Austrian Airlines

Austrian Airlines is one of the smaller full-service airlines in the Star Alliance. The Vienna-based flag carrier has long served the role of connecting passengers with Austria and destinations beyond.

With a current fleet size of around 70 aircraft, the carrier is not as ubiquitous as some of the other European giants, but you can see its wide-body jets from time to time, especially if you live near an international gateway airport in the U.S. Midwest or East Coast.

Austrian Airlines has an excellent business class product, but its food and beverage offering is particularly famous among luxury aficionados.

Let’s take a look at how you can use your points and miles to enjoy a Viennese coffee at 35,000 feet in Austrian Airlines’ business class.

A Look Inside Austrian Airlines Business Class

Austrian Airlines business class cabin

Austrian Airlines’ business class product varies depending on which aircraft you’re flying. Simply put, the Boeing 767-300 has a better cabin configuration (1-2-1) than the Boeing 777-200 which is more crowded with alternating rows of 1-2-1 and 2-2-2 seating.

All of Austrian’s business class seats recline to a fully flat position, but the seats on the 767 are slightly wider than those on the 777, and you’ll have direct aisle access at every seat on that aircraft. If you have a choice between the 2 aircraft types, we’d definitely recommend the 767.

These seats are forward-facing and staggered with 21 inches of width, 60 inches of pitch, and 78 inches of bed length. Each seat also features simple controls, a large in-flight entertainment screen, and an arm table.

This seat type doesn’t provide the most privacy, but there is the award-winning DO & CO catering service, which happens to be headquartered in Austria.

Austrian’s business class has become known for great service and food, while it offers a decent business class seat and amenities.

How To Fly Austrian Airlines Business Class Using Points

Booking Austrian Airlines business class is easy. If you search for award space around 6 to 7 months before departure, you’ll notice plenty of award availability throughout the schedule.

As a general rule, Austrian Airlines doesn’t make award space available more than ~210 days before departure. No need to worry, though. Searching for availability 30 to 60 or 90 to 210 days before departure should yield successful results.

Here are all of the nonstop routes available between the U.S. and Austria:

The most common days with business class availability are Sundays through Wednesdays. Also, you might find last-minute award availability being released from time to time.

Unfortunately, Austrian Airlines, just like most other European airlines, imposes astronomical fuel surcharges to the order of ~$700 one-way, which further underscores the importance of using the right frequent flyer program.

Avoiding fuel surcharges should be one of your top priorities — we’ll explore this and more in this guide on the best ways for booking Austrian Airlines business class.

Avianca LifeMiles

Without a doubt, Avianca LifeMiles is one of our favorite frequent flyer programs. Until a few years ago, LifeMiles was relegated to a niche offering for a select group of travelers.

Nowadays, with awesome transfer partnerships, great partners, and good redemption rates, LifeMiles is becoming more popular than ever.

Here’s how much one-way Austrian Airlines business class flights will cost between the U.S. and Europe:

Even though the program has its quirks, like incomplete award availability, for example, this is generally not an issue for Austrian Airlines flights.

Unfortunately, phone support with LifeMiles is abysmal, so you’ll want to limit your award bookings to those made online. And finally, be aware of the $150 to $200 award change/cancellation fee per ticket.

Here are the steps to follow when booking your Austrian Airlines ticket using Avianca LifeMiles:

Earning Avianca LifeMiles

Because LifeMiles is transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Miles, Brex Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy, it’s easy to earn lots of Avianca LifeMiles.

Amex, Citi, Capital One, and Brex all transfer at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly — Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 miles after transferring 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to LifeMiles. Transfers from Marriott Bonvoy take around 1 business day.

What makes LifeMiles especially attractive is that Amex, Brex, and Citi routinely offer transfer bonuses of up to 30%, making it even easier to amass LifeMiles.

Additionally, if you wait for an award sale, you might even reduce the number of LifeMiles you redeem by up to 20% (keep in mind Austrian Airlines routes are rarely included in these sales).

