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Depending on your European destination, the points you earn from the card’s sign-up bonus and minimum spending requirement can be more than enough for multiple round-trip award tickets.
You can transfer the American Express Membership Rewards points to terrific airline partners across all 3 major alliances like Air Canada, British Airways, and Delta. Or for more flexibility, use AMEX Pay With Points, which can make your points effectively worth up to 2 cents each.
Remember, the AMEX Business Platinum 100,000-point sign-up bonus is only available for a limited time until January 25, 2017.
I’ll show you how to use AMEX Membership Rewards points from the Business Platinum for flights to Europe!
8 Ways to Use AMEX Points for Flights to Europe
With 17 direct AMEX Membership Rewards airline transfer partners, there are lots of options for booking award flights to Europe.
In these examples, I’ll show you award pricing for flights in coach, Business Class, and First Class. You’ll earn at least 115,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points with the Business Platinum after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.
1. Air Canada
Link: Air Canada Award Chart
Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance. This means you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Air Canada and then book flights to Europe on partner airlines like Lufthansa or United Airlines.
The number of miles you’ll need for an award flight varies depending on the city in Europe you’re flying to. But regardless of your US departure city, the amount you’ll pay is fixed.
For example, from the US or Canada to Western Europe destinations like France, Germany, and Spain, one-way award flights cost:
- 30,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles in coach
- 55,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles in Business Class
- 70,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles in First Class
So the 115,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points you’ll earn from the Business Platinum sign-up bonus and minimum spending requirement can get you 1 round-trip Business Class award flight. Or you’ll be just shy of having enough points for 2 round-trip coach award tickets.
Million Mile Secrets team member Keith transferred 70,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points to Air Canada to book a First Class Lufthansa award flight from Florence to Los Angeles.
To other places further east in Europe, like Czech Republic or Greece, you’ll pay slightly more for one-way award flights:
- 37,500 Air Canada Aeroplan miles in coach
- 57,500 Air Canada Aeroplan miles in Business Class
- 80,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles in First Class
Keep in mind, you’ll pay fuel surcharges when you redeem Air Canada Aeroplan miles on certain airlines like Lufthansa, which can cost ~$350 to ~$450 each way on certain flights.
But you will NOT pay fuel surcharges on other airlines like Brussels Airlines, SWISS, or United Airlines
Link: ANA Award Chart
You can NOT book a one-way award flight with ANA. Round-trip award flights from the US to Europe cost:
- 55,000 ANA miles in coach
- 88,000 ANA miles in Business Class
- 165,000 ANA miles in First Class
So getting the Business Platinum card and completing the minimum spending means you’ll have more than enough for 2 round-trip coach award flights to Europe.
And you can book United Airlines award flights directly on the ANA website.
But consider ANA charges steep fuel surcharges on partner award flights to Europe, which can range from ~$160 round-trip to almost $1,000. So run the numbers to see if it makes sense before transferring your AMEX Membership Rewards points.
Delta does not publish an award chart. But from experience searching the Delta award calendar, the cheapest one-way award flights to Europe cost:
- 30,000 Delta miles in coach
- 70,000 Delta miles in Business Class
So you can transfer 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points from the Business Platinum to Delta and fly to Europe in Business Class and return in coach, or vice versa.
Or if you already have 5,000 Delta miles in your frequent flyer account, you can transfer the sign-up bonus and minimum spending points and have enough for 2 round-trip coach tickets.
Keep an eye out for Delta’s award flight sales, which can be a great way to save miles.
And because Delta is a SkyTeam airline, you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Delta and then book award flights on partner airlines like KLM or Air France.
Although Delta doesn’t have fuel surcharges on their flights, you will have to pay a small excise fee to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to the airline because it’s based in the US.
Etihad is not part of an airline alliance. But they have great airline partnerships, which can help you get to Europe.
One way to book a flight to Europe is to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Etihad and book award flights on American Airlines.
Redeeming Etihad miles can actually be cheaper than using American Airlines miles for the same flight. But available award seats are extremely limited when you book this way.
If you can find award seats to Europe, a one-way award flight will cost you:
- 30,000 Etihad miles in coach
- 50,000 Etihad miles in Business Class
- 62,500 Etihad miles in First Class
And between October 15 and May 15, you can book one-way off-peak American Airlines coach award flights to Europe using 20,000 Etihad miles.
This means the 100,000-point Business Platinum sign-up bonus can get you a round-trip Business Class award ticket.
