Wide Open Business Class Awards To Europe For 36,620 Miles Roundtrip

Filed Under: Awards, Brussels

This morning View from the Wing wrote about how there’s wide open transatlantic business class award availability on Brussels Airlines and United Airlines to Brussels, Belgium. While 57,500-70,000 miles for a one-way business class award ticket is a decent deal, this caught my attention for a very different reason.

Brussels Airlines business class

As I wrote about in May, the single best value transatlantic business class award out there is between New York and Brussels on Brussels Airlines when redeeming Etihad Guest miles. Etihad charges just 36,620 miles for the roundtrip ticket in business class. The total taxes and fees per passenger should be under $100. That’s not a typo, you read that right.


That’s the cost exclusively between New York and Brussels, though adding on additional flights within Europe won’t be expensive. For example, a roundtrip award from Brussels to Paris will cost you just 1,550 miles in business class. You can find the full point-to-point award chart here. Of course Brussels has a very central location, so it’s also a great point from which to start a train journey.

When I first wrote about that opportunity in May, the catch was that Brussels Airlines had very little business class award space available, so the pricing was of limited use without corresponding availability. Well, at the moment Brussels Airlines business class award availability between New York and Brussels is quite good, including for multiple people, especially for next year. So there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this award.

sn-award-1 sn-award-2

You’ll have to call Etihad Guest to book these awards, which is always an experience, as their agents are quite hit-or-miss. Also, availability may not always match what you see with Star Alliance carriers — sometimes availability is better, sometimes it’s worse. Only roundtrip award tickets are permitted.

As a reminder, Etihad Guest is transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou, so you can transfer points from multiple cards.

Transatlantic award values don’t get better than this, so if you’ve been considering a trip to Europe, this is an unbeatable deal!

  1. The award space that Etihad sees for these Brussels Airlines flights is NOT the same as what is made available to United. It certainly does match on some dates, but I know this from experience. I made two such bookings for next year, and the agents were unable to see availability on many dates that were showing open on United. This included HUCA with different agents (I latched on to the best agent I could find over my 15 phone calls, and got her email so as to use her exclusively for future bookings)

  2. Do you know if Etihad prices it from IAD-BRU as well? It looks like there is availability next summer on that flight.

  3. @AVS +1 on this comment. It’s always funny to me to see bloggers pimping this sweet spot without ever mentioning that the SN avail Etihad has access to does NOT much up 100% to what *A can see. I can only imagine some noob who needs specific dates seeing they’re avail on UA and transferring points to EY without first calling them to confirm.

  4. For some dates i see availability on UAL, but not on Aeroplan and not through Krisflyer. Wonder if a lot of is phantom.

  5. I booked this JFK-BRU award a few weeks ago, and also some intra-Europe flights just recently. Some things to keep in mind:

    1. Availability does *not* really match what’s on the UA website. Sometimes there are more J seats than UA shows available, sometimes there are fewer. For instance, UA said 2 J seats were available on BRU-JFK on two different dates. Via Etihad, I was able to book 3 seats on one of those days, but no seats at all were available on the other one.

    2. JFK-BRU-JFK J availability for next summer used to be wide open, but there are reports on FT that it’s begun to tighten up. If you’re flexible with dates you should be able to find something that works – but act fast! Intra-Europe J availability, on the other hand, seems to be wide open.

    3. For intra-Europe flights at the end of next summer, Etihad seems to consistently have *more* SN J availability than UA. On every intra-Europe SN flight, UA seems to show at most 2 J seats, whereas I was able to book 3 J seats on a total of 4 legs.

    4. The taxes on intra-Europe flights are quite steep ($45-60 per round trip) and are about half the cost of outright buying an economy-class ticket. The advantage, of course, is that you can get business class for less than the cost of economy – but remember that intra-Europe J is always just economy with the middle seat blocked (and a free meal or snack, and a free bag or two, and lounge access).

    5. Etihad agents seem to be unable to combine multi-leg flights that transit Brussels into one ticket. For instance, rather than ticket JFK-BRU-Paris-BRU-JFK in one ticket, they will give yo two tickets (JFK-BRU-JFK and BRU-Paris_BRU). That seems to be OK, but I worry about what happens if one flight is delayed and you miss the connecting flight. If it’s all on one ticket, SN would be obligated to get you to your destination. On separate tickets, they might make excuses.

    6. Etihad agents are indeed a mixed bag. Based on several calls to the US number, I found one type of agent that put me on hold after I requested the flights, then the call ended. The other type knew exactly what he was doing and the booking process went quickly and smoothly, and I was never put on hold.

  6. Does luckys blog come under free speech protected under first amendment or does it come under paid service (since he pushes affiliate links)

    So if someone transferred miles to Etihad, couldn’t book because lucky failed to write about the nuances, got angry and sued lucky.

