Do you look forward to celebrating Oktoberfest every year with German beer and Bavarian pretzels? Why not hop on a plane to enjoy the original Oktoberfest celebration in Munich?

Friends with giant pretzels in Bavarian beer tent.Three friends in beer tent at Dult or Oktoberfest holding giant pretzels up in the air

Munich is the second busiest airport in Germany and the seventh-busiest in Europe, but outside of Lufthansa (which uses Munich as a hub) it doesn’t have as much transatlantic service as you might hope. However, it’s well-connected to other airports in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, so connecting flights should be quick and straightforward if you can’t score a nonstop.

Here are the best ways to get to Germany with miles.

Content

1 Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
1.1 How to Book With Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Miles
1.2 How To Earn Singapore Airlines Miles
1.3 Our Favorite Cards To Use If You Need More Singapore Airlines Miles
2 Delta Airlines SkyMiles
2.1 How to Book With Delta SkyMiles
2.2 How To Earn Delta SkyMiles
2.3 Cards to Help You Earn More Delta Miles
3 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
3.1 How to Book With Alaska MileagePlan Miles
3.2 How To Earn Alaska Airlines MileagePlan Miles
3.3 Cards To Help You Earn More Alaska Miles
4 American Airlines AAdvantage
4.1 How To Book With American AAdvantage Miles
4.2 How To Earn American AAdvantage Miles
4.3 Cards To Help You Earn More American Miles
5 United Airlines Mileage Plus
5.1 How To Book With United MileagePlus Miles
5.2 How to Earn United MileagePlus Miles
5.3 Cards To Help You Earn More United Miles
6 Something Else to Explore
7 Final Thoughts


Singapore Airlines Krisflyer

Flights to Europe booked with Singapore Airlines miles cost:

  • 27,500 miles in economy
  • 65,000 in business
  • 80,000 in first

Singapore partners with both Lufthansa and United, so you’ve got lots of options to get to Munich – Lufthansa operates nonstop flights to Munich from:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Denver (DEN)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York–JFK
  • Newark (EWR)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington–Dulles (IAD)

United has nonstops from:

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Washington-Dulles (IAD)
  • San Francisco (SFO) (seasonal)

Unfortunately, Lufthansa flights will have fuel surcharges when booked with Singapore miles. But United flights will not. You can also use Singapore miles to book flights with connections on other Star Alliance airlines like Air Canada, Austrian, Avianca, LOT Polish, SAS, Swiss, TAP Air Portugal, and Turkish; however, you may also have to pay fuel surcharges when booking flights on these partner airlines.

Pro tip: Singapore itself flies from New York-JFK to Frankfurt (FRA), which is one of the most luxurious ways to get to Europe, and you can only book Singapore’s award-winning first class Suites on the Airbus A380 using Singapore Krisflyer miles – they don’t generally make those seats available to any partners. If you’re lucky enough to find award space you should be able to book the Singapore flight from New York to Frankfurt and then connect to Munich on Lufthansa without paying any extra miles.

If you are interested in flying Singapore Suites but want to save a few miles, you can just fly the segment from New York to Frankfurt and explore a bit before heading to Munich either by train, car, or a separate air ticket. If you go this route, you’ll only pay 76,000 Singapore miles.

How to Book With Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Miles

Polaris Business Class on United Airlines | how to get free flights to Germany
Polaris Business Class on United Airlines

To book a flight with Singapore Airlines miles, go to Singapore’s website and select the ‘Redeem Flights’ button, then enter your cities, dates, and other search details.

How to Book With Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Miles

If there are flights available for the date you selected, you’ll see a table with flight details and mileage costs. Clicking on the button under the number of miles required will show you the total cost in miles and cash for that flight.

Screenshot 2018 09 05 21.51.51

Screenshot 2018 09 05 21.47.35

How To Earn Singapore Airlines Miles

One of the great things about Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer program is that you can transfer points from all four major transferable points programs – American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and the new Marriott Rewards program.

However, be careful – Singapore miles expire 36 months after they’re added to your account, regardless of what account activity you’ve had since they were earned – even flying won’t extend the life of your miles! So make sure you’re ready to spend those miles before you transfer them!

Our Favorite Cards To Use If You Need More Singapore Airlines Miles

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is our favorite card for earning Singapore Airlines miles – you’ll earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on restaurants and travel, which can be transferred 1:1 to Singapore miles. All other purchases earn 1X Ultimate Reward.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 months

Learn more

Delta Airlines SkyMiles

Delta doesn’t publish their award pricing anymore, which means that award pricing can fluctuate depending on demand, the price of revenue tickets, and what mood Delta’s resident groundhog is in at the time.

That said, you can generally expect to pay a minimum of:

Economy Premium Economy Partner Business Delta Business
Price 32,500 miles 55,000 miles 75,000 miles 82,000 miles

Keep an eye out for flash sales though – Delta frequently offers promotional pricing on award tickets to certain destinations which can be an incredible deal.

Delta has nonstop flights to Munich year-round from Atlanta (ATL) and seasonally from Detroit (DTW). You can also use Skymiles to book connecting flights on Air France/KLM via Paris (CDG) or Amsterdam (AMS), on Alitalia (FCO) via Rome, and on Air Europa via Madrid (MAD).

How to Book With Delta SkyMiles

cheapest business class miles to europe
Delta One (Business Class) on the Airbus A330-300

To book a flight with Delta SkyMiles, just go to Delta’s site and enter your cities and dates in the search boxes at the top of the screen. Click Advanced Search to indicate that you want to see prices in miles and what class of service you’re looking for. (Economy/Coach is called Main Cabin, Premium Economy is called Premium Select and Business Class is called Delta One; First Class applies only to domestic flights).

Screenshot 2018 09 05 21.22.28

This will bring you to a flexible dates calendar that shows prices for three days before and after around the date you searched. If you want to see a broader range of dates, you can select a 5-week matrix under “Calendar View”. It will also give you other filter options to narrow your search.

Screenshot 2018 09 05 21.28.55

That 86,000 mile flight is on Alitalia…we’ll have to fly a few weeks later and pay a bit more to get the Delta nonstop.
That 86,000 mile flight is on Alitalia…we’ll have to fly a few weeks later and pay a bit more to get the Delta nonstop.

Selecting a date from the calendar view will bring you to a list of flights to select from.

Screenshot 2018 09 05 21.31.38

How To Earn Delta SkyMiles

Delta is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and the new Marriott Rewards program. Points transfer 1:1 from Membership Rewards in 1000-mile increments, though note that American Express charges an excise tax fee of $0.0006 per point for transfer to US-based programs, with a maximum fee of $99 per transfer; for example, transferring 30,000 miles costs $18 (30,000 X $0.0006).

Transfers from Marriott are possible at a rate of 3 points = 1 Delta mile, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred (and no tax charges).

Cards to Help You Earn More Delta Miles

American Express offers several Delta credit cards (personal and business). However, none are a great option for everyday spend.

For everyday spend, the American Express Everyday Preferred card earns 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar at US supermarkets, 2X points at US gas stations, and 1X point everywhere else, with a 50% points bonus if you have at least 30 transactions in a billing period. Or if you have a small business, the American Express Blue Business Plus credit card earns 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar everywhere, up to $50,000 in purchases per year. These points transfer 1:1 to Delta SkyMiles.

The Amex EveryDay Card

$0 Balance Transfer Fee on balances transferred in the first 60 days. 10,000 Membership Rewards Points after $1,000 spend in the first 3 months

Learn more by visiting our
credit cards page.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

30,000 SkyMiles after $1,000 spend in the first 3 months

Learn more

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alaska Airlines’ partner American Airlines has nonstop a nonstop from Charlotte (CLT) and seasonal service from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) starting June 6, 2019. You can also use Alaska Airlines miles to book connecting flights to Munich on British Airways, Finnair, or Icelandair, or to book flights to Frankfurt (FRA) on Condor.

Each airline partner has its own pricing, as follows (all prices for one-way flights):

Airline Economy Premium Economy Business First
American Airlines 22,500-30,000 NA 57,500 85,000
British Airways 32,500 42,500 60,000 70,000
Condor 25,000-40,000 45,000 55,000 NA
Finnair 30,000 NA 70,000 NA
Icelandair 27,500-45,000 NA 55,000 NA

These prices also include a domestic Alaska Airlines flight to get from your home to the international departure city; if you’re using American Airlines to get across the ocean, you can also include domestic American flights as part of your itinerary.

British Airways and Icelandair both have fuel surcharges on their flights, starting at $150 and going much higher (especially on British Airways in premium cabins); flights on American should only have about $19 in taxes and fees each way, and Condor has a fairly reasonable $46. However, you can also add a stopover in your connecting city (London for British Airways and Reykjavik for Icelandair) for no additional charge.

How to Book With Alaska MileagePlan Miles

best award flights to europe-British Airways First Class on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
British Airways First Class on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

To book a ticket with Alaska Airlines miles, navigate to the Alaska Airlines website, check the “Use Miles” box, and enter your cities and dates. Screenshot 2018 08 27 23.25.28

You’ll get an easy-to-navigate grid that shows you flights and pricing for different levels of service, as well as a preview of pricing for nearby dates.

Screenshot 2018 09 05 22.12.18

Remember to watch out for mixed cabin itineraries, denoted with the light blue person in the dark blue seat. This means that one of your flights is in a lower class of service, but you’re still paying full price for the seats!

How To Earn Alaska Airlines MileagePlan Miles

If you’re looking to earn Alaska Airlines miles, you have two options: transfer points from the new Marriott Rewards program (3 Marriott points turn into 1 Alaska Airlines mile, with a 5,000 mile bonus when you transfer 60,000 points), or earn them with an Alaska Airlines credit card from Bank of America.

Cards To Help You Earn More Alaska Miles

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to earn Alaska miles as it used to be. Your best bet is probably the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card from Bank of America, which earns 3X Alaska miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1X mile on everything else.

Alaska Airlines Personal Credit Card

Learn more by visiting our
credit cards page.

Alaska Airlines Business Credit Card

Learn more by visiting our
credit cards page.

how many amex points to fly to europe-American Airlines Reduced Mileage Awards

American Airlines AAdvantage

Regardless of whether you’re traveling on an American Airlines flight or one of its partner airlines, flights from the contiguous 48 United States to Europe cost:

  • Economy: 22,500-30,000 miles
  • Business: 57,500 miles
  • First: 85,000 miles

As mentioned earlier, American operates nonstop flights to Munich (MUC) year-round from Charlotte (CLT) and seasonal service from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) starting June 6, 2019. If you don’t live in one of those cities, you can include a domestic flight from your home airport to the international departure city for the same number of miles.

You can also use American miles to book flights on partner airlines including British Airlines, Finnair, and Iberia. Expect to pay fuel surcharges on those airlines – but if you fly American across the ocean, like to London, and then fly a partner within Europe, the additional fees should be minimal.

How To Book With American AAdvantage Miles

how to fly to europe for free-How To Book With American AAdvantage Miles-Aircraft Interiors AA Business Cabin
Business class on American’s Airbus A330-300.

To find award tickets on American Airlines, just go to AA’s homepage, enter your cities and dates, and check the “Redeem Miles” box.

Screenshot 2018 08 27 23.27.01

The search results will come with a calendar view that allows you to select Economy, Business, or First Class. Always go for the “MileSAAver” option – “AAnytime” awards have more availability, but cost substantially more miles. Dates available for the cabin and rate you selected will be highlighted, and you can click “Show Full Calendar” to see a wider variety of dates.

Screenshot 2018 09 05 22.18.55

Screenshot 2018 09 05 22.18.41

Screenshot 2018 09 05 22.19.59

How To Earn American AAdvantage Miles

You can transfer miles to American Airlines from the new Marriott Rewards program at a rate of 3 Marriott Points = 1 American mile, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. You can also earn miles with American Airlines credit cards from Citi and Barclays.

Cards To Help You Earn More American Miles

For everyday spend the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card offers more bang for your buck, with 2X miles per spent at restaurants and gas stations and 1X mile on other purchases. You’ll also get a 10% rebate when you redeem your miles, up to 10,000 miles per year.