Avianca partners with Banco Popular to offer a co-branded credit card that you can use to earn miles, too. We don’t recommend using this card, but it’s still an option.

Lastly, LifeMiles offers very lucrative mileage sales during which you can buy miles for 1 to 1.1 cents apiece thanks to purchase bonuses of up to 200%!

Citi Premier Card

Citi Rewards+® Card

Citi Premier Card

Citi Rewards+® Card

Air Canada Aeroplan

Air Canada Aeroplan uses a distance-based award chart, which means the further you fly, the more points you’ll redeem.

For flights between the U.S. and Europe, see the following award chart:

Aeroplan doesn’t pass on any fuel surcharges. And since all available flights between the U.S. and Vienna fall within the 4,001 to 6,000-mile bracket, you’ll pay the prices in bold above.

This program also has a unique benefit that allows you to add a stopover on a one-way flight if you’ve found award availability for each segment for just 5,000 extra points.

For example, if you wanted to fly from New York to Cape Town with a stopover in Vienna, you’ll calculate the sum of the distance of the 2 flights, find the appropriate distance bracket and pricing, and add 5,000 points to the price.

In this case, the nonstop flight from New York to Vienna spans 4,240 miles of flight distance, while the flight from Vienna to Cape Town is 5,650 miles in flight distance, which totals 9,890 miles.

This falls under the 8,001+ miles bracket, which costs 100,000 points in business class. Just add 5,000 points to that amount, search for award space separately, and call Aeroplan to book the ticket.

Earning Air Canada Aeroplan Points

Just like Avianca LifeMiles, it’s easy to earn Aeroplan points. The list of transfer partners is slightly different, though — Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Chase and Amex transfer at a 1:1 ratio, while Capital One transfers at a 2:1.5 ratio. Both currencies transfer almost instantly.

Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio in around 5 business days. Plus, when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll earn a bonus of 5,000 Aeroplan points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.

United MileagePlus

United MileagePlus is our third pick for booking Austrian business class. It may be your go-to program if you already have a bunch of United miles, but we realize this may not apply to every traveler out there.

What makes United MileagePlus particularly attractive is its absence of fuel surcharges, a simplistic booking interface, and the ability to earn miles quickly.

Here’s the award chart for U.S.-Vienna flights in Austrian business class, and note that because United MileagePlus uses a dynamic award pricing system, awards can fluctuate in price:

Earning United MileagePlus Miles

While United MileagePlus is transfer partners with just 2 currencies — Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy — you’ll find the co-branded credit cards represent a fantastic way to earn lots of United miles.

Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly, while Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1.1 ratio in around 3 business days. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer to United, you’ll earn a bonus of 5,500 United miles.

One of the best ways to earn United miles is to sign up for any of Chase’s co-branded United credit cards, all of which earn miles directly and offer benefits with the airline.

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Business Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Gateway℠ Card

United Quest℠ Card

United℠ Explorer Card

United℠ Business Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Gateway℠ Card

United Quest℠ Card

Asiana Club

Asiana Club is Asiana Airlines’ frequent flyer program. As you’ll see in the table below, the mileage prices are hard to believe — in a good way!

Unfortunately, these prices come with a caveat: you’ll pay for every penny of fuel surcharges, which cuts into the value proposition immensely.

To make matters more difficult, Asiana Club doesn’t have any 1:1 transfer partnerships, making these miles pretty difficult to earn.

Lastly, you’ll need to pick up the phone to book any partner flights with Asiana Club — here are the complete steps to do so:

Hot Tip: We recommend booking one-way tickets on Asiana Club, even if you want to travel round-trip, because you’ll save a significant amount on fuel surcharges by booking 2 one-way tickets, as opposed to 1 round-trip ticket ($1,095 vs. $1,506 in total taxes and fees).

Earning Asiana Miles

Earning Asiana miles is much more difficult than the other options discussed here because it has just 1 transfer partner: Marriott Bonvoy.

Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio to Asiana, and you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Asiana miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at once. Transfers take around 4 business days to complete.

