Budget-Friendly Lisbon Doesn’t Disappoint

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Budget-Friendly Lisbon Doesn't Disappoint

Lisbon might not be as popular as Rome, Paris or London, but it’s rich with culture, architectural beauty and history. The capital of Portugal is built on seven hills and has a lot to offer to visitors. And it’s much more budget-friendly than most of Europe’s capital cities.

Take a stroll along the historic, tree-lined Avenida da Liberdade, stretching from Pombal Square to Restauradores Square. Or jump on a tram for a scenic ride to the neighborhood of Barrio Alto. Be sure to spend some time at the stunning Rossio Train Station and its remarkable horseshoe-shaped doors, and don’t forget to visit the world-famous Azuelo Museum. Also known as the Tile Museum, it has a mind-blowing collection of gorgeous tile panels.

If you tire of sightseeing, head to the village of Costa de Caparica, just outside Lisbon. This relaxing destination features miles and miles of gorgeous, unspoiled beaches. Consider spending the night—there are plenty of good hotels in town offering inexpensive rates.

Airlines from all three of the major alliances fly to Lisbon, so you can get there with whatever miles you have in your coffers, even during the peak summer season.

Lisbon has an extensive network of tramways to get around the city
Lisbon has an extensive network of tramways to get around the city

AAdvantage Miles and the oneworld alliance

The following oneworld members fly to Lisbon:

  • British Airways via London
  • Iberia via Madrid
  • US Airways via Philadelphia

British Airways levies substantial fuel surcharges on flights from the U.S. You can save hundreds of dollars by flying on American Airlines to London, and then British Airways to Lisbon.

Round-trip tickets cost:

  • 40,000 miles off-peak in economy
  • 60,000 in economy
  • 100,000 in business
  • 125,000 in first

MileagePlus Miles and the Star Alliance

United Airlines and TAP Portugal offer nonstop flights to Lisbon from the U.S. Both depart from New York (Newark).

Other Star Alliance airlines also fly to Lisbon:

  • Brussels Airlines via Brussels
  • Lufthansa via Frankfurt and Munich
  • Swiss International Air Lines via Geneva and Zurich
  • Turkish Airlines via Istanbul

Aer Lingus is not a Star Alliance member, but it is a partner with United. It flies to Lisbon via Dublin.

Lisbon, Portugal at Rossio Square
Rossio Square in Lisbon

Round-trip tickets cost:

  • 70,000 miles in economy
  • 140,000 to 160,000 in business
  • 160,000 to 240,000 in first

SkyMiles and the SkyTeam

The following SkyTeam members fly to Lisbon:

  • Air Europa via Madrid and Malaga
  • KLM via Amsterdam

The Tower of Belem by night. Lisbon, Portugal
The Belem Tower

Round-trip tickets cost:

  • 62,500 miles in economy
  • 125,000 in business

First class tickets cannot be purchased with SkyMiles.

Economy class award tickets to Lisbon cost about the same on all of the alliances, except for American Airlines’ off-peak awards. If you can fly to Portugal between October 15 and May 15 using AAdvantage miles, you’ll save at least 20,000 miles.

Otherwise, the best option would be to fly nonstop from the U.S. on United or TAP Portugal. If you’d prefer to fly in a premium cabin, oneworld offers the best rates, albeit with a layover or two.