Deal alert: Widespread business class flights to Europe for 50% off this winter

Jun 21, 2020

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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

If you’re starting to think about your post-quarantine travels and want to fly in style then we have a deal for you. Business class flights to Europe this winter are currently available for significantly cheaper than usual — in some cases over half-off.

You can currently book business class flights to Europe for travel between August 2020 and January 2021 for as low as $1,855 round-trip. Even better, nonstop flights are included in this sale.

The low fares are available to numerous European destinations like Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA), Geneva (GVA), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG) and Vienna (VIE) for departures from cities across the U.S. including Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Miami (MIA), New York-JFK and Newark (EWR). While it’s not uncommon to see deals to Europe from the Northeast, it’s less common for the deal to span both coasts and include nearly all nonstop options.

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You’ll find the best deals offered by airlines like Air France, Austrian, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss and United. You really can’t go wrong with business class on any of these airlines, but keep in mind that for the foreseeable future, service on board will be greatly reduced to lower the risk of contamination, and that the ground experience — with lounges closed or without food and amenities — will also be very different than usual. But with all of these airlines you’ll still be able to enjoy a lie-flat seat and more privacy than in coach.

With such cheap cash fares, you’ll be able to save your points and use them toward booking accommodations rather than airfare. Plus, depending on which airline you fly and what program you credit to, you could potentially earn a stockpile of miles for your flights. If you’re crediting to a U.S.-based program like United MileagePlus, you’ll often earn more miles when you fly a foreign carrier like Swiss than when you fly United itself.

United Polaris flights are included in this sale. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Should I book travel now?

There is some risk with booking travel now, as there’s no way to guarantee yet when it will be safe to travel again. Many European countries are still off-limits to Americans and some countries like Germany are advising citizens of non-European countries not to come until at least the end of August. Depending on how the situation plays out, you may ending up having to change or cancel your trip.

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Most major airlines are currently offering flexible change and cancellation policies. Typically this means that you’ll be able to postpone your trip by one to two years from when it was issued and even change your destination, but you’ll still need to pay any difference in fare.

None of the airlines are letting passengers get a cash refund for voluntary cancellations. 

Related: Airline coronavirus change and cancellation policies

The final risk is that many airlines are currently on rocky financial ground, and if the airlines do go up belly-up, your ticket could end up being rendered worthless. The European Union has strong passenger rights rules, but they don’t necessarily apply when a flight cancellation is due to an airline’s collapse. Also, financial insolvency is unfortunately not covered by most credit card trip protections, so while you can try to submit a dispute with your credit card company, there’s a small chance you could lose the money spent on the ticket if you book this deal.

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Till next time Zurich!

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Europe business class deals currently available

Airlines: Air France, Austrian, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa, Swiss, United
Routes: Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Los Angeles (LAX), Orlando (MCO), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR) to Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA), Geneva (GVA), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG), Vienna (VIE) + others
Cost: $1,855+ round-trip in business class
Travel Dates: 
August 2020 – January 2021
Pay With: 
The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier℠ Card (3x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare booked directly with the airline or amextravel.com) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)

The information for the Citi Premier and the Citi Prestige card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Sample itineraries

Here’s a look at some of the best deals you could book. This isn’t an exhaustive list so you may be able to find deals to other cities as well.

New York (JFK) to Geneva (GVA) for $1,855 round-trip nonstop in business class on Swiss:

(Photo by Swiss)
(Photo from Swiss)

San Francisco (SFO) to Amsterdam (AMS) for $1,858 round-trip nonstop in business class on KLM:

(Photo from KLM)
(Photo from KLM)

Los Angeles (LAX) to Zurich (ZRH) for $1,864 round-trip nonstop in business class on Swiss:

(Photo from Swiss)

San Francisco (SFO) to Zurich (ZRH) for $1,864 round-trip nonstop in business class on Swiss:

(Photo from Swiss)

Los Angeles (LAX) to Vienna (VIE) for $1,877 round-trip nonstop in business class on Austrian:

(Photo from Austrian)

Atlanta (ATL) to Frankfurt (FRA) for $1,942 round-trip nonstop in business class on Delta:

(Photo from Delta)

Miami (MIA) to Frankfurt (FRA) for $1,942 round-trip nonstop in business class on Lufthansa:

(Photo from Lufthansa)

Seattle (SEA) to Frankfurt (FRA) for $1,942 round-trip nonstop in business class on Lufthansa:

(Photo from Lufthansa)

San Francisco (SFO) to Paris (CDG) for $1,953 round-trip nonstop in business class on United:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Paris (CDG) for $2,191 round-trip nonstop in business class on Delta:

How to book

There are no tricks to find these fares. Just head to Google Flights and plug in your desired departure and destination cities. Use the calendar function to find dates and prices that work for you and then click through to book with the airline directly or an OTA such as Expedia or Priceline. If you don’t have a specific destination in mind, select business class and type “Europe” in the “Where to?” field for a map showing the cheapest flights to destinations around the continent for your desired dates.

(Photo by Google Flights)
(Photo from Google Flights)

Maximize your purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire ReserveAmerican Express® Gold CardCiti Premier℠ Card (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Featured image by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy.

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