Boston, You Can Fly to Amsterdam, London and Paris

G.   Los Angeles

You can use Delta Airlines miles to fly from Los Angeles to:

  • London (begins October 26, 2014)
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Use Delta Airlines Miles to Fly From Los Angeles to London

H.   Salt Lake City

From Salt Lake City, you can fly to:

  • Amsterdam (begins May 1, 2015)
  • Paris
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Paris and Amsterdam Can Be Reached via Salt Lake City on Delta Airlines

I.   Portland

You can fly from Portland to:

  • Amsterdam
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Delta Airlines Flies From Portland to Amsterdam

J.   Seattle

Using Delta Airlines, you can fly from Seattle to:

  • Amsterdam
  • London
  • Paris (CDG)
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Out of Seattle, You Can Fly to Amsterdam, London, and Paris

K.   Seasonal routes to Paris

Delta also flies to Paris on a seasonal basis from:

  • Cincinnati
  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Seasonally, Delta Flies From Chicago, Covington (Cincinnati), Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh to Paris!

Note:  Alaska Airlines is a partner of Delta Airlines, so you can use them to connect to gateways like Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles.

11.   Air France

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Air France.

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to Fly to Paris on Air France

You can fly on Air France to Paris (CDG) airport from:

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Washington (IAD)
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly to Paris From These US Cities on Air France

You should search for Air France flights on the Delta Airlines website, because Delta Airlines shows more Air France flights.

12.   KLM

You can fly on KLM from Amsterdam to:

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dallas (seasonal)
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Francisco
  • Washington DC (IAD)
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

KLM Flies to Amsterdam From 8 US Cities

13.   Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic flies to London from:

  • Atlanta (October 27, 2014)
  • Boston
  • Las Vegas (to London-Gatwick)
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Newark
  • New York (JFK)
  • Orlando (to London-Gatwick)
  • San Francisco
  • Washington DC (IAD)
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Virgin Atlantic Flies From These US Cities to London

Tip:  If you use Delta Airlines miles, you do NOT pay fuel surcharges for flights on Virgin Atlantic.

14.   British Airways

You can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios points.  But you do NOT have to use your British Airways Avios points on British Airways!  You can use them on British Airways partner airlines like Aer Lingus, Air Berlin and Iberia and pay lower fuel surcharges.

A.   Aer Lingus to Ireland and the rest of Europe

Aer Lingus flights have very low surcharges and because Ireland is closer to the United States than most of Europe, you can pay fewer British Airways Avios points for a flight.

You can book 1-way coach flights from the US to Ireland from:

  • Boston to Dublin or Shannon – 12,500 British Airways Avios points + $30 taxes
  • New York (JFK) to Dublin or Shannon – 20,000 British Airways Avios points + $30 taxes
  • Chicago to Dublin – 20,000 British Airways Avios points + $30 taxes
  • Orlando to Dublin – 25,000 British Airways Avios points + $30 taxes
  • San Francisco to Dublin – 25,000 British Airways Avios points + $30 tax

You’ll pay 2X the amount of British Airways Avios points for Business Class.

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly From 5 US Cities to Ireland Using British Airways Avios Points!

You’ll pay slightly higher taxes for your return flight because of Ireland airport taxes:

  • Dublin or Shannon to Boston – 12,500 British Airways Avios points + $90
  • Dublin or Shannon to New York (JFK) – 20,000 British Airways Avios points +$91
  • Dublin to Chicago – 20,000 British Airways Avios points + $90
  • Dublin to Orlando – 25,000 British Airways Avios points + $90
  • Dublin to San Francisco – 25,000 British Airways Avios points + $90

So you’ll pay 25,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip coach flight from Boston to Ireland, or 50,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip in Business Class + ~$150 in taxes/fees.

B.   Air Berlin to Germany

You pay NO fuel surcharges on Air Berlin.

You can fly 1-way coach from the US to Germany from:

  • New York (JFK) to Berlin or Düsseldorf – 20,000 British Airways Avios points + $5.60
  • Miami to Berlin or Düsseldorf – 25,000 British Airways Avios points + $5.60
  • Chicago to Berlin – 25,000 British Airways Avios points + $5.60
  • Fort Myers, FL to Düsseldorf  – 25,000 British Airways Avios points + $5.60
  • Los Angeles to Düsseldorf – 30,000 British Airways Avios points + $5.60

A Business Class ticket costs double the amount of British Airways Avios points as coach.

The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

Air Berlin Offers Flights to Berlin and Dusseldorf from Chicago, Fort Myers, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York

Because of airport taxes in Germany, the return flight will cost more in fees, but they are still reasonable:

  • Berlin or Düsseldorf to New York (JFK) – 20,000 Avios + ~$100
  • Berlin or Düsseldorf to Miami – 25,000 Avios + ~$100
  • Berlin to Chicago – 25,000 Avios + ~$100
  • Düsseldorf to Fort Myers, FL  – 25,000 Avios + ~$100
  • Düsseldorf to Los Angeles – 30,000 Avios + ~$100

A round-trip ticket between New York and Germany would cost only 40,000 Avios + ~$105 round-trip in economy class, or 80,000 Avios + ~$105 round-trip in business class.

