Whether you're planning a trip to Disneyland Paris or just looking to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world, we're big fans of flying to Paris with points to save on your flight. This is especially important if you want to fly business class to Paris for almost free!
In this post, we'll go through the best options for flying roundtrip from the United States to Paris on points earned from credit card signup bonuses.
Using AwardAce to Check for Our Options
Update: AwardAce has shut down. We will update this section if and when we find a suitable replacement.
If you're flying to Paris, you're likely going to want to fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).
Disneyland Paris fans definitely want to head to CDG, as it is just a ten-minute train ride from Disneyland Paris, making it the best airport of all the Disney destinations.
What Is AwardAce?
Booking with points always starts at AwardAce for us. AwardAce provides a quick overview of the landscape for award bookings between two locations.
Besides giving you an outline of how many points each booking will cost, AwardAce tells you which major point programs transfer to the individual airline programs, as well as providing guides for booking each award. If you want to see this in action, head over to the AwardAce redemption search, enter in two airports, and scroll down - it's pretty simple.
Searching for Our Route on AwardAce
Searching between Chicago (ORD) and Paris (CDG), AwardAce suggests both Iberia Plus and Executive Club (British Airways) as the cheapest options, starting at 32,500 and 34,000 points roundtrip each. Notably, these redemptions are noted as carrying hefty ($$$) surcharges.
On a sample booking, we found flights that cost 34,000 Avios (the British Airways currency) roundtrip, but the surcharges come out to $415.12 per person!
This is especially hefty as it is routine to see flights between the US and Paris for under $500. The next two options that jump out at me are American Airlines and Asia Miles, both of which start at 45,000 miles roundtrip.
Quick Breakdown of Our Options
We'll cover four options below for booking flights to Paris with points: American AAdvantage, Asia Miles, Korean Air SKYPASS, and United MileagePlus, including how to earn the necessary miles.
Here's a quick overview of what the options boil down to:
|Program||Min. Economy Miles
(Per Person Per Way)
|Min. Business Miles
(Per Person Per Way)
|American AAdvantage||22,500 to 30,000||57,500||Good availability at lowest rates|
|Asia Miles||25,000||40,000||Hefty surcharges for space available online
Need to submit online form to check for best rates
|Korean Air SKYPASS||25,000||40,000||Hefty surcharges; cannot book online; must book roundtrip|
|United Mileage Plus||30,000||57,500||E space at 30K common
B space at 57.5K Rare, 60K very spotty, 70K common
Option 1: American Airlines for Disneyland Paris flights
If there's a downside to AwardAce, it's that it doesn't immediately distinguish "peak" and "off-peak" prices. As you might expect, "off-peak" prices are lower, but at less desirable times to travel.
Economy Class to Paris for 22,500 to 30,000 Miles Per Person Per Way
I visited American's website and did a search for AAdvantage bookings on ORD to CDG. Availability at peak pricing (30,000 miles per person per way) is wide open until November, when off-peak pricing opens up at 22,500 miles per per per way.
If you can get those rates (the above pictures shows one-way rates), you'll be at 45,000 AAdvantage miles per person, roundtrip. At peak, it's 60,000.
Business Class to Paris for 57,500 Per Person Per Way
Sticking with American Airlines, we see business class space is widely available as well.
Coming Up With AAdvantage Miles for Four Business Class Tickets to Paris
As of March 2018, we're seeing the following signup bonus offers on personal credit cards that can get us AAdvantage miles:
Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard (50,000 miles)
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard (50,000 miles)
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card (25,000 Starpoints worth 30,000 AAdvantage Miles)
A two-adult household thus has the opportunity for 260,000 AAdvantage miles from these bonuses alone. That's enough for FOUR business class tickets between Paris and the United States (one way).
Remember, if you need advice or explanation on earning a credit card signup bonus, we've got you covered!
Option 2: Asia Miles for Disneyland Paris flights
To use Asia Miles for the same American flights, you'll need to fill out an online request form (not quite the same as directly booking online). If you're booking British Airways flights, you can search for space and book online through Asia Miles.
