Explore Europe for Cheap With Budget Airlines!

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Now that the busy summer travel season is here, folks are wondering how to see more of Europe for less money.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

See More of Europe by Flying Discount Airlines!

One trick is to fly on budget airlines once you get to Europe.

I’ll show you when to use miles and when to pay for flights.  And then tell you about a few budget airlines you may want to try!

Getting to Europe With Miles

Link:   Using United Miles to Get to Europe

Link:   Top 5 Cheap Ways to Get to Europe Using Miles and Points

Link:   All the Ways to Get to Europe With AMEX Membership Rewards Points

Getting to Europe with airline miles can be a challenge during the summer.  Flights are usually full.  And because the dollar is strong in Europe this year, expect tourism to be at record numbers.

But there are still ways to get to Europe even in the middle of summer!  Read about my top 5 cheap ways to get to Europe with miles and points.

Using British Airways Avios Points Once You’re in Europe

One of the best programs for short flights is British Airways Avios points.  Especially in Europe!

You’ll have access to all the European members of the oneworld alliance like Air Berlin, British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia.  For flights under 650 miles, you only need 4,500 British Airways Avios point for a 1-way coach award ticket.

This presents a great opportunity for seeing more of Europe!

Wandering Aramean built a calculator that will show you where you can go for 4,500 British Airways Avios points.

For example, from Milan, you can use 4,500 British Airways Avios points to visit:

  • Berlin
  • Dusseldorf
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Stuttgart
  • Vienna
Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

4,500 British Airways Avios Points Can Get You to More of Europe From Milan!

And from Paris, you can use 4,500 British Airways Avios points to fly to:

  • Amsterdam
  • Dublin
  • London
  • Vienna

When to Use British Airways Avios Points

In general, you should use your British Airways Avios points for flights that would be expensive if you paid cash.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Use British Airways Avios Points for Flights That Are Short and Expensive

Before redeeming British Airways Avios points, always check your flights to see how much they would cost if you paid for them.

If a flight is cheap, consider paying for it.  And save your miles to take the expensive flights.

Budget Airlines in Europe Make Travel Affordable

There are several airlines with extensive route networks that fly throughout Europe.  Keep these in mind if you decide to pay for a flight.

Budget airlines offer a no-frills flying experience.  Expect fees for things like checked baggage and paper boarding passes.  You could be charged for everything from snacks to headphones to your carry-on bag.  And service on the flights can be limited.

Even with extra fees considered, you can still get a great deal!

1.   AirBaltic

AirBaltic is a low-cost carrier based in Riga, Latvia.  It’s easy to cross the European continent with AirBaltic, but keep in mind that every flight you choose will connect in Riga.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

AirBaltic’s Route Network Can Get You Around Europe via Riga

If you want to fly from Paris to Moscow, the stop in Riga would be on the way.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

You Can Fly Paris to Moscow via Riga on AirBaltic

And the flight would only cost you ~$155!

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

~$155 to Fly Across a Continent Is a Great Price!

AirBaltic is not a part of any alliance, but is partners with airlines in every alliance.

Baggage fees start at ~25 Euros (~$28) if you book directly through AirBaltic.  Change and cancellation fees vary based on the type of ticket you bought.  And may not be possible if it’s less than 1 month from departure.

2.   Air Berlin

Air Berlin has an extensive network that is based in, of course, Berlin.

But did you know that Air Berlin operates a smaller budget airline called Niki?

Niki’s hub cities are Vienna and Salzburg, Austria.  And they have flights all over Europe!

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Air Berlin and Niki Have Cheap Flights Throughout Europe

Air Berlin and Niki are both members of oneworld, so if you do pay for a flight, be sure to credit your miles to 1 of their airline partners, such as American Airlines!

You can fly from Vienna to Barcelona for ~$88 later this month!

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Great Deal! Fly From Vienna to Barcelona for ~$88!

Change fees start at 75 Euros (~$85) per person.  And depending on the fare, you might not get a refund if you cancel your flight.

They charge 15 euros (~$17) for your 1st checked bag if you pay for it 30+ hours before departure.

3.   EasyJet

There’s hardly anywhere in Europe you won’t find EasyJet, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  They have 23 bases throughout Europe.  So it can be a convenient option to get around.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

It’s Hard to Find a European City That’s NOT Served by EasyJet!

And their flights often have great prices.  Like flights from Paris for only ~$38!

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Check out the Great Prices From Paris on easyJet!

Their prices can be cheaper than taking a train.  And they serve most major cities.

Watch out for fees, though.  Checking a bag costs at least $50.  And they add a $20 “admin fee” just for buying a ticket.

As always, do the math before you buy.  Even with the extra fees, you can still get a good deal flying EasyJet. 

4.   Germanwings

Lufthansa is the parent company of Germanwings.  So they are a part of the Star Alliance.  If you pay for a ticket on Germanwings, be sure to get mileage credit with your favorite Star Alliance airline, such as United Airlines!

Germanwings is based out of Cologne, Germany.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Germanwings Serves Most European Cities for Cheap!

The airline serves ~130 cities in Europe.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

It’s Only ~80 Euros (~$91) to Fly From Stuttgart to Vienna on Germanwings

They charge $42 to check a bag.  And their flight change policy is flexible.  Change fees depend on the fare, and start at $90.  They do NOT allow any flights to be canceled.

Purchase your Germanwings tickets on their website.  They charge extra if you buy tickets elsewhere.

5.   Norwegian

Norwegian is an ultra low-cost airline.  In addition to flying within Europe, they fly to the US as well.

Some of their flights to Europe from the US are as low as ~$154.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

You Can Fly From the US to Europe for Under ~$200 in Some Cases

And when you get to Europe, you’ll find an extensive network there, too.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

From Paris, You Can Choose From Dozens of Destinations

A 1-way fare from Paris to Copenhagen is only ~$53.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

You Can Get From Paris to Copenhagen for ~$53!

