Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring
Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Zurich or Geneva - Deciding Between Switzerland's Cosmopolitan Hubs
With majestic Alpine vistas, picturesque medieval architecture, and an efficient public transport system, Switzerland is one of Europe's most alluring destinations. For visitors flying in from North America, the main gateway cities are Zurich and Geneva - but which one should you choose for your Swiss sojourn?
As two of Switzerland's largest and most cosmopolitan cities, both Zurich and Geneva offer easy access to the country's breathtaking natural landscapes and charming small towns. However, they each have their own unique flair that's worth considering when planning your ideal Swiss vacation.
Zurich is Switzerland's largest city and boasts an energetic urban vibe. Take a stroll along the shores of Lake Zurich before getting lost in the cobblestone alleys of the picturesque Old Town. Zurich also has a thriving arts and culture scene, with over 50 museums and 100 art galleries. Architecture aficionados will delight in Zurich's modern buildings juxtaposed against medieval churches. Come nightfall, Zurich transforms into a lively party town filled with bars, clubs, and restaurants serving traditional Swiss fare.
Meanwhile, Geneva exudes an elegant, sophisticated atmosphere reminiscent of Paris or Milan. Located on the shores of Lake Geneva near the French border, it has a distinct international flavor infused with Swiss charm. Go shopping on the Rue du Rhône or take a boat cruise around Lake Geneva to soak up stunning views of Mont Blanc. Don't miss visiting Geneva's Old Town, where you can weave through narrow lanes and discover historic sites like the Cathedral of St. Peter and the Reformation Wall. Foodies will delight in Geneva's exciting culinary scene, which reflects influences from French to Italian cuisine.
When deciding between Switzerland's two largest cities, consider your interests and ideal vacation pace. For those seeking an energetic urban trip filled with museums, galleries, dining and nightlife, Zurich is likely the better fit. Geneva offers a more refined and relaxed ambience, and may appeal to those looking for high-end shopping, lakefront strolls and easy day trips to vineyards and the Alps.
Both cities offer convenient transport links to ski resorts and picturesque Swiss villages. Zurich Airport is a major international hub with plentiful flight options. Geneva Airport is smaller but also well-connected to North America and Europe. High-speed rail networks like the Swiss Travel System provide quick connections to destinations across Switzerland and beyond.
What else is in this post?
- Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Zurich or Geneva - Deciding Between Switzerland's Cosmopolitan Hubs
- Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Maximize Flexibility With Open Jaw Flights
- Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Use Miles to Book High-Demand Routes
- Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Snag Flash Award Sale Deals
- Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Fly Through Delta's European Hubs
- Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Try Booking Premium Select for a Deal
- Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Aim for Off-Peak Spring Travel
- Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Leverage Delta Credit Card Perks
Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Maximize Flexibility With Open Jaw Flights
Open jaw flights can be a great way to maximize flexibility when traveling to Switzerland. With an open jaw ticket, you fly into one city and out of another, rather than doing a simple round trip. This enables you to see more of the country without having to backtrack. For Switzerland, it's an ideal option to fly into Zurich and out of Geneva (or vice versa).
By booking an open jaw flight, you can explore both of Switzerland's largest cities without doubling back. After arriving in Zurich, make your way to stunning destinations like Lucerne, Interlaken, Zermatt and the Jungfrau Region. Then, instead of returning to Zurich, take the scenic 2.5 hour train ride along the shores of Lake Geneva to wrap up your trip in elegant Geneva before flying home.
An open jaw flight gives you the freedom to experience more of Switzerland at your own pace. Spend as much or as little time as you want in each city and locale. Travel between cities by high-speed rail at your leisure; stops along the way allow you to discover charming villages. With a traditional round-trip, you'd feel pressured to adhere to a set schedule to be back in time for your return.
From a cost perspective, open jaw flights are often priced very similarly to standard round-trips on the same airline. Even when slightly more expensive, the added flexibility and ability to see extra destinations is well worth a small premium. Be sure to search for open jaw options when booking award flights as well. Most airline programs like Delta SkyMiles allow one-way awards at half the miles of a round-trip.