Or you can book 2 round-trip off-peak coach tickets and still have lots of AMEX Membership Rewards points left over.
To find award seats eligible for using Etihad miles, you can search available award seats on the American Airlines website or call Etihad. Remember, on the American Airlines website you’ll have to look for certain booking codes, which will let you know you’ll be able to book through Etihad.
To book your award flight, you’ll have to call Etihad at 877-690-0767.
For example, a round-trip award flight from New York (JFK) to Brussels costs:
- 21,972 Etihad miles in coach
- 36,620 Etihad miles in Business Class
That’s an incredible deal.
Note: With Brussels Airlines you must book a round-trip ticket. You can NOT book individual one-ways. And you must book your flight at least 14 days before your travel dates.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding available award seats on Brussels airlines. But keep in mind, you’ll have to call Etihad to book this way.
5. Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
Link: Flying Blue Promo Awards
If you want to make the most of your Business Platinum sign-up bonus points, you can do very well with Flying Blue Promo Awards to Europe.
Each month, Air France and KLM discount award tickets on certain routes. Sometimes there are savings of up to 50%! You’ll still pay taxes and fees depending on the route, which can range from ~$200 in coach to ~$500 in Business Class. But folks looking to use fewer miles can find a great deal this way.
For example, a coach award ticket between the US and Europe normally costs 50,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip. But when Flying Blue discounts their coach tickets by 50%, you’ll only pay 25,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip.
This means the Business Platinum 100,000-point sign-up bonus can get you 4 round-trip award flights!
6. Singapore Airlines
If your travel plans to Europe include visiting Germany, then Singapore Airlines is a great AMEX Membership Rewards transfer partner.
Because you can book cheap Singapore Airlines award flights between New York and Frankfurt.
With the 15% discount you get for booking online, one-way award flights cost:
- 17,000 Singapore Airlines miles in coach
- 48,875 Singapore Airlines miles in Business Class
- 57,375 Singapore Airlines miles in First Class Suites
Singapore Airlines adds fuel surcharges to their award ticket prices. From New York (JFK) to Frankfurt, you’ll pay ~$180. But it can still be worth it for folks who want to use fewer miles to get to Europe.
7. Pay With Points
I’ve written how the points from the Business Platinum sign-up bonus and minimum spending requirement can get you $2,300 worth of paid airfare!
That’s because you effectively get 2 cents per point towards coach airfare on your selected airline or with Business Class or First Class airfare on ANY airline when you book through the AMEX travel portal.
This is a good option for folks who’d like to use points for flights without worrying about blackout dates.
For example, I found a round-trip American Airlines coach flight between New York and Santorini in July 2017 for ~$1,000.
If American Airlines is your selected airline, you could redeem 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points from your Business Platinum card. Then, automatically get 50% of your points credited back to your account.
Effectively, you’re using 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points for a round-trip coach ticket. This is a better deal than transferring points to Delta for a similar flight, which might require 10,000 or more miles.
8. British Airways
Although the transfer ratio from AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios points is less favorable (5:4), there are still sweet spots that can help you get to Europe.
The 115,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points you earn from the Business Platinum converts to 92,000 British Airways Avios points.
And that’s more than enough for 3 round-trip coach award tickets to Dublin! Because from 6 US cities, it costs just 26,000 British Airways Avios to fly round-trip on partner airline Aer Lingus during off-peak times.
Or you can use British Airways Avios points to book award flights on oneworld alliance partner Air Berlin. This is a great option because there are no fuel surcharges. You can fly these routes from the US:
- Boston to Düsseldorf – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
- New York (JFK) to Berlin or Düsseldorf – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
- Chicago to Berlin – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
- Fort Myers, FL to Düsseldorf – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
- Miami to Berlin or Düsseldorf – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
- Los Angeles to Düsseldorf – 30,000 British Airways Avios points
But I wouldn’t recommend transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios points to book award flights on British Airways. Because the airline adds huge fuel surcharges on award flights, which can add $700+ to a round-trip award ticket.
You’ll have enough points for a round-trip Business Class ticket if you transfer points to Etihad and book an American Airlines award flight.
With 17 direct AMEX Membership Rewards airline transfer partners, there are other options too. But remember certain transfer partners like British Airways have less favorable transfer ratios and add significant fuel surcharges to many award tickets.
Remember, you only have until January 25, 2017, to apply for the limited-time 100,000-point AMEX Business Platinum sign-up bonus offer!