How to travel to Germany with points and miles in 2024


This series of articles about credit cards, points and miles, and budgeting for travel is brought to you in partnership with The Points Guy.

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Whether it’s Oktoberfest, Neuschwanstein Castle or Berlin’s epic party scene that comes to mind when you think of Germany, it’s definitely worth a spot on your travel bucket list. 

Germany is a fantastic destination for families, those seeking a romantic getaway, beer garden enthusiasts or anyone interested in the country’s history and culture. It’s also a place that can be visited affordably if you maximize points and miles to cover your flights, hotels and car rental.

Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Germany with points and miles, plus some of our favorite things to do there.

A Lufthansa A380 taking off
A Lufthansa A380 taking off © Ryan Patterson / The Points Guy

The cheapest award flights to Germany

Most flights from the U.S. arrive in Frankfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC) or Berlin (BER). You’ll find the best deals from major hub cities, especially those on the East Coast, though it depends more on the airline you’re going with.

  • Cheapest economy class ticket to Germany: 40,000 Air France / KLM Flying Blue miles round-trip
  • Cheapest business-class ticket to Germany: 88,000 ANA Mileage Club miles round-trip
  • Cheapest first-class ticket to Germany: 165,000 ANA Mileage Club miles round-trip or 165,000 Alaska Airlines miles (from East Coast)

How to get started with travel points and airline miles

Avianca LifeMiles

Using Avianca LifeMiles to book award flights with Star Alliance partners like United Airlines and Lufthansa can be a real points-and-miles sweet spot.

United flies nonstop to Berlin (BER) from Newark (EWR) and to Munich (MUC) and Frankfurt (FRA) from Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington, DC. (IAD).

Lufthansa offers many nonstop and seasonal routes from all over the U.S. to Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin, so check the website for the best departure city near you.

Here’s how many LifeMiles you’d need to fly to Germany from the U.S.:

  • Economy Class: 60,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 126,000 miles round-trip
  • First Class: 174,000 miles round-trip

Top up your Avianca LifeMiles balance by transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy (3:1) or American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards or Bilt Rewards (1:1).

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card*: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card*: Limited time offer: Earn 5 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card*: Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card*: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

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Business class Singapore Airlines' A350-900ULR
Business class Singapore Airlines’ A350-900ULR © Zach Griff / The Points Guy

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles is another underrated points-and-miles currency that can be used to book flights to Germany with Star Alliance partners like United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines or TAP Portugal, among other carriers. You can also use them to fly nonstop to Frankfurt from New York (JFK) on Singapore Airlines.

Note that you can only book Singapore Airlines business- or first-class award tickets by using KrisFlyer miles (not miles racked up with partner airlines). That said, it is easier to book economy seats on Singapore Airlines through its various Star Alliance partners. 

Here’s how many KrisFlyer miles you’ll need to reach Frankfurt on Singapore Airlines when flying from the East Coast of the U.S. and Houston — to price out rates from other U.S. cities, use the carrier’s handy miles calculator: 

  • Economy Class: 50,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 162,000 miles round-trip
  • First Class: 194,000 miles round-trip

Here’s how many KrisFlyer miles you’d need to make the same trip with one of its Star Alliance partners:

  • Economy Class: 61,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 162,000 miles round-trip
  • First Class: 242,000 miles round-trip

Transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy (3:1) if you need to rack up some KrisFlyer miles in a hurry. Points can also be transferred from Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards (1:1).

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Limited time offer: Earn 5 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

How to make a travel budget using points and miles 

All Nippon Airways business class
All Nippon Airways. You can fly to Japan in the airline’s esteemed “The Room” business class from just 88,000 miles round-trip © Eric Rosen / The Points Guy

All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club

Star Alliance enthusiasts can also use ANA Mileage Club miles to fly to Germany with partners like United Airlines or Lufthansa. 

