The cheapest ways to get to Paris using points and miles
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Earlier this month, France announced that it plans to start allowing vaccinated American tourists into the country for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic. The country hasn’t set a hard date, but it will “progressively” lift border restrictions this summer. We may see this come as soon as May.
This means Americans will soon be able to visit the capital city of Paris and enjoy its museums, incredible food and awe-inspiring architecture. As one of the first major European destinations to reopen to Americans, France will undoubtedly be a huge tourist destination for Americans this summer.
With that in mind, you’ll want to book your award flights and hotels early to avoid award space drying up. So in this article, I’ll show you how to book flights, hotels and activities in Paris using your points and miles.
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Airfare to Paris
Paris has two major airports: Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY). Almost every long-haul flight goes in and out of CDG, which is what we’ll focus on in this post. However, if you’re connecting through another European city, you may find yourself flying into or out of Orly. While Orly is slightly closer to the city center, Paris has a very comprehensive public transit system, and it’s quite easy to get downtown from either airport.
During normal travel times, you’ll find nonstop flights to Paris from both large and mid-sized American cities on Air France, American Airlines Delta, United and others. Your options are a bit more limited during the pandemic, but you can still fly to Paris from most major cities across North America.
Here are your best options in each airline alliance.
The cheapest Oneworld award tickets to Paris
If you’re a Oneworld loyalist, you’ll likely find yourself flying from the U.S. to Paris with American Airlines. The airline flies directly to the city from a number of hubs, including Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW), Miami (MIA), New York-JFK and Philadelphia (PHL). Right now, the airline is only operating flights to Paris from a handful of these cities, but we’ll likely see routes resume when France reopens to Americans.
The cheapest way to book American awards is with Etihad Guest. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Citi ThankYou or Marriott Bonvoy points to the program and book for 30,000 miles in economy (20,000 off-peak) or 50,000 in business class, one-way. Off-peak dates to Europe are Jan. 10 to Mar. 14 and Nov. 1 – Dec. 14.
Alternatively, you can book flights with American AAdvantage. You’ll pay 30,000 miles (22,500 off-peak) one-way in economy and 57,500 in business class. The off-peak dates are the same as Etihad Guest. While not as cheap as Etihad, this is a good deal if you already have American miles to burb.
Another option is booking with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. You’ll redeem the same number of miles as with AAdvantage, but you can include a stopover in an American hub. For example, you can fly from Charlotte (CLT) to New York-LaGuardia (LGA), spend the weekend in NYC, and then continue to Paris for no extra miles.
Those with Chase Ultimate Rewards points can transfer to British Airways Executive Club to book American Airlines awards to Paris. The carrier uses a distance-based award chart, so you’ll pay more points on longer flights and pay per segment on connecting flights. This means that a flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Paris (CDG) with a connection in Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) will cost more Avios than a direct flight from Chicago to Paris. Check out our full guide to British Airways Avios for more info.
How to earn points for an Etihad award to Paris
In my opinion, booking with Etihad Guest is your best bet due to low redemption rates, lack of fuel surcharges and how easy it is to earn points with the program. If you’re looking to boost your Etihad balance, you can open a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and transfer your Capital One miles to Etihad at a 1:1 transfer ratio. The Venture card currently offers 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening. You can still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
The cheapest SkyTeam award tickets to Paris
The SkyTeam alliance has the most options for flying to Paris from the U.S. Air France is a SkyTeam member that flies from most major U.S. airports to Paris. Plus, its partner Delta Air Lines flies from most of its hubs and focus cities to the French capital.
During normal travel times, you’ll find SkyTeam service to Paris from the following U.S. airports. It’s unclear if service will resume to all cities post-pandemic.
- Atlanta – Air France, Delta
- Boston (BOS) – Air France, Delta
- Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) – Air France
- Cincinnati (CVG) – Delta
- Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) – Air France (seasonal)
- Denver (DEN) – Air France (seasonal)
- Detroit (DTW) – Air France, Delta
- Houston (IAH) – Air France
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Air France, Delta
- Miami (MIA) – Air France
- Minneapolis-St.Paul – Air France (seasonal), Delta
- New York-JFK – Air France (to CDG and ORY), Delta
- Raleigh/Durham (RDU) – Delta
- Salt Lake City (SLC) – Delta
- San Francisco – Air France
- Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) – Air France (seasonal), Delta
Generally speaking, the cheapest way to book these awards is with Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue program. Flying Blue employs dynamic award pricing, but you can often find economy and business class one-way flights starting at 21,500 miles and 57,500 miles, respectively. These are excellent award prices, but you’ll be subject to mild fuel surcharges.
You can transfer points to Flying Blue from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou or Marriott Bonvoy.
You can also book Air France and Delta award tickets with Delta SkyMiles, but pricing varies greatly due to Delta’s dynamic pricing. It’s become harder to find reasonably priced transatlantic tickets with Delta miles, especially in premium cabins. You can usually get the best deals when booking round-trip tickets with your miles. Even then, you’re usually looking at 200K+ miles round-trip in business class — here’s a look at round-trip pricing from New York-JFK to Paris (CDG).
