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Home of the ancient pharaohs, Egypt is a fascinating country. However, Egypt is so much more than just ancient pyramids and tombs. There are historic treasures, dazzling deserts, amazing beaches and outstanding scuba diving in the Red Sea. A visit to Egypt offers a perfect mix of ancient history, archeology, adventure and relaxation. And let’s not forget about the delicious food!
There are many major airlines that serve Cairo International Airport and there are a few good options to get there from the U.S. Let’s look at five best ways to get to Egypt with points and miles.
In This Article
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada doesn’t have direct flights to Egypt, but it’s a member of Star Alliance, so we can use Air Canada miles to book award flights with other carriers using its loyalty program Aeroplan.
These are one-way award rates on Aeroplan:
|Economy Class||40,000 miles|
|Premium Economy||67,500 miles|
|Business Class||82,500 miles|
|First Class||115,000 miles|
Aeroplan passes on surcharges from several Star Alliance partners. However, award tickets booked on airlines such as SWISS and United, will only come with the standard taxes and fees.
How to Book with Aeroplan
I love the very straightforward Aeroplan search engine. You will need to create an account first on Aeroplan’s site and after you’ve created your account, login and click on Book travel, then select Flights. From there, you can search for one-way or round-trip award availability.
Pro-tip: If a program allows to book one-way flights, I prefer to book 2 one-way tickets. If my plans change, I’ll have more flexibility. Keep in mind that if you have to cancel the whole trip or move both the outbound and return flight, you’ll be on the hook for two separate change fees.
The results will be displayed on the next page. It’s very easy to toggle back and forth between economy and premium cabins – just click on the Economy/Premium drop-down menu.
Click on DETAILS to see the flight schedule and click continue on the bottom to see the surcharges. Here’s an example of a partner that doesn’t have fuel surcharges.
And here’s an example of a partner airline that has very high fuel surcharges.
If you’d like to see a week’s worth of availability, just click on Availability Calendar on the upper right.
How to Earn Aeroplan Miles
There are a few ways to earn Aeroplan miles. Aeroplan is a transfer partner of American Express and Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Aeroplan at a 1:1 rate. Occasionally, you might see a transfer bonus from American Express. Amex points can be earned with many personal and business cards.
Capital One is a recent addition to Aeroplan credit card transfer partners. Miles earned with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Card can be transferred at a rate of 2:1.5.
Marriott Bonvoy points also transfer to Aeroplan. For every 60,000 Marriott points, you will receive 5,000 Aeroplan bonus miles for a total of 25,000 miles.
Unfortunately, the TD Bank co-branded Aeroplan card only earns 1X miles on most purchases and isn’t very useful for most people.
Cards To Help You Earn More Aeroplan Miles
American Express offers several cards that can help you earn points quickly thanks to its useful bonus categories and generous welcome bonuses including the American Express Gold and the Blue Business Plus Card from American Express.
Earn 2x points on eligible purchases up to $50,000 annually, 1x on all else. Terms apply.Learn more
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
The combined frequent flyer program of Air France and KLM, Flying Blue has some great redemption rates. While Flying Blue no longer has an award chart, it’s possible to spot good deals when you search for flights. All you need to do is look for the blue Lowest fare button to spot the cheapest award space.
You can also check out Flying Blue Miles Estimator to find out how many miles are needed for a saver award.
How to Book with Air France/KLM Flying Blue
You can search either on Air France or KLM sites. I prefer KLM’s search engine because it’s easier to use, in my opinion. You can navigate to KLM or Air France, create an account and log in. We’ll use KLM as an example.
Click on Plan and Book on the top of the page, then Book a Ticket with Miles. Enter your flight details and, if your schedule is flexible, check the box that says You are looking for a flight around these dates. This will allow you to see a whole month and the dates with the lowest award rates.
You can select the desired class of service on the bottom of the page.
Next, you’ll see a 30 day calendar. Click on your desired date to see flight details.
On the next page you can sort by the shortest flight duration or just scroll down to the flights that require the lowest number of miles.
Flying Blue passes on fuel surcharges, but the number of miles required for a flight is quite low.
If you want to fly in business class, the cheapest award will cost you 85,000 Flying Blue miles.
Air France has a very nice business class, so it’s not a bad way to get across the Atlantic if you are okay with higher fuel surcharges.
How to Earn Flying Blue Miles
Flying Blue is a transfer partner of all transferable currencies. Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and American Express Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 rate to Flying Blue and the transfer is instant. From time to time, you will see a transfer bonus from one of the credit card issuers.
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.
Capital One miles transfer at 2:1.5 ratio.
Cards to Help You Earn More Flying Blue Miles
Because Flying Blue is a transfer partner of all major credit cards, it’s fairly easy to earn Flying Blue miles. Chase has many excellent Ultimate Rewards earning cards, including the perennial favorite Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Capital One Venture card earns valuable miles that can be transferred to Flying Blue and comes with a solid signup bonus.
Citi Premier is a great card for everyday use with a generous welcome bonus and great bonus spending categories.
American Airlines doesn’t fly to Egypt but it’s a part of Oneworld. American has a zone-based chart for Oneworld partners. These are one-way award rates on American Airlines:
|Economy Class||40,00 miles|
|Business Class||70,000 miles|
|First Class||115,500 miles|
The taxes and fees will depend on the partner airline. For example, your fees will be minimal if you fly Royal Jordanian but very high if you fly British Airways.
