Travel 101: How to make the most of your points and air miles to travel to Italy

Many Americans dream of touring Italy. You might be planning your first trip to Italy, or you may want to return to Bel Paese to attend an Italian festival. You can save money by using the points and miles that you have accumulated over time.

Today’s post is a collaboration with We asked them to give their expert advice on how to use ‘award travel to get there and back! – Italy.

What is the cost of a flight to Italy from the US?

For a round trip in the main cabin, expect to pay between 50,000-60,000 miles. Flying in business or first class, you can expect to pay 140,000-220,000 miles roundtrip.

You may need to pay cash depending on which airline you fly with for a fuel surcharge of up to $200. No matter what cabin you are flying in, all award flights have additional fees and taxes.

Transfer credit card points to airline tickets

First, be loyal to one airline to earn frequent flight miles for one loyalty program.

You can also earn rewards points by using a travel credit card. This could be a cobranded airline credit card. You can redeem your points for any type or travel with a flexible travel rewards card.

Many of the top miles credit cards allow you to transfer points directly into multiple airline loyalty programs. Redeeming points and miles through your loyalty account will usually result in a higher redemption price.

These loyalty programs for credit cards offer point transfers to leading airlines.

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Capital One (Venture Miles & Spark Miles)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou

Let’s look at the top ways to use your miles. These flights are also an option if you’d prefer to redeem your points for travel credit.


British Airways Executive Club is a preferred transfer partner for many credit card partners. If British Airways does not fly to your Italian destination, your points can be converted into Avios.

1. Air Italy Flying Air Italy is one of the best ways to reach Italy using Avios. In recent years, this airline has added many new routes. Air Italy offers the most flexible routes from North America, with departures from New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Other mid-sized airports like Seattle or Kansas City offer routes to Milan.

For approximately 75,000 Avios per way, you can search for business-class award flights. You will need to pay a fuel surcharge, as is standard for international flights.

Aer Lingus

Flying on Aer Lingus is the best option if you are visiting Ireland. In late May 2020, two new routes will be available from Dublin. On 23 May 2020, non-stop service will be available to Brindisi (Puglia) and Alghero (Sardinia), on 24 May 2020. In peak season, award flights are priced at 7,500 Avios and 6,500 Avios off-peak.

Star Alliance

Another way to get lots of award flights is by flying on Star Alliance partner airlines. United Airlines might seem like the best option for you if you are flying from the United States. TAP Air Portugal and Lufthansa are other Star Alliance members.

It is easier to avoid fuel surcharges when you are a Star Alliance member than with other loyalty programs. If these flights are in line with your travel plans, this is something you should keep in mind.

Avianca LifeMiles

When searching for Avianca LifeMiles space, award space is very limited. This is the best way for you to avoid paying fuel surcharges at Lufthansa if you can find a seat. Book a mixed-cabin award flight through Avianca to save some points.


ANA can be used to book Star Alliance partner flight tickets as United Airlines is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Currently, American Express credit cards are the only ones that have a partnership with ANA.

Round-trip award flights from North America to Italy cost 55,000 miles in the main cabin, and 165,000 for first class. Long-distance flights will likely require you to pay a fuel surcharge.


Aeroplan members can book one-way award flights. You might have to book a round trip when booking partner award flights. You can then use your points to fly to Italy, and cash to pay for the return flight.


Oneworld also has many alliance partners. If you are located near an American Airlines hub, this could be your best choice. One drawback to Oneworld award flights: you will likely have to pay a fuel surcharge. American Airlines also charges a fuel surcharge for flights to Italy.

1. American Airlines

If you are able to fly to Italy in the off-peak season, American Airlines is the best option. Flying in the main cabin can earn you an award flight discount. The off-peak rate for 45,000 miles round trip is 22,500 miles per way, instead of paying 30,000 miles.

Premium cabin seats are not eligible for an off-peak discount. These flights are available round-trip at 115,000 miles


When flying to Italy, you’ll most likely find award space with Alitalia or Delta.

1. Delta Air Lines

Delta uses floating award flight pricing, so it is difficult to know exactly how many points will be required. SkyMiles are the lowest price for round-trip main cabin tickets. They cost only 50,000. If your travel dates are not flexible, you can easily pay as high as 90,000 SkyMiles.

You can avoid such unpredictability by transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic. Delta’s round-trip main cabin tickets can run as high as 60,000 miles. First-class tickets can be as high as 100,000 miles.

2. Alitalia

SkyMiles also offers Alitalia as a possible carrier for flights to Rome and Milan.

You can transfer points to your Millemiglia Account with some credit cards.

Non-stop season service between San Francisco and Rome is available from June 1, 2020 to October 28, 2020. To fly on Alitalia, you will need to depart the U.S. east or Los Angles.

3. Etihad

Although Etihad is not affiliated with any particular airline alliance, they have partnerships with selected airlines. They may also offer award flights at low prices. To book award tickets with a partner airline, you will need to call Etihad.

You can book an off-peak main-cabin round-trip ticket on American Airlines for only 40,000 miles. This is 5,000 miles cheaper than booking directly with American. Etihad is an alternative way to book award tickets on American, as American is not a partner in direct credit transfer with any credit card programs.

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