ANA Mileage Club

The last major frequent flyer program we’ll discuss in detail is ANA Mileage Club. While the mileage prices are extremely attractive and the number of ways to earn ANA miles is relatively abundant, you’ll be liable for all taxes and fees aboard Austrian Airlines.

This amounts to a whopping $1,500+ on round-trip flights (one-way award flights are not allowed).

Even the technique of booking 2 one-way award flights to save on taxes and fees doesn’t apply here because ANA doesn’t allow one-way flights.

Earning ANA Mileage Club Miles

ANA Mileage Club has 2 transfer partners: Amex Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.

If you transfer points from Amex, you’ll do so at a 1:1 ratio; transfers take around 3 business days.

On the other hand, if you transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy, it’ll be at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 ANA miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Transfers take around 4 business days to process.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Other Options for Booking Austrian Airlines

There are plenty of other ways to book Austrian Airlines business class, thanks to the Star Alliance.

You can book Austrian Airlines flights through Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Lufthansa Miles&More, and more.

All of these airlines pass on fuel surcharges, which means you’ll be liable for $1,000 to $1,500 in total taxes and fees per round-trip ticket.

That said, if you decided to redeem miles through one of these programs, the best would be Turkish Airlines, as one-way tickets can be booked for just 45,000 miles. Plus, Turkish is transfer partners with Citi (1:1) and Capital One (2:1.5), making it easier to earn miles.

Great Austrian Airlines Business Class Redemptions

Austrian Airlines business class isn’t quite as aspirational as Emirates first class or Lufthansa first class; but it’s still easy to get fantastic value with your points.

Here’s an “executive summary” table of business class award tickets from the U.S. to Austria via the main frequent flyer programs we discussed:

We recommend Avianca LifeMiles first because of its generous list of transfer partners, great redemption prices, and most importantly, the absence of fuel surcharges.

If you have Chase points, the best deal, by a small margin, is Aeroplan. What makes Aeroplan extra useful is the ability to add stopovers on one-way flights for just 5,000 miles more. You won’t pay for fuel surcharges, either.

United MileagePlus is a fabulous way to go if you already have a bunch of United miles or are looking for a familiar booking process.

Asiana and ANA both offer sub-100,000-point redemptions for round-trip award tickets, but you’ll need to take into account the enormous, 4-figure fuel surcharges per person.

Let’s talk about each airline’s stopover and open-jaw policies:

Now that we discussed all of the individual pieces of an Austrian Airlines business class award booking, let’s go over some of the best example redemptions you can make in Austrian Airlines business class:

How To Earn Enough Miles for Austrian Airlines Business Class

One benefit of booking Austrian Airlines business class is that you can use virtually any transferable currency available to book this flight.

However, Austrian Airlines levies massive fuel surcharges on flights between the U.S. and Vienna — upwards of $700 each way — so it’s generally a good idea to accumulate miles in a program that doesn’t pass on these fuel surcharges, like Avianca LifeMiles, Air Canada Aeroplan, and United MileagePlus. But if you can accept these fuel surcharges, you’ll redeem the fewest miles with ANA or Asiana.

These are the main transferable currencies and their relevant transfer partners for Austrian Airlines business class flights:

The last thing to remember is that Avianca LifeMiles and Aeroplan historically have had the most frequent transfer bonuses. LifeMiles usually tops out at a 30% bonus and Aeroplan at 25%. These transfer bonuses usually occur with Amex or Citi.

When Should You Search for Award Space

As a general rule of thumb, you can search for Austrian Airlines flights up to 7 months in advance.

There’s usually a “black hole” of availability for flights 2 months before departure on most routes, so just keep that in mind. Additionally, availability within 1 month of departure is typically excellent.

Basically, as long as you search between 30 and 60 or 90 and 210 days before departure, you should find generous availability.

Austrian Airlines releases 2 business class seats reliably, but you’ll probably need to be flexible to find 4 business class seats on the same plane.

Why Austrian Airlines Business Class Is a Great Redemption

As we mentioned earlier, Austrian Airlines uses either the Boeing 777-200 or Boeing 767-300 aircraft for U.S. flights.

