You may have noticed United's recent devaluation in many categories, increasing miles needed for some redemption by as much as 60-70% for premium travel. This is a huge hit for those who often enjoy the first class or business class life while flying transatlantic or transpacific. However, if you're well-stocked in either British Airways Avios or AMEX Membership Rewards points, there's a much better alternative for going transatlantic.
I've touched on this before, but I think it's a good reminder to reiterate. If you fly BA metal across the pond, you will pay massive fuel surcharges ($300-500) completely negating any sort of good deal for flying economy (business class could be argued is worth it, for a longer flight). However, there are a few exceptions to this: BA partners Iberia, Air Berlin, and Aer Lingus have no fuel surcharges when using Avios! This means if you redeem Avios on one of these partners (it's still the standard Avios award chart, which is distance based) you can get across the pond for just miles, with no fuel surcharge.
While there are nice options going to Berlin or Dusseldorf, I'm going to focus on what I believe is the best value and the most convenient: Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus. This is a great route with lots of availability (sometimes it won't show on Expertflyer, so you need to call BA's reservation center – Qantas is a great tool in finding availability too). For only 25,000 Avios ROUNDTRIP you can fly from Boston to Dublin, with pretty decent service too (depending on the time of day, three meals and two snacks, with tea service). If you want to get a little bit fancier or catch some sleep, business class is just double, making it 50,000 Avios round trip. Taxes on these tickets only run about 60-70 dollars, making this an incredible bargain – especially considering BA is at transfer partner for Amex. Even if you have no Amex points, the Chase BA Visa card will earn you 100,000 after meeting minimum spends… what other route could get you FOUR round trip flights to Europe? It's an incredible deal.
Frankly, whenever I think about getting to Europe, all I do is think about getting to Boston. It's a really easy process and probably one of the best deals in the miles world. Dublin is a great city to visit, but also a key European hub for getting to the rest of the area – Rome, for example, would be a quick 80-100 Euro round trip flight, with many budget carriers bringing those figures down. Flying from Boston to Dublin on Avios is the best redemption for having the opportunity to explore Europe!