Note, however, that redemptions must be booked round-trip (not just one-way) and you must check for availability via United’s website first, then confirm it with ANA. Award flights can also only be booked for yourself or a family member, not a friend. Even so, the rates are worth considering:

  • Economy Class: 55,000 miles round-trip
  • Business Class: 88,000 miles round-trip
  • First Class: 165,000 miles round-trip

To accumulate ANA Mileage Club miles quickly, transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1) or Marriott Bonvoy (3:1).

Alternatively, the welcome bonus from The Platinum Card® from American Express provides enough points to take care of a round-trip economy flight, while the one from The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers enough to cover a business-class flight.

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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

As one of the most valuable currencies in the points-and-miles universe, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles can be used to redeem award flights to Germany on partners like American Airlines, British Airways, Condor, Finnair, Emirates or Icelandair, among others.

Condor, for instance, flies nonstop to several German cities from New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Anchorage (ANC), Miami (MIA), Seattle (SEA), San Antonio (SAT), Boston (BOS), Las Vegas (LAS), Baltimore (BWI), Minneapolis (MSP), Portland (PDX) and Phoenix (PHX).

American Airlines, another partner, offers nonstop routes to Munich and Frankfurt from Charlotte (CLT) and to Frankfurt from Dallas (DFW).

As of 2024, Alaska Airlines will be switching to a new award chart for its redemption flights, so go to Great Circle Mapper to calculate the distance between your desired airports before consulting the mileage chart.

Here’s how many Mileage Plan miles you’d need to fly to Frankfurt on Alaska Airlines’ partners, ranging from the East Coast to the West Coast of the U.S.:

  • Economy Class: 55,000 to 70,000 miles needed
  • Business Class: 110,000 to 140,000 miles needed
  • First Class: 165,000 to 210,000 miles needed

It might be worth signing up for one of Alaska Airlines’ co-branded credit cards for the generous welcome bonus. Otherwise, points can be transferred from Marriott Bonvoy (3:1) if you need to boost your balance. 

  • Alaska Airlines Visa® card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening — and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) each year after you spend $6,000.
  • Alaska Airlines Visa® Business Card: Earn 50,000 bonus miles, plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23), after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Limited time offer: Earn 5 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.

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An Air France 787
An Air France 787 © Eric Rosen / The Points Guy

Air France / KLM Flying Blue

Air France and KLM don’t fly nonstop to Germany from the U.S., but you can still book affordable one-stop flights to Munich, Frankfurt or Berlin (BER or TXL) via Paris on Air France or Amsterdam on KLM.

There’s even a handy calculator at the bottom of the Flying Blue Rewards page to help you figure out how many miles you’ll need to fly between cities. That’s also where you’ll find the list of Promo Awards, discounted short-haul and long-haul flights you can book with Flying Blue miles.

Here’s how many Flying Blue miles you’d need to fly from New York (JFK):

  • Economy Class: 40,000 miles needed
  • Business Class: 100,000 miles needed

Flying Blue miles can also be used to book award flights with SkyTeam alliance partners like Delta Air Lines, which offers nonstop flights year-round to Frankfurt from Atlanta, Detroit and New York (JFK). Delta also has a few seasonal routes to Munich from Detroit and JFK (year-round from Atlanta) and to Berlin (BER) from JFK.

To bump up your Flying Blue balance, transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy (3:1) or Bilt Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards (1:1).

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 14X total points for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Limited time offer: Earn 5 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $5,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card: Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points once you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 within the first six months of opening your account.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of account opening.

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Half-timbered houses, in the market square in Schiltach, Germany
Half-timbered houses, in the market square in Schiltach, Germany © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

Germany hotels you can book with points

You’ll find points hotels connected to the Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards, World of Hyatt, Accor Life Limitless and Choice Privileges loyalty programs all over Germany. Sign up for each brand’s loyalty program to earn points toward future stays — or its cobranded hotel rewards credit card to score a generous welcome bonus and earn free nights.