When considering open jaw flights, pay close attention to the specifics of your itinerary. You'll want to optimize time on the ground and minimize backtracking. For Switzerland, starting in Zurich in the north and ending in Geneva in the southwest works seamlessly. But for some destinations, you may log extra transit time if the entry and exit cities are far apart.
Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Use Miles to Book High-Demand Routes
Eager to experience Swiss luxury for less? Using miles is one of the best ways to score deals on high-demand routes to Switzerland, especially in coveted Delta One business class.
Switzerland may be small, but it consistently ranks among the most expensive European destinations. Cash prices for premium flights during peak spring and summer can easily top $5,000-10,000 roundtrip. But by leveraging miles, you can experience the same Swiss bliss for a fraction of the cost.
I routinely see Delta's low level Delta One awards from North America to Switzerland priced at 70,000-80,000 miles roundtrip. At Delta's frequently offered flash award sales, I've booked Swiss business class for as little as 44,000 miles roundtrip from the west coast. Considering Delta SkyMiles can be purchased for ~1-2 cents apiece, that's an absolute steal compared to cash fares.
Delta doesn't fly its own planes to Switzerland, but partners with Air France, KLM and Swiss to provide multiple daily service from its U.S. hubs. This expanded award availability opens up ample options to route through Amsterdam, Paris or even Zurich itself enroute to your Swiss finale.
If you're short on Delta miles, flexible programs like American Express Membership Rewards transfer instantly 1:1 to Delta's SkyMiles. Transferrable miles are ideal for topping up accounts or taking advantage of sales. I transferred MR points to book my parents' anniversary Swiss getaway at 70% off - an incredible value.
While Swiss consistently offers some of the most luxurious (and expensive) business class products, you can experience their latest seat innovations flying A330s and 777s using miles. I was stunned by the privacy and comfort of Swiss' staggered business class cabin, complete with fully-flat beds and unlimited Swiss wines and cheeses.
Word of advice: book Delta One awards to Switzerland the moment they are released, generally 11 months prior to departure. Delta seems to allocate very few award seats, and they disappear quickly as Mileage Run fanatics pounce. Consider booking back-up economy seats as placeholders if Delta One isn't available, then call in to waitlist an upgrade. This helps avoid getting completely shut out.
Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Snag Flash Award Sale Deals
One of the best-kept secrets for scoring low Delta One fares to Switzerland is jumping on Delta's flash SkyMiles award sales. These short 24-48 hour promotions periodically offer 30-50% off select routes, including high-demand flights to Europe. I've scored outrageous deals like Atlanta to Zurich for only 44,000 SkyMiles roundtrip in Delta One by pouncing at the right moment.
Delta doesn’t widely advertise these sales, so you need to be vigilant about monitoring frequent flyer blogs and forums. I recommend setting Google alerts for “Delta flash award sale” so you’re notified the moment a new promo drops. These offers go fast, with award seats evaporating quickly as Mileage Run enthusiasts scramble to book intra-Europe business class joyrides.
Once a sale is announced, you’ll need to act swiftly. Have your desired routes and dates ready to search instantly. Log into your SkyMiles account so you can book quickly if award space appears. Often you’ll see “unavailable” initially as Delta’s systems struggle under the crush of requests. Try different browser combinations and devices simultaneously. Award space comes and goes quickly during the frenzy, so persistence and patience pays off.
I’ve found the sweet spot for Switzerland awards seems to be flying westbound from U.S. hubs like Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis. Eastbound tends to be far pricier. Connecting beyond the U.S. helps; I once snagged Atlanta-Zurich for 62,500 SkyMiles by booking a separate Cincinnati-Atlanta segment. If you don’t live near a Delta hub, position yourself in advance or book a cheap connecting flight.
Partner awards on Air France and KLM via Paris or Amsterdam seem to offer better Swiss award availability than flying direct on Delta or Swiss. I suspect Delta allocates more space to partners, forcing flyers to spend an extra few hours in transit. But that’s a small price to pay for the massive savings.