Economy Class to Paris for 25,000 Asia Miles Per Person Per Way
We didn't have much luck finding availability online at 22,500 Asia Miles. The best we found was 25,000 per person per way, and that carried a hefty surcharge of about $250.
You might have better luck submitting an online request or attempting to call Asia miles, as their online interface does not yet cover all availability. In particular, American Airlines is not bookable online through Asia Miles, but they are a partner.
Especially if you don't have an easy way to come up with American AAdvantage miles, you should put a bit of effort into seeing if Asia Miles can work for you.
Business Class to Paris for 45,000 Asia Miles Per Person Per Way
We found sporadic availability for 45,000 Asia Miles per person per way in business class, but the surcharges exceeding $300. Again, it's worth checking with Asia Miles to see if there is a lower rate available to them that isn't available online.
Coming Up With Asia Miles
It's not too hard to come up with Asia Miles. This is why this is a decent alternative to using American Miles. The top signup bonuses for this option (as of March 2018) are:
Citi Thank You Premier Mastercard (50,000 ThankYou points)
SPG American Express (25,000 Starpoints worth 30,000 Asia Miles)
American Express Premier Rewards Gold (25,000 Membership Rewards points)
A two-adult household could pretty easily generate up to 200,000 Asia Miles this way, enough for four tickets (one-way) between the United States and Paris in Business Class.
Option 3: Korean Air Skypass for Disneyland Paris flights
Another option worth checking out is Korean SKYPASS, which offers bookings for 50,000 miles per person roundtrip in economy or 80,000 per person roundtrip in Business Class.
SKYPASS is a transfer partner of Chase, which has great signup bonuses on the:
Chase Sapphire Reserve (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points)
Chase Ink Business Preferred (80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points).
Unfortunately, SKYPASS does not allow us to book this route online, so we can't confirm what the surcharges on AirFrance and Delta (the direct routes) would look like.
Finally, you cannot book one-way routes on SKYPASS partner airlines. This means you'd need all the points for a roundtrip flight in order to make this booking.
If you're using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to fund this booking, it might make sense to try booking American Airlines through British Airways Avios for 50,000 per person roundtrip. This is more points than the lowest British Airways redemption we showed you above, but it might not carry the hefty surcharges.
Option 4: United MileagePlus For Disneyland Paris Flights
One last option is to used United MileagePlus Miles for this trip. United charges 30,000 miles per person per way for economy to Paris, but availability as that rate was easy to come by.
Flying in business class is trickier. AwardAce claims United's rates go as low as 57,500 points per way, but we weren't able to find that rate even during off-season. The best we found was 60,000 points, with 70,000 being much more common.
These rates aren't as good as what we saw above, but on the plus side, United miles are easy to generate using the following cards:
Chase Sapphire Reserve - 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for spending $4000 in 3 Months
United MileagePlus Explorer - 40,000 United Miles for spending $2000 in 3 months
Chase Sapphire Preferred - 50,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for spending $4000 in 3 Months
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express - 25,000 Starpoints for spending $3000 in 3 months
Since you can't get both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred, the most United miles a couple could generate using signup bonuses on these cards would be 230,000 -- still enough for four business class tickets once you add in the $9000 per person in spending you'd have to put on the cards.
A lot goes into choosing which of these options to pursue.
Depending on the surcharges, SKYPASS could be appealing for few reasons. First, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred are great cards that everyone should consider, and they can easily be downgraded to some awesome free cards as well, like the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited.
They're also good cards to get early on since they are covered by Chase's 5/24 rule. But the SKYPASS surcharges might make this a bad option, and we usually prefer to fly one-way on cheap economy tickets and the other in business class.
If you're flush in Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the United option is decent for one-way flights.
But really, the best option to try and get on those American Airlines flights using either American's AAdvantage program or, if availability is there, Asia Miles. It's not easy to generate American AAdvantage miles in the long-run, but with a few easy signup bonuses you'll get what you need for four business class tickets. Generating Asia Miles is somewhat easier if you've boxed yourself out of the American cards, but you'll need to confirm Asia Miles has the availability you need.