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- With Europe reopening to vaccinated Americans, I took advantage of a cheap business class fare.
- Instead of paying cash, I redeemed Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Travel Portal.
- I spent just 67,000 points and $0 in cash for a round-trip ticket to Amsterdam in a lie-flat seat.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.
If you’re looking to fly business class between the US and Europe, your choices are mostly limited to legacy airlines (like United, American, British Airways, and Lufthansa, for example) which often have pretty egregious pricing. Pre-pandemic, it wasn’t unusual to see round-trip fares that cost $5,000 or more.
Thankfully there are a number of airlines looking to disrupt this pricing model, including JetBlue, which will begin offering its Mint business class on flights to London later this year, and TAP Portugal. A member of Star Alliance, TAP has been on my radar for a while as it tends to offer some of the cheapest business class fares on the market between the East Coast and Europe, connecting via its hub in Lisbon (LIS).
Read more: The best credit card rewards sweet spots that get you the most from your hard-earned points and miles
Normally when I’m booking an award ticket I don’t pay much attention to the cash price. With very few exceptions, a business class ticket costs the same number of miles whether the airline is charging $1,000 or $10,000 for that seat.
With Europe slowly reopening to vaccinated Americans, I’ve been trying to plan a summer trip that I’ll actually be able to take, and was thrilled to find that TAP is selling round-trip business class tickets between the US and a number of European cities for as low as $990! As a point of comparison, on the same day we’re flying, every other airline is charging over $1,000 for round-trip economy flights, so it’s actually cheaper for us to splurge for business class.
If you’re vaccinated and ready to plan a trip, here are some of the best ways to get to Europe with points and miles, and the top current credit card bonuses that can help you earn the rewards you need.
At the time of post writing, these fares are available from several cities including my home airport of Miami, Newark, Washington Dulles, Boston, and Chicago to name a few. Eligible European destinations include London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, and Barcelona, with plenty of other options available for under $1,500 round-trip. TAP doesn’t fly all of these routes every day of the week, so you’ll want to play around with the calendar on Google Flights to find availability.
$990 for a round-trip business class ticket is a phenomenal deal, but the entire point of award travel is trying to pay as little as possible for the trips you want to take. That’s why when I decided to take advantage of this fare and book a two-week trip to Amsterdam and Santorini, I redeemed Chase Ultimate Rewards points and paid exactly $0 out of pocket.
We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.
How I used Chase points to book cheap business class flights to Europe
Because these are regular cash fares, you can search for them on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and redeem points instead to cover the cost. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® you’ll get a 50% bonus when redeeming your points(making them worth 1.5 cents each) while customers with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card get a 25% bonus (making your points worth 1.25 cents each).
If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® this works out to just under 67,000 Ultimate Rewards points, or about 80,000 points with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.