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Every two months Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program of Air France and KLM, announces a list of cities that only require 50% of the normal miles. For example, US to Europe flights in coach are normally 50,000 miles, but promo awards are only 25,000 miles roundtrip. Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express and there’s currently a 25% transfer bonus until February 29, 2012, so you can get roundtrips to Europe for 20,000 Amex points in economy or 40,000 points in business class.
So what’s the catch? Flying Blue has steep fuel surcharges on their award tickets, so that 20,000 point roundtrip ticket to Europe can have over $900 in fees! Yikes. I priced out a coach award from Atlanta to Paris on Air France and fees were $615. Atlanta to Amsterdam on KLM came to $898! However, 40,000 American Express points and $898 for a roundtrip business class award to Europe (including Tel Aviv) is still a pretty good deal – especially if you were going to pay for business class.
Note: You cannot book these awards using Delta miles. There is no way around these fees and Delta flights are not eligible, so you need to start in one of these cities and take the Air France/KLM flight transatlantic to get the discounted award price.
The March/April awards will be bookable starting February 28, 2012 and will be good for travel March 1 – April 30, 2012. Target cities: KLM awards to Europe via Amsterdam from Chicago and Atlanta. Air France awards via Paris from Houston and Toronto.
Check out this post for more information on booking promo awards. They aren’t for everyone, but can be a huge value – especially for last minute travel, which is when Flying Blue opens up a ton of award space.