If you can’t find a good award on Air France or Delta, you can book connecting tickets with other SkyTeam members like Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Alitalia or KLM Royal Dutch. Each of these airlines flies to various U.S. airports and Paris, so you can build out an itinerary that works best with your schedule and points budget.
How to earn points for a Flying Blue award to Paris
Chase is currently offering great signup bonuses on a handful of its credit cards. Each of these cards earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points that you can transfer instantly to Flying Blue:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus, earn a $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases in the first year of account opening.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
The cheapest Star Alliance award tickets to Paris
Star Alliance flyers will find themselves on United Airlines for direct flights from the U.S. to Paris. United operates flights to Paris (CDG) from its hubs in Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington-Dulles (IAD). Service may not be available on all of these routes. Still, we’re hopeful that full service will resume once the travel world recovers to pre-pandemic international travel.
The cheapest way to book Star Alliance awards to Europe is with Asiana Club. This program charges just 25,000 and 40,000 miles one-way for an economy and business class flight, respectively. You’ll pay high fuel surcharges when flying with some Star Alliance airlines, but United is exempt. The major downside to Asiana Club is that miles are hard to earn — you can only transfer points in from Marriott Bonvoy.
The second cheapest way to book Star Alliance tickets to Europe is transferring Amex points to ANA Mileage Club. You book tickets for 55,000 miles round-trip in economy and 88,000 in business class. Unfortunately, you can only book round-trip tickets — not one-way. The program adds high fuel surcharges on select Star Alliance airlines like Austrian, Lufthansa and Swiss.
You can also add a stopover and open-jaw to your ANA round-trip ticket at no additional cost. This means you can book something like this: Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Paris (CDG), Paris to Frankfurt (FRA) and Frankfurt to Newark (EWR) for no extra points. Just note your fuel surcharges may be higher since you need to connect on a Lufthansa flight.
If you’re looking for a one-way ticket and have Amex, Capital One or Citi points, you’ll get the best rates with Avianca LifeMiles. Award tickets to Europe cost 30,000 LifeMiles one-way in economy and 63,000 one-way in business class. That said, we’ve seen some awards price at 27,000 LifeMiles in economy.
Finally, those with United MileagePlus miles or Chase points — which transfer to United — can also redeem for United flights. United recently switched to dynamic award pricing, so it’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll pay for these flights. I’ve found the lowest price for flights from the U.S. to Europe in economy class is 30,000 one-way and 60,000 in business class. You can also take advantage of the Excursionist Perk on round-trip awards to add a free stopover in Europe.
The Star Alliance is home to other carriers like Air Canada, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Swiss, SAS, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. Each offers flights to both the U.S. and Paris, so booking with one of these carriers could be a good option if you can’t find United award space.
How to earn points for an ANA award to Paris
Booking with ANA will generally yield the best deal on United flights because of its low redemption rates and Amex transfers. Here’s a look at American Express cards you can use to earn Membership Rewards points to transfer to ANA:
- American Express® Green Card: 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 3x points on dining at restaurants, travel and transit (including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services), 1x points on all other purchases ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees).
- American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening. Earn 4x points on dining at restaurants; 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x points); 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or American Express Travel; 1x points on all other purchases, ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees).
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. Earn 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or with American Express Travel (earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts; 1x on all other purchases, ($550 annual fee; see rates and fees).
The information for the Amex Green 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.
Paris Hotels you can book with points
Paris is home to thousands of hotels, many of which you can book with hotel points. Here’s a look at some of your best options in each major hotel loyalty program.
Hilton hotels in Paris
Hilton has several great options in Paris. You’ll find most of the group’s hotels concentrated in downtown Paris, giving you easy access to everything from the Louvre to the Palace de la Concorde. Remember, Hilton Honors doesn’t have standard award pricing for award nights, but these hotels consistently price on or around the prices below on off-peak dates:
- Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero: 80,000 points per night
- Hilton Paris Opera: 79,000 points per night
- Le Belgrand Hotel Paris Champs Elysees, Tapestry Collection by Hilton: 52,000 points per night
- Maison Astor Paris, Curio Collection by Hilton: 80,000 points per night
How to earn Hilton points
Consider opening a Hilton cobranded credit card to earn more Hilton points. Each comes with a solid welcome bonus and has various benefits like elite status, an annual free night and more. Here’s a look at the current lineup of Hilton credit cards:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening. Plus, you earn an additional 50,000 points after spending a total of $10,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 80,000 Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 points after you spend a total of $5,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 6 months.
- The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of account opening.
The information for the Hilton Aspire 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.
