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Europe is filled with delicious food, interesting tourist attractions, and diverse cultures. When considering flying internationally, it’s easy to believe that such a trip would be a major budget buster. When you incorporate travel rewards into your planning, destinations like Europe suddenly become very affordable. We’ll show you have to get to Europe with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.
How to get to Europe with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Chase Ultimate Rewards are incredibly flexible, so there are multiple options to choose from.
Redeem Points For Cash
Technically, you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for cash, then use that cash to pay for a flight. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or a Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, redeeming for cash means that you’re missing out on 25-50% additional value of your Ultimate Rewards points when purchasing travel.
Which brings us to a better alternative…
Use The Ultimate Rewards Portal to Purchase Travel
One of the great benefits of the Sapphire and Ink cards is that your Ultimate Rewards are worth more when you redeem them to purchase travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
The Sapphire Preferred and Ink points are worth 25% more, while the Sapphire Reserve points are worth 50% more.
For example, instead of a $500 ticket requiring 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points, cardholders of the Sapphire Preferred or Ink would only be charged 40,000 points (50,000 / 1.25) while Sapphire Reserve cardholders would only be charged 33,333 points (50,000 / 1.50).
I performed a sample search from New York to Paris in September 2018 and found tickets for $507.31 round-trip. Instead of paying cash, this flight would only require 40,584 points per person, leaving you around 19,000 points to pay for excursions, part of your hotel stay, or a future flight.
You can also fly from New York to London for less than 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points. This $554.88 ticket would only be 44,390 points per person leaving you with over 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points for your next trip.
One of the major benefits of booking flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal is that the airline treats the ticket just like you paid for it with cash. This means that you’ll earn miles for the ticket and you can designate which program to have those miles post just like a paid-with-cash ticket. It’s a fantastic option to get to Europe with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.
Transfer to Airline Partners
Beyond using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points as a substitute for cash, you can also transfer your points to airline transfer partners. Here are the airline transfer partners you can choose from:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- British Airways Executive Club
- Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Iberia Plus
- Korean Air SkyPass
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
We’ll start with United Airlines since it is a US-based carrier that most people are familiar with. You can fly to Europe for as little as 30,000 miles each way (or 60,000 round trip) per person when using Saver award availability. Unfortunately, that means that you’ll need to fly solo or earn some additional Ultimate Rewards if you want to bring someone along with you.
Air France KLM Flying Blue
When familiar airline programs don’t work as well as you’d hope, it pays to explore options that you may not have heard of before.
With Flying Blue, you can fly from the US to Europe for around 25,000 miles each way. This means that your 100,000 Ultimate Rewards can get both you and a companion to Europe.
I performed a sample search from New York to Paris and found a flight for as few as 45,500 miles with taxes & fuel surcharges of $206.53 per person.
Korean Air SkyPass
Korean Air SkyPass allows you to fly round trip to Europe for 50,000 miles per person. However, they charge even more taxes & fees than Flying Blue. The cash portion of this flight would be $424.43. Although the 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points can get you two award tickets to Europe, the cash charged by Korean Air doesn’t make this a good deal.
Business Class Flights
With the combination of taxes and fees that many airlines charge on award tickets and how competition has brought down cash prices for flights, you are often better off purchasing Economy tickets using points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal than transferring the points to an airline so you can redeem miles for the flight.
When you are looking for premium cabin service, that is where airline miles offer tremendous value compared to paying cash. For a few more miles you can fly in a premium cabin without paying a lot of extra fees.
If you’re limited in your miles, consider flying one-way in Economy and the other in Business Class. For example, you can fly one-way in Business Class on United for 70,000 miles so you can sleep in a lay-flat seat during the overnight. Then spend 30,000 miles for an Economy ticket for the return flight. This itinerary from New York to Paris would be 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards and $105.31 in taxes and fees. Paying cash for a flight like this would easily cost $2,000 or more.
Bottom Line On Getting to Europe with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
There are many options available to you when you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards. Redeeming for cash at 1 penny per point is almost always the worst option. Instead, choose one of the best credit cards for travel miles or one of the best rewards credit cards. Depending on your destination and the flight options, you may be better off using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book an Economy ticket than redeeming airline miles because of the taxes and fees that some airline programs charge.
When you are trying to figure out how to get to Europe with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, take your time to evaluate your options, then pick the one that works best for you.