Tuesday Travel Tip: Get enough points for a round-trip ticket to Europe with these sign-up bonuses

May 12, 2020

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here- United Club℠ Infinite Card

To help you plan your future travels while we’re all stuck on the ground, we’re launching “Tuesday Travel Tips.” Check back for a new travel tip every week!

Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials say the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel guides because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until later this year — and even then, be mindful of cancellation policies.

When you can’t make up your mind about where to travel post-pandemic, Europe is always a good idea. Whether you’re looking forward to exploring the art scene in Barcelona or shopping your way through Milan, there are cities all over Europe that cater to every traveler’s needs. Best of all, you can get there on a budget with points and miles — in many cases with as few as one credit card sign-up bonus.

Here is a round-up of credit cards that offer enough miles to cover a round-trip economy class ticket to Europe.

In This Post


(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 100,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

With 100,000 bonus miles, the United Club infinite offers enough for a round-trip economy class ticket to Europe and a few hotel nights. With Chase’s impressive line-up of transfer partners, there are lots of choices.

United MileagePlus, for example, typically requires 45,000 miles for round-trip flights between the U.S. and Europe. Air France – KLM’s Flying Blue program requires just 44,000 miles for round-trip economy ticket with East Coast departures while West Coast flights cost 52,000 miles.

Flying Blue has reasonable taxes and great award availability that makes it easy to redeem your miles. The monthly promo rewards can offer additional savings of up to 50%.

You can book one of these awards and then transfer the remaining points to World of Hyatt, which requires just 5,000 – 40,000 points for a free night.

Related Reading: Best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael for The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 125,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

The welcome bonus from The Business Platinum Card from American Express is more than enough points for a round-trip economy class ticket to Europe through partners like AeroplanANA Mileage Club, Air France/KLM Flying BlueIberia Plus,  and Delta SkyMiles. Depending on whether you’re booking a promotional award or not, you can redeem as few as 20,000 miles round-trip for an economy class ticket to Europe and no more than 30,000.

If you want to splurge a little, the combined 90,000+ points earned after completing the spending requirement on this card will give you enough for a business class ticket to Europe via ANA Mileage Club. These awards are a bargain at 88,000 ANA miles round-trip and a much nicer way to travel all the way across the Atlantic.

Related Reading: Full guide to Amex one-bonus-per-lifetime restrictions

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

Welcome bonus: 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening.

Redeeming miles for travel to Europe has become easier in recent years, thanks to American Airlines’ expanded route network and partnership with Finnair, Iberia and Russian airline S7, all members of the Oneworld alliance. Time will tell if this will continue to be the case post-pandemic, but in the past award space was pretty decent outside of peak travel season.

A round-trip economy MileSAAver award to Europe costs just 60,000 miles round-trip, while off peak saver awards go for just 45,000 AAdvantage miles. With the sign-up bonus from the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® you can cover a round-trip ticket and have enough left over for at least a one-way domestic award.

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum 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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus:  80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus earn a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases in the first year of account opening.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great choice if you’re looking for a way to fund a round-trip economy class ticket to Europe. The Chase Ultimate Rewards program has several airline transfer partners that make award travel to Europe attainable. Through Air France – KLM Flying Blue, you can redeem as few as 44,000 miles for a round-trip economy ticket departing from the West Coast, which is a bargain.

A United MileagePlus awards ticket usually costs 45,000 miles round-trip, though since they’ve inched closer to dynamic pricing, that number hasn’t always been consistent.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of searching for award space or adjusting your travel dates to make it work, then the Ultimate Rewards travel portal can offer great value. Simply search for the flight you want and redeem your points at a rate of 1.25 cents each. Translation: The 80,000 point sign-up bonus from the Sapphire Preferred can get you $1000 towards airfare.

Related Reading: Chase’s 5/24 rule: Everything you need to know

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

If you want ultimate booking flexibility, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a great option for funding a round-trip economy class award to Europe. That’s because the 100,000-mile welcome bonus is good for $1,000 worth of travel credits, including airfare. With Venture miles, you don’t have to worry about award availability — you can book any flight and as long as it’s charged to your Venture card, you redeem miles to offset the purchase.

Capital One also has 10+ airline and hotel partners you can transfer your points to. While transfer ratios aren’t even and vary by partner, you can still get a ton of value out of your rewards by redeeming them for business and first class awards.

The card also earns 2 miles per $1 spent on every day purchases, making it ideal for those who want to maximize everyday spending with a single card without keeping track of credit card category bonuses.

Related Reading: Best way to maximize Capital One miles

Delta SkyMiles Cards

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

The Delta SkyMiles program has been offering tremendous value in recent years, especially through SkyMiles Deals. Last year, Delta was offering economy tickets to Europe for just 20,000 miles round-trip. That’s less than the cost of a round-trip domestic award ticket on many carriers.

Depending on which Delta SkyMiles card you apply for, a promotional award like this would allow you to book up to two round-trip economy class tickets to Europe with just one card welcome bonus.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card – Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card – Earn 80,000 bonus miles, plus 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card – Earn 90,000 bonus miles after after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Bottom line

Getting to Europe on points and miles can be challenging in terms of finding award space during peak season, but luckily earning the miles required doesn’t have to be. With so many rewards credit cards offering generous welcome bonuses, it’s easier than ever to earn enough miles for a trip across the Atlantic. Pick up one of these sign-up bonuses and you can be on your way as soon as it’s safe to do so again.

Featured photo by Neal Clark/Getty Images

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