We've had success using frequent flyer miles to travel to and from Europe. Our favorite program is the Star Alliance which includes United Airlines. I've booked multiple "free" trips using my MileagePlus points on United. We (Marianne and I) both applied for the United Airlines credit card and received 50,000 bonus miles, which we turned into free flights. As of today, the sign-up offer is only good for 30,000 bonus miles, but still, that'll help a lot for a transatlantic flight. Note- we never recommend using credit cards as a way to borrow money or spend more than you have. We pay our balances in full each month and would recommend the same to anyone else. On two occasions I have called United to book award travel 2-3 nights before I needed to depart! Both times, they found flights to get me there. If you don't find award seats online, always call!
Now a note to other missionaries or those traveling for humanitarian purposes. There are travel agencies that offer significantly reduced airfare for these purposes. They are often 50% less than the average fare. They also come with lower change/cancellation fees and a higher baggage allowance. If you are traveling for a nonprofit and can provide evidence, we would refer you to Golden Rule Travel company who has helped us get our tickets to France. http://goldenruletravel.com/
Questions or comments?