Book now: 4+ business-class award seats to Europe

Jan 6, 2020

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We’re just a few days into 2020, but hopefully you’ve already started planning your trips for the year in earnest. And if you’re thinking of taking a trip to Europe in business class, listen up. We’re seeing a plethora of award availability on Swiss International Airlines from multiple U.S. gateways — with four or more seats in many cases. This is a terrific way of putting those hard-earned, transferable points to work.

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The majority of this award space involves flights through April or May and then picks up again in September and October. From my experience, these are terrific times to visit Europe thanks to cooler weather and fewer crowds. However, if you’re restricted to traveling on school holidays, select cities do have some decent availability during peak summer months — and we’re even seeing select dates from the West Coast.

REVIEWS: Swiss business class and economy class

In This Post

Here’s a city-by-city rundown of the dates we’ve found with at least four business-class awards (availability accurate as of the time of writing):

From the U.S. to Europe

Boston (BOS) to Zurich (ZRH)

  • January 6-15, 20-22 and 26-29
  • February 1-5, 8-12, 16-19 and 22-26
  • March 1-4, 8-10, 15-19, 22-25 and 28-31
  • April 1-2, 4-14, 20 and 26-29
  • May 4-5 and 11
  • September 1-2, 6-8, 13-16, 20-23 and 26-30
  • October 3-7, 12-22, 24 and 26-28

New York-JFK or Newark (EWR) to Zurich (ZRH)

  • January 6-15, 21-22 and 24-31
  • February 1-6, 8-12, 16-20, 22-26 and 29
  • March 1-4, 9-11, 16-19, 22-25 and 30-31
  • April 1, 6-7, 15 and 21-22
  • May 5, 11 and 13
  • June 1, 8-9 and 27
  • July 4-8, 11, 13-15, 18-22 and 25-29
  • August 1-5, 8, 10-12, 16-19, 22-26, 29 and 31
  • September 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29
  • October 5-6, 12-13, 19-21 and 26-28
  • November 26

New York-JFK to Geneva (GVA)

  • January 6, 9-15, 18-23 and 25-27
  • February 1-6, 8-10, 16-20, 22-24 and 26
  • March 2-3, 8-10, 16-18, 23-25, 28 and 30-31
  • April 1, 5-8, 12-14, 21-22 and 27-28
  • May 4-6, 11-13, 18-19 and 24-26
  • June 1-2, 8-9, 15, 22-24 and 28-30
  • July 5-8, 13-15, 19-22 and 26-29
  • August 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26 and 31
  • September 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 21, 23 and 28-30
  • October 5-6, 13-14, 19-21 and 26-27
  • November 22-23 and 26

Washington-Dulles (IAD) to Zurich (ZRH)

(NOTE: This is a seasonal flight that starts operating March 29, 2020.)

  • March 30
  • April 6
  • July 6, 13 and 20-21
  • August 3, 10-11, 17 and 24
  • October 19
  • November 23 and 26

Miami (MIA) to Zurich (ZRH)

  • January 20-22, 27-28 and 30
  • February 4-7 and 10-11
  • June 30
  • July 7 and 14
  • August 19, 24-25 and 30-31
  • September 2-3, 7-9, 13-17, 20-23 and 28-30
  • October 6, 12-14, 20 and 27

Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Zurich (ZRH)

  • January 6-8, 10, 12-15, 20-22 and 27-28
  • February 3-4, 9-11, 17-19 and 24-26
  • March 2-3, 8-9, 16, 23-24 and 29-30
  • April 1, 5-14 and 20
  • May 4 and 28
  • July 3-8, 10-15, 18-21 and 24-30
  • August 2-4, 8-19, 23-25 and 30-31
  • September 14, 19, 21 and 27-29
  • October 4-5, 8, 11-14, 17-22, 24 and 26-27

San Francisco (SFO) to Zurich (ZRH)

  • January 6-8, 10 and 13
  • February 25
  • March 9

Los Angeles (LAX) to Zurich (ZRH)

  • January 7, 12-13 and 27-28
  • March 9

From Europe to the U.S.