For Hilton fans, the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card may be a good pick since it includes $200 in statement credits that can be used to cover on-property charges and resort fees at Hilton properties worldwide.

Best travel credit cards for hotels

The Berlin skyline, Germany
The Berlin skyline, Germany © bluejayphoto / Getty

Berlin

Learn about Germany’s history where it happened in the capital city of Berlin, home of the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie. 

You’ll find a ton of IHG properties to choose from in the western and central parts of the city, including Hotel Indigo Berlin – Ku’damm (25,000 points per night), the Crowne Plaza Berlin City Centre (from 27,000 points per night) and the InterContinental Berlin (from 24,000 points per night). 

On the east side of town, the Crowne Plaza Berlin – Potsdamer Platz (from 26,000 points per night) and Hotel Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery (from 29,000 points per night) are also worth a look.

Top up your balance by transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Bilt Rewards (1:1). Otherwise, the welcome bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or IHG One Rewards Traveler Credit Card provides enough to take care of a two-night stay at any of these hotels. 

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The Oktoberfest fairground in Munich, Germany
The Oktoberfest fairground in Munich, Germany © FooTToo / Getty

Munich

Whether you’re visiting Munich for its legendary Oktoberfest celebrations or as part of a larger trip to Bavaria and the Black Forest, you’re in for a treat.

Base yourself at the Aloft Munich (from 31,000 points per night), Le Méridien Munich (from 42,000 points per night) or The Westin Grand Munich (from 31,000 points per night). They’re all part of Marriott Bonvoy and put you within walking distance of most Munich attractions.

Points can be transferred from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1) if you need to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points quickly. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless welcome bonus would also be enough to cover three nights of your Munich trip.

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Frankfurt Central Station
Frankfurt Central Station © holgs / Getty

Frankfurt

Frankfurt is home to several affordable World of Hyatt hotels, a great way to start or end your Germany trip, especially if you’re flying through its airport. 

The Hyatt House Frankfurt Airport (from 5,000 points per night) and the Lindner Hotel Frankfurt Main Plaza (from 8,000 points per night) are great options if you’ve got an early flight or want to stay closer to the city center. For those with more time, the Schlosshotel Kronberg has rooms from 12,000 points per night at its plush members-only property just outside of town.

The welcome bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or the World of Hyatt Credit Card provides enough points for 12 nights at the Hyatt House Frankfurt Airport, seven nights at the Lindner Hotel Frankfurt Main Plaza or five nights at the Schlosshotel Kronberg. 

If you still need to bump up your points balance, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to Word of Hyatt (1:1).

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Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, a day trip from Munich © Noppasin / Shutterstock

Activities and ground transportation

It’s easy to get around Germany by car, bus or train, and you can rely on regional trains and cable cars to travel between and within many of the larger cities. For longer journeys, check the Deutsche Bahn website. 

The Bayern Ticket allows for unlimited travel throughout Bavaria for up to five people for a single day. If you’re based in Munich, use this to plan a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, just outside Füssen in Bavaria.

Driving is done on the right side of the road from the left side of the car. Road-tripping along the Autobahn is memorable, as much of it has no speed limit. The only rule is that passing anyone on the right is illegal.

Some cards, like the Capital One Venture X and the Capital One Venture, allow members to redeem miles toward recent travel expenses at one cent per point, essentially “erasing” them. Others, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, include a $300 annual travel credit as a perk, letting you cover recent travel-related charges. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders should check the Chase travel portal, which lets them save on guided tours and car rentals by redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for 1.25 cents per point or 1.5 cents per point, respectively.

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Bottom line

Traveling to Germany doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you fly with airline partners. Pay attention to welcome bonuses from travel credit cards and ensure you earn and redeem your points and miles wisely. 

There’s something here for every type of traveler, style and budget, so you really can’t go wrong. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or have been back a few times, it’s a fantastic country to explore on its own or as a jumping-off point for a larger European train adventure.

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* Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.



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