Best ways to get to Vienna on points and miles

Jan 10, 2020

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It’s Austria month at TPG U.K.! This Alpine country has so much to offer travellers, from the majestic architecture of Vienna to stunning ski resorts like Kitzbuhel. And it’s very possible to pull off a visit to Austria using miles and points. It just takes a little savvy planning and we’ll show you how. So stay tuned for more content about getting there, staying there and what to do.

Vienna is a wonderful place, and one of my favourite European weekend getaways, with beautiful architecture, great sights, and more schnitzel than you could ever imagine.

There are plenty of options to get there, and here are the best of the best, whether you decide to go by plane, train or automobile.

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Flying

British Airways flies non-stop as much as four times a day from London Heathrow (LHR) to Vienna (VIE) — sometimes even more. You cannot deny the power of the British Airways Rewards Flight Saver. Taxes are capped on European redemptions, making the hop to Vienna even more manageable. You can use your points to nab a direct flight for 13,000 Avios (15,000 on peak dates) plus £34 in tax. You can also reduce your cash liability and pay 20,000 Avios plus £1 in tax using BA’s sliding scale of payment options.

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

A huge bonus is that BA flies to Vienna from Heathrow’s Terminal 3, where a plethora of Oneworld lounges await. If you have Oneworld status, or if you decide to max out your Avios spending on a Club Europe (business class) ticket, you can take advantage of these wonderful spaces. We particularly recommend the Cathay Pacific and Qantas lounges.

Finnair A350 business class London Heathrow to Helsinki
(Photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy)

If you want to mix up your Austrian jump off point, British Airways also flies to Salzburg (SZG) from both London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW). If the price is right, you might want to book a cash ticket, which will open the doors to earning Avios and Tier Points on your flight.

In addition to BA-operated options, Austrian Airlines also flies nonstop up to four times daily from LHR to VIE. This opens up Star Alliance programmes for booking on points and miles. However, the picture is not as rosy. Singapore KrisFlyer charges 25,000 miles for a return ticket to European destinations, which isn’t terrible, but high taxes makes this a useless avenue. With SAS, you will have to pay 50,000 points for your flight, which is terrible value. These two programmes are American Express U.K. Membership Rewards transfer partners, but if you are sitting on a stash of another Star Alliance programme miles, you might want to check what value you will get versus a cash ticket.

(Photo by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Javier Rodriguez/The Points Guy)

There are also low-cost options for getting to Vienna, too. Both EasyJet and Laudamotion fly from from London Gatwick (LGW), London Luton (LTN) and London Stansted (STN). Laudamotion and Austrian fly to Vienna from Birmingham (BHX), EasyJet, Austrian flies nonstop from Manchester (MAN), EasyJet flies from Bristol (BRS) and Edinburgh (EDI), as well as Laudamotion service to EDI.

These cash tickets can work out incredibly cheap. I found one-way flights for as little as £13 between London Stansted (STN) and Vienna with Laudamotion.

(Image courtesy of Google Flights)

You are not just limited to Vienna when it comes to low-cost airlines in Austria. EasyJet also flies to Innsbruck (INN) and Salzburg (SZG), along with Ryanair.

Related reading: The ultimate checklist before booking a flight

Trains

Your trip to the Austrian capital doesn’t have to end on your final day in the city. For maximum luxury on the way home, why not splurge on a ticket on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Vienna to London. Tickets run at around £3,675 per person, so this is not for the budget traveller. Travelling from London to Vienna is nearly £6,000.

There are no dates for the Viennese Orient Express route during the winter, but according to its website, trains will run again from March 2020.

TOPSHOT - This picture taken on May 13, 2019 shows the carriage number of a restored Orient Express train displayed at the Gare de l
(Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

Drive

According to Google Maps, the journey from London to Vienna would take 16 hours by car. But in the spirit of adventure, you could make a real trip of this, stopping off in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany on the way.

(Image courtesy of Google Maps)

The Platinum Card from American Express U.K. provides elite status with both Hertz and Avis, and this could be your ticket to upgrades and premium service to make the driving experience all the more enjoyable.

Bottom line

You really can’t beat British Airways Reward Flight Savers or cheap cash tickets between the U.K. and Vienna. Either way, use our ultimate flight booking checklist to get your Viennese whirlwind underway.

Featured image by Getty/George Pachantouris

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