There is an amazingly new efficient way to use miles and points to get to Europe. It might not be the best way to get there with maximum style and comfort but if you are trying to preserve points and/or you just want to enjoy Europe for a little while, this could still be a great use of your points.
British Airways fuel surcharges
British Airways fuel surcharges have always been some of the worst. For example, when using points to fly them on a premium cabin such as first class for business class, these fees could be well over $1,000 for a round-trip ticket.
There are some ways to lower these fees like routing through a city outside of London but for the most part you can anticipate to pay high surcharges when using points to book flights on British Airways.
However, that is now changing when it comes to many economy redemptions. It looks like that one way flights from the United States to the UK in economy (BA calls it “World Traveller”) on some routes are not being subject to those high surcharges anymore. Flights from JFK to LHR, for example, have fees under $100.
If you are not aware, British Airways uses a distance-based award chart that makes it very cheap to get to Europe from certain regions of the country, such as the East Coast. For example, during off-peak times you can get from New York (JFK) to London (LHR) for only 13,000 Avios (as shown above).
So now you have the opportunity to use a very small number of miles AND pay a moderate amount in fees to get over to the UK! Finally, this is more of a true sweet spot.
The deal is even sweeter right now (Amex bonus)
Right now there is the special offer where you get 40% more Avios when you transfer Amex Membership Rewards points through 10/1/19. This means that you’d only need 10,000 Membership Rewards to cover a one-way trip to Europe from the East Coast. That makes economy much more tempting.
If you were flying from the middle of the country like Houston , you’d need 16,250 Avios which would amount to only 12,000 Membership Rewards for the one-way journey. (Note: Not all routes from the US currently have the lower fees.)
If you’re like me and don’t care for economy, perhaps you could fly just one way in economy and then plan to shell out for some fees on the way back in business or first class? Or maybe look into booking premium cabins with Iberia or Aer Lingus which are known for lower fees. Either way, with this Amex bonus, this could be a real bargain for getting over to Europe.
If you’re okay with flying economy then there’s now a new great way to get to Europe with very reasonable fees. And if you have Amex Membership Rewards, you could get there with as little as 10,000 points and less than $100 in fees which is pretty fantastic.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.