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How to Fly to Vienna in Front of the Plane

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The Economist calls Vienna the second-most livable city in the world, but despite the recognition, not a single U.S.-based airline flies there. There are, however, plenty of alternatives to finding award seats in business or first class on partner airlines.

Using American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

Your best bet to get to Vienna in a premium seat is to use your AAdvantage miles on airberlin. The carrier flies to Vienna via D¼sseldorf on its own or in combination with its subsidiary Niki via Munich or Frankfurt. On its JFK-D¼sseldorf flights, airberlin has full flat-bed seats.

Another oneworld partner you can use to get to Vienna is Iberia via Madrid, but they have moderate fuel surcharges.

This is what a saver award round-trip ticket to Europe is going to cost you:

Business Class100,000 miles
First Class125,000 miles

Using United Airlines MileagePlus Miles

It is difficult to find business-class availability on United Airlines, and anything else available with Star Alliance partners is very expensive:

United Airlines

Business Class115,000 miles
First Class160,000 miles

Star Alliance partners:

Business Class140,000 miles
First Class220,000 miles

But in this case, the extra expense might be justified if that is all that’s available. Austrian Airways flies to Vienna from New York (both Newark and JFK), Chicago and Washington, D.C., and the business-class availability from all three cities seems to be excellent even in the midst of summer. It might make sense to pay 140,000 miles to get to Vienna non-stop in high season. They have flat-bed seats, and their coffee is out of this world.

Using Delta Airlines SkyMiles

Maria Theresia monument in Vienna, Austria
Maria Theresia monument in Vienna, Austria

A business-class round-trip flight to Europe on Delta will cost you 125,000 miles. The airline does not allow you to redeem miles for a first-class ticket. But it currently has excellent business-class availability to Europe on SkyTeam partners. I had no problem finding seats out of JFK for next summer on these alliance partners: Alitalia via Rome, Air France via Paris, and Delta or KLM via Amsterdam. I don’t know how long they will last so be ready to grab a seat if you find it. Search for one seat at a time if you try two or more, the availability will vanish.

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