Flying through Zurich (ZRH) on Swiss will allow you to access the carrier’s solid business-class lounges. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)

Zurich to Boston

  • January 9-11, 13-18, 21-23 and 28-30
  • February 1-6, 8, 11-20 and 25-29
  • March 2-5, 10-12, 17-20, 24-26 and 31
  • April 1-2, 7-9, 13-16, 20-22 and 28
  • May 1, 5-6, 8, 19-21 and 26
  • June 1-18
  • July
  • August
  • September 1-6, 8-11, 15-19, 21-26 and 29-30
  • October 1, 5-11, 13-24, 27-29 and 31

Zurich to New York-JFK/Newark

  • January 9-19, 21-23 and 26-31
  • February 1, 3-21 and 24-29
  • March 1-7, 9-12, 16-20, 23-26 and 31
  • April 1, 13-16, 21-23 and 28-29
  • May 2, 5-6, 12-14, 19 and 26
  • June 1-4, 9-11, 15-18 and 22-24
  • August 7, 11, 15, 18-20 and 25-27
  • September 1-3, 8-10, 15, 17, 22-23 and 30
  • October 6-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-28 and 31
  • November 3-4, 10, 17, 23-24 and 26-27
  • December 1-3

Zurich to Washington-Dulles

  • March 30-31
  • April 1, 6-7, 14-16, 20-23, 25 and 27-30
  • May 3-4, 11-12, 16, 19, 23 and 26
  • June 1-2, 8, 22 and 29
  • July 21-23
  • August 1, 8, 10-11, 17-18, 22, 24-25 and 29
  • September 21
  • October 5, 12-13, 19-20, 24, 27-29 and 31
  • November 4, 11, 18 and 26
  • December 2-3

Zurich to Miami

  • January 8-24 and 28-29
  • February 3-4, 11 and 24-26
  • March 2-4, 6, 8-11, 16-17 and 24-25
  • April 28
  • May 1-24
  • June 2
  • August 11, 18 and 25-26
  • September 1-2
  • October 27-29

Zurich to Chicago-O’Hare

  • January 9-10, 14-16, 18, 21-23, 28 and 30
  • February 3-7, 11, 13-15, 18-21 and 25-28
  • March 3-6, 10-12, 18-19, 24-25 and 31
  • April 1, 7-9, 13, 15-17, 20-24 and 28-29
  • May 1, 6-7, 12, 26 and 31
  • June 1-2, 4-5, 8-9, 16, 18, 25 and 30
  • July 2 and 30
  • August 3-4, 6, 8-11, 13-15, 17, 20, 22-31
  • September 1-5, 7-10, 14-17, 23 and 30
  • October 1, 6-8, 10-11, 13-18, 20-24 and 28

Zurich to San Francisco

  • January 14
  • February 26

Zurich to Los Angeles

  • January 21-22 and 28
  • February 4-5, 11, 13, 15, 20-21 and 27
  • March 4 and 10

How to book

Since Swiss is a member of Star Alliance, you have many different loyalty programs that allow you to book these awards. Here’s a quick summary of the most popular ones:

Program Miles (one-way to or from Europe) Transfer options
United MileagePlus 70,000 / 73,500 Chase, Marriott
Avianca LifeMiles Up to 63,000 American Express, Capital One, Citi, Marriott
Air Canada Aeroplan 55,000 / 57,500 American Express, Capital One, Marriott

U.S.-based readers are likely most familiar with United MileagePlus, which is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. While you won’t pay fuel surcharges on award tickets booked through United, rates are relatively steep, clocking in at 70,000 miles each way — plus a 3,500-mile additional charge for flights ticketed within 30 days of departure.

However, if you’re looking to minimize the number of miles you need, Air Canada’s Aeroplan program is likely the best bet. Most destinations in Western and Central Europe will only require 55,000 miles for a one-way flight in business class, and even if you continue to Eastern European countries like Serbia or Poland, you’ll need just 57,500 miles. Aeroplan doesn’t add any fuel surcharges on Swiss-operated flights, and you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1) or Capital One (2:1.5) directly to the program.

Avianca LifeMiles is another solid option, requiring just 63,000 miles each way. However, you could drop that price if you add a connecting flight in economy either within the U.S. or once you arrive in Switzerland. LifeMiles discounts mixed-cabin awards, so if you’re all right with the short segment in coach, you could lower the number of miles you’d need.

These gluts of award space make clear the value of transferable point currencies. If you focus only on earning American miles (for example), you wouldn’t be able to jump on a large amount of award seats on a Star Alliance carrier. And if you elected to earn United miles instead of Amex points, you’d wind up paying a premium for these seats.

For additional details on using these currencies on Swiss flights, check out the following guides:

Bottom line

Swiss is generally known for offering solid award availability in its business-class cabin, but being able to snag four (or even more) award seats on many flights from the U.S. is fantastic. I personally have flown Swiss business class three times using Aeroplan miles transferred from American Express, and I’ve found it to be a great way to maximize my Amex points. If you’re looking to book a trip to Europe for your family in 2020, I’d jump on this award availability soon, as I’d be surprised if it lasts.

Featured photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy

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