The Best Ways to Fly to Europe in Business Class This Summer

Take your Euro-trip up a notch.
A girl explores a European city

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What are travel credit cards, and how do they work?

Travel credit cards are financial products that offer various rewards and benefits geared towards frequent travelers. They typically earn you points or miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. These rewards can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses. Travel credit cards may also include perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and no foreign transaction fees.

How do I choose the best travel credit card for my needs?

Choosing the best travel credit card depends on your travel habits, spending patterns, and preferences. Consider factors like the type of rewards offered (points, miles, or cash back), the card’s annual fee, sign-up bonuses, earning rates, redemption options, and additional travel perks. Analyzing these features will help you find a card that aligns with your lifestyle and offers the most value.

What are the benefits of using a travel credit card over other types of credit cards?

Travel credit cards provide unique advantages for travelers, such as earning rewards specifically tailored to travel expenses. Additionally, many travel credit cards offer travel-related perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and travel insurance. Some cards also waive foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international travelers.

What is a sign-up bonus, and how can I qualify for it?

A sign-up bonus is a promotional offer provided by the credit card issuer to entice new cardholders. To qualify for a sign-up bonus, you usually need to meet specific spending requirements within a certain timeframe after opening the account. The bonus can be in the form of points, miles, or cash back, and it’s a great way to jump-start your rewards earning.

Do travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees?

Not all travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. Many of the top-tier travel cards waive these fees, making them ideal for international travel. However, it’s essential to read the card’s terms and conditions to confirm this before using it abroad.

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Few things hit as sweetly as the European summer.

Its long, dazzling days, chaptered by al fresco coffees and carefree tipples, give way to sultry evenings that fade with all the joyous aches of a Lana del Rey song. It’s a time and place to do little but feel a lot.

But nothing rips the needle off that record like cramming your knees into the back of an economy seat for eight hours or more.

Keep the illusion alive a little longer and opt for a business class seat.

“But it’s too expensive!”I hear you cry. 

“Not if you’re savvy with your points and miles,” I retort, with a twinkle in my eye.

We’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at the best ways to fly to Europe in business class this summer.

Deciding which is the best business class to Europe 

If you’re a regular reader, you may have stumbled across some of our other pieces centering on specific business class seats, like Qatar Airways’ Qsuite or Delta’s Delta One. These are hyper-tailored to those with aggressive brand loyalty or with a specific travel aspiration in mind.

If you read those, you’ll also know how complicated it can be to find award availability at reasonable rates. In fact, to book a Q-Suite at top value, you typically need to book a year in advance.

With this in mind, we’re going to suggest a different approach: the best business class to Europe is the best value business class to Europe.

Are you likely to stumble upon the best business class in the world? No, but you will probably be laying flat, sipping free champagne, and looking down your nose at everyone in economy—that’s totally allowed: you earned it.

So for this piece, we’ll be going broad, and finding the best business class to Europe based on value, so you can get the Eurodream started early and let it linger on a little longer.

Setting expectations

With all that said, availability can still be extremely low for almost any business class seat. It will require a significant amount of patience to sift through dates and rates, but we’ll do our best to give you as many tips on how to search for any given flight. 

If we’re being honest, the best use you can get from this article is to plan for summer 2025. We’re approaching the summer, so airlines will be releasing their 12-month availability for those busy periods. If you’re on top of your game and keep checking for new updates, you’ll beat the crowds and nab an unbelievable rate on your summer 2025 travel.

Opting for the East Coast

As can be expected, it’s usually cheaper to fly from the East Coast than the West. But those on the West Coast shouldn’t despair. In many cases, the rates are still strong. If you’re trying to save every point, it’s sometimes worth looking for a positioning flight to the airport with a better rate. Just make sure to do the math to ensure you’re not paying more than you need to.

The best business class to Europe: Iberia Plus for 35,000 Avios

Without a doubt, the best business class to Europe for sheer value is Iberia Plus. The Spanish airline operates a distance-based award chart, gifting the US East Coast (plus Chicago for some reason) an incredible off-peak rate of 35,000 points each way in business class. If you’re flying from somewhere further west, the price will rise incrementally to around 42,500 points—still not bad.

Iberia’s business class features lie-flat seats and all the high-end trimmings you’d hope for from a premium product—just at the same rate as other airlines do for economy flights.

The key to finding these flights is to search for its off-peak rates. This chart shows all the peak dates marked in red—so you can see that there are a ton of off-peak times. Most of the summer is classified as peak, but opting for a shoulder season trip in early June or late September can potentially gift you those unbelievable rates.

The downside is the lack of availability and the mind-numbingly bad usability of Iberia’s website. I’ve almost thrown my laptop across the coffee shop trying to refresh dates.

