How to Fly Business Class to France for Free

How to Fly Business Class to France for Free? The dreams of a luxurious French vacation – strolling along the Champs-Élysées, sipping wine in a Parisian café, indulging in cheese and baguettes as you meander through charming villages.

How to Fly Business Class to France for Free
How to Fly Business Class to France for Free

While the allure of flying business class adds to the elegance, the steep prices can make this seem unattainable. But fear not, intrepid travellers!

With the strategic use of travel rewards credit cards and airline partnerships, you can unlock the gateway to flying business class to France at little to no cost.

Key Takeaways

  • Leverage credit card rewards programs and airline transfer partners to score discounted business class flights to France
  • Redeem points through credit card travel portals for a simple option, or transfer to airline partners for maximum value
  • United, Air Canada, Air France, and Virgin Atlantic offer some of the best deals on business class awards to Paris
  • Avoid certain programs like Delta and British Airways due to exorbitant fees and surcharges

How to Fly Business Class to France for Free

Flying business class to France might seem like a luxury reserved for the wealthy, but with the right strategies, it’s possible to enjoy this premium experience without breaking the bank. Below are steps on How to Fly Business Class to France for Free:

Redeem Through Credit Card Travel Portals

If simplicity is your priority, redeeming points directly through your credit card issuer’s travel portal can be a straightforward solution. This approach works seamlessly with the four major rewards programs:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Capital One Venture Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Rewards

Generally, you’ll get about $0.01 per point in value when booking through these portals. While not the most lucrative option, it allows you to cover the entirety of your flight costs, including taxes and fees, using your rewards balance.

Transfer Points to Airline Partners for Maximum Value

To truly maximize your rewards, consider transferring your credit card points to airline partner programs. This strategy often unlocks better redemption rates and more availability for premium cabin awards. Here are some standout options:

United Airlines MileagePlus

United’s MileagePlus program offers decent availability for business class flights to France, particularly from eastern U.S. hubs. The best deals found cost 88,000 United miles, plus $12.50 to $24.40 in fees, depending on the routing. These flights are operated by partner airlines like Turkish Airlines or TAP Portugal.

How to Earning United Miles:

  • Transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 ratio)
  • Sign up for United co-branded credit cards to earn directly

Air Canada Aeroplan

Don’t overlook Air Canada’s Aeroplan program when searching for business class awards to Paris. Surprisingly competitive deals can be found, such as flights from the eastern U.S. for just 70,000 Aeroplan points plus around $74.62 USD in fees. These itineraries are on Swiss International Airlines and Air Baltic.

How to Earning Aeroplan Points:

  • Transfer from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1)
  • Transfer from Capital One Venture Miles (1:1)
  • Apply for the Chase Aeroplan co-branded credit card

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

France’s national carrier, Air France, along with its partner KLM, offers plenty of business class availability through its Flying Blue program. Flights from eastern U.S. hubs to Paris cost 50,000 Flying Blue miles but carry $202.60 in fees when flying on Air France metal.

How to Earning Flying Blue Miles:

  • Transfer from all four major flexible currency programs (Amex, Capital One, Chase, Citi) at a 1:1 ratio
  • Earn directly with the Air France/KLM co-branded card from Bank of America

Air France/KLM via Virgin Atlantic

If you happen to have a stash of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points, you can book the same Air France business class flights for 48,500 Virgin points plus $276.80 in fees. This could be a better option if you’re looking to top off your balance.

Earning Virgin Atlantic Points:

  • Transfer from American Express Membership Rewards
  • Transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Transfer from Citi ThankYou Rewards

Who to Avoid when flying to France for (Nearly) Free

While Delta and American Airlines are prominent U.S. carriers, their programs aren’t the most cost-effective for business class awards to France.

Delta SkyMiles can be exorbitantly expensive, with the lowest option found being 195,000 miles plus $5.60 in fees. As for American Airlines AAdvantage miles, your options are limited to booking through British Airways, which tacks on massive surcharges exceeding $750 roundtrip.


With a bit of strategic planning and leveraging the right airline partnerships, flying business class to France can become an affordable reality. By taking advantage of credit card rewards programs and airline transfer partners, you can unlock incredible redemption rates and minimize out-of-pocket costs.

While it may require some upfront effort to accrue the necessary points and navigate award availability, the payoff of indulging in the luxuries of a business class experience makes it all worthwhile. So start plotting your dream French getaway today – baguettes, cheese, and champagne await in style!


What’s the benefit of transferring points to airline partners instead of booking through a credit card travel portal?

While redeeming points through a credit card travel portal is convenient, transferring them to airline partners often yields better redemption rates. This means you can book the same business class ticket for fewer points compared to the portal option. Additionally, airline partners may offer more available award seats, especially in premium cabins like business class. By transferring points strategically, you can maximize their value.

Why does the article recommend avoiding Delta SkyMiles for business class awards to France?

Delta SkyMiles are notoriously poor value when it comes to international business class redemptions. The article cites an example of a flight from the U.S. to Paris costing a staggering 195,000 SkyMiles plus minimal fees. Other airline partners like United, Air Canada, and Air France offer much better rates for similar routes, often requiring less than half the miles Delta charges. Hence, SkyMiles are best avoided for this particular redemption.

How much time should I allow for booking business class awards to France?

Booking business class awards often requires flexibility and advanced planning, as premium cabin award space can be limited, especially during peak travel seasons. It’s generally recommended to start searching for availability at least 6-9 months before your desired travel dates. Being flexible with your travel dates can also increase your chances of finding availability.

Can I upgrade an economy ticket to business class using points/miles?

In some cases, yes – certain airline programs allow you to upgrade paid economy tickets to business class using points or miles. However, the availability of upgrade awards can be scarce, and the number of points required is usually high. It’s often more economical to simply book a business class award ticket outright if your goal is to fly in a premium cabin.

How many points do I need for a one-way business class ticket to France?

The number of points required for a one-way business class ticket to France varies depending on the airline program and routing. Based on the examples in the article, you could need as few as 24,250 Virgin Atlantic points (half of 48,500 round-trip) or as many as 97,500 United miles (half of 195,000 round-trip with Delta) for a one-way ticket. Most programs fall in the range of 35,000-45,000 miles/points each way.

Can I book business class awards for travel companions using the same points/miles?

Absolutely! When booking award tickets, you can typically book multiple passengers on the same reservation using your points or miles balance. The number of points required will be multiplied by the number of passengers. Some airline programs may have policies limiting the number of passengers per booking, but most allow at least 1-2 travel companions. Booking for a group is a great way to share the premium experience.



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