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Jump-start your fall travel plans with $700 premium economy flights to Rome

June 05, 2022
7 min read
Cityscape of Rome
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I’ll always have some nostalgia for Rome as it was the first European city I ever visited. From historic sites like the Pantheon and the Colosseum to a visit to Vatican City before ducking into a trattoria for an incredible meal (followed, of course, by some gelato), a trip to Rome packs history and culture into one visit.

The trip gets even sweeter when you can travel to Rome in comfortable seats at a good price. I’m always one to plan a season ahead when it comes to trips, and now that we’re officially into summer travel season that means plotting trips for the autumn months. Consider this: during the fall months of this year (actually, some parts of late summer, too) you can get to Rome and back in premium economy seats for around $700 or less.

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Scandinavian Airlines is offering the deals in its SAS Plus cabin beginning as early as the final weeks of summer and lasting well into the fall months. Thinking of ditching the Thanksgiving turkey and celebrating the holiday over traditional Italian dishes? It’s an affordable option this year.

Sunset over the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter and the city buildings in Rome. (Photo courtesy of Nico De Pasquale Photography via Getty Images)

Scott’s Cheap Flights was the first to alert us of these great premium economy deals to Rome. The site offers premium memberships starting at $49 for economy deals, with elite memberships that alert members of first, business and premium economy deals starting at $199.

Deal Basics

Airlines: SAS

Routes: EWR/IAD/ORD/LAX/SFO to FCO

How to book: Directly through the airline or Google Flights

Travel dates: August through November

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Related: You’ll no longer need a ‘green pass’ to move throughout Italy

Sample flights

The deals that caught our eye for these Rome flights included premium economy seating aboard SAS ranging around $700 and in some cases quite a bit below.

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Some of the itineraries available include transatlantic flights on SAS' Airbus A350 aircraft which include SAS Plus seats in a 2-4-2 configuration with nice recline capability, oversized armrests, 13.3 inch seatback monitors, along with pillow and amenity kits.

With SAS being a member of the Star Alliance, we found nearly all the deals available included departures from United Airlines hubs in the U.S., including Newark/Liberty (EWR), Washington-Dulles (IAD) and Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) among others.

Because these flights are aboard SAS, you’re not going to find direct flights to Rome Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO). Rather, you’re generally going to end up with a connection at either Copenhagen (CPH) or perhaps Stockholm (ARN). Most of the routes had connections of a reasonable length. Some itineraries, though, have much longer layovers including overnight stops in Copenhagen.

The Roman Forum. (Photo by Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images)

If the stop is long enough it could give you the chance to explore a second city at no additional cost unless you need a hotel for the night, but keep an eye on the timing because a late-night arrival with a mid-day departure the next day would not afford you the ability to do hardly any sightseeing.

Here are just a few of the routes we found, again, all in premium economy:

  • Newark/Liberty (EWR) to Rome (FCO) for $672 on SAS
  • Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Rome (FCO) for $690 on SAS
  • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Rome (FCO) for $662 on SAS
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Rome (FCO) for $667 on SAS

Again, the New York area departures are going to originate from Newark/Liberty. You’ll start with the overnight flight to Stockholm aboard an SAS Airbus A330. Despite the stop in Stockholm, it’s very short – 50 minutes – before continuing on with a three-hour flight to Rome. You’ll stop in Copenhagen on the return trip, with a two-plus hour layover.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Departing from Chicago-O’Hare, you’ll have short, 90-minute to two-hour layovers, in Stockholm on the outbound trip and Copenhagen on the way back.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Travelers leaving from the mid-Atlantic will probably end up departing from the Washington-Dulles hub of SAS’ Star Alliance partner, United. On the outbound trip, you’ll have a layover in Copenhagen of less than three hours. On the return trip, it is, unfortunately, a quite inconvenient 13-hour, overnight layover that does not allow you much time to do anything in Copenhagen. There don’t seem to be more convenient itineraries at a comparable price point. At the same time, with premium economy prices during other parts of 2022 falling far above what you’d pay for this round trip, even with the hotel night you’re probably coming out ahead.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

It was great to see this deal includes departures not just from east coast cities, but from Los Angeles, too. In fact, the $667 round trip price we found out of LAX was among the cheapest for any of these premium economy deals. It’s a long haul, nearly 11-hour trip from LAX to Copenhagen on the outbound trip. This itinerary involves a 23-hour stop there, but unlike the DC itinerary, you’ll have an entire day to explore the city. You have to make an 18-hour stop on the return trip, which is far less convenient, but is long enough that you’ll at least be able to go to dinner in the city if you choose.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

This trip also spans the Thanksgiving week holiday in the U.S., so while you might not end up eating turkey and stuffing for the holiday, it would give you a chance to take advantage of days off.

Related: 11 mistakes tourists make in Rome

Maximize your purchase

Pay with The Platinum Card® from American Express to get 5 points per dollar on flights booked through the airline or American Express travel (capped at $500,000 in purchases per calendar year). The American Express® Gold Card will get you 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal. You might also try the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which gets you 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card will earn you 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel.

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy (Photo by hocus-focus/Getty Images)

Bottom line

While finding a round-trip flight to Rome in the $600 to $700 range might be a challenge even for an economy deal for much of the summer travel season, given rising prices, you can get airfare in that range and ride in some additional comfort at the same time, flying in Premium Economy.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy Rome’s most popular tourist destinations or take the train to another part of the country, this deal is certainly something to consider as you begin to fill in your autumn travel calendar.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees