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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
Selecting a date from the calendar view will bring you to a list of flights to select from.
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 monthsLearn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
30,000 SkyMiles after $1,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn 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):
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
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.
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.
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 CardLearn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
Alaska Airlines Business Credit CardLearn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
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
To find award tickets on American Airlines, just go to AA’s homepage, enter your cities and dates, and check the “Redeem Miles” box.
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.
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 monthsLearn more by visiting our
credit cards page.
Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
50,000 miles after $5,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn 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.
|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
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”
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.
Clicking on a date will show you all of the available flights, and compare pricing for different classes of service.
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.
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.
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!
Disclosure: 10xTravel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. 10xTravel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. You can read our advertiser disclosure here.