Norwegian charges baggage fees based on where you’re flying.  The charges start at ~$10 for the 1st bag and go up from there.

It costs ~$55 to change a ticket.  They do NOT allow cancellations, but they will refund the taxes you paid on the ticket.

6.   Ryanair

As the largest carrier in Europe, Ryanair flies to just about every secondary city and airport on the continent.

They are focused on keeping costs super low.  So they fly to airports that are outside city limits.  And to smaller airports that are less expensive to serve.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Ryanair Can Fly You All Over Europe!

They charge extra for nearly everything.  But if you know what to watch out for, flying on Ryanair can be a good deal.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Fly From Dublin to Paris for ~$28!

Even with the added fees, flying on Ryanair can still be the cheapest way to travel.

They have some of the smallest seats in the airline industry.  And they charge for headphones and snacks.

So bring your own headphones.  Because they’ve been known to have advertisements on the overhead speakers for the duration of the flight.

7.   Wizz Air

Wizz Air, like Ryanair, flies to secondary cities and airports to keep costs low.

They are based in Budapest, Hungary.  Though they fly all over Europe, they have an emphasis on Eastern European cities.

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Wizz Air Has a Big Network With Many Eastern European Cities Included

You can fly from Barcelona all the way to Warsaw, Poland for only ~50 Euros (~$56).

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Barcelona to Warsaw Is a Great Deal for Only ~50 Euros

However,  you’ll pay extra for checked bags depending on several factors. 

Explore Europe For Cheap With Budget Airlines

Baggage Costs Can Vary, So It’s Best to Plan Ahead

It’s cheapest to pay for your bags when you book your ticket.

Like other budget airlines, Wizz Air has additional fees for every extra service.  You’ll pay to book a ticket online, check-in to your flight, and print paper invoices.  They even charge for flight information!

How to Find These Fares

Here a few websites to search for these flights:

But it’s always a good idea to search on the airline’s site, in case there is a lower fare.  For example, Germanwings charges more when you don’t book directly on their website!

Use a Card That Earns Bonus Points for Airfare

Remember to use a card that will earn you bonus points and doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee such as:

Card NameWhat It Earns
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN- Earn 3X American Express Membership Rewards points on airfare purchased directly from airlines when you choose this as your 3X category (otherwise earn 2X points)

- Here's my review of the card

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
- Earn 3X American Express Membership Rewards points for airfare purchased directly from airlines

- $100 Airline fee credit. Up to $100 a year for incidental fees with your selected airline

- Here's my review of the card
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
- 3% cash back on airfare purchased directly from airlines when you choose this as your 3% cash back category

- Here's my review of the card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Earn 5X American Express Membership Rewards points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel

- $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a year in baggage fees and more at 1 airline

- Here's my review of the card
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

- Earn 2 miles per $1 on all purchases

- Use miles for travel statement credits (minimum 10,000 miles for $100)

- Here's my review of the card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel, including airfare

- Here's my review of the card
Citi Prestige® Card - Earn 3X ThankYou points for airfare & hotels

- $250 statement credit for airfare & baggage fees each calendar year

- Here's my review of the card
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
InkBusinessPreferred
- Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, including airfare each year

- Here's my review of the card
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card- Earn 3X ThankYou points for travel, including airfare

- Here's my review of the card
Or pay with an airline credit card for specific perks!

And with the Citi Prestige card, you’ll get an airline credit of $250 per calendar year to spend on baggage fees, change fees, or even airfare on ANY airline.  And it has NO foreign transaction fees.

Bottom Line

This is a great year to go to Europe because the US dollar goes further than it did before!

Once you get to Europe, you can choose from several airlines to maximize your time and see more countries in 1 trip.

Use British Airways Avios points for flights that are short and expensive.  You’ll pay just 4,500 British Airways Avios points for 1-way coach award flights under 650 miles.

For other flights around Europe, consider a budget airline like EasyJet, Germanwings, or Wizz Air.  Just remember to check the airline’s fees so you aren’t hit with surprise charges!

How do you save money traveling within Europe?  

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6 responses to “Explore Europe for Cheap With Budget Airlines!

  1. From a few of these bargain airlines web sites and other bogs, I got the impression that travel in the off-season cost a lot more. Also don’t some European airlines charge 2 – 3% for credit card usage. For the UK, is traveling from London to the southern secondary airports, reasonable or not?

  2. UK Monarch is another low cost airline that serves Europe. Through tomorrow, around 10,000 seats will be on sale for 43.99 pounds. These are for Sept – Nov flights from the UK to various cities in southern Europe. The number of tickets available range from 300 (Nice) to 2400 (Barcelona). The return flight is the same cost, if available. http://www.monarch.co.uk/

  3. Regarding using Avios on British Airways ,I recently booked several flights on BA. To fly from Amsterdam to Dublin, it cost 9000 Avios (4500 from AMS-LHR and 4500 from LHR-DUB). On the Wandering Armenian sight, it appears that the trip is only 4500 Avios. Everytime I have looked at booking other cities in Europe, it appears that you always have to go through London, thus doubling the number of Avios required. Is this correct or am I doing something wrong when searching for flights?

  4. Short flights within Europe now cost only 4000 Avios per segment on off-peak days in coach, 7750 business. When coach awards are unavailable, an Avios business class flight can be a much better deal than a revenue coach flight.

  5. It’s been reported that Germanwings (airline code 4U) is being rebranded this Fall as Eurowings (EW).

  6. You missed Vueling airline, and the key is to book very early to get the best prices. They all have no legroom and tend to not run on time. Vueling is part of Iberia and can be booked with those points.