3 Best Ways to Book Business Class to Europe (and Save Money!)

by Jon Miksis
Business class seat overlooking European capital
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Ever dreamed of flying business class to Europe without the hefty cost? I’ve been there. And guess what? I’ve found some amazing ways to make it happen without emptying my bank account. Over the years, I have visited 38 countries in Europe – flying to every corner of this incredible continent. From sipping coffee in Paris to exploring Rome’s history, I’ve done it all, and often for less than half the price you’d expect.

I started my travel blog seven years ago, in part, to experience luxury travel on a budget. I’ve lounged in five-star hotels in the Mediterranean and flown in style to cities like Madrid, all without breaking the bank. Europe, with its rich cultures and stunning landscapes, shouldn’t just be a dream because of high prices.

During my travels, I’ve learned a lot about snagging affordable business class tickets to Europe. It’s about knowing when to book, using those reward points wisely, and choosing the right places to fly into, 

In this guide, I’ll walk you through my top three strategies for flying business class to Europe on a budget in 2024. Whether you’re drawn to the lively streets of Amsterdam or the serene coasts of Greece, I’m here to show you how to make that luxury trip happen. Let’s get started!

Travel tips to fly to Europe on business class for a budget

Sign up for the Elite Version of Going.com

For the last 4+ years, Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) has been my go-to for finding cheap flights to Europe. Imagine landing deals to vibrant cities like Rome, Paris, or even the enchanting streets of Prague, all without breaking the bank. With Going, I’ve spotted jaw-dropping deals to these European gems that are usually reserved for the most seasoned jetsetters.

Going is a membership site and app that helps you find the best value flights from your preferred airports. By subscribing to their alerts (via email or app), you’ll get notified when deals become available. This includes mistake fares and points and miles deals that you won’t find elsewhere.

There are three versions of GoingLimited, Premium, and Elite. If you’re looking for business and first class deals around the world, you’ll want to sign up for the Elite version. On my trip to Europe last summer, I saved $1,300 on a Lufthansa Business Class flight thanks to Going. Seriously, I couldn’t recommend it more!

Using miles for business class seats to Europe

Flying to Europe in business class is a dream for many. With some smart moves, it’s a dream that can easily become a reality without emptying your wallet. For example, I’ve found business class flights from the US to Europe for as low as 34,000 Avios one-way!

My top recommendation is to leverage mileage programs. Here are three prime examples that consistently offer some of the best deals for crossing the Atlantic in comfort.

Iberia Plus Program

Iberia consistently offers incredible value, especially for those willing to travel during off-peak periods. You can snag a business class seat for as low as 34,000 Avios one-way when flying from select US cities like New York or Boston to Madrid. 

What I love most about Iberia’s program is its accessibility. Avios are easy to earn through partnerships with major credit card rewards programs such as Chase, Citi, and American Express. I often transfer points to Avios from my Amex Platinum card and Chase Ultimate Rewards, which I’ve used on airlines like Iberia and British Airways. 

Iberia Plus shines among Avios programs with its notably lower redemption rates for transatlantic flights, like the New York to Madrid route for only 34,000 Avios. Another major plus is Iberia’s lower taxes and fees on award flights. For example, while British Airways is notorious for high surcharges on transatlantic flights, Iberia’s fees are much more reasonable.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France-KLM, is another fantastic option for booking business class flights to Europe. It stands out for its promotional “promo awards” that can significantly reduce the miles needed for a flight. 

Flying Blue’s promo awards offer monthly discounts on select business class flights. These deals are particularly sweet for flights from major US hubs like Boston, New York (JFK), Atlanta, and Chicago. These deals require flexibility since they’re for specific travel dates, but they significantly cut down the miles needed.

On Going, I’ve stumbled upon amazing Air France business class deals flying directly from Boston to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) for just 55k points. Plus, Flying Blue miles are among the easiest to earn, given their partnership with multiple credit card points programs. This includes Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One Venture Rewards.

Flyingblue short haul flights in Europe
Flying Blue deals around Europe | Image Source: flyingblue.com

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

Turkish Airlines offers an unbeatable deal to fly business class to various European destinations. With their Miles & Smiles program, you can book flights from the US to Istanbul and beyond for just 45,000 miles one-way. 

Turkish Airlines stands out not only for its competitive mileage rates but also for its award-winning business class service. The seats turn into the kind of flat beds that make you forget you’re miles up in the sky. Plus, the food is the best I’ve had in business class, hands down. 

