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France Is Open to Vaccinated Americans. Here’s How to Get There With Credit Card Rewards

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Get dazzled by the City of Lights — without lightening your wallet.

After being cooped up for so long, few places will likely make you feel more alive than the vibrant city of Paris. Or maybe you’d rather spend your first international trip in over a year feasting on bread and cheese in the idyllic countryside. No matter what you want out of your next adventure, France is probably a good place to find it.

If you’re ready to say au revoir to home and head abroad, you’re not the only one. But the demand for travel means prices are rising — which makes now a good time to dust off the credit card rewards you’ve been sitting on since 2020.

How to get there

All four of the most popular transferable travel rewards programs have at least one transfer partner that will get you to France, but availability and fees will vary. France has a few major airports, but you’ll find the best award availability if you’re willing to fly into Paris.

American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to most of the airlines on this list. But Chase Ultimate Rewards points are nearly as versatile. Citi ThankYou points and Capital One Venture Miles have the fewest options. That said, ThankYou points get the edge over Capital One Venture Miles due to the Venture program’s lower transfer rates.

Air Canada

You can find a fair number of flights to Paris through Air Canada, but if you want a direct flight, use your Air Canada miles to book a United-operated flight. Take note that Venture Miles transfer at a lower rate than Membership Rewards.

Rewards Program

Transfer Rate

Amex Membership Rewards

1:1

Chase Ultimate Rewards

N/A

Citi ThankYou

N/A

Capital One Venture

2:1.5

British Airways

You can book flights to France using British Airways Avios on both BA and American Airlines through the BA website. However, AA availability is limited on the BA site, and you’ll need to watch out for BA’s notorious surcharges. If you want to use Venture Miles, make sure you account for the lower transfer rate.

Rewards Program

Transfer Rate

Amex Membership Rewards

1:1

Chase Ultimate Rewards

1:1

Citi ThankYou

N/A

Capital One Venture

2:1.5

Delta

Delta has a few options to get you to France, though you won’t find any of the routes for Delta One suites. Amex Membership Rewards points will transfer directly to Delta, but you’ll need to use an alliance airline to book Delta flights with other rewards currency.

Rewards Program

Transfer Rate

Amex Membership Rewards

1:1

Chase Ultimate Rewards

N/A

Citi ThankYou

N/A

Capital One Venture

N/A

Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)

As you’d expect, there are a ton of award flights on Air France to various parts of France, including Paris. You can also use Flying Blue rewards to book Delta flights through Air France or KLM. All the major transferable rewards programs transfer to Flying Blue, but Capital One has a reduced rate.

Rewards Program

Transfer Rate

Amex Membership Rewards

1:1

Chase Ultimate Rewards

1:1

Citi ThankYou

1:1

Capital One Venture

2:1.5

Turkish Airlines

While it might not be your first thought, Turskish Airlines runs a few flights from the U.S. to Paris. If you have an abundance of Citi ThankYou points, this could be a fair pick. Venture Miles, on the other hand, won’t transfer at a great rate.

Rewards Program

Transfer Rate

Amex Membership Rewards

N/A

Chase Ultimate Rewards

N/A

Citi ThankYou

1:1

Capital One Venture

2:1.5

United Airlines

Although United only flies to France from a couple of U.S. cities, you can take advantage of flights operated by a number of other airlines in the same alliance while still using United miles. Only Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer directly to United, but you can use other programs to book United flights through Air Canada.

Rewards Program

Transfer Rate

Amex Membership Rewards

N/A

Chase Ultimate Rewards

1:1

Citi ThankYou

N/A

Capital One Venture

N/A

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlanta doesn’t fly any routes into France — not even Paris — but you can use the site to book Delta flights to Paris from several major hubs. You’ll even typically use fewer Virgin Atlantic miles to book Delta travel than you would Delta miles on its own site.

Rewards Program

Transfer Rate

Amex Membership Rewards

1:1

Chase Ultimate Rewards

1:1

Citi ThankYou

1:1

Capital One Venture

N/A

Don’t forget issuer travel portals

If transferring your rewards isn’t going to work, you can always use the issuer travel portals to book your flight. The per-point value you can get won’t be as good as if you transferred your points, but availability is all but guaranteed.

Whether you transfer points or redeem them directly, make sure you have enough in your account to get you there — and back. A big sign-up bonus can be a good way to top off your rewards balance before your big trip. With the right rewards, you can say bonjour to le Paris in no time.

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