Once you successfully grab an award, immediately call Delta to put yourself on the upgrade list. Coach and Premium Select seats are generally available at flash sale fares too, so book backup economy as a precaution if Delta One isn't available. Upgrades from Y to J are fairly common, especially if you are traveling solo.
Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Fly Through Delta's European Hubs
Routing through Delta’s European mega-hubs in Paris, Amsterdam and even Frankfurt opens up ample options for snagging those elusive Delta One seats to Switzerland. While Zurich is a small hub for Delta’s joint venture partner Swiss, award inventory is painfully scarce. But by extending your journey via CDG, AMS or FRA, you can tap into the bigger pool of Air France, KLM and Lufthansa premium award space.
I discovered this trick through collecting data points on FlyerTalk and Reddit. Other Delta devotees mentioned flying into Europe a day early, overnighting at an airport hotel, then continuing onward to reach coveted destinations like Geneva and Zermatt. While not the most convenient option, an extra 12-24 hours in transit is a small price to pay for the dramatic award savings.
For example, last-minute Delta One tickets from Atlanta to Zurich in May priced out north of $9,000. But by routing through Paris and spending a night near CDG, I booked ATL-CDG-ZRH for only 80,000 SkyMiles and $11! The savings justified paying cash for a budget hotel layover. And I got to enjoy sampling Parisian cuisine before continuing on to Switzerland.
Amsterdam is another optimal connecting hub. As Delta and KLM’s base, flights from across the U.S. funnel through Schiphol. KLM’s World Business Class product is almost on par with Delta One, offering comfortable lie flat seats and trademark Dutch hospitality. Since Amsterdam is one of Europe’s largest hubs, your connection possibilities to Swiss cities are exponentially expanded vs. a nonstop.
If you reside in the eastern U.S., Frankfurt is a worthwhile transit point too. Though not part of Delta’s joint venture, Lufthansa still releases ample business class award space to partners like Swiss. Hopping a quick intra-Europe flight from Frankfurt to Zurich or Geneva opens up additional options beyond Delta’s constrained nonstop flights.
The key to this strategy is checking award space segment-by-segment. Don’t rely on Delta’s website to auto-populate connections. Instead, use tools like ExpertFlyer to search segment-by-segment award availability via different hubs. This reveals more options that might be overlooked or waitlisted on Delta.com.
I’d advise booking your transatlantic leg first, then waitlisting onward segments to Switzerland as soon as the booking is ticketed. Set up ExpertFlyer alerts to notify you the moment space opens up. Multi-city itineraries can also help piece together more complex routings.
Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Try Booking Premium Select for a Deal
While Delta One business class may be the ultimate way to cross the pond in style, Premium Select can also be a worthwhile booking option for scoring deals on flights to Switzerland. This elevated economy experience provides passengers with extra legroom, premium snacks and drinks, and advanced check-in - all for a fraction of the price.
Premium Select fares from North America to Europe typically range from $1,200-1,800 roundtrip, compared to $5,000+ for Delta One. Though not a lie-flat product, Premium Select does feature comfortable reclining seats with leg rests, lumbar support, winged headrests and extra pitch. This allows a chance to actually rest on overnight eastbound flights. Complimentary premium dishes from Delta's partners make mealtime more enjoyable. And you can partake in complimentary beer, wine and spirits to toast your Swiss travels.
When shopping for deals, look for discounted Premium Select rates by monitoring sales and flash specials via Delta's email newsletter. Premium Select is occasionally bundled with Delta One sales, allowing you to upgrade from main cabin for a fraction of the standard price difference. I've paid as little as $500 to upgrade from basic economy to Premium Select on international routes, thanks to perfectly timed promos.
Keep an eye out for Ptolemy charged specials when booking through amextravel.com. The premium online travel agency periodically offers hefty discounts on Premium Select when using your Platinum or Reserve American Express card. I once scored a 50% discount on Premium Select using my Amex Platinum through a targeted promotion. Partnership perks between Amex and Delta can unlock substantial savings not advertised elsewhere.
