All award space and screenshots were taken on September 10. Award space has likely changed (for better or worse) since this post was originally published.
How to Book US Airways Off-Peak Award Flights to Europe for 30,000/35,000 Miles Round Trip
US Airways off-peak flights to Europe are amazing. I went to Europe in January 2013 and visited Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne, Munich, and Brussels. In January 2014, I went back to Europe and visited Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, and Rome. Of course it is cold in January, but if this SoCal boy can handle a bit of snow, I’m sure you can too. The weather in southern Europe, specifically Spain and Italy, is usually pretty good year round. Rome in January was about 50-60 degree each day. Amsterdam and Vienna were about 30-40 degrees each day. Berlin was freezing, probably 10-20 degrees each day.
With that said, a winter getaway could be just what you need. Thanks to US Airways and their off-peak awards to Europe, you only need 35,000 US Airways miles to fly from the US to many cities in Europe. The rules are:
- You must travel only on US Airways operated flights (no American Airlines or One World Alliance partners)
- You must travel in economy class (no business or first class allowed)
- You must complete your travel between January 15 and February 28
If you want to see the full US Airways award chart and other off-peak dates, please click here.
One of the great perks of having the Barclays US Airways Credit Card is that you get a 5,000 mile discount on every award flight. So that 35,000 mile off-peak award to Europe will cost only 30,000 miles per passenger. If you are interested in applying for this credit card, please check out my Credit Card Page.
To begin our award search, we must search for all routes operated from Philadelphia and Charlotte. Here are all the award flights from Charlotte, North Carolina to Europe from January to February (link). All cities with red boxes have award space in January and February.
Here are the award calendars for all of January and February for various flights from Charlotte to Europe. Look for award charts that have the lightest color or blue and charge only 17,500 miles each way. If there is a red line across the chart, that means there are no off-peak award flights on any days that month. No love for Barcelona in the winter :(
Pretty good award space to Paris.
Pretty good award space to Dublin.
Decent award space to Rome in January, but not many days in February.
Very good award space for Frankfurt.
Excellent award space to London.
Continuing our search for award space, here are all the award flights from Philadelphia to Europe from January to February (link). Cities with green boxes are season flights and do no operate in January or February.
Here are the award calendars for all of January and February for various flights from Philadelphia to Europe. Look for award charts that have the lightest color or blue and charge only 17,500 miles each way. If there is a red line across the chart, that means there are no off-peak award flights on any days that month. Pretty good award space to Amsterdam.
Once again, no love for Barcelona during January and February.
Pretty good award space to Brussels.
Very good award space to Paris.
Pretty good award space to Dublin.
Once again, decent award space to Rome in January, but not many days in February.
Absolutely amazing award space to London!
Excellent award space to Madrid too!
Very good award space to Manchester.
Very good award space to Munich too.
No love for Zurich in January and February.
For this example, I live in SoCal, so I need to look at award flights from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and Charlotte from January to February (link). LA to Philadelphia award space is amazing.
LA to Charlotte award space is amazing too!
Now that I know award space is pretty good, I need to find the perfect flight. Go to US Airways’ award travel page (link) and fill in the info below. The first option doesn’t matter, since the award calendar will let you know if there are any off-peak seats available by their color coding. Then pick your city pair and wide range of dates (you can select actual dates on the next page). All my award searches from above were for 2 passengers, so you should have good luck finding award space for at least 2 passengers per flight, possibly more. Search for coach seats, select 2 or more connections to see every possible option and calendar view.
I would like to spend 2 weeks in Paris, so I pick the Saturdays that work for me. Both dates are 17,500 miles each way, so my total is 35,000 miles and $148 in taxes/fees. There is no way to avoid the taxes and fees since US Airways charges $50 per award seat and each airport has it’s own taxes and fees.
Now I can pick my flights. Only look at the flights entirely operated by US Airways, since those will show up at 17,500 miles each way.
