Destinations Travel Deals

Fly To Europe For Under $500 Roundtrip

Written by Charlie

Thanks to a couple of great fares, you can fly to Europe for under $500! These are not fare mistakes but sales by a few airlines and they offer a great way to get to Europe on the cheap and explore. In fact, some of these have been around publicly for a while now.

Fly To Europe For Under $500 Roundtrip

Why Pay When There Are Awards?

First of all, when you can use miles (especially off-peak awards like I wrote about here), why would you want to pay $500 to fly to Europe? For one thing, the taxes and fees on award tickets. The average amount of taxes and fees that you can expect to pay on a roundtrip award ticket to Europe (in coach) is around $100. It can be higher or lower depending on what your destination is, what cities you transit, and what city you depart Europe from. Once you subtract that $100 from this $500 ticket price, you will find that your miles could be worth less than 1 cent each (if you chose to use United miles, for example, as it would cost 60,000 miles to fly this)!

Route # 1 – NYC to Oslo – $483

Thanks to some newer competition from Norwegian Airlines, it is possible to fly from either JFK or Newark to Oslo for right around $480 – roundtrip!  If you stretch it to the mid-$500 mark, you can pick more airlines than just Norwegian Airlines and United. One of those airlines is Icelandair which will let you book a free stopover in Iceland on your ticket for Oslo. So, two destinations for the price of one!

To check wide-range availability (which is better after the New Year), you head over to the ITA Matrix and input NYC for origin and OSL for destination. After that, use the calendar to allow for flexible dates (to see what days are cheapest) and enter how many days you would like to go for (I had put a 3-7 day range to cover a decent spread). Here is what I saw for the new year.

ita matrix

Calendar of availability and price for NYC to Oslo, Norway.

Earning Miles

Another reason to purchase this ticket outright instead of using miles is that you can actually earn miles by flying it. If you fly United, you can either choose the non-stop option for around $480, or route through someplace like Munich for an extra $20 and many more miles (1,200 miles more each way). It books into “K” class which only gives 50% mileage credit to Aegean’s Miles and Bonus program (if you were trying to reach Star Gold the easy way) or it will earn 100% if credited to United (at least until March 1, 2015 when earning will be tied to the amount spent).

To earn an extra 1 Ultimate Reward point per dollar (in addition to the 2 points you will earn with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card for airfare purchases), you can book it through Expedia after going through the Ultimate Reward shopping portal.

If you do not want to spend your whole time in Oslo, it can be relatively cheap to use low cost carriers to pop around Europe while there. Or, you could just spend your time in Norway and enjoy the cold weather in a special way!

Route # 2 – JFK – Milan, Italy – $499 (but with two people)

While Norway might not seem to be as tempting a destination in Europe as others, Italy is at the opposite end of the spectrum. There is a lot going on in Italy and it is sure to appeal to a wide range of potential visitors. Being able to get to Italy at a cheap rate just makes it all the better. The airline we have to thank for this route and rate might be a surprising one – Emirates. Yes, that’s right, Emirates has a European-North American route and they are offering a great deal but they want to make sure you enjoy this trip with a close friend/family member so the price of $499 for roundtrip travel only applies if there are two people in your party. 🙂 If you try to fly this alone, it will be over $600.

Calendar and availability of $499 tickets to Milan

Calendar and availability of $499 tickets to Milan

Availability is pretty good, especially during the month of November. This special offer is only available for travel from September 22 – November 25th. So, if you want to travel to Europe during that time period, this would be a great way to do it. I have flown Emirates before (but only their first class cabin so far) and really enjoyed the experience. I got to step back to coach and thought it seemed to be a very nice cabin, certainly as good or better than any US carrier’s economy cabin. One of the nice things about this fare is that, unlike most European fares, you do not have to stay over a Saturday night! That can be very helpful to those who need to get back for the weekends.

Earning Miles

If you want to credit the miles somewhere, you will earn 50% of the miles (or 4,000 +/-) if you credit to Alaska Airlines. I would consider that a better option than crediting them to Emirates.

Still Getting All That On Miles

Ok, yes those are great deals, but I know that people still want to get travel for free. Well, if you have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, you will have already earned 40,000 miles good for $400 when redeemed against travel. You can also use your Ultimate Reward points for a redemption value of 1.25 cents per mile. That means that the Oslo fare would require 39,000 Ultimate Reward points for a roundtrip ticket instead of the 60,000 plus taxes it would require if you were to transfer those points to United and book it as an award!

If you do not yet have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, it will give you those 40,000 miles after your $3,000 spending in 90 days plus, you will have up to 120 days to apply that redemption against travel. So, if you got it today, used it to purchase your tickets next week, would have 120 days from then to wipe out the $400 charge of the ticket (providing you have met the $3,000 in spend in the 90 day period). Not bad! If you do apply using the Barclaycard Application button below, I will receive a commission. Should you decide to do so, I do appreciate it!)

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.