Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses That Equal a Free Trip to Europe


This is the time of year when I start to wish I was in Europe for a day eating waffles in Brussels, a week watching football in Poland, or a month traveling the cities of Spain. Too bad I don’t think I’ll get to Europe again until 2015.

Waffles in Brussels

Luckily getting to Europe with frequent flyer miles is extremely easy. There are even a number of credit cards that offer a sign up bonus large enough to get a roundtrip to Europe by opening one credit card. And a few credit cards that offer enough bonus miles for two roundtrips to Europe.

Limited Time Offers

The Lufthansa Miles & More World MasterCard currently offers50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days.

A roundtrip from the United States to Europe costs only 50,000 Lufthansa miles + taxes + fuel surcharges. Fuel surcharges are lowest on Lufthansa’s partner LOT, which collects fuel surcharges of only $60 per direction.

For some people, an even better use of Lufthansa miles to Europe would be to book a Mileage Bargain ticket. You can book a roundtrip business class Mileage Bargain ticket for 55,000 miles + taxes + fuel surcharges to a select list of rotating cities.

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard currently offers 40,000 bonus US Airways miles after first purchase.

US Airways charges only 35,000 miles roundtrip for Off Peak Economy awards between the United States and Europe on US Airways planes from January 15 – February 28 each year.

Unfortunately you can’t fly any US Airways partners–including American Airlines–for the 35,000 miles price and you have to go during the winter.

On the plus side, you won’t be stuck in crowds, you save 5,000 miles on the trip with if you have a US Airways Premier World MasterCard (so 30,000 miles roundtrip), and award space is wide open.

Check out this calendar for Madrid in February. (I hate the color coding at, but the lightest days are available for 35k roundtrip.)

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 2.22.21 AM

The roundtrip price is only 35,000 miles and $99 all in, and you’d actually only pay 30,000 miles if you have the US Airways Premier World MasterCard

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 2.22.07 AM

  • What other cards offer enough bonus miles for a roundtrip to Europe?
  • What cards offer enough bonus miles for two roundtrips to Europe?

The Ink Plus and Ink Bold are both offering 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months.

Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 instantly to United miles. Sixty thousand United miles is enough for a roundtrip to Europe all year round on any United partner with no fuel surcharges.

United and its partners’ award availability to Europe in economy is unparalleled, so if you want the most fool proof method of getting to Europe in roundtrip from one card, get an Ink Plus or Ink Bold.

Two Roundtrips

The Citi Executive American Airlines card is offering 100,000 bonus American Airlines after spending $10k in the first three months.

That’s more than enough for two roundtrips to Europe. American charges 20k miles each way to Europe from October 15 to May 15 on any of its partners, and award space is wide open on American and airberlin most of that time frame.

After hitting the sign up bonus, you’d have 110k American Airlines miles, which is almost enough for three roundtrips (120k) during off peak dates or two roundtrips (120k) during the summer.

Do You Live in Boston?

British Airways has a distance based award chart, so the shortest flight between the United States and Europe, Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus, costs only 25,000 Avios roundtrip.

Any card that offers a 25,000 Avios, 25,000 Membership Rewards, 25,000 Ultimate Rewards, or 20k Starpoints bonus gives enough points for a roundtrip from Boston to Dublin.

This includes the:

  • British Airways Visa (50k Avios)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (45k Ultimate Rewards)
  • Ink Plus and Ink Bold (60k Ultimate Rewards)
  • Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card from American Express (50k Membership Rewards)
  • Platinum Card from American Express (40k Membership Rewards)
  • Business Platinum Card from American Express (40k Membership Rewards)
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card (25k Membership Rewards)
  • Business Gold Card (25k Membership Rewards)
  • Starwood American Express (25k Starpoints)
  • Business Starwood American Express (25k Starpoints)


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

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  1. Hi–Just looking at the example for US Air. The highlighted dates seem to show a total of 60,000 miles (or 55,000 with the credit card.) I have been searching for months for the mythical 35,000 miles to Europe and never found any combination that works for those six weeks in 2015. How did you get the 35,000 total?

      • Scott –

        Do you know how to find these flights for booking? Must it be done over the phone with a booking agent to ensure that the flights are on US Airways metal?

        An example: my local airport has a US Airways station (well, Envoy now I guess), but all of the aircraft are operated by PSA Airlines INC, dba US Airways. Would these qualify as US Airways planes?