Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska and the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to Europe.

Remember, the spread sheet in this post only captures one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to Europe

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Europe, these are the prices:

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Let me explain a few things:

Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, Lufthansa, Austrian, TAP, and LOT flights to Europe. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air New Zealand, Brussels, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish, and United flights to Europe. (And yes all those airlines fly from the United States to Europe.)

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

If you want to fly United, the cheapest way to book it (and with no fuel surcharges) is with Asiana miles. Paying 40k miles one way in flat bed Business Class or 50k in First Class is outrageously cheap. If you don’t want to burn SPG points/Asiana miles, you can book a cheap roundtrip with ANA miles in United economy or Business Class and pay no fuel surcharges. Singapore miles are a good option for a one way in United economy.

If you want to fly Lufthansa First Class to enjoy the First Class terminal, use Asiana miles. You’ll pay 50,000 miles and around $300 one way. Your backup plan is to use 62,500 Aeroplan miles plus the same fuel surcharges. United would not collect the fuel surcharges, but it would charge 110,000 miles one way, so I wouldn’t use United miles.

If you want to fly to Western Europe, Aeroplan miles offer a great deal at 45,000 miles each way, and several partners are surcharge-free. If you book a roundtrip, you can even enjoy two stopovers other than your destination.

My rich friends, who want to fly Business Class to Europe but don’t already have miles, use LifeMiles to buy a ticket each way in Business Class for about $1,000.

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

Asiana miles, ANA miles, Singapore miles, Aeroplan miles, and LifeMiles are the best to Europe.

Asiana miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints, which means you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Asiana miles.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and Starpoints.

Aeroplan miles area 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

LifeMiles can be purchased for as little as 1.35 cents each through September 15, 2015.

Bottom Line

There are much better options to fly Star Alliance flights to Euorope than using United miles.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.

 

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