How To Book With American Airlines
It’s very easy to search for award space with American Airlines. You don’t need to log in to search for award space, but you will need to log in later if you want to see the taxes and fees. Just plug in your trip details, check the box next to Redeem miles and click search.
On the next screen, you’ll see one week’s availability. If your dates are flexible, click on Show Full Calendar. It’s also very easy to switch between economy, business and first-class on this screen.
American is showing a few good options for our dates on British Airways, Etihad and Royal Jordanian. To find out what the surcharges are, we need to click through to the next screen.
As you can see, the surcharges on Royal Jordanian are minimal.
Now let’s look at the surcharges on British Airways operated flights. What a difference! I know which option I would choose.
How to Earn American Airlines Miles
American Airlines miles can be earned in a number of ways. American has a very robust shopping portal, so if you need to do some shopping for the holidays, birthdays or for everyday essentials, definitely check out the portal. They also offer great spending bonuses from time to time, especially around major holidays.
American Airlines is also a transfer partner of Marriott Bonvoy, and 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points will transfer for 25,000 American miles. That’s not my preferred way to spend Marriott points, since there are other ways to earn American miles, such as credit cards with significant welcome bonuses.
Cards To Help You Earn More American Airlines Miles
Citi bank offers Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard. The welcome bonus often fluctuates between 40,000 to 75,000 AAdvantage miles. The card earns 2X on American Airlines purchases, gas stations and restaurants and 1X on everything else. The AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard from Barclays regularly offers a welcome bonus between 50,000 and 60,00 American miles. The card earns 2X on American Airlines purchases and 1X on everything else.
You can get both of these cards after you’ve opened more than five cards in the 24 month period (Chase’s 5/24 rule).
AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard
60,000 AAdvantage miles after first purchaseLearn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
Etihad doesn’t have nonstop flights from the U.S. to Egypt but Etihad Guest miles can be redeemed on a variety of its partners. One of Etihad partners, Royal Air Maroc flies from several U.S. gateway cities to Morocco where you can connect to Cairo:
- Boston (starting June 22, 2019)
- New York, JFK
- Washington, D.C. IAD
Etihad Guest has very favorable award rates on Royal Air Maroc in both business and economy. These are one-way award rates on Etihad:
|Economy Class||22,000 miles|
|Business Class||44,000 miles|
How to Book With Etihad
To book partner award space with Etihad Guest, you’ll have to find partner award flights online, and then call Etihad.
Because we want to travel on Royal Air Maroc, we’ll need to find award space on its website. First, create an account for Royal Air Maroc’s frequent flyer program Safar Flyer.
Pro-tip: You’ll need to select your country of residence when creating a new account. Royal Air Maroc uses French in the country of residence field, so look for les États-Unis d’Amérique in the drop down menu.
After you’ve created an account, navigate to the home page, enter the flight details and click on Book your ticket with miles.
How to Earn Etihad Miles
Etihad has three transfer partners. Citi ThankYou points and American Express Membership Rewards transfer to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 rate. Capital One points transfer at a 2:1.5 rate.
As of now, there are no credit cards that earn Etihad Guest miles directly.
Cards to Help You Earn Etihad Miles
The Capital One Venture card earns 2X on all purchases and comes with 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 in the first three months. American Express has a myriad of cards that earn valuable Membership Rewards points. Citi ThankYou Premier is another great card to have in your arsenal.
United doesn’t fly to Egypt but United miles can be used to book flights on its Star Alliance partners.
These are one-way award rates on United Airlines:
|Economy Class||42,500 miles|
|Partner Business Class||85,000 miles|
United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges, so you’ll just have to pay taxes, which are minimal.
United’s award rates aren’t the lowest, however, United miles are fairly easy to earn and United has access to a good amount of partner award space.
How to Book with United Airlines
It’s very easy to search for award space on United. You don’t need to login to search, however, United shows more award space on its own flights for those with United elite status and those with its co-branded cards from Chase which is useful if you need a connection on United.
After you log in, enter your destination and dates and click on Find flights:
If you have a flexible schedule, you can check calendar shop to see the whole month. But even without checking this box, you’ll see one week’s worth of availability on the next screen.
Click on a date to see available award space.
The Mixed cabin award indicated in red means that one of the flights is in economy. Move the cursor over the red question mark and you’ll be able to see the details.
I’ve done a few sample searches and I’ve seen a good amount of award availability in business class with Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines is famous for its award-winning onboard food and service. This could be a very nice option to get to Egypt in comfort.
How to Earn United Airlines Miles
United is a transfer partner of Chase, so you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your United MileagePlus account at a 1:1 ratio. The transfer is usually instant. United miles can also be earned by opening and using the United Explorer Card. There’s a personal and a business version.
You can use United’s shopping portal to earn extra miles. It often offers generous spending bonuses, especially around major holidays. If you time your shopping just right, it’s possible to earn thousands of United miles without spending a lot of money.
Cards to Help You Earn More United Airlines Miles
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are our go-to when we need United miles. The Chase Ink Business Preferred is a great card for business owners. The welcome bonus is 80,000 Ultimate Rewards after your business spends $5,000 in the first three months. The card earns 3X on travel, shipping, advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines, and internet cable and phone services. All other purchases earn 1X.
The United Explorer Card can be a great card to keep long term if you book domestic flights on United a few times a year. The card earns 2X on United purchases, restaurants and hotels and 1X on everything else.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to get to Egypt and experience ancient culture, great food, a trove of antiquities and all the other great things Egypt has to offer. Book your award flight to Egypt and don’t forget to book that camel ride across the desert!
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.