One of the best airline awards around is the US Airways off-peak price to Europe. During the slowest travel time of the year, you can travel from the US to Europe for only 30,000 miles round-trip (35,000 if you do not have the US Airways credit card). There is great value there!
US Airways Off-Peak To Europe
It normally takes 30,000 miles one-way with the major US carriers to go from the US to Europe. But, from January 15 – February 28, that same amount on US Airways will get you a round-trip ticket. Sure, it is only July, but these seats will be gone before the snow hits the Northeast and it is never too early to start accruing the miles you may need!
US Airways specifies the dates of January 15 – February 28 as their off-peak award dates. To be eligible for the off-peak pricing, your trip must begin and end during that timeframe. The regular off-peak rate is really 35,000 miles per person, but for all of you who have a US Airways credit card, you get 5,000 miles off each ticket just for holding the card.
If you can start planning and booking soon, the availability is actually pretty good! I searched for Philadelphia to several cities in Europe and found an amazing number of dates that had off-peak availability for 6 – 8 people!
You can expect the totals in taxes and fees to work out to around $110 – $170 ($300+ if flying from London the return) per person. If you have the US Airways credit card, that would mean you could travel to Europe for only $130 and 30,000 miles! Not bad at all!
- This pricing is only available on US Airway flights – even AA flights do not count (AA has a separate, more generous off-peak calendar that does include US Airway flights)
- Only round-trip awards can be booked with US Airway miles
- The $50 award processing fee per ticket
Below is the list of European destinations US Airways serves (some of them are seasonal destinations and may not be operating during the off-peak time):
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Shannon, Ireland
- Dublin, Ireland
- Glasgow, Scotland
- Madrid, Spain
- Manchester, UK
- London, UK
- Barcelona, Spain
- Paris, France
- Brussels, Belgium
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Munich, Germany
- Venice, Italy
- Rome, Italy
- Athens, Greece
Strangely enough, one of the hardest segments to actually book may be the flight from your hometown to Philadelphia or Charlotte. If you cannot find award availability, purchasing those tickets is always an option (to the hub airport) because prices at that time of the year are relatively cheap.
Getting the Miles
Obviously, the easiest way to get the miles is through the credit card bonus. It currently sits at 40,000 miles after your first purchase payment of the $89 annual fee. So, for $89 (and spending $1 additional), you can pick up 40,000 miles. That is more than enough for one ticket to Europe during this off-peak period! However, keep in mind that the US Airways Mastercard is offered by Barclaycard. Before you apply, I encourage you to read this previous post to see whether or not this card is the best choice for you right now.
Application Link – US Airways Mastercard – 40,000 miles (I receive a commission if you apply using this link)
These awards can be an incredible way to see Europe on the cheap. Not only are they (currently) plentiful in availability but they also are pretty much letting you book two awards for the price of one any other time of the year.
Do not be scared away from the fact that this is wintertime! As someone who has been in Europe several times during this time period, I can tell you that there are some incredible places to visit – and still stay warm! If US Airways does not fly to your European city of choice, you can always spend a couple of days in the arrival city and then hop a cheap flight to another city of interest.
I am not sure how this award will look after AA and US merge their award calendars. I imagine it will be more like AA’s off-peak awards. AA’s off-peak to Europe runs for October 15 – May 15 but charges you 40,000 miles. The good part is that any of the flights that are bookable with awards (like partner flights) will ring up at that 40,000 miles round-trip. Sure, it is 10,000 more miles, but it could end up being a better situation for people in the long run who would rather fly to a place not serviced by US Airways.
Have you ever done one of these off-peak awards? What sounds of interest to you for this upcoming period?