Hyatt hotels in Paris
Hyatt is home to some of the best hotels in Paris, like the Park Hyatt. Even the higher-end Hyatt properties in Paris are reasonably priced from a points perspective and are placed around the downtown area. Here are some of the TPG team’s favorite Hyatt properties in the French capital that you can book with World of Hyatt points:
- Hôtel du Louvre: 25,000 points per night
- Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile: 15,000 points per night
- Hyatt Paris Madeleine: 25,000 points per night
- Le Pavillon de la Reine & Spa: 40,000 points per night
- Park Hyatt Paris, Vendôme: 30,000 points per night
How to earn World of Hyatt points
You can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt or earn with the Hyatt cobranded credit card.
- World of Hyatt Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 bonus points total per $1 spent on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.
IHG hotels in Paris
IHG has a suite of properties in Paris, too, with over 20 properties in the Paris area. These are placed all over the city and range from budget-friendly Holiday Inn properties to five-star luxury at the InterContinental Le Grand. Like Hilton, IHG Rewards now prices awards dynamically, so the award prices below are based on off-peak dates:
- Crowne Plaza Paris, Republique: 38,000 points per night
- Hotel Indigo Paris, Opera: 50,000 points per night
- Holiday Inn Paris, Notre Dame: 24,000 points per night
- InterContinental Hotels Paris, Le Grand: 75,000 points per night
- Kimpton St Honoré Paris: 70,000 points per night
How to earn IHG points
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG or earn with an IHG cobranded credit card:
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Earn 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night (worth up to 40,000) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Marriott hotels in Paris
Marriott has 33 properties in the Paris area, with brands ranging from the hip-and-budget-friendly Moxy Banke Opera to more luxurious Westin and Design Hotel properties. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to stretch your Marriott Bonvoy point value and have a great experience in Paris.
Here’s a look at some of the best Marriott properties in Paris:
- Hotel Banke Opera, Autograph Collection: 50,000 points per night
- Le Metropolitan, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel: 50,000 points per night
- Moxy Paris Bastille: 40,000 points per night
- Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel: 60,000 points per night
- Renaissance Paris Republique Hotel: 60,000 points per night
- The Westin Paris, Vendôme: 70,000 points per night
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points
You can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott, but it’s not usually a good deal. I recommend earning Marriott Bonvoy points with a Marriott cobranded credit card instead.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Terms apply.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $150 back in statement credits on eligible purchases made within the first three months of card membership. Terms apply.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 30,000 Marriott points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply.
Radisson hotels in Paris
Radisson has two properties in Paris, both of which can be booked with Radisson Rewards points. These properties are centrally located, but unfortunately, we couldn’t find award availability for either property at the time of writing. We’re hopeful that Radisson will open award space at these hotels when the coronavirus pandemic subsides, and France opens its borders for tourism. Here’s a look at the properties:
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Paris Boulogne
- Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysées
How to earn Radisson Rewards points
Earn Radisson Rewards points with a Radisson cobranded credit card. Here’s a look at the current offers:
- Radisson Rewards Premier Visa Signature® Card: Earn 50,000 points after your first purchase plus 35,000 points once you spend $2,500 on your card within the first 90 days of account opening
- Radisson Rewards Visa® Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on your card within the first 90 days of account opening
The information for the Radisson 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.
There’s no shortage of things to do and see in Paris. If you’re pre-booking tours or other activities, you can save booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Your redemption value will vary based on the type of Chase credit card in your wallet. Chase Freedom cards can redeem at 1.0 cents per point, Chase Sapphire Preferred at 1.25 cents per point and Chase Sapphire Reserve at 1.5 cents per point.
For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can use 5,392 points to book a tour of the Louvre. This tour lets you skip the long lines that often form at the entrance to the Louvre and includes a comprehensive tour of the museum in English. This is the perfect way to brush up on your art history while learning more about some of the world’s most important works of art.
Or, you can book an Eiffel tower tour, complete with champagne and skip-the-line access to the top. You’ll pay just 7,704 points per traveler for this tour. As someone who’s visited the Eiffel tower in the past, the ability to skip the line is worth it in its own right. These lines are often excessively long during peak travel times.
You have several ways to get from Paris (CDG) to your hotel. The first is taking the Paris RER from the airport to the city. This costs 10 Euros one-way — equal to roughly $11.88 — and takes 40 minutes. I’ve visited Paris numerous times and almost always use the RER to get into the city.
You can also take Uber or a local taxi from the airport to your hotel too. Paris taxis charge a flat rate of 50 or 55 Euros from the airport to the city center depending on where you’re staying. On the other hand, Uber prices vary based on traffic and demand. I recommend checking the price of an Uber when you land and going with whichever option is cheaper if you opt to take a car.
You can use the Capital One Venture card to offset all travel charges with points, including train tickets, taxi fare and Uber rides. Your points are worth 1 cent apiece toward these purchases, so you can use roughly 1,188 points to cover a one-way RER train ride from the airport.
There are lots of nonstop flights between the U.S. and Paris, from major hub airports like ORD, JFK and LAX. On top of this, hundreds of hotels can be booked with various hotel points. This makes Paris one of the easiest cities to book with points and miles. But book soon — flights and hotels will fill up quickly when the country reopens its borders in the coming weeks.
Featured image by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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