How to get to Denmark with credit card points and airline miles
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Denmark is a culturally rich destination with plenty of interesting things to see, eat and do. Whether you want to take in the unique architecture, a thriving art and design scene or the burgeoning culinary scene, you won’t be disappointed.
Despite being the smallest country in Scandinavia, Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is extremely easy to reach from the U.S. Although the number has dropped since Norwegian Air cut U.S. flights, the city still has direct flights from seven different U.S. hubs, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and a plethora of direct flights to other international destinations.
You can book these flights on a budget with points and miles. Here’s a rundown of the best ways to get to Denmark using points and miles so you can experience Danish hygge for yourself.
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Right now, the only direct options from the U.S. to Denmark are with Scandinavian Airlines (also known as SAS).
The multinational flag carrier offers nonstop flights to Copenhagen Airport (CPH) from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Miami International Airport (MIA), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD).
Note that not all routes operate daily and the Miami route is seasonal. SAS is a part of the Star Alliance so you could easily connect these flights with segments operated by United.
Delta will add seasonal five-times weekly service from JFK to Copenhagen this summer, with flights starting May 27.
Alternatively, there are plenty of connecting flight options. For instance, Oneworld flyers can fly Finnair via Helsinki Airport (HEL), Iberia via Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) or British Airways via London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR), while SkyTeam flyers can fly Air France via Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or KLM via Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS). There are also more options for Star Alliance flyers, such as Lufthansa via Frankfurt Airport (FRA) or Munich Airport (MUC) or Swiss via Zurich Airport (ZRH).
Let’s kick things off with Star Alliance since it offers the most convenient flight options. Another benefit is that there are many loyalty programs through which you can book. Round-trip award costs are shown below:
|Program||Transfer partners||Round-trip mileage costs|
|ANA Mileage Club||American Express.||
|Aeroplan||Amex, Capital One, Chase, Marriott.||
|Avianca LifeMiles||Amex, Capital One, Citi, Marriott.||
|Turkish Miles&Smiles||Capital One, Citi.||
|Singapore KrisFlyer||Amex, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Marriott.||
|United MileagePlus*||Chase, Marriott.||
* United doesn’t publish award charts, but the prices shown here are the minimum you should expect to pay when there’s saver availability.
As you can see, booking through ANA will almost always be the cheapest option. However, there are a few caveats: You can only book round-trip awards. ANA adds fuel surcharges to award tickets, which can get expensive on partners like Lufthansa, especially in premium cabins. Thankfully, you do not pay fuel surcharges on SAS flights
There are also some additional perks on ANA tickets, such as being allowed both an open jaw and a stopover. For example, this itinerary from Chicago to Copenhagen and Stockholm costs just 55,000 miles and $101 in taxes and fees, which is an excellent deal.
If you’re only looking to book one way or you’re short on American Express points, another good option would be to book through Turkish Miles&Smiles. The program offers very reasonable award rates and provides the flexibility to book one-way awards instead.
Unfortunately, unless you’re flying United or a select few other partners, you’ll still be on the hook for fuel surcharges, which can cost a couple of hundred dollars.
On the other hand, if your main goal is to avoid paying fuel surcharges, you’ll want to book through Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles. These programs offer reasonable award rates and don’t pass on fuel surcharges, allowing you to spend as little cash out of pocket as possible. Plus, Avianca will actually discount mixed-cabin awards, allowing you to potentially save some miles on your awards.
United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges either, though you’ll likely spend more miles.
American normally charges the following amounts for round-trip awards to Denmark (or elsewhere in Europe):
- Economy: 45,000-60,000 miles.
- Premium economy: 80,000 miles.
- Business: 115,000 miles.
- First: 170,000 miles.
Sometimes, you can score even lower rates by booking a Web Special award. They can also be a good option when there’s no saver availability and you don’t have flexibility in dates. These awards are not changeable, but you can cancel them and redeposit miles for free.
It’s easy to get the miles you need for a round-trip ticket with the current offers on American’s cobranded credit cards. For instance, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is currently offering 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. There’s also the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, which offers 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening.