The airline’s 767s have business class seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, while its 777s have an alternating 1-2-1 and 2-2-2 configuration. While the seats themselves aren’t the best in the sky, there are other factors that set the experience apart — let’s take a look.

Incredible Food and Beverage

Austrian Airlines business class wine

Most of your dishes are plated next to your seat from a trolley, which is a neat novelty. Multi-course meals feature dishes like glazed short ribs, truffled pasta, and much more.

The beverage selection is plentiful and high-end. There are anywhere from 8 to 10 choices at any given time, including Champagne, white wine, red wine, dessert wine, and more.

Most importantly, though, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a top-notch coffee menu, including “eiskaffee,” which is a lavish espresso drink topped with ice cream and whipped cream.

Professional Service

Austrian Airlines offers efficient service, though it never feels rushed or anything less than great.

You’ll be served a welcome beverage, given a warm towel service, and of course, the full multi-course meal service.

Plus, within a few seconds of calling, you’ll have any service requests answered.

Great Award Availability and Nonstop Service to Austria

Austrian Airlines business class bed

Having the option of booking $4,000 to $6,000+ plane tickets using points is a massive plus.

There aren’t a whole lot of airlines offering nonstop service to Vienna, and being able to access award space on a handful of U.S. routes is a blessing.

And, since Austrian Airlines is a Star Alliance partner, you can pretty much redeem points from any transferable currency, as well as directly from airline mileage systems like United, to book your Austrian Airlines business class flight.

Just remember that the earliest you can plan flights is generally about 7 months in advance. The carrier reliably releases 2 seats, though you’ll find short periods of time during which Austrian releases 4 business class seats on U.S. routes.

Final Thoughts

When booking Austrian Airlines business class, you’ll get a great soft product, especially if you’re interested in a robust food and beverage program.

Couple this with a generous amount of award availability up to 7 months in advance, the ability to redeem virtually any type of transferable rewards for business class award flights, and a nonstop route network to Austria, and you have a winning product.

But, if you don’t redeem the right miles, you’ll be responsible for paying nearly $1,500+ in taxes and fees. We hope this guide will help you avoid those fees and get you excited about booking a trip to Austria or beyond in style!

The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best way to book Austrian Airlines business class?

The best way, in our opinion, to book Austrian Airlines business class is by redeeming Avianca LifeMiles, Air Canada Aeroplan points, United miles, Asiana miles, or ANA miles.

You’ll save more than $1,000 in fuel surcharges by redeeming LifeMiles, Aeroplan points, or United miles, while you’ll be liable for fuel surcharges when you book through Asiana Club or ANA Mileage Club.

What credit cards can help me fly Austrian Airlines business class?

Austrian Airlines business class can be booked with every single transferable rewards currency.

With Amex points, you can book your flight through LifeMiles, Aeroplan, and ANA Mileage Club.

With Chase points, you can book your flight through Aeroplan and United MileagePlus.

If you have Citi or Brex points, you can book your flight through Avianca LifeMiles.

If you have Capital One miles, you can book your flight through Avianca LifeMiles and Aeroplan.

Finally, Marriott Bonvoy is transfer partners with Asiana, ANA, Air Canada, Avianca, and United.

What do I get when flying Austrian Airlines business class?

First of all, Austrian Airlines is one of the only airlines that flies nonstop to Vienna.

You can also enjoy a top-notch food and beverage program, solid amenities, great service, a lie-flat seat, and quality bedding.

Additionally, Austrian Airlines business class is readily available when redeeming points, saving you thousands of dollars per ticket!

Is Austrian Airlines better than Lufthansa?

Austrian Airlines business class, for the most part, is better than Lufthansa business class.

Lufthansa business class comes with a 2-2-2 layout, while many of Austrian’s business class cabins are in a more spacious 1-2-1 layout.

Many people generally think that Austrian’s food and service are better than Lufthansa’s.

Does Austrian Airlines have business class?

Austrian Airlines indeed has business class! Whether you’re flying a short- or long-haul route, you have the option of booking a business class ticket.

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