    Would he have a case or not. In a skilled attorneys hand I think he would, but a skilled attorney wouldn’t waste their time (unless they had a vindictive temperament of trump)

  7. @Credit – this is how:

    “One Mile at a Time is owned by PointsPros, Inc. This site is for entertainment purposes only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.”

  8. @Credit that is nonsensical. The First Amendment prohibits the government from infringing on an individual’s freedom of speech (or religion). It has nothing to do with what an individual chooses to write (or not to write) on their blog, and what someone else decides to do with that information.

    I am a skilled attorney and my response to your “case” is…..lol.

  9. @ML

    Moodys, S and P provide opinions and ratings on bond holdings under the guise of first amendment but pull in big bucks. They were in an existential threat after the 2008 collapse because that shield of first amendment protection was no longer being bought by anyone.

    If the last 20 years have taught you/me anything, laws are meaningless here. If the government (by that I mean in general all the three branches) want to do something they will do it, laws and civility be damned. “Rule of law” is for pretentious Americans to feel smug about their moral superiority over others, but when push comes to shove they will throw those laws out in a jiffy. And lately most of the role models in the government have been spineless assholes more interested in lining their pockets than doing anything for this country. I was reading in nytimes how ABA refused to publish an article backed with research and facts critical of trump becaused they were afraid of being sued for libel. Like I said, SPINELESS. Seems like it afflicts not just the public sector. No real role models or leaders anywhere. This is not the mark of an ascendant country.

    Anyway back to my original point after that rant, you havent done anything to convince me or made any point in your post, except perhaps climb up a horse.

  10. @Jeremy – fuel surcharge = $0 for SN award tickets booked via Etihad.
    @lobbel – If you cancel at least 24 hr before the flight, they refund your miles less 10%. If you change your flights at least 24 hr before the flight, they charge 100 UAE dirhams (around $27). After 24 hr, no cancellation or change possible.

  11. @ekartash — wouldn’t be the first time this year Gary rushed to blog about phantom space to Europe. He also kind of missed the Ethiad part — sometimes lucky is playing chess while his competitors are playing checkers.

  12. Man this is tempting. I’ve always wanted to attempt this redemption but I’ve heard a few too many horror stories. I’d hate to transfer points to EY only to not be able to redeem it.

  13. Anyone know how fast AMEX Membership Reward Points Transfer? Per TPG, an AMEX rep said it should be instant, but would be good to get confirmation if someone was able to do so IRL.

  14. why, when I go to Etihad Air, and search for say Europe, or canada, the Return portion does not show any western countries ??

  15. @AVS

    Could I possibly get your preferred agents email address to try and book this?

    Anyone know of any award space? I’m very flexible and can almost any day next year.


  16. I have called about 5 times to the US number and have had them check most of the schedule. There are a few outbounds in business but no return available within a couple weeks of those dates.

    I guess I’ll have to keep trying or maybe try with different offices around the world and see if they can find space, which I’ve heard.

  17. Does anyone know if you can book flights operated by Brussels airlines that not listed on the pdf Etihad award chart? Not all Brussels airlines destinations are listed.

  18. My experience booking Brussels Airlines business class:

    When I read this article, I transferred Amex Points immediately (like a noob) to try and book this flight. Mostly because it’s a good deal and my schedule is very flexible and I felt I could find a date that works for me within two years before my points would expire.

    The points posted immediately and at first I wrote down a bunch of random dates that showed award availability on United, none of those dates worked.

    After speaking with about 5-6 agents, I managed to have them check for a business class seat nearly every day from early March until about mid October 2017. There were a few outbound flights but no available return business seat within about one week of the outbound (as I didn’t want to go for more than one week).

    Eventually I figured hundreds or thousands of people had read this article (and others) and had taken up all available award seats. I waited a few days and then called again. I told the agent to check for the first available business class seat starting October 1st, 2017 (I scheduled my trip this late on purpose and I believe earlier dates existed).

    After a few mins of searching, she found a business class seat with a return about a week later but the seat could not be confirmed. She kept checking and eventually found a business award seat with a return in mid October. She confirmed the seats and I booked the Roundtrip JFK-BRU.

    The process took about 25-30 mins total and the taxes were a few cents less than $93. She confirmed the award was 36,620 points/miles, which were instantly deducted from my account.

    All in all, just wanted to post a success redemption example for anybody looking to book Brussels Airlines business class for only about 37,000 Amex Points. It’s possible, but having a flexible schedule helped a lot.

  19. Just booked JFK – BRU business class for a 7 night trip in mid-August for 2 people. My tip: call the Manchester (UK) call center, NOT the U.S. line.

    I told the agent “sometime in August” and he was able to find me dates. This was after a couple of previous calls during which the agents couldn’t find July availability.

    Even with a good agent, expect to be on the phone for 30-60 minutes while the agent searches for availability and confirms your booking.

    Thanks, Lucky!

  20. Lucky, is this still available? If not, what is the cost of this flight now in points for business class?

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