There is a hot summer airfare sale on: New York to Italy on Skyteam from just ~$1860 (or some routes less) round trip in business class on Skyteam airlines Alitalia, KLM, and Delta.
Some of the cheapest fares are on Air France’s A380, which features an angled flat business class seat. For just a few dollars more, choose Alitalia/KLM/Delta flights for flat beds across the Atlantic. Flights are available to Palermo, Sicily for a few dollars less and to Nice, France for $1999 nonstop. All of these flights would be an excellent use of American Express’s
50% pay-with-points rebate on the Business Platinum card (Update: This benefit has changed since the time of publication. As of June 1st, 2017, Business Platinum cardholders can receive a 35% points rebate with a maximum of 500,000 rebated points per year). An $1860 flight would cost a net of about 93,000 Membership Rewards points round trip and would earn a nice chunk of miles in your program of choice (it might even make sense to pay for a slightly higher fare — more on that near the bottom).
Some examples — click the images to go to Google flights and adjust dates. Note that some of the very cheapest fares aren’t bookable, but many times the ones that are $10 or $15 more expensive are. Some trial and error will find which ones work (see How to find great business class fares using Google flights for more information on searching):
New York to Naples $1864 (choose Alitalia) – available June-October:
New York-Palermo, Sicily from $1854 (some dates say $1844, but that rate doesn’t seem bookable):
New York to Nice, France nonstop for $1999
An even better deal
Right now, Alaska Airlines is offering big bonuses for flying in premium cabins with some partners, including British Airways.
The following flights to Naples price at $2031:
ITA Matrix can show us the fare class on the long hauls is I and the short hauls is J:
As per the Alaska Airlines chart above, I class should earn 250% of mileage flown before any elite bonuses. J class should earn 350% of mileage flown before any elite bonuses. Based on the mileage of those flights, if crediting to Alaska Airlines, you should receive about 24,280 redeemable miles in Alaska Airlines on that ticket assuming no elite bonuses (an MVP Gold member, for instance, would earn about another 8,920 miles). If you paid with points with the Amex Business Platinum rebate, your net cost would be just over 100,000 points and you’d earn more than 24,000 redeemable miles (or more with Elite status).
Alternatively, another way this could get really good if you can stack any additional discounts — see Extreme Stacking British Airways, AA, and Iberia for more information on the possibilities. Do your research on any effect these discounts may have on fare classes and mileage earning before booking.
These are excellent prices for summertime business class to Europe. If you can stack discounts for the British Airways flights or use the Business Platinum pay with points rebate, these sales only get better. As is always the case with airfare sales, prices can change at any time. These prices are accurate as of the time of publication. Best of luck finding a deal!