Where the Award Seats Are: Summer Travel to Europe via Brussels

Star Alliance remains the best program if you want to get to Europe or Asia in business class on points, largely because they have the most carriers with the most routes, and of course neither United nor US Airways adds fuel surcharges to awards on any of their partners.

LufthansaFlyer wrote this morning that Brussels Airlines has announced 5 times weekly service between Washington Dulles and Brussels beginning June 18.

Lucky discussed this morning his recent business class flight on Brussels. They have a new flat business class seat, though Lucky finds it a bit narrow especially at the feet.

Flight times:

    Washington Dulles – Brussels, 10:35pm – 12:10pm+1, SN516 (Sun/Tues/Thurs/Fri/Sat)

    Brussels – Washington Dulles, 5:30pm – 8:15pm, SN515 (Sun/Tues/Thurs/Fri/Sat)

Since I happen to be based in DC this was exciting news. I figured I might give it a try. And new routes are often pretty good for award availability, since they don’t have lots of forward bookings already made and they’re also not as widely known.

Sadly — and this may change — but there’s not much premium cabin award space showing up yet on the Brussels Airlines DC flight.

But that reminded me to share that Brussels is still a great city to fly in and out of for awards.

In fact, here’s a search for 2 business class seats in July so peak summer for Washington Dulles – Brussels, you’ll see dates where business class on United is available.

Here are dates where United’s Newark-Brussels flight has business class award seats available for two passengers.

And United’s Chicago-Brussels flight:

Many but by no means all of these dates even have 4 seats available.

(Thanks to Award Nexus for the calendar view of availability.)

Since these are United hubs, it’s possible to route through them onward to Europe from many cities in the U.S. And while Brussels Airlines isn’t the biggest European carrier, so its schedules aren’t extensive, you can fly from Brussels onward to many cities in Europe as well as a handful of destinations in North and Central Africa like Dakar, Kigali, and Entebbe. Hence a very useful routing to have in your back pocket.

Brussels Airlines flies JFK-Brussels already, in addition to their newly announced DC flight. While that flight had outstanding availability when it was first introduced into the schedule, it’s no longer so wide open. And JFK flights of course aren’t as convenient for connections since Star Alliance isn’t especially big there.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. A very cool development for DC area folks, and it should prove a popular flight for transoceanic regulators.

    Will it have the cool C that folks are gushing about?

  2. I’ve flown on Brussels Airlines from Kigali to Brussels in business class and the seats were a disappointment — recliner seats for a long, long flight. That said, Rwanda was amazing.

  3. brussels in general is a hidden gem for flying in an out of paris – which typically has poor availability. high speed direct trains from the airport get to paris in under 2 hrs

  4. FWIW, BRU is also a very good airport to fly back to the USA from because they have not yet adopted oppressive carbon taxes. Indeed, the recent hike in Germany aviation taxes makes BRU a very good airport to fly home from cities like Koln, which are linked to BRU by cheap high speed trains. In other words, think about getting yourself to BRU instead of FRA.

  5. Gary, do you know anything about SN now with UA? I don’t even see the flights showing up on UA.com. Are they just not releasing any space to UA?

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