Is anyone really surprised that Greece is one of the most visited countries in Europe? It has it all: breathtaking sunsets in Santorini, abundant antiquities, beautiful beaches and 227 inhabited islands – no wonder it is a travelers’ favorite. Add all the fresh and delicious food to the equation and you’ve got an unbeatable vacation.

Greece is a very accessible destination for American travelers and you can get there from many U.S. airports with just one connection. Let’s look at how you can get there with points and miles.

As you can see, there are lots of great ways to get to Greece on points and miles, including using foreign airlines’ programs. Knowing a little bit about airline alliances can save you lots of points and miles and open additional award booking opportunities.

ANA Mileage Club

If you are perplexed as to how and why we’d use the miles of an airline based in Japan to book tickets between the U.S. and Greece, you aren’t alone. Actually, this is where knowing a little bit about airline alliances could be very useful. Why? Because ANA is a part of Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world, so by using ANA miles, we can book trips on United Airlines and a number of European carriers that can fly us to Greece.

One of ANA’s “sweet spots” includes business class flights between the U.S. and Europe. The economy class awards are attractive, but don’t offer outsized value. The business class awards are a different story – you can book a round trip award for just a bit more what other airlines charge for a one-way!

You do have to book a round-trip flight with ANA Mileage Club program as one way legs aren’t available.

These are one-way award rates on ANA (but you’ll need to book a round trip award):

Economy27,500 miles
Business44,000 miles

ANA passes on carrier imposed surcharges, so look for carriers with low surcharges, such as United, LOT or TAP Air Portugal.

How to Book with ANA Mileage Club

ANA’s award search isn’t very straightforward, but because the rates are so low, it’s worth learning a little bit about the program.

You will need to create an account with ANA and after you login navigate to award booking, enter your information and click search.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with ANA Mileage Club

You’ll see the details displayed on the next screen, including the surcharges.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with ANA Mileage Club

How to Book with ANA Mileage Club

If you wanted to travel in business class, it’ll cost a little bit more in surcharges.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with ANA Mileage Club

How to Earn ANA Miles

ANA is a transfer partner of American Express. The points transfer 1:1 and the transfer can take two or three days. Keep the transfer times in mind and have a backup plan and alternate dates if your first choice award disappears.

Amex points can be earned with many personal and business cards.

Cards to Help You Earn More ANA Miles

If you’ve recently acquired The Platinum Card® from American Express with the widely targeted 100,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus, you’ll have almost enough miles for two round-trip awards in economy.

One of our favorite business cards is the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express. It has an uncomplicated earning structure – the card earns 2X on all purchases up to $50,000/year, 1x thereafter.

Santorini sunset at dawn village of Oia Greece

Santorini sunset at dawn village of Oia Greece

American Airlines AAdvantage

American Airlines has off-peak economy rates, as well as decent business class rates, so it’s definitely worth a look. Greece is best in the off-season anyway, when the crowds fade away and the temperatures aren’t as scorching.

The taxes and fees will depend on the partner airline. For example, your fees will be minimal if you fly on American Airlines operated flights but higher if you fly British Airways.

These are one-way award rates on American Airlines:

Economy off-peak22,500 miles
Economy30,000 miles
Business57,500 miles
First 85,000 miles

How to Book with American Airlines Miles

It’s easy to search for award space with American Airlines. You don’t need to log in or create an account to search. Just plug in your trip details, check the box next to Redeem miles and click Search.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with American Airlines Miles

The results will be displayed on the next page.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with American Airlines Miles2

There’s also a handy calendar feature if you want to see 30 days worth of availability.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with American Airlines Miles4

How to Earn American Airlines Miles

There are a couple of ways to earn American Airlines miles. You can earn AA miles with the help of the co-branded personal and business credit cards.

American Airlines is also a transfer partner of Marriott Bonvoy. 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points will transfer for 25,000 American miles. We wouldn’t recommend transferring Bonvoy points to American Airlines unless you need to top off your AA account for a particular award because there are other ways to earn AA miles.

American also has a great shopping portal, and we are big fans of shopping portals. So when you are shopping for the holidays, birthdays or even everyday essentials, don’t forget to check the portals. The American Airlines’ portal often has great spending bonuses, especially around various holidays. It’s possible to earn thousands of miles on things you buy anyway by strategically utilizing shopping portal bonuses.

Cards to Help You Earn American Airlines Miles

The two banks that offer co-branded American Airlines miles credit cards, Citi and Barclays, have personal and business cards that earn AA miles. The CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard comes with a generous welcome bonus and has decent bonus earning categories.

Barclays’ AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard also comes with a great welcome bonus that you can earn after making just one purchase and paying the annual fee.

