How Can You Use American Airlines Miles & Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for a Flight to Europe?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Randy, commented:

I started with a Citi AAdvantage Platinum card and have a little over 90,000 American Airlines miles.  I’m working on my Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus which will give me 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

My immediate travel plan is to travel to Europe with my wife in early fall in Business Class.  How would you proceed from here?

I need to book the tickets by the March 22, 2016, when American Airlines changes their award chart.   Would I be able to receive the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card without actually owning a business?

You can quickly earn the additional miles and points you need for you and your wife to fly Business Class to Europe.

How Can You Use American Airlines Miles Chase Ultimate Rewards Points For A Flight To Europe

How Can You Use Your American Airlines Miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Get to Europe?

I’ll give you a strategy!

Randy has 90,000 American Airlines miles and 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  And he wants to take his wife to Europe in Business Class.

Here’s how he and his wife can cover the cost of their flights with miles and points!

Book 1-Way Flights With Your American Airlines Miles

Link:   All the Ways to Earn American Airlines Miles

Link:   My American Airlines Award Booking Guide

A 1-way Business Class award flight to Europe currently costs 50,000 American Airlines miles.

How Can You Use American Airlines Miles Chase Ultimate Rewards Points For A Flight To Europe

With 10,000 More American Airlines Miles, Randy Will Have Enough to Book 1-Way Business Class Tickets to Europe for Himself and His Wife

He’s considering singing-up for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card.  But he’ll need to have a small business or plans to start one.

While Randy doesn’t think he owns a business, he just might!  That’s because many for profit activities like selling goods online, freelancing, and coaching can be considered small businesses.

But do NOT lie on your application!  This is considered fraud and folks have been prosecuted.

And even if he doesn’t qualify for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card, he may be able to earn the sign-up bonus on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card again!

Or he could open a CitiGold checking account by March 31, 2016, to earn 50,000 American Airlines miles.  Just be sure to use promotional code WD3QFS2Y4C”.

And there are lots of other ways to earn American Airlines miles:

Credit Card or Bank Offer
Sign-On Bonus
Minimum Spending Required
Annual Fee or Cost
Total
260,000+ American Airlines miles
Citi AAdvantage Platinum (personal)50,000 American Airlines miles
$3,000 within 3 months
$95 waived for 1st year
CitiBusiness AAdvantage 50,000 American Airlines miles$3,000 within 3 months
$95 waived for 1st year
Citi AAdvantage Executive card50,000 American Airlines miles$5,000 within 3 months$450
Starwood Preferred Guest card (personal)25,000 Starwood points = 25,000 American Airlines miles + 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer in 20,000 point increments$3,000 within 3 months$95 waived for 1st year
Starwood Preferred Guest card (business)25,000 Starwood points = 25,000 American Airlines miles + 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer in 20,000 point increments
$5,000 within 3 months
$95 waived for 1st year
Fidelity15,000, 25,000, or 50,000 American Airlines miles
$25,000, $50,000, or $100,000 depositvaries
BankDirectvariesvariesvaries

Changes Coming to the American Airlines Award Chart

Link:   American Airlines Is Changing Its Award Chart!

Link:   New American Airlines Award Chart

Link:   New American Airlines Partner Award Chart

Starting March 22, 2016, the cost of many American Airlines award flights will change.  And 1-way Business Class award flights to Europe will go up from 50,000 American Airlines miles to 57,500 American Airlines miles.

So as Randy points out, he’ll want to make sure he books their trip before this price increase goes into effect.

Unfortunately, American Airlines is NOT a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.  But there’s still a great way for Randy to use those points!

Earn More Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for the Other Half of Your Trip

Link:   How to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Get to Europe

Randy can use his Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book the 2nd leg of his trip on United Airlines.  Or their partners such as Lufthansa and LOT Polish Airlines.

You could also transfer to other Chase Ultimate Rewards partners like British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic.  These airlines have high fuel surcharges.  But in some cases it may make sense.  For example, you can get cheap award flights and avoid the hefty fees from the East Coast to Europe using British Airways Avios points to fly on partners like Air Berlin.