If you’re looking for more miles and a more premium experience, the Citi AAdvantage Executive card gives you and your authorized users unlimited access to the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge network, for a $450 annual fee.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

60,000 miles after $3,000 spend in 3 months

Learn more by visiting our
credit cards page.

Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

50,000 miles after $5,000 spend in 3 months

Learn more by visiting our
credit cards page.

United Airlines Mileage Plus

United has the same frequent flier partnerships as Singapore Airlines, but with slightly more expensive pricing for award tickets and fewer opportunities to earn miles.

So why feature them as one of our top five programs to get to Munich? It’s all about the cold hard cash – and you’ll save a lot of it when using United miles to book Lufthansa or other partner airlines, since United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges from any of its partners.

United charges:

Economy United Business Partner Business United First Partner First
Price 30,000 miles 60,000 miles 70,000 miles 80,000 miles 110,000 miles

How To Book With United MileagePlus Miles

cheapest business class miles to germany-How To Book With United MileagePlus Miles-Lufthansa Business Class on the Boeing 747-8.
Lufthansa Business Class on the Boeing 747-8.

To book a ticket using United MileagePlus miles, go to United’s site and fill in the search fields on the home screen – be sure to check the box for “Search for award travel”

Screenshot 2018 09 05 21.34.01

The search results will come with a calendar view that shows “saver” award availability for both economy and business class, and a checkbox you can use to restrict the display to nonstop flights. If you have United elite status or hold certain United credit cards, you’ll have access to expanded award availability when you sign in to your MileagePlus account.

Screenshot 2018 09 05 21.36.11

Clicking on a date will show you all of the available flights, and compare pricing for different classes of service.

Screenshot 2018 09 05 21.38.44

How to Earn United MileagePlus Miles

You can transfer miles to United MileagePlus from Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio, with no transfer fees. You can also transfer points from Marriott Rewards at a 3:1.1 ratio (so 3,000 points = 1,100 miles), with a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 60,000 points transferred – that means that 60,000 Marriott points gets you 27,000 United miles, the highest return on investment of any Marriott Rewards partner airline!

Cards To Help You Earn More United Miles

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is our favorite card for earning United Airlines miles– you’ll earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on restaurants and travel, which can be transferred 1:1 to United miles. All other purchases earn 1X Ultimate Rewards.

We also like the United Explorer Card, which earns 2X United miles per dollar on United Airlines, restaurants, and hotels (1X mile everywhere else), and gets you bonus perks like 25% off inflight purchases, priority boarding, a free checked bag, and expanded access to award space on United flights.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 spend in 3 months

Learn more

United Explorer Card

40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 spend in 3 months

Learn more

how to fly to europe for free-Deutsche Bahn (German Rail)’s Rail&Fly program
Many airlines participate in Deutsche Bahn (German Rail)’s Rail&Fly program, which offers passengers the ability to take the train from their destination airport to anywhere else in Germany for just €29

Something Else to Explore

Many airlines participate in Deutsche Bahn (German Rail)’s Rail&Fly program, which offers passengers the ability to take the train from their destination airport to anywhere else in Germany for just €29 – and some airlines (like American) even cover the fee! However, it’s not clear whether any airlines make this available for award tickets. Since each airline has a different procedure for booking these tickets, it’s worth doing some research – just google your airline name plus “Rail&Fly” for more details, or try reaching out to the airline on social media.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of options for redeeming miles and points to get to Germany, and the best one for you will depend on how flexible your plans are, and how many miles you have and are willing to spend. But no matter where you keep your miles, you can find a way to enjoy Oktoberfest in Munich!

Chase Sapphire Preferred

New to the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card to start with. With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months and 2x points on dining and travel, this card truly cannot be beat! 

Learn more

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About the Author

In 2011, with a four-week trip around Europe, Caroline became a true road warrior, and there’s been no stopping her since. Caroline likes to mix roughing it and luxury on her travels, sometimes staying in five-star hotels and other times in hostels. Her mantra: splurge on experiences! She enjoys traveling to new countries (and hopes to visit all 193 someday!), trying local foods, and meeting people from around the world. A few travel highlights so...

Learn More About Caroline

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