Earning Miles & Smiles is straightforward, thanks to their partnership with Citi’s ThankYou Points and Capital One Venture Rewards. Transferring points to Turkish Airlines’ Miles & Smiles usually works on a 1-1 basis, but watch out for occasional bonuses that give you more miles for your points.

Signing up for Going Elite is a smart move. While I’ve shared some great deals, there’s a lot more on their site. Elite members get deal alerts, but anyone can find plenty of valuable offers just by searching directly on Going. I highly recommend checking them out!

Save big by flying into Europe’s most affordable airports

Flying business class to Europe doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Over my travels, I’ve found that where you choose to touch down can make a huge difference in your budget. From Lisbon’s sunny shores to the historic streets of Madrid, some airports offer business class flyers like us fantastic deals. Let me share with you the affordable gateways I’ve discovered.

Dublin Airport (DUB), Ireland

  • Recent deal: JFK to Dublin for $2,340 (via Going.com)

Dublin is a gem if you’re eyeing up the cheapest airports to fly to in Europe. Flying from the US to Dublin can be surprisingly affordable, thanks to its popularity and competitive fares offered by airlines like Aer Lingus. I’ve found that US cities like Boston and New York often boast the best deals on business class flights to Ireland.

Alongside Aer Lingus, Delta, United, JetBlue, and American Airlines all offer direct flights to Dublin from the US. Of these, United stands out to me for its Polaris business class. It’s a premium experience with direct aisle access, lie-flat seats, and top-notch dining. United’s MileagePlus program is a great way to book these seats, often providing good value on points, especially if you catch one of their periodic promotions.

And if you can swing it, flying in the off-peak seasons can save you a pretty penny.

As for Dublin, it’s not just a convenient spot to fly into. It’s packed with charm, from its friendly pubs to its cobblestone streets. Plus, it’s super easy to hop over to another European city from here. 

Dublin is a fantastic place to fly into Europe
Streets of Dublin

Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), Portugal

  • Recent deal: MIA to LIS for $2,512 (via Going.com)

One of my favorite places to visit in Europe, Lisbon is a goldmine for cheap business class flights from the US. I’ve found a deal on Going where you can fly from New York City (JFK) to Lisbon on TAP Air Portugal’s business class for an astonishing 35,000 miles one-way using Avianca LifeMiles. This deal feels almost too good to be true, costing just a tad more than economy!

Got points on The Platinum Card from American Express or the American Express Gold Card? You can transfer those directly to LifeMiles and book this sweet deal. Capital One’s Venture Miles work great here too. To grab this deal, keep your eyes peeled and be ready to book. Off-peak months for the best rates to Lisbon are typically March to May and September to November.

Besides TAP Air Portugal, United and Delta offer direct flights to Lisbon from various US cities, including Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. United often features deals through its MileagePlus program. Delta, via SkyMiles, also provides opportunities for lower-mileage redemption to Lisbon.

Landing in Lisbon, you hit the ground running in a city that’s all about charm. I’d recommend checking out the views from São Jorge Castle. With its hilly landscapes and historic trams, you’ll quickly see why the city is called the San Francisco of Europe! Plus, Lisbon’s a great jumping-off point to explore more of the continent.

Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD), Spain

  • Recent deal: ORD to MAD for $2,952 (via Going.com)

Madrid is a smart pick if you’re looking for business class flights into Europe. With Iberia, you can fly business class from places like Boston, New York, D.C., and Chicago to Madrid for only 34,000 miles. It’s a deal that’s hard to beat!

To find these deals, timing is crucial. Keep an eye on Iberia’s website and sign up for alerts. Also, leveraging credit card points that transfer to Iberia can significantly cut down costs. 

Besides Iberia, United Airlines also flies direct to Madrid from the US. Their Polaris business class is a game changer for me. I can sleep flat and arrive refreshed, plus, the crew always makes the flight pleasant. It’s my top pick for a relaxing flight to Spain.

Madrid itself is a bustling, vibrant city filled with art, incredible food, and lively streets. Its central location and superb connectivity make it an ideal springboard to other Spanish cities.

  • Pro Tip: To save yourself the hassle of hunting down affordable business class flights to Europe, I highly suggest checking out Going. The free version is fantastic for domestic economy deals. For the real treasures—like top-notch business flights to places like Madrid or Lisbon using points and miles—the Elite version is the way to go. Check it out!
Flying business class to European destinations on the cheap
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