Athens Cityscape in Sunset Light

View over the Greek capital city of Athens with the famous Acropolis in Sunset Twilight.

Avianca LifeMiles

Here’s another foreign carrier loyalty program that you should consider when booking your flights to Greece. LifeMiles is a loyalty program of Avianca, Colombia’s national carrier. LifeMiles doesn’t publish an award chart and the award rates sometimes seem to be all over the place. In spite of that, there’s still good value to be found.

Avianca is part of Star Alliance and doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges, so you’ll just have to pay very reasonable taxes and a $25 Star Alliance award booking fee, even if you book online. The $25 fee is non-refundable.

LifeMiles doesn’t always show the same award space as other partners, such as Aeroplan or United, but it’s still a good option that shouldn’t be discounted.

There’s no award chart, but you can expect to pay approximately 30,000 miles one-way in economy and 63,000 one-way for business class.

How to Book with Avianca LifeMiles

In order to search and book flights you’ll first need to create an account.

Pro tip: while you are creating your account, make sure to create and save a PIN number in your profile or you won’t be able to book awards online.

The search engine is fairly straightforward. Select Smart Search from the drop down menu and plug in your departure and destination airports. You’ll be asked to select your dates on the next screen.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with Avianca LifeMiles

How to Book with Avianca LifeMiles

You’ll see the search results on the next screen. And if you click on View more dates, you’ll also see a five day calendar.

How to Book with Avianca LifeMiles (2)

Click on the drop down arrow to see flight details.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with Avianca LifeMiles1

And here’s a strange LifeMiles quirk. Unlike other programs that rarely let you pick the class of service on each flight segment, you can do so with LifeMiles. If you don’t mind flying the short segment in economy, you can save a significant number of miles.

Have a look at the example below – you’ll be saving 7,370 by flying economy on the first short flight and the last intra-Europe segment. Intra-Europe business class is nothing to write home about anyway, because it’s just a regular economy seat with a middle seat blocked off and includes a small meal.

How to Book with Avianca LifeMiles2

LifeMiles also has an option to combine cash and points. You won’t be getting the best value though, so we’d only recommend doing this only if you need a couple thousand miles for a particular award.

Greece with points and miles | How to Book with Avianca LifeMiles

How to Earn Avianca LifeMiles

There are quite a few ways to easily earn a good stash of Lifemiles. Avianca is a transfer partner of almost all major transferable currencies. Citi ThankYou points and American Express Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 rate and the transfer is generally instant.

Capital One miles transfer at a 2:1.5 rate. Marriott Bonvoy is also a transfer partner. 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points will transfer for 25,000 LifeMiles, including Bonvoy’s 5,000 miles bonus.

Avianca offers two co-branded credit cards issued by Banco Popular, but it’s not recommended to get them if you are under 5/24.

You can often buy LifeMiles on sale with a huge bonus. Avianca sometimes offers bonuses of as much as 140% when you purchase miles! Unlike other airlines and hotels, Avianca processes the points sales itself. So if you have a card that earns 3X or 5X on airline purchases, this is a great opportunity to earn thousands of miles with little effort. If you’ve got your miles on sale and got a great bonus, you can often fly one-way in business class for less than $1,000.

Cards to Help You Earn More Avianca LifeMiles

American Express has a number of great cards that can help you earn LifeMiles quickly. The Platinum Card from American Express has a generous welcome bonus and earns 5X on purchases made directly with the airline. This is a great card to use if you are buying LifeMiles on sale.

The Capital One® Venture® Credit Card comes with a generous welcome bonus and earns miles that can be transferred to Avianca LifeMiles.

The Citi Premier card also comes with a nice welcome bonus and earns 3X on travel. You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to LifeMiles or use it to buy LifeMiles when they go on sale.
Also, be on the lookout for transfer bonuses from Amex, Capital One and Citi. A transfer bonus can make the already great redemption rates even more affordable.

Colorful building in Symi Greek Island

Colorful buildings in Symi Greek Island

Air France – KLM Flying Blue

The combined frequent flyer program of AirFrance and KLM has some good award rates to Europe. While it doesn’t publish the award chart anymore, Flying Blue has an award price estimator that will show you the lowest number of miles needed.

Greece with points and miles | Air France - Flying Blue Miles Price Calculator

For a trip to Athens, you should expect to pay at least 21,500 miles one-way in economy and at least 53,000 one-way in business class.

And here’s a pro tip – use the English language version of AirFrance’s site to search for award space. It’s a lot less clunky and is more user-friendly than the U.S. version of either airline’s site.

The surcharges aren’t the lowest, and you should expect to pay more coming back from Europe, but the award rates are quite attractive. Plus you can book the non-stop Delta flights for fewer miles than Delta would require through its own program.