When you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold (no longer available), you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.  The miles typically post to your account instantly.

A 1-way Business Class award flight from Europe to the US costs 57,500 United Airlines miles.  So Randy will need to earn another 65,000 United Airlines miles to book his and his wife’s return flight.

A 1-way Business Class award flight on a United Airlines Star Alliance Partners like Lufthansa or LOT Polish Airlines will cost more at 70,000 United Airlines miles.

Remember, in addition to the 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points Randy earns by unlocking the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus, he’ll earn at least 4,000 additional points.  Because the minimum spending requirement is $4,000 and you earn at least 1 point per $1 spent.

Randy can add another 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to transfer to United Airlines by adding an authorized user who makes a purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening his account.

And there are plenty of other easy ways to earn the extra miles:

  • Chase Freedom – 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150) when you spend $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  And $25 (2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) for adding your 1st authorized user who makes a purchase within this same 3-month period.
  • Chase Ink Plus – 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
  • Chase Ink Cash – 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($200 in cash back) when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
  • United MileagePlus Explorer (personal) – 30,000 United Airlines miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  Plus, 5,000 additional United Airlines miles by adding an authorized user and make a purchase within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  And a $50 statement credit after your 1st purchase

Of course Randy could also fly 1-way in Business Class and return in coach, if he’s short on points.  And flying coach on partner airlines like TAP Portugal costs the same number of miles as flying United Airlines in coach so that opens up more routing options.

Bottom Line

Want to get away to Europe?  There are lots of ways to earn the American Airlines and United Airlines miles you need to get there in Business Class!

You can even split up your trip by booking the outbound flight on American Airlines and the return trip on United Airlines or vice versa.

Remember that  American Airlines award flights to Europe are increasing in price on March 22, 2016.

Thanks for your question, Randy!  I hope that helps!

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5 responses to “How Can You Use American Airlines Miles & Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for a Flight to Europe?

  1. Great points, pardon the pun. I still don’t see how he will be able to get the needed miles on AA before the the devaluation. He most likely will need a transfer partner like a hotel chain or will need to buy the points to get up to 100k AA miles.

  2. lol at myself for being duped into clicking on this post. I thought there was going to be info but it’s nothing but CC links. Exactly why I avoid this site.

    There is absolutely no “how to use” miles to get to Europe it is simply “here are CC offers that get you miles while lining MMS’s pocket”

  3. I agree with Tim. Nothing but signup pitches…article doesn’t mention that availability of award flights is already gone, since people have known of the changes for a while…heck AA has cut awards drastically since they acquired usair. We used to get business class saver awards to Hawaii on both airlines with more than a few choices…now the only business saver flights 37.5K are on a partner (AS) and are on 2 smaller model planes with a layover that adds 2 or 3 hours to the flight and only 2 dates in the next year for any airport in Hawaii…now I can book a regular business class seat at 67.5k with a dozen or more dates available but if you want a weekend flight or anything convienent the price is 90k or 120k EACH WAY AA has gutted their awards because they have less competition and control more flights….all the bargain priced awards include extra stops that add hours to a flight, overnight connections, small regional jets thrown in when possible, and most are only available one way with any return trip, within a month costing a premium amount of points…I thought AA would be great in DFW since it is a hub, and if availability sucks this bad here I hate to see what it is from the rest of the country.

  4. Echo the comments that this is heavy on the credit card pitches and light on helpful info. You seem to have ignored the time crunch completely in your recommendations. For example, I opened a citigold account in December and I met the qualifications by mid January. I still don’t have my AA points, though I have called Citibank and verified that I have met the qualifications and do have the offer in my account information but was told it can take up to 3 months to post to my account. This will not help this guy who needs his points quickly. In fact nothing you suggested will help him get the points before the devaluation.

  5. Darius, Do you think the changes in the AA awards on March 22 will have an impact on redemptions through Citi thank you points? I am booking a caribbean trip and I’m not sure if I should wait until after the 22nd and if the fare would be less.

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