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Using Amex Points to Book My First FlyingBlue Promo Award

by on November 5, 2011 · 28 comments

in Air France, American Express

Just thought I’d chime in and share my experience booking my first ever Flying Blue Promo Award. I frequently write about Flying Blue (Air France/KLM’s frequent flyer program) and their bi-monthly 50% off Promo Awards. In general, Flying Blue charges high fees, but these promo awards may make sense since the number of miles required is low. For example, you only need 25,000 miles for one way business class awards from North America to Europe, which is the redemption I just made.

I needed to get from Madrid to Miami on a specific date in December (not flexible). American/Iberia/British Airways was showing nothing for award availability, so I begrudgingly loaded up ExpertFlyer.com and checked for Air Europa availability – and lo and behold there were two classic business class awards. Granted -  I flew them recently and didn’t have the best experience, though my memory is short when I’m in a jam and don’t want to fly coach.

Through airfrance.us I pulled up my date for MAD-MIA and the Air Europa classic award that I saw on ExpertFlyer showed up for only 25,000 miles one way. Score. The fees came to $259, which wasn’t necessarily cheap, but sure beat paying $3,000! Even coach seats were over $900 one-way, so no matter how I sliced it I felt like I got a good deal. I instantly transferred 25,000 Amex to my Flying Blue account (I had to log out of my FlyingBlue and back in to see the updated balance) and there were no excise fees to transfer since FlyingBlue is a foreign frequent flyer program. When all was said and done, I got the ticket booked within 10 minutes from initially finding the award availability on ExpertFlyer.

So there you have it – these awards do not require any time on the phone and even thought he fees are high, they can be very lucrative – especially for business class awards. And stay tuned for round two Air Europa trip report – I hope it’s much better this time around!

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Maury

    And how much is it for coach?

  • Anonymous

    It would be 12,500 each way and probably similar taxes

  • Carberrie

    Do you need to have expert flyer to find awards using Flying Blue miles, or can you just search Flying Blue’s website or call them? I am sure I read in a prior post about how to search for SkyTeam awards, so I apologize in advance for not remembering…

  • Anonymous

    Airfrance.us will show you, though its sometimes buggy so I like to use ExpertFlyer (which is almost never wrong) and then exactly target what I found on airfrance.us

  • Ch

    Wow! I just booked 40k AA coach miles +$90 taxes for Europe. I’d use 10k more miles + an additional $150 for biz class all day long…

  • Benthelefty

    so just double the miles for biz, but at such a low redemption level a steal!

  • Benthelefty

    Any more details on this? Did you use aa.com and use for biz or coach and upgrade?

  • Vishal

    Can you use Air France to fly to India?

  • Amitdelia

    Can you add any stopovers or additional legs on these low level redemptions // thanks

  • Cg

    Yes used AA.com and we’re just flying coach (I know that isn’t popular around these parts so let me explain: we are two people [partner and i] earning points/ miles for four people [one year old twins]. Twins are going on our laps [yes I admit it's crazy but we're trying to save miles since we will soon be redeeming for four.] Doesn’t make sense for us to fly biz bc we’d pay 10% of biz fare.

    Long story short, while our situation is a little different right now, this option makes a TON more sense than flying AA coach. At least if you don’t have a toddler on your lap :)

  • akace

    im not on expertflyer yet, but does it show the price in miles or just award availability? thanks

  • Anonymous

    It just shows how many classic award seats are available- which are the promo award seats of you book during applicable months

  • emily

    Do you have any idea why the fees were so cheap? I’m always tempted by the promo offers but whenever I look the fees come to over $500 for coach, and even more for business. I could nearly buy a ticket using my Amex Platinum points for that and earn miles on the trip. I’ve looked at a few different European cities..could it be because I’m flying out of Chicago? What am i doing wrong here?

  • Anonymous

    Air Europa has lower fees. These generally don’t make sense for coach… but can definitely be worth it for business class

  • emily

    When I go to AirEuropa and go to book an award flight, it still takes me to the KLM site, where I only see Delta operated flights which are non-Promo but have low(ish) fees and KLM operated flights which are Promo but have ridiculous fees. Where do I find Air Europa ones? Sorry, I feel stupid, thanks for your help :)

  • Anonymous

    Book at airfrance.us. The only Air Europa promo awards for Nov/Dec are on the Miami route. Any classic award will be 25k roundtrip for coach and 50k roundtrip business

  • Anonymous

    yes… stopovers allowed

  • Anonymous

    No- promo awards are only from Europe to one region- either India or US. You’d have to combine two promo awards US to Europe and then Europe to India (if they were both applicable)

  • Ozaer N.

    Brian..that is excellent news as I pondered joining AF’s FF program….Do you recommend just joining it anyways even if I dont have travel plans soon, or should I join it if I do have plans to travel to Europe?

  • M124

    Just a small tip for those who do not have experflyer and who are not afraid of the French language: airfrance.fr as opposed to airfrance.us also displays the number of seats available for each flight option. The interface is basically the same as airfrance.us with the relevant menu options in the same places and the same login information too.

  • Bohemiana

    I just signed up for Flying Blue and tested a few dates coach from Nov-Jan from LAX to CDG and everything is a minimum of 25k points one way, 50k RT. BUT I checked from ORD and there were lots of 12.5k awards. And from SEA there were 15,750 awards. That’s interesting that Flying Blue charges different amounts from different cities–I’ve never seen AA do that.

  • Anonymous

    That’s the concept behind the promo awards- every two months they discount awards from different cities

  • Anonymous

    From the award chart it looks like you booked the AA off-peak round trip to Europe right? Then it wouldn’t be an extra $150 in fees, it would be an extra $400 in fees per person. Brian’s award is one-way. The taxes are double for a return trip, I believe. The only way these make sense is one-way imo.

  • Kakakhel

    How do you find what cities are on sale every 2 months?

  • Anonymous

    I blog about each new promo- see the linked post in the beginning of this post

  • raygine

    is the promo still on? can I transfer my amex points fo 50% more?

  • Anonymous

    Anyone:

    My Amex PRG 75K + spend-to-trigger-bonus points will soon be available.
    I want to spend it all on a single 2 or 3 stop roundtrip.
    This FlyingBluePromo seems like best “getting the most” way.
    Is 50% off bi-monthly promo only Europe? What about Asia?
    Is Tel Aviv the only “non-Europe” treated as Europe?
    My destination choices are non-specific, they only need be
    (a) moderate temperature, daytime highs over ~65F under ~90F
    (b) mild preference for economically developing destinations
    e.g., right now, Brazil, China, Singapore, etc.
    (c) safe to walk around, taking photos

    FlyingBlue website doesn’t seem to let one pick dates
    & search ALL possible destinations for 50% off offer…?

  • Rlew

    Do I have to use air France points for these promotions or can I book them using Delta points?

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