Let’s Go to Europe this Summer – Rome

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Let’s Go to Europe this Summer – Rome

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This is Part II in a series. See Part I: Let’s Go to Europe this Summer – Dublin.  All screenshots showing award space are reflective of the day posted.

Every summer thousands and thousands of tourists migrate over the Atlantic ocean and flock to European cities.

Though the ideal time would have been September 2015 to start looking at summer to Europe award availability, sometimes it’s hard to know summer schedules so far in advance.

Can we find any available now?

This week we’ll be looking at a few of the interesting Top 10 Trending European Summer destinations according to Kayak.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 3.01.53 PM

Before we get started, here are the search parameters:

  1. All travel will be searched roundtrip, originating in the United States
  2. Connecting flights are acceptable; direct are preferred
  3. All travel will be for two passengers in both economy and business, if available
  4. The peak months of travel to Europe, June and July will be examined.
  5. NYC will be used as the departure location as it has hubs for all the airlines; plus it is geographically the closest location to Continental Europe.
  6. Searches will be conducted on United (Star Alliance) Delta or Air France (SkyTeam) American or Alaska (One World)

Which Miles to Use?

Here are redemption prices to Europe. All values are roundtrip and in the thousands.

Economy Business About Fuel Surcharges & Tax Stopovers? Comments Tranfers from:
United 60 115 – 140 None; avoid returing from London On roundtrip and one open jaw Higher price is partner award pricing Chase
American 60 115 Avoid flying British airways or returning from London None SPG
Delta 60 125 All one-way flights returning from Europe have fuel surcharges; avoid connecting through Moscow None Delta award pricing is variable, but these are the lowest and most desirable redemption prices SPG, AMEX
Air France 50 125 No fuel on Delta & low when departing fromthe U.S.; highest when connecting through Moscow One stopover and one open-jaw AMEX, CIti
Air Canada’s Aeroplan 60 – 75 110 – 115 No fuel on United, Brussels, Scandinavian, Swiss, Turkish and low on LOT Polish One stopover or one open-jaw, or two stopovers on a roundtrip Europe is diveded up into two regions AMEX, CIti
Alaska 60 100 Avoid flying British or returning from London One per direction of travel, but no mixed airline awards Pricing based off of flying on American SPG
Singapore 55 130 Fuel surcharge on most except United Not within Europe SPG, Citi, AMEX, Chase

Overall, Star Alliance has the most options for getting to Europe from the U.S. United miles are really excellent option as they never pass on fuel surcharges. If you are going to leave from Europe, avoid London and other London-area airports at all costs. Fuel surcharges range between $150 – $300 depending on the class of service.

Sometimes it will make sense or be necessary to book two one-ways. Practically, this means you’ll lose that stopover.

Coach redemption prices are pretty reasonable across the board. The cheapest are on Singapore, United and using Alaska miles to fly American metal to Europe. (They still price out awards like the old American award chart.) 

In terms of business, they are also pretty standard, but if you want to avoid fuel surcharges, that usually means when redeeming Star Alliance miles you’ll be limited to United flights and the occasional SAS, Swiss and Brussels planes. Lufthansa, with the exception of booking on united, can run $300+ in fuel surcharges.

If you’ve been saving those Delta miles, business class to Europe represent a great redemption at 62.5K one way, 125K roundtrip. You can fly on solid partners like Air France, Alitalia or Virgin Atlantic.

Award Availability: New York to Rome

One World

American flies from both New York (JFK) and Philadelphia to Rome (FCO). With One World, you can connect to rome via Madrid, Berlin or Helsinki. I’d avoid going through London due to high fuel surcharges.

Coach from New York-Rome-New York in June

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Based on our Dublin route, this seems pretty consistent. Some of these dates are direct, but many go through Philadelphia. You’ll notice the return has higher fuel surcharges ($84.00), but nothing like going back from London.

Business from New York-Rome-New York in June

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Not surprising–nothing in business for two. I also checked on AA and via Madrid, Helsinki and Berlin. Nothing.

Coach from New York-Rome-New York in July

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Several dates on the ex-NYC, and only one (!) returning.

Business from New York-Rome-New York in July

I’ll spare you the screenshot. Nothing.

Overall, unless these dates work for you exactly, you’re probably better off with other carriers and miles. And forget about flying premium.

Star Alliance

United operates one daily direct flight from Newark to Rome. As you’ll see, there’s plenty of availability for two passengers in all classes of service (even first class on United metal!). More premium options if you connect, of course.

Coach/Business from New York-Rome-New York in June/July

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 2.57.06 PM

Coach/Business from New York-Rome-New York in June/July

Plethora of business and first class space returning from Rome in June.

Plethora of business and first class space returning from Rome in June.

Overall, if you want to fly United’s aged but comfortable business class, or Lufthansa’s new business class via Frankfurt, there are lots of solid options. And remember, if you book using United miles (regardless of who you are flying), you can hit up a few more cities by taking advantage of the stopover.

 

Sky Team

Alitalia, the national carrier of Italy and major hub in Rome (FCO), is a member of Skyteam. They have a solid business class. Let’s see how much availability there is across the pond…

Coach from New York-Rome-New York in June

New York - Rome (Coach)

New York – Rome (Coach) – June

 

Rome - New York (Coach) - June

Rome – New York (Coach) – June

Business from New York-Rome-New York in June

New York - Rome (Business) June

New York – Rome (Business) June

I would not recommend book this flight–after takes on the roundtrip, you’ll owe around $450, if not more.

Rome - New York (Business) - June

Rome – New York (Business) – June

Coach from New York-Rome-New York in July

New York - Rome (Coach) June

New York – Rome (Coach) July

Great availability on the outbound, but less so on the return (only 6 days at the saver level):

Rome - New York (July) - Coach

Rome – New York (July) – Coach

Business from New York-Rome-New York in July

As with June, business class fuel surcharges are too high to justify the flight… There is one day: July 11 from Newark – Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Rome that has business class seats on Delta. Get it now!

It’s unfortunate that all Alitalia and Delta direct space is booked in all classes of service. These awards that originate in New York or the U.S., but don’t show up on Delta, should be bookable. You may just need to call them in (and avoid fuel surcharges). Remember, one-ways from Europe using Skyteam miles will incur high fuel surcharges, almost on par with flying British Airways out of London.

Summary

I was disappointed that there wasn’t better availability on Alitalia and Delta, but not surprising considering that (as of this writing) it’s May 16 and the summer travel season is almost in full swing–and who wouldn’t want to fly direct?

You can’t go wrong with United. Plus, there’s a lot of direct availability to take advantage of; because of the nice direct availability on United metal, you can’t go wrong using any Star Alliance partner miles.

Later this week we’ll look at availability going to… Athens.

-The Miner


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