Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program of SkyTeam partners Air France and KLM, runs 50% off promo awards all year long, but changes the gateway city pairings every two months. That 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 on Air France, KLM and Air Europe – each of which have different cities and cabins they discount.
Flying Blue is also an instant 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, so this promo could be a great value for using those Amex points (especially if you got in on their recent 25% transfer bonus).
The one caveat: Flying Blue charges hefty taxes on awards. For instance, even though you book a coach roundtrip award ticket for 25,000 miles, the taxes on it could be in the $450 range, meaning that if you can buy that same ticket for $650, it’s probably not worth spending $200 less and using 25,000 Amex points since it’s less than a cent per point in value – plus you don’t earn miles on award tickets.
However, in my opinion the real value lies in finding those particularly expensive routes and scoring business class awards. Different carriers have different fuel surcharges to different cities (for example, flying into Paris and London will always be more expensive than just transiting through them), so below I list several examples which I pulled directly from airfrance.us, so price out your flight before you hop on this promotion.
The May/June promo awards can be booked now through June 28, 2012, for travel between now and June 30, 2012. The great thing is that you can go anywhere in Europe and Flying Blue classifies Tel Aviv as part of Europe, so huge value can be had with Israel awards especially, though you’ll have to connect via Amsterdam or Paris. Promo award pricing is not available on Skyteam partners. So for example, you cannot book Delta flights at these reduced levels.
North American origination cities and classes of service eligible for the discount:
KLM: Montreal (Business), Vancouver (Business), Dallas (Economy and Business)
Air France: Orlando (Economy), Washington (Economy), Boston (Economy), San Francisco (Economy)
Air Europa: New York (Economy and Business)- note there is an error on the chart- it states that roundtrip business class is only 29,000 miles, but it’s actually 50,000- I checked.
*Note: Voyageur Elite just means a coach award inventory subset that is only available to Flying Blue elites- it is not Premium Economy, which is their Premium Voyaeguer Product
To check award availability, create a Flying Blue account and then once you are logged in click the Flying Blue -> Flying Blue -> Book flight with Miles
Example 1) KLM Montreal to Tel Aviv roundtrip in business class: 50,000 miles and $878
Example 2) Dallas to Amsterdam roundtrip in coach: 25,000 miles and $589
Example 3) Dallas to Budapest roundtrip in Business: 50,000 miles and $931
Example 4) Orlando to Paris roundtrip in Economy: 25,000 miles and $616
Example 5) Washington, DC to Istanbul in Economy: 25,000 miles and $409
Example 6) Boston to Rome in Economy: 25,000 miles and $643
Example 7) San Francsisco to Athens roundtrip in Economy: 25,000 miles and $678
Example 8 ) JFK to Madrid roundtrip in Business: 50,000 miles and $876, but there is availability on nearly every day of the month! I flew this route last summer and it’s not a fancy business class experience, but it gets the job done.
Example 9) JFK to Madrid roundtrip in Economy: 25,000 miles and $546