To make things easier, use American Airlines’ excellent award calendar. Set your desired route to Madrid from NYC, Boston, Chicago, or DC, and filter to direct business class flights. If there’s availability on any given date, you’ll see a figure somewhere in the realm of 56,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

Once you find availability, switch back to Iberia’s website and search for that date. The business class option should be there for 35,000 points plus around $150 in taxes and fees.

This is an excellent one to start searching for in a month or so for 2025. Just be ready to pounce when availability is released.

How to earn enough Iberia Plus Avios

Iberia uses Avios as its points currency. To earn 70,000 points, you can transfer from American Express, Chase, Bilt, Marriott Bonvoy, and now Wells Fargo. As you can move Avios between other airlines using the currency, if you have British Airways, Qatar Airways, Aer Lingus, and Finnair (soon) Avios you can move them, too.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is currently running a 60,000-point intro bonus, leaving you just 5,000 short of grabbing your roundtrip with Iberia. To earn those points, you’ll need to spend $4,000 within three months of opening the card. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Earn 60,000 bonus points

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Annual Fee: $95  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The best business class to Europe: United Airlines roundtrip for 100,000 miles with ANA (All Nippon Airways)

ANA flies well under the radar of most American travelers. This in itself is a travesty as it’s arguably the greatest loyalty program for high-value redemptions. With that said, the less people that know about it, the less likely the rates are to go up.

In the past, it was possible to book a roundtrip business class flight to Europe from the US for just 88,000 points with the Japanese carrier. Sadly, the rates have increased slightly to 100,000—but that’s still an incredible deal for a premium cabin flight.

Those flights will be on different airlines depending on the date, with United’s Polaris class being used as an example in the picture shown.

Its strict award chart means rates are unlikely to fluctuate, even if surcharges and taxes do. I’m in Japan writing this, which shows the taxes as 74,000 yen, which comes out to around $473. Again, when considering that’s two business class trips for 50,000 points each, it’s still a remarkable deal.

The downside to ANA is that you must book a roundtrip—there’s no one-way option. You can use an open-jaw option, but you’ll always have to return to the same origin. This shouldn’t be an issue for most travelers, but others with more flexibility might find this slightly frustrating.

The portal itself can be awkward to navigate, so it’s best to search for availability on one of the airline’s partners. In this case, I searched United’s portal for its saver rates then plugged those dates and routes into ANA’s portal. 

How to earn enough ANA Miles

Currently, American Express is the only credit card issuer that allows transfers to ANA. While that’s only one issuer, that still gives you access to multiple personal cards with excellent intro bonuses and a few huge bonuses across its business card selection.

Opting for a card like the American Express® Gold Card or the The Platinum Card® from American Express can set you well on your way to earning enough ANA miles. 

American Express® Gold Card

60,000 Membership Rewards® Points

after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee: $250  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The best business class to Europe: KLM and Air France via Virgin Atlantic for 48,500 miles

Next up is KLM/Air France and their brilliant business classes.

Dutch carrier KLM recently updated its premium product and was widely praised for the major improvements on its once sub-par product. The service is excellent and, of course, you leave with the iconic ceramic Dutch house ornaments.

Air France’s business class, on the other hand, has always been lauded for its service, while its food and wine selection is, in true French fashion, pretty damn spectacular.

The airlines share a loyalty program, Flying Blue, so you’ll often find similar rates on flights to and from their main bases in Amsterdam and Paris. The nice thing about these airports is their central location—you can fly in here on a solid deal and then hit almost anywhere else in Europe with ease.

But, as usual, the best way to book them is rarely with the airlines themselves. Instead, head to Virgin Atlantic and start searching for your flight of choice. Rates for one-way business class flights at off-peak times hover at around 48,500 points plus about $300 in taxes. Is paying taxes ideal? No, but considering the flights are worth thousands, it’s still not a bad deal in the slightest.

Be very careful not to opt for one of the stopover flights in the UK—you’ll see taxes and fees soar to over $1,000. You don’t want that even if it’s technically good value for the flight.

Again, award availability is tough to find, and booking for 2025 is your safest bet for nabbing a seat. Virgin does have an availability calendar which makes this slightly easier to do. Searching for them on Flying Blue is useless as the airlines have more availability for sky-high rates on most dates. In this regard, you could fly either airline almost any time of the year if you’re willing to blow upwards of 200,000 points on a single redemption. But we don’t recommend that.

How to earn enough Virgin Atlantic reward points

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is arguably the easiest airline loyalty program to earn. Every major credit card issuer allows transfers to the program, so any American Express, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Bilt card can earn you Virgin points.

In this case, you may want to opt for The Platinum Card from American Express. It currently has an 80,000-point intro bonus, but with the right cardmatching tool, you could be eligible for a bigger bonus. Either way, the $8,000 spending threshold for the 80,000 point bonus means you’ll only be 12,000 points shy of redeeming a roundtrip with KLM or Air France.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

80,000 Membership Rewards® Points

after you spend $8,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of card membership

Annual Fee: $695  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The best business class to Europe: United Polaris for 60,000 points using Air Canada

Air Canada is a reliable system for high-value redemptions, and that’s never more true than on its business class flights to Europe. The Canadian carrier uses a distance and zonal-based award chart, so it’s simple to work out how many points you’d need to get to Europe.