C.   Iberia to Spain and the rest of Europe

You can fly on Iberia to Madrid from:

  • Boston
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York (JFK)
The Ultimate Guide To American Express Membership Rewards Points Part 1 All The Ways To Get To Europe

You Can Fly on Iberia From Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York to Madrid

Note:  You will pay some fuel surcharges when redeeming through Iberia Avios.  But it’s cheaper than redeeming through British Airways Avios.

For example, booking through Iberia, taxes and fees for a flight from New York to Madrid costs ~$75.  However, booking through British Airways costs more than $250!

Bottom Line

American Express Membership Rewards points are very flexible and can help you get to Europe when you transfer them to certain airlines.

You have to pay a fee of 0.06 cents per mile up to $99 to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to US airlines.  But you do NOT pay a fee when you transfer to international airlines like Air Canada, ANA, and British Airways.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Air Canada and use them on Air Canada or Star Alliance partners like United Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 16,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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33 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Points: Part 1 – All the Ways to Get to Europe

  1. The info was very informative and helpful. I hope you do a similar job on flights to Asia as 80% of my foreign travel is to Asian cities.

  2. Great guide! Just FYI United also flies direct on IAH-MUC and IAH-NRT

  3. Absolutely amazing aggregation of all of this data! Thank you!

  4. Once again, a very good and detailed description on how the AmEx program works and how to use it.

    Specific question concerning booking Star Alliance award flight using Air Cananda Aeroplan program. Do Europe 1 / Europe 2 mileage rate get calculated based on Final destination in Europe or are the based on connecting flights?
    For example, if my final destination is Warsaw, (Europe 1), but I do book my award on Turkish Airlines , connecting in Istanbul (Europe 2), will my trip price at 30,000 or 37,500 miles each way for Economy ticket?

  5. Just what I needed!! Have a bunch of MR that I need to transfer out before I close the card.

  6. I have over 160k points and would like to know the best way to use them to travel to India. Appreciate if you could release part II of the series…

  7. Please add that for a limited time, there is a 40% bonus for transferring Amex Membership Rewards to BA Avios:)

  8. Daraius,

    This is easily the most comprehensive post on the subject and it is truly invaluable. For someone with close to a million AMEX MR points and little time to figure out how to redeem them all, it was especially useful. Probably the most important post on the entire website for me. Thanks a million.

  9. You stated “You are allowed 1 stopover and 1 open-jaw on an award ticket!” for delta but I was under the imperssion delta got/is getting rid of this perk? Could you please clarify this some more?

  10. Excellent summary! You da man D!

  11. I don’t know why the 40% bonus wasn’t mentioned. That’s huge right now.

  12. What a complete guide! Thanks very much for doing this. Am contemplating a European cruise so this is most useful and timely as I have been trying to figure out how best to use the MR points that my wife and I have to get to and from our port city.

  13. Great resource! The only question I am confused over is using the Aeroplan miles vs United miles. For example was a flight from DC to Amsterdam listed as 22k Aeroplans and 30k United miles. So wouldn’t you want to transfer Amex points to Aero to then buy the trip on a United flight since you are using less miles?

  14. Don’t forget crusing over. We went from Miami to Barcelona the end of April 2014. An 11 night cruise for $300 each. This was a seasional fare, they reposition to Europe in the spring and back in September. There are several different cruise lines that do the same thing. Use your Visa cash cards you got from the office stores at 5 points per dollar, or use a travel card to pay and get 2 points per dollar.

    • @Dan – If you transfer the points to Aeroplan, you have to use the Aeroplan award chart. Which will have different prices from the United award chart (even for flying on United!)

      @Smitty – $300 sounds like a good deal!

  15. Hi,

    Hi Darius, I follow your blog almost daily. Quick question, Where is the post for “Part 2 – All the Ways to Get to India”
    Have been eagerly waiting for that post…!!

  16. Please post Part 2 about India. I got 150K MR sitting in my Amex cards

  17. Waiting for Part 2 !!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Come on with part 2 already.

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  21. hi Darius, any advice on how to talk to Aeroplan agents who seem to not know how to find the availability that i see on united.com? even when i feed them the flight numbers, etc… was it just a bad rep i had or Aeroplan is really not able to book certain partner connections, even though the awards are widely available??

  22. Can you post a follow up about navigating the ANA award site and booking flights there using United Miles?

    The new ANA award site sucks

  23. This info for ANA is simply outdated now it seems…? they now have Zones on their Award chart, not as directly based on distance flown?

  24. Awesome post! Please do PART 2 for Asia!!! Would love to see this level of analysis for traveling to the other side of the world.

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  27. I want to get the AMEX Platinum card and need to know if this information is up to date.
    Also can you book these online or must it be done on the phone?

  28. The first set of information is a list of the Amex Membership Rewards airline partners grouped by alliance and then notes on which non-alliance partners you can redeem their miles on.

  29. You mentioned one could receive points, from somewhere, by signing up for American Express select and pay later plan. I’ve been targeted on my AE gold card. Where do I look for the points offer? Thanks.