MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.

Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.

Below is a list of the taxes for awards departing from most major European cities, flying to the United States.

My friend wrote to me:

Not sure if any of the travel websites have done this, but the taxes of the airports in Europe really can impact the cost basis.

Just looking at three European cities for my United award:
London: $200
Athens: $98
Geneva: $48
Factoring for two people, that makes a big difference.

Every time you book an award with frequent flyer miles, you are responsible for paying government taxes associated with the award ticket. Sometimes you are also responsible for paying fuel surcharges or ticketing fees.

Pay your award taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.

My friend was looking at booking a roundtrip United award to Europe for July. United doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on any awards, and there are no fees for ticketing United awards more than 21 days before departure, so all he’d be on the hook for is the miles price and the government taxes.

Taxes vary widely based on the country and airport you depart, connections you make, and, occasionally, the cabin you fly.

Below I’ve compiled basically what my friend asked for: the taxes on a one way award from major European cities to the United States.

Why a one way award from Europe to the USA?

Because all direct one way awards from the USA to Europe have taxes of $5.60.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 6.03.45 PM

The reason is that the United States puts most of its international aviation taxes, $17.50 worth, on the return to the United States while almost every other country in the world puts its aviation taxes, ranging from $15 to $280, on departure.

Bottom line: the country you fly into on a European award doesn’t affect the taxes; only the country you return to the United States from (plus connections and occasionally the cabin you fly) affects the taxes.

For a roundtrip award to the cities below, add $5.60 in taxes.

How Did I Get the Info?

I got all the tax information from On search results, hover your cursor over the taxes for a detailed breakdown.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 6.02.19 PM

There’s nothing special about except that it is easy to use. The same taxes would apply on awards with any other types of miles (though fuel surcharges and other fees may apply with other types of miles too.)

Extra Taxes for Flying in a Premium Cabin

Britain and France charge higher taxes for departing in Business and First Class. (I really just mean Britain, the island with England, Scotland, and Wales. Northern Ireland does not charge extra to fly a premium cabin, perhaps to compete with low Irish departure taxes.)

Britain calls its variable tax the “UK Air Passenger Duty,” and it is calculated based on the distance between London and the capital of the country where your award ends. France–hilariously–calls its variable tax the “Air Passenger Solidarity Tax.” I guess these countries figure, “From each [passenger] according to his ability [to pay punitive departure taxes]…”

Departure taxes leaving selected cities in Britain and France:

  • Paris in economy: $78.80
  • Paris in Business or First: $124.50
  • Manchester in economy: $144.70
  • Manchester in Business or First: $253.80
  • Glasgow in economy: $146.10
  • Glasgow in Business or First: $255.20
  • Edinburgh in economy: $147.20
  • Edinburgh in Business or First: $256.40
  • London in economy: $191.10
  • London in Business or First: $300.20

Avoid flying out of Britain on your European award, especially in a premium cabin. Britain is a lovely place that you shouldn’t skip on a big European adventure, just make sure it’s your first stop instead of your last stop, so you don’t have to pay the Air Passenger Duty.

If you do fly home from Britain, airports outside London have taxes about $45 lower.

France in economy is on the high end of the European range. In a premium cabin, departing France is better only than departing Britain.

Low Tax Countries

I’ve ordered the cities from cheapest to most expensive.

  • Oslo: $31.70
  • Istanbul: $32.50
  • Warsaw: $33.80
  • Stockholm: $36.30
  • Dublin: $39
  • Belfast: $42.20
  • Geneva: $42.90
  • Venice: $43.40
  • Barcelona: $43.50
  • Shannon: $43.60
  • Copenhagen: $43.80
  • Lisbon: $47.40
  • Amsterdam: $48
  • Madrid: $48.40
  • Brussels: $50
  • Milan: $50
  • Zurich: $56.50
  • Rome: $60
  • Hamburg: $82.70
  • Vienna: $87
  • Munich: $94.80
  • Frankfurt: $112.10
  • Berlin: $119.20

Shockingly to me, the cheapest country to depart is Norway, which is the most expensive country I’ve ever visited.

Irish and Northern Irish cities come out well on the list between $39 and $44, making Britain’s punitive Air Passenger Duty all the starker.

Most taxes cluster in the $30 to $60 range where I don’t think the difference is big enough to affect your departure decision.

The outlier is Germany. It is the most expensive country to depart outside of Britain and France. It also shows the most variability between departure airports. Hamburg, with a direct United flight to Newark, has only $83 per departure in taxes while departing Berlin costs $119.


The above showed the taxes on a direct flight from those cities to either Newark or New York (though the American city you fly to doesn’t matter.)

Connecting increases the taxes. Here are some sample connection taxes to give you an idea:

  • Oslo direct to Newark: $31.70
  • Oslo to Newark to Los Angeles: $37.30
  • Oslo to Copenhagen to Los Angeles: $48
  • Oslo to Munich to Newark: $51
  • Oslo to Frankfurt to Newark: $64.90
  • Oslo to London to Newark: $80.40

If you connect in the United States, you have to pay the $5.60 September 11 security fee. If you connect in other countries, you usually pay their taxes in the range of $10 to $50.

Again, London is the worst, but transiting London is a lot cheaper than starting your award there. And there are no extra taxes for transiting London in a premium cabin.

Eastern Europe

To get home from smaller cities in Eastern Europe like Prague, Helsinki, Riga, or Ljubljana, you will need to connect. The Eastern European countries themselves have low taxes, but the connection adds to the taxes. You’re probably looking at spending about $80 to $120 in taxes one way.

Maximizing This Information

Don’t make your destination picks based on saving a few bucks in taxes, but think about the order of your destinations. On your open jaw award, fly into the higher tax country and home from the lower tax country.

As an extreme example, imagine a Business Class open jaw award where you see Oslo and London. Flying into London and out of Oslo is smart. You pay only $37 in taxes.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 2.19.31 PM

Flying into Oslo and out of London is silly. You pay $304 in taxes–$267 more than the other way.Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 2.20.47 PM

Similarly if you want to take advantage of the current 25% transfer bonus from Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic miles to fly Premium Economy or Upper Class to Europe, I suggest booking that award one way to London and returning from a low tax country.

Flying Newark to London in Premium Economy would cost 27,500 Virgin Atlantic miles (22,000 ThankYou Points) + $234.60. In Upper Class, you’d pay 40,000 miles (32,000 ThankYou Points) + $419.60 for a flat bed.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 2.25.45 PM Then return from Madrid for 30,000 United miles (or 27,500 Singapore miles/ThankYou Points) + $48.Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 2.25.23 PM

Bottom Line

Taxes vary widely on awards that include a return from Europe. Taxes are based on the country and airport you depart, countries you transit, and occasionally cabin you fly.

Avoid departing Britain, France, or Germany. Most of the rest of Europe has taxes in the $40 to $70 range for a roundtrip. On open jaw awards, fly into the more expensive country and return from the cheaper country.

Pay your award taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.