The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select and CitiBusiness cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Meanwhile, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has different award rates for each partner. However, to give you an idea, Finnair awards will set you back 30,000 miles each way in economy and 70,000 miles in business class. Plus, you’ll be able to add a free stopover in Finnair’s hub, Helsinki. Although not part of the Oneworld alliance, you can redeem Alaska miles on Icelandair for 35,000 miles or 55,000 miles for economy or business class, respectively.
You can also consider using a distance-based program like British Airways Avios, though these are best for travelers based on the East Coast or to catch a short, intra-Europe flight. Longer distances will noticeably increase the cost of your award. On the flipside, Avios are among the easiest miles to earn.
Your two main options for booking SkyTeam awards to Denmark are through Delta SkyMiles or Air France-KLM Flying Blue. Both use dynamic award pricing so redemption rates can vary wildly by the service class and travel date.
Generally, awards booked through SkyMiles start at 35,000 miles each way in economy and 120,000 miles in business class. Generally, flights on partners like Air France and KLM are cheaper than flights on Delta metal. You can easily boost your SkyMiles balance by transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards or with a cobranded Delta credit card.
Meanwhile, Flying Blue offers awards from around 21,500 miles each way in economy, 45,000 miles in premium economy or 55,000 miles in business class. That said, like Delta, awards are priced dynamically so they can often cost much more. The carrier-imposed surcharges are also usually higher when booking through Flying Blue.
Keep an eye out for Flying Blue’s rotating Promo Rewards. These often allow you to book flights in specific classes of service from select cities to Europe for 25% or more off the standard award rates. Also, keep in mind that you can transfer points to Flying Blue from all major transferable points programs, including American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Earning airline miles
If you’re looking to plan a trip to Denmark and want to boost your mileage balance, you’ll want to go after transferable credit card rewards like American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards points. Many of these programs’ cards appear on our list of top travel rewards credit cards, and the best part is the flexibility each offers. Instead of being locked into a specific currency, you can earn points that can be converted into various airline programs when you’re ready to book.
Some of the top cards that earn flexible rewards include:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee): Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You’ll enjoy 10 points per dollar spent on hotels, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal; 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal; and 3 points per dollar spent on all other travel and dining, along with a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership and primary car rental coverage (among many other perks).
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($95 annual fee): Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You’ll earn 5 points per dollar spent on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 points per dollar spent on dining, 3 points per dollar spent on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar spent on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2 points per dollar spent on all other travel, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Plus, get valuable travel protections anytime you pay for travel.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees): Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the card in your first six months of card membership. You’ll earn 5 points per dollar spent on airfare booked directly with the airline and enjoy an array of perks like Priority Pass membership, Delta Sky Club access (when flying Delta), Centurion Lounge access and more than $1,400 in annual statement credits for prepaid hotels, Equinox, Clear membership, select digital entertainment programs, incidental fees on airlines and Uber trips. Enrollment is required for select benefits.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card ($95 annual fee): Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. You’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed directly for travel or transferred to various airline partners.
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card ($395 annual fee): Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You’ll earn 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar spent on flights booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. Perks include up to a $300 annual travel statement credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel and complimentary access to Capital One lounges.
- Citi Premier® Card ($95 annual fee): Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Enjoy 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent on air travel, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets, and 1 ThankYou point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
For more details on how these programs can help you book awards across the major carriers, check out the following posts:
- Best ways to redeem Amex points: Star Alliance, Oneworld, SkyTeam.
- Best ways to redeem Chase points: Star Alliance, Oneworld, SkyTeam.
- Best ways to redeem Citi points: Star Alliance, Oneworld, SkyTeam.
- Best ways to redeem Capital One miles: Star Alliance, Oneworld, SkyTeam.
- Best ways to redeem Marriott points: Star Alliance, Oneworld, SkyTeam.
Star Alliance offers the most flight options to Denmark, with its member airline SAS being the country’s flag carrier. There are still many one-stop options on Oneworld and SkyTeam carriers like Finnair and Air France. Regardless of what airline alliance you’re loyal to or what flexible rewards you’ve been saving up, you’ll have plenty of ways to fly to Denmark on points.
Featured photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty Images.
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