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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.

If you’re hoping to visit Europe before the year is out, but don’t want to go to Italy, you’re in luck: visit Switzerland, Spain, Paris or Belgium for cheap, starting at under $300. Flights are on full-service carriers but some fares book into basic economy, so you won’t get a free checked bag on your journey. However, you can use an airline’s co-brand credit card to defeat many of basic economy’s negative aspects.

You can fly from New York (JFK), Austin (AUS), Boston (BOS), Las Vegas (LAS), Orlando (MCO) and San Francisco (SFO) to Madrid (MAD), Brussels (BRU), Paris (CDG), Barcelona (BCN) and Zurich (ZRH) starting from $291 round-trip.

Want to make sure you don’t waste PTO, but not sure what to do in these cities? Check out Get Your Guide‘s best suggestions for Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Brussels and Zurich to maximize your time while on vacation.

To search, head to Google Flights and enter your origin and destination cities. Scroll through the calendar function to find dates and prices that work for you. Finally, click through to book directly with the airline or through an OTA like Priceline or Expedia.

Airlines: KLM, Iberia, Delta, American, British Airways, Icelandair
Routes: JFK/AUS/BOS/LAS/MCO/SFO to MAD/BRU/CDG/BCN/ZRH
Cost: $291+ round-trip in economy
Travel Dates: October 2018 – April 2019
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Premier CardChase Sapphire ReserveCiti Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Booking Link: PricelineOrbitzExpedia or directly with the airline

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

New York (JFK) to Madrid (MAD) for $291 round-trip on Iberia in November in basic economy: 

New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG) for $298 round-trip nonstop on American Airlines in November in basic economy: 

Boston (BOS) to Brussels (BRU) for $303 round-trip on Delta in January in basic economy:

Orlando (MCO) to Paris (CDG) for $350 round-trip on IcelandAir via Priceline in February in basic economy:

San Francisco (SFO) to Barcelona (BCN) for $358 round-trip on British Airways/American in December in regular economy:Austin (AUS) to Zurich (ZRH) for $375 round-trip on American Airlines in February in basic economy:

Austin (AUS) to Brussels (BRU) for $373 round-trip on KLM in February in basic economy:

Las Vegas (LAS) to Brussels (BRU) for $373 round-trip on KLM in April in basic economy:

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), Chase Sapphire ReserveCiti PremierCiti Prestige (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 Getty Images.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.