A trip to London needn’t cost the earth, it is in fact, more than possible to fly to London with airline frequent flyer points alone. A lot of the typical options require a connection in another country in Europe, but there are also ways to fly directly from the United States to London simply using your points. Here’s how to get your next trip across the Atlantic for nothing.
Which Frequent Flyer Programs Award Flights to London
The key is to make sure you are using one of 6 frequent flyer programs. Below we look at the pros and cons of each in turn and highlight key tips to help get you that flight.
American Airlines AAdvantage.
Air France/KLM Flying Blue.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club.
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank.
United Airlines MileagePlus.
American Airlines AAdvantage
This program is the easiest option for booking American Airline flights or flights operated by British Airways, their Oneworld. The miles are the same on both airlines and they won’t charge you more to fly with their partner as some airlines do, though worth out for the steep surcharges with British Airways.
For Economy off-peak you are looking at 45,000 American miles and for Business class, 115,000 American miles. You can travel direct from 8 US airports and as the scheme operates a region-based award chart, you can even transfer from a smaller connecting airport in the US for no additional points.
To boost your points, transfer points from a Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express and both Citi and Barclaycard also offer co-branded cards.
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
The SkyTeam alliance’s Air France/KLM Flying Blue program can be used on Delta Flights. An Economy ticket would set you back 50,000 Flying Blue miles and a Business ticket, 125,000 miles.
You can fly direct to London with Delta from 8 US airports and again it’s possible to connect from a smaller airport for no additional points. It’s really easy to earn points with Flying Blue as you can transfer points from so many other schemes: American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Starpoints.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
An interesting option in the Star Alliance to be used on United Airlines flights. The club only allows round-trip awards so no one-way tickets.
The economy option uses 55,000 ANA Mileage Club miles but it’s the Business ticket that is the more exciting at just 88,000 miles for a round-trip ticket – this is the best rate if you are set on Business Class.
There are 7 airports with nonstop United flights to London and you can connect from your home airport to one of these hubs for no extra ANA Mileage Club miles. While there are a few less options, it’s still straightforward to earn points, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards or SPG Starpoints to ANA Mileage Club.
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
Another option for Delta flights and perhaps more interestingly, they have an individual partnership with Virgin Atlantic outside of the SkyTeam alliance. Just a warning that there are frequent unannounced devaluations with this program so it’s always not the most popular.
An Economy Delta flight will set you back 60,000 SkyMiles or 70,000 SkyMiles for Virgin Atlantic available on 8 non-stop routes.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
American Airlines’ off-peak economy award is the cheapest mileage requirement but outside of this, it’s definitely Oneworld alliance option, Japan Airlines. You can use Japan Airlines Mileage Bank to book flights on either American Airlines or British Airways from 8 US airports but the scheme is distance-based so it matters where you fly from a lot more and no free domestic connections.
For an Economy flight from New York you’d be looking at 39,000 Mileage Bank miles. It’s a bit trickier to earn points here as only Starwood Preferred Guest points can be transferred.
United Airlines MileagePlus
Another Star Alliance option, this scheme doesn’t have as competitive redemption rates as ANA Mileage Club, particularly for business class award tickets, but there are different points-earning options as you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards and can earn United miles directly using a co-branded card provided by Chase.
It’s important to consider taxes, fees and carrier-imposed surcharges for all flights and also be aware that the Air Passenger Duty (APD) applies to all flights departing from the United Kingdom. The exact fee is determined by both your class of service and the distance of your flight.
Your best option will, of course, depend on which points you collect, where you can transfer them and whether you want to fly Economy or Business Class, but at least there are lots of great options meaning it’s more than possible to travel to London with Points!
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