For the return flight, there are so many options, but only 2 worth considering.
Double check that your flights are correct and that your award seats cost the same as the previous page.
This page shows the total for 2 passengers. All you do now is fill in each passenger’s information and pay the taxes/fees.
To reiterate the message above, if you have a Barclays US Airways Credit Card, you will get a 5,000 mile discount per passenger on each award flight. If I had the Barclays US Airways Credit Card, I would have saved a total of 10,000 miles. Pretty cool card feature, right? If you are interested in applying for the credit card, please check out my credit card page.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.
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I agree that this is a cool and often-overlooked benefit, and thanks for doing all the research. That said, even with the 5,000 mile Barclays discount, it’s only 10,000 miles cheaper than the fantastic multi-month off-peak 40,000 mile Europe award on AA. That gets you to Europe in better weather with more wide-ranging award availability. So there may be a reason why this 6-week US Airways award “sale” languishes in obscurity!
BTW, I specifically looked at your post to see if US was going to offer any BCN availability for winter (since that is probably their best winter European destination). Not surprised that there’s no love. Of course, one could easily combine this 30,000 mile award with a cheapo local low fare airline ticket to go someplace warm in the region. I’m thinking Morocco from MAD would be a good choice.
Yes, I know this award is only slightly cheaper than American Airline’s off-peak awards to Europe. I like your idea of getting to Europe and then getting a cheap flight to the city you really want to visit. So many options with Eurail trains, low cost carriers, and big name airlines competing for your business. During my research, I was surprised by how much award space was still open, I would have thought it would have been slim pickings at this point.
I’ve been studying US award availability pretty closely the past several months (mostly to find short haul Avios deals) and I’ve come to the conclusion that US will “generously” release standard award inventory if — and only if — they don’t think they can sell the seats. So I think what you’re encountering is empty seats and therefore good award availability during this very off-peak transatlantic season. The fact that there’s a little over-capacity to Europe right now (look at the recently reported load factors — Europe is often the weakest) is probably helping the award inventory situation.
Honestly, it’s not a good time to visit most of Europe. That said, if you want to ski, or go to a Winter festival like Koln’s Carneval, this can be a good deal. Otherwise, I think the deal is only worthwhile if you buy an “Easyjet add-on” to an area with better weather. It’s otherwise worth the extra 10,000 AA miles to go during their much expanded off-peak period.
You are absolutely right, I love the flexibility and much larger window for AA off-peak award flights to Europe. Europe during winter is a special time, I recommend everyone giving it a chance. Award space for flights and hotel rooms is also very generous and you should have a great time with less tourists and shorter lines :)
Is the usual stopover allowed on these reduced-price Dividend Miles awards from the US to Europe?
I’m not sure, you can probably do an open jaw, either in Europe or back in the US, but I don’t think a stopover will work, since you have to fly on US Airways metal, and they don’t have any intra-European routes (that I know of).
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Our dream trip is going to London and Scotland in this coming spring break(april). We are four of us flying from lax. We saved up about 280000 chase points, 180000 us air points, 60000 Amex points, 160000 club Carson points. Can we use our us airway points for the AA off peak award? Or, which way is the best way to use chase points to get airline ticket for our of us? I think our club Carson points will cover the most of the hotel stays. Please give us an advice or write about it in your article.
You have a good pile of miles. To get the AA Off-Peak price, you will need to use AA miles. If you use US Airways miles to Europe in non-off-peak times, it will cost 60,000 US Airways miles per person.
You can transfer Chase UR and AMEX MR to British Airways. Nonstop flights from LAX-LHR are 25,000 Avios and $256 taxes/fees. I found only one date with non stop flights, so you might have to connect somewhere, which will cost more miles.
Here is the US Airways award chart for April: http://travelwithgrant.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/LAX-LHR-US-Airways-Availability.png
Light blue dates are 30,000 miles each way and darker colored blues are more expensive.