Best Ways to Fly Business to Europe With Amex Points, According to TPG Readers
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One of the best things about having a travel credit card like The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is the opportunity to cash in all those precious Membership Rewards points for flights on airline partners like Emirates, Etihad, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines, among others — or the ability to trade in your MR points for epic hotel stays at Hilton and SPG properties around the world.
With so many options, we asked folks in the TPG Lounge to share their best tips and go-to ways to fly business class from the US to Europe using Amex Membership Rewards points. Here’s what they had to say. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).
Brag-Worthy Success Stories
As always, our TPG Lounge members managed to impress us with their tales of trips taken courtesy of MR points, whether they cashed them in to experience an impressive product like Lufthansa First Class or used them to finally take that dream trip to Paris...
"I booked through Delta for a trip in April. 60,000 Skymiles and $55 for Omaha (OMA) to Amsterdam (AMS)!" — Chris B.
"Aeroplan. 110,000 MR points and $23 to Europe one-way for the wife and me in business over Christmas." — Dan G.
"Aeroplan! Lufthansa First Class for 70,000 points each way!" — Peter E.
"In 2012, when it only cost 100,000 miles for a round-trip business-class ticket, I transferred the 100,000 MR points from my Business Platinum sign-up bonus and the 75,000 MR points from my American Express® Gold Card sign-up bonus, plus 25,000 earned from spending (offers no longer available), to Delta in order to book two round-trip business-class tickets on Air France between Chicago and Paris!" — Shana G.
"MR to Flying Blue [through the] KLM website. I’ve always scored round-trip business [tickets] for 100,000 Miles. This year, I was late with my booking and got SFO-MXP [San Francisco-Milan], returning from BOD [Bordeaux], for 125,000. Love the service on Air France and the herringbone seats. Whenever they have a transfer bonus, I move those rewards to Air France." — Randi H.
"I booked a round-trip to Europe with my Amex Membership Rewards Business Platinum benefit. Retail price was $450 but with Amex insider fares, it came to 41,290 MR points. I then got refunded 20,645 so I only paid the remaining 20,645 points." — Alex S.
"Aeroplan or Flying Blue. On my way to Milan from Atlanta using 55,000 on Aeroplan for Lufthansa First Class." — Steve D.
Other Tips and Tricks
Sometimes it just comes down to having a good strategy and knowing your partner airlines when it comes to making great MR points redemptions.
"Delta Skymiles to fly Virgin Atlantic to London. KLM for other destinations." — Ali I.
"Aeroplan on one of the partners that doesn't pass on fuel surcharges. ANA also has amazing business-class rates to Europe, though it's sometimes hard to find availability, plus it has to be round-trip." — David K.
"I transfer to Flying Blue to book through Delta, KLM or Air France." — Evelyn S.
"MR to Aeroplan for Lufthansa (with surcharges) or Swiss (no surcharges!)" — Kirsten F.
"I miss Etihad with Brussels at 11,000 each way. Now, I would say Air France or British Airways. Iberia has promos sometimes." — Alex Torgueman
"I transfer to Avios and book via BA. It's only 150,000 points, plus $1,299 in fees! (Kidding, of course)." — Patrick F.
"Transfer points to Delta or Virgin Atlantic if [you're] going to London. Air France sucks!" — Stacy M.
"Asia Miles. I've had some luck getting Iberia flights or American into places they fly direct so I can avoid British Airways." — Meg G.
"Aeroplan 90% of the time. Sometimes Singapore Airlines. I transfer a lot to British Airways so sometimes through them, but I try to avoid BA metal for surcharges. The surcharges on Lufthansa are killing my vibe, to be honest." — Gaurav N.
Thinking Outside the Box
Two TPG Lounge members brought up an interesting point: Why not just use MR points to treat yourself to a fancy hotel stay once you get there?
"I have found it to be a better value to use Amex points for lodging in Europe. We have stayed in some incredible places that way. [There's a] great selection of main brand, luxury and boutique properties." — Jonathan B.
"Maybe consider calling Amex Platinum Concierge to see what (if any) business or first discount you would be able to get? Use points then for nice hotels?" — Jane B.
Readers Helping Readers
We love it when our readers get so involved in a topic they end up answering each other's questions and offering tips and advice based on their own experiences. That's what happened when TPG Lounge member Prash K. asked fellow reader Dan B. to share more info about his successful Delta One redemption.
Dan B (DB): "Topped off my Skymiles account to get two one-way tickets in Delta One from LAX to LHR for 70,000 Skymiles per ticket at 11 cpm."
Prash K (PK): "The same tickets on KLM are 62,500 miles each so I am guessing you did this since you already had Delta miles. Trying to figure out Delta's program since I am an AAdvantage person."
DB: "Yup. Tons of Skymiles to burn. I believe I saw the KLM redemption as well, but the taxes/fees were higher?"
PK: "Got it. I have some Citi ThankYou points — like Amex, it's a 1:1 transfer partner to Flying Blue — and was researching SkyTeam options. LAX-LHR on Delta J with an extra stopover in Europe was 62,500 miles and the taxes were reasonable (but not exceeding $100). But if you have tons of Skymiles, 70,000 miles is perfect. Enjoy your trip."
DB: "Yup, taxes are higher. At the current value of Flying Blue Miles, I'd be saving about $60 total, but not cash out-of-pocket. If I was transferring credit card points exclusively, obviously Flying Blue makes more sense. You can book the identical flight on DL metal through the portal, but you have to be careful because there's another flight on Aeromexico metal that routes through MEX. That would an unfortunate redemption."