The US falls under the airline’s “North America Zone” while Europe is placed in the “Atlantic Zone.” Flights up to 4,000 miles in distance between those zones start at 60,000 points which is a pretty spectacular deal.

While this means that it’s only East Coast cities that will benefit from the lowest rate, it does give a ton of scope. Searching for United Saver flights is a good place to start before you head to Air Canada’s Aeroplan site.

Availability can be sketchy, but work through it and you’ll find some strong redemptions. Just remember that it’s distance-based, too. So if there are connections, the rate will rise accordingly. In other words, search for one-way routes to minimize the points required. It’s still worth checking Aeroplan even if you fall out with that 4,000-mile threshold as the routes may still wind up cheaper than your next best option.

The airline also runs a 5,000-point stopover perk, so if your trip has multiple legs you can squeeze some extra value in by checking out a new city on the way. It might take some finagling to work out the details, but it’s possible.

How to earn enough Air Canada Aeroplan points

Air Canada’s Aeroplan points are easy to earn thanks to their high transferability with credit card companies. You can transfer points from American Express, Chase, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy. 

To score that business class flight, you could open the Capital One Venture X Rewards Card and hit the $4,000 spending goal within three months of opening the account. That’ll gift you 75,000 Venture miles to play with. Even using the 5,000-point stopover you’d still have 10,000 miles leftover.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

75,000 Bonus Miles

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee: $395  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The best business class to Europe: United Polaris Class to Europe for 80,000 miles and $5

United’s Polaris seat is a pretty spectacular way to travel, and might just be the best business class to Europe when taxes and fees are considered. United doesn’t pass on those surcharges which helps keep the out-of-pocket expense incredibly low—even if the rates aren’t quite as good as others.

There used to be regular occurrences of 60,000-mile Polaris class flights, but in this search, I was unable to find anything below 80,000 miles plus $5.60 in fees. That’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination but 60,000 would be epic. If you stumble across that availability, let us know!

The important thing to remember is that United is a dynamic pricing system. While it’s more stable than other airlines, its rates still fluctuate depending on a number of factors. For example, that 80,000-mile rate I found to London appears once in a while when Houston is the departing city. That’s not a one-way flight—there’s a layover in Chicago—and if you search O’Hare’s availability, you’ll find the 80,000 rate far more regularly. If you find this is the case in your search, consider a positioning flight to get yourself to one of the airports at the rate you want. It could still work out cheaper.

Maximize your United flight with the Excursionist Perk

One way to stretch those 80,000 miles is to make use of United’s “Excurstionist Perk.” This tremendous deal allows you to add a free one-way flight to a multi-city booking. If you’re unsure what a multi-city itinerary is, it’s basically two one-way flights booked at once. It’s popular for those exploring Europe as it allows travelers to start and end in different cities.

For example, if you’re looking at a trip around Europe you could go crazy and book a multi-city itinerary from NYC to Paris, then Paris to Istanbul, and finally Istanbul to NYC. The Paris to Istanbul leg would be free.

There are stipulations to this:

  • Travel must originate and end for the same reason. I.e., you must finish in North America if you start there.
  • The free stopover must be within the same region as the other airport. I.e., if you fly to Paris, the second flight must stay in the European region.
  • You must book your flight in the same class. If you book that 80,000-point rate each way for a business class flight, you’ll be booked in business class or dropped to economy. If you book economy and there’s no availability, you won’t be upgraded.

Regardless, it’s an excellent way to squeeze the most value from your United miles.

How to earn enough United Mileage Plan miles

United’s Mileage Plan program isn’t as transfer-friendly as some of the others mentioned in this article, but its partnership with Chase still gives you ample opportunity to amass a solid hoard of miles.

We’d recommend opening the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. Its 60,000-mile intro bonus gets you just 15,000 points away from the 80,000 needed to redeem a Polaris seat when taking the $4,000 spending threshold into account. You’ll need to spend that within three months of opening the card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

60,000 Bonus Points

after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Annual Fee: $550  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

The best business class to Europe: Sales

Aside from these fairly stable sweet spots, it’s a good idea to check in on promotion pages on a number of airlines. United, Delta, KLM, and others all put out monthly deals that can offer rock-bottom rates in economy and business class that far outweigh the value of these offers.

Of course, they don’t last long and will often have specific timeframes you must fly in so flexibility is a prerequisite.

The point

What is the best business class to Europe? The only answer for most is the best value option. It’s easy to book a flight at any time of year for hundreds of thousands of points, but gaining real value requires patience and an understanding of sweet spots like the ones above. And the further in advance you can book, the better.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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