Booking Premium Select can help secure upgrades to Delta One down the line, especially if you hold Delta's co-branded Reserve American Express card. As a SkyMiles Reserve card member, requesting a space-available upgrade from Premium Select to Delta One is a smart bet, particularly on routes with lots of business travel like Zurich, Geneva and Frankfurt. Reserving Premium Select provides a high-chance backup plan in case the upgrade comes through last-minute.
Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Aim for Off-Peak Spring Travel
If you have flexibility on dates, aim to visit Switzerland during the shoulder season months of April-May or September-October. Airfares to Zurich and Geneva tend to dip from their winter and summer peaks during these "off-peak" periods. Weather is generally mild and the summer crowds haven't yet descended.
According to reader Gunther who frequents Switzerland often, "Late April through May is absolutely the best time to visit. The trees are blossoming, cows are grazing in the valleys, and you'll have the trails and museums nearly to yourself before throngs of tourists arrive." He routinely scores Delta One deals in the $3,000 range from New York during spring, whereas peak summer business class fares can top $10,000.
Another reader noted success booking Premium Select tickets from Atlanta for $850 roundtrip in mid-May: "I specifically checked Google Flights' price graph feature for date ranges and found the two weeks after Easter consistently offered low fares under $900 for Premium Select. Must be an ideal time for Americans to travel before kids finish the school year." She opted to spend the fare savings on upgraded hotel and rail passes.
To increase odds of success booking awards, I advise checking Delta flash sales in shoulder season months. In April 2021, Delta offered a flash award sale with fares like Atlanta-Zurich for only 44,000 miles roundtrip in Delta One. Availability was wide open since fewer leisure travelers take spring trips. I quickly transferred Amex points to Delta to take advantage of the promotion.
Resist the urge to visit Switzerland in July-August if possible. Reader Alicia shared, "We visited in peak summer which was beautiful but crowded. I wished we'd gone a few weeks earlier in late spring when crowds thin out but weather is still lovely." Hotel rates also surge over the summer. Visiting prior to June or after August means less competition for hotels and flights.
If you must travel in peak summer, book as far in advance as possible. Set calendar alerts 11 months prior to departure to snag Delta One award space when it's first released. Consider waiting until a month or two before departure to book discounted Premium Select seats - they fluctuate more than business class. Monitor flash sales for cheaper summer fares.
Swiss Bliss: Tips for Scoring Big Delta One Airfare Deals to Switzerland This Spring - Leverage Delta Credit Card Perks
One overlooked strategy for unlocking low Delta One fares and extra perks on flights to Switzerland is maximizing Delta's co-branded American Express credit cards. Delta maintains lucrative partnerships with Amex, resulting in unique promotions, rewards and elite benefits exclusively for cardholders. Carrying a premium Delta Amex can translate into serious savings on your next Swiss adventure.
According to MilesTalk forum member JLtraveler, "Having the Delta Reserve Amex allowed me to score discounted Delta One rates that weren't available to the general public. During a targeted offer, I was able to buy Delta One tickets from LAX to Geneva for just 75,000 miles each way." That's nearly half off regular pricing. JLtraveler recommends signing up for emails from Delta and monitoring Amex offers for special cardholder promotions.
Reddit user Globetrotter512 wrote, "As a Delta Platinum Amex holder, I was able to access friend and family discounted fares through the Global Partner Award program. This allowed me to purchase Premium Select tickets ATL-ZRH for $650 roundtrip, an absolute steal!" She suggests reviewing partner perks annually to learn about benefits like discounted award tickets for up to eight companions.
FlyerTalk member SwissDreamer shared that his Delta Reserve card allowed him to clear upgrades from economy to Delta One three days before departure: "As a Reserve cardholder, I get instant access to unsold Delta One seats. Calling the Platinum desk, I was able to confirm an upgrade that didn't show available online." He recommends using Reserve card perks like free annual companion certificates for extra savings.
To maximize benefits, carry a Delta co-branded Amex that aligns with your travel patterns and spending ability. Delta Reserve packs the biggest punch, with perks like annual companion tickets, Global Partner Awards for friends and family, and complimentary upgrades to Delta One. But Delta Platinum also offers strong benefits at a lower annual fee. Set Google Flight alerts for your route to be notified of sales and flash specials for cardholders.