Last week we shared with you an amazing story where Travel Freely users Andy and Katelyn Traveled to Italy for Free. As promised, today I’m going to show you how to travel to Italy with points and miles just like Andy and Katelyn did!
How to Fly to Italy with Points and Miles
Your first step to travel to Italy with points and miles is to actually get to Italy. There are a lot of flights directly into Rome’s Fiumicino Airport (Airport Code: FCO) from various US hubs. Let’s explore a few of the flight options you could take to travel to Italy with points and miles.
Before we look at options, there’s one big thing to keep in mind. Many European airports have high taxes and fees. Some bookings will pass these taxes and fees onto you, even on an award ticket. In this guide we will be as transparent as possible about taxes and fees, so you can know exactly what to expect when booking your award flights.
American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
While other programs will charge a few less miles, American Airlines operates a large number of flights directly to Rome from the US. Unlike other carriers, American doesn’t have many surcharges on their own award tickets, so you’ll find yourself paying less in taxes and fees so long as you are flying on an American Airlines plane.
You can fly from the US to Rome on an American Airlines flight for 60,000 miles round-trip and only pay $76.91 in taxes and fees.
To make it even better, American offers off-season flights to Rome from the US. If you’re able to find availability in the off-season you can fly for as little as 45,000 miles round-trip. That’s an amazing deal that saves you a lot of money to travel to Italy with points and miles.
Keep in mind, these costs are only for flights operated by American Airlines. American Airlines is a partner of British Airways, so you could use your points to fly on British Airways to Rome as well. Unlike American Airlines, British Airways is notorious for very high taxes and fees, sometimes $500 or more! An easy way to avoid these is to avoid flights that go through London (LHR). So if you see your flight routing through there, you will likely be seeing some high taxes on your award ticket.
United MileagePlus Miles
Another good option from the US is using United MileagePlus points. United doesn’t have the same off-peak awards, but their normal award ticket price is 60,000 miles round-trip. Taxes and fees will be about the same as they are on American Airlines.
You will have a lot more options too, since you can use your United mile to fly on United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, and many other Star Alliance airlines.
An easy way to earn a lot of United Miles is transferring them from Chase Ultimate Rewards. You will receive 1 United MileagePlus Mile for each Ultimate Rewards point you travel. This can make it easy to get United MileagePlus miles.
Look for Cheap Flights and Book Through the Chase Travel Portal
Flights to Europe have been historically cheap over the past few months. I’ve seen flights below $400 a few times! This is a fantastic price to travel to Italy.
If you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can use these to book these cheap flights in the Chase Travel Portal. Depending on what Chase credit cards you have will determine the price you have. Let’s look at the options.
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each. If you find a flight for $400, it will only cost you 27,000 points round-trip! There are no transfer partners that will beat that price, and you won’t have to search for award availability.
For Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders, your Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.25 cents each, meaning you’ll only pay 32,000 points for a flight to Europe. Although not as good as with the Sapphire Reserve, this is still way better than transferring 60,000 Ultimate Rewards to United and paying taxes and fees.
Hotels to Stay at When You Travel to Italy with Points and Miles
Now that you know how to fly to Italy with points and miles, let’s look at some fantastic hotels you can stay at throughout your travels.
There’s one hotel chain that dominates in Italy, that’s SPG/Marriott. You’ll find many hotels on this list are Marriott hotels.
We’ve also included some great guides for each city from our friend Jennifer over at the So Full Traveler to help you plan your stay.
Venice – The Grand Hotel Dei Dogi by Marriott
This hotel checks off all of your Venice bucket list items with you travel to Italy with points and miles. It is on the canal, it is historical, and has one of the largest private gardens in all of Italy. This 16th century building has been historically preserved and maintains much of the historical Italian charm that you’ll be looking for on your Venetian journey.
Need some Venetian inspiration? Check out Jenn’s Guide to Venice.
Rome – Palazzo Naiadi by Marriott
Yes, that is the exterior of the hotel in the provided image. This gorgeous hotel located right in the city center of Rome provides great access to many of Rome’s historical sites. You won’t have to trek too far to get to the various historical parts of Rome. You can walk to the Colosseum in no time from your room.
Need help deciding what to do? Check out some awesome suggestions from Jenn when in Rome!
Florence – Hilton Metropole
There aren’t many award hotel options in Florence, but the Hilton takes my favorite choice for the location and views you’ll get from this wonderful location. Hilton’s award chart changes, but expect to use about 30,000 to 40,000 Hilton points per night for this gorgeous hotel. The Hilton Florence will let you take in all that the Tuscan country-side has to offer, and even has a shuttle to Florence’s city center.
Don’t miss Jenn’s fantastic and thorough guide to Florence.
These are just a few ways to fly to travel to Italy with points and miles. There are others, but these highlights will help you find some of the best rates using points so you can save your cash for more travel.
Want to learn more about how to travel using points and miles? Sign up for Travel Freely for free! Members will get access to a step-by-step guide that will teach you the ins-and-outs of how thousands of people have saved thousands of dollars on travel using points and miles.