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November/December Flying Blue 50% Off Promo Awards Announced

by on October 31, 2011 · 12 comments

in American Express, Flying Blue

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Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program of Skyteam partners Air France and KLM runs 50% off promo awards all year long, changing them every two months. This means you can fly roundtrip from certain North American cities to Europe and beyond for as low as 25,000 miles in coach and 50,000 miles in business class roundtrip. Flying Blue is a 1:1 instant transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, so it’s a great way to stretch the value of your Amex points. Note: Flying Blue taxes on awards are pretty high – for example a 25,000 roundtrip award to Europe may have $450 in taxes. If you can buy that same ticket for $650, it makes sense to just purchase it and earn miles. However, there are some expensive routes – especially in business class, that can be unbelievable values.

The November/December awards can be booked until December 29, 2011 and are valid for travel November 1 – December 31, 2011. KLM, Air France and Air Europa each have different cities and cabins that they discount.

North America awards - there are also intra European and discounted awards from Europe to other regions

KLM: Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Chicago to Amsterdam and beyond in Europe for 25,000 roundtrip coach or 50,000 business class.

Air France: Orlando (coach only), Seattle (Premium Economy and Business), Washington DC (coach and business), Detroit (economy, premium economy and business) via Paris to Europe.

Air Europa: Miami via Madrid to Europe (Economy and business)

Tip: Flying Blue classifies Tel Aviv as part of Europe, so you can route all the way there for only 25,000 miles in coach / 50,000 miles in business class roundtrip, plus fees (see below).

Before you get too excited and start transferring Amex points, make sure your awards are available. To check award availability, create a Flying Blue account and then once you are logged in click the “Show” button to get a drop down menu and then select “Book my award ticket.”

Enter city pairs and class of service

Dates with promo awards will come up in green

Select the promo award, note that some classic awards may be mixed in, so verify the segment is at the promo level

Final damage: 50,000 miles and $747

$747 in fees is pretty steep, but it’s not so bad considering this exact itinerary would cost $5,082 to purchase. So $5,082 – $747 = $4,335 saved for using a measly 50,000 points. Thus, each Amex point saves you 8.7 cents. Granted, you should factor in the fact that you wouldn’t earn any miles on the award redemption, but the point is that Amex points can save you a ton of money and allow you to book into business class for half of what you’d pay for coach (I checked and the coach fare for these flights was $1,515 total roundtrip).

Air France Paid Business Class Fare of $5,082

Since Delta and Air France are in the same alliance and these are classic awards, I knew this same flight would be bookable using Delta miles as well, so I pulled up delta.com -> Skymiles -> Use miles -> Award ticket reservations and entered in the same search criteria. With no hassle whatsoever, the exact flights popped up, albeit at 120,000 miles for business class because Delta does not consider Israel part of Europe.

Delta’s fees are much lower; coming in at $181. So let’s do the math – if you go the Flying Blue route, you are getting 8.7 cents per point, whereas Delta gives a return of $5,082 – $181 = 6.1 cents per point. Not bad, but I’d still go the Air France route unless I was short on cash and flush with points.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Andrew

    Do you know if you’re allowed a stopover at a gateway in Europe before heading onto another location, such as Tel Aviv?

  • Kevin F

    Hi TPG,

    Thanks for the great blog! I was wondering if you have come across any routes with these airlines that have lower taxes, maybe something around $100-200?

    That would give people a reason to jump on this offer as well!

    Thanks and take care!

  • http://david.ulevitch.com/ Anonymous

    Too bad KLM business class is such poor shape (and there is no first as far as I know). No experience with Air France, might be better.

  • DDDD

    TPG — Does booking the AIR FRANCE routes via Delta points result in lower Delta miles required?

  • Anonymous

    Nope- this is only when redeeming Flying Blue miles

  • Anonymous

    Nice promo!

  • Anonymous

    With $800 in taxes and fees, I would consider this more of a “Cash & Points” redemption. Yeah, 50k Flying Blue miles is a pretty good deal, but they’re transferred at 1:1, unless I’m mistaken. The Delta miles on the other hand were last transferring (albeit that’s done at the moment) at 67% bonus. So yeah it would have taken 50k MR transferred to FlyingBlue to book this ticket. However, it would have taken only 60k MR transferred to Delta to book the same ticket, assuming you transferred during the 40% rebate period.

    Figuring that in, and the FlyingBlue promo is 8.7cpp, but Delta would really be 8.16cpp. And they (were/are) doing that all day long, not just on promotional routes, and with a much lower out-of-pocket cost. This is a pretty good offer, but the cash outlay is pretty frightening. I thought only Aeroplan charged taxes and fees like that (on AC metal).

    To be fair my calculations were for the region both carriers call Europe, excluding Israel.

  • Sheb77

    Booking through delta might be beneficial for the cancellation rules (for certain medallions). Do you know what air France’s cancellation policy is for reward tickets?

  • Aleph

    yes. i just booked to TLV with a stopover in paris.

  • Anonymous

    Haha, actually, based on the next post you can buy TWO round-trips in Y from NYC/BOS to TLV for the price of JUST the taxes and fees on this award, and then of course you’re earning miles…

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