How to Book with Air France – KLM Flying Blue

You will need to create an account, but after that the search process is extremely straightforward. Just plug in your dates and your airports and click on Search flights.

How to Book with Air France - KLM Flying Blue

On the next page, you’ll see the search results, as well as a handy weekly calendar. And you can easily switch between economy and business class, so just pick one from the drop down menu.

How to Book with Air France - KLM Flying Blue

The screenshot below shows how handy the five day calendar is. You definitely don’t want to use 125,500 miles for a one way award to Europe, not even in business class!

How to Book with Air France - KLM Flying Blue

How to Earn Air France – KLM Flying Blue Miles

The good news is the Flying Blue is a transfer partner of all major transferable currencies. Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points and American Express Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 rate to Flying Blue and the transfers are generally instant. You can also transfer Capital One miles at a 2:1.5 ratio.

Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Flying Blue at 3:1 rate. When you transfer 60,000 Marriott points you will receive 5,000 bonus miles. So effectively, you can transfer 60,000 Marriott points for 25,000 Flying Blue miles.

Cards to Help You Earn Flying Blue Miles

Because Flying Blue is a transfer partner of all major credit cards, it’s easy to accumulate a good stash of Flying Blue miles. Chase has quite a few excellent Ultimate Rewards earning cards, including our favorites like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. If you are a small business owner, Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is an excellent no annual fee card.

The Capital One® Venture® Credit Card also earns valuable miles that can be transferred to Flying Blue and comes with a good welcome bonus.
The Citi Premier Card is a great card for everyday use with a generous welcome bonus and great bonus spending categories, such as 3X on travel.

Meteora

Landscape of Meteora with its incredible Sandstone rock formations and ancient Monasteries. Holly Monastery of Rousanou and St. Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery in background. Thessaly. Greece

United MileagePlus

United is one of Star Alliance’s biggest partners, and that means there are a number of great ways to get anywhere in Europe on United’s own flights or on one of its partners’ flights.

United has also eliminated its award chart but you should expect to pay 30,000 miles for one-way in economy and between 60,000 to 70,000 miles for one-way in business class on United’s own flights. Partner flights will cost 10% more.

One big advantage of booking with United miles are its low surcharges, meaning you’ll just have to pay taxes, which are minimal going to Europe and around $60-100 coming back.

United’s award rates aren’t always the lowest, however, but United miles are fairly easy to earn and United has access to a good amount of partner award space. And if you need to connect from your home airport to an international hub airport, United is probably your best bet. United doesn’t like to release a lot of domestic award space to partner airlines, so you’ll probably see more and better options for your domestic segment by booking a United award.

How to Book with United Miles

United has a straightforward and easy to use award search engine. You don’t need to login to search, but United shows more award space on its own flights for those with United elite status and those with its co-branded cards from Chase. This can be useful if you need a domestic connection on United.
After you login, enter your destination and dates and click on Find flights.

How to Book with United Miles

If you have a flexible schedule, check Flexible dates to see the whole month. But even without checking this box, you’ll see one week’s worth of availability on the next screen.

How to Book with United Miles

By clicking on the calendar, I was able to find lower award prices on alternative dates. It’s also very easy to change your search to business class by selecting Business from the drop down menu on the top left.

How to Book with United Miles

How to Earn United Airlines Miles

United is a transfer partner of Chase and Ultimate Rewards points transfer to United MileagePlus miles 1:1. The transfer is usually instant. United miles can also be earned directly via the United℠ Explorer Card. There’s a personal and a business version.

To beef up your mileage balance, use United’s shopping portal to earn extra miles. It often offers generous spending bonuses, especially around major holidays. Time your shopping just right and you can earn thousands of United miles without spending a lot of money.

United also has a dining portal, and while it’s not as profitable as the shopping portal, it’s still worth looking into if you need to top off your miles or need to keep your miles balances alive.

Cards to Help You Earn More United Miles

At 10X travel, we are big fans of Chase Ultimate Rewards points because they are fairly easy to earn and redeem for great awards. The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a great card for business owners and comes with a great welcome bonus and useful bonus categories.

The United Business Explorer Card can be a great card to keep long term if you book domestic flights on United a few times a year. As a cardholder, you get one free checked bag on domestic flights, as well as priority boarding, even when flying domestic basic economy. The card earns 2X on United purchases, restaurants and hotels and 1X on everything else.

Greece with Points and Miles_Summary

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are lots of great ways to get to Greece on points and miles, including using foreign airlines’ programs. Knowing a little bit about airline alliances can save you lots of points and miles and open additional award booking opportunities.

There’s so much to see, do, and eat in Greece! When you go, make sure to explore cities, little villages, historical treasures and the beautiful Greek islands, big and small.

Travel well,

Anna