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The next round of Flying Blue 50%-off Promo Awards is out, and this time, rather than just being valid for two months as usual, some of these specially priced awards are good through March 2013.
As a little refresher: Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program of SkyTeam partners Air France and KLM. Promo awards are 50% off normal award levels and run all year long, but the gateway cities generally change every two months.
What that means is that you can find award itineraries from North America to Europe and beyond for as low as 25,000 miles roundtrip in coach and 50,000 miles in business class on Air France, KLM and Air Europa. Each airline offers these discounts on different destinations and cabins.
Also remember that Flying Blue is 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 35% transfer bonus. Promo award pricing is not available on Skyteam partners. So for example, you cannot book Delta flights at these reduced levels.
The one thing to be careful of is that Flying Blue charges hefty taxes on awards – even economy tickets can incur $400-$500 in taxes, so even though you find a promo award for 25,000 miles, it still might not be worth it. Especially if you can find that same ticket for $600-$700.
The real value lies in finding promo awards on particularly expensive routes and on business class awards since you’re using a significantly smaller amount of miles and saving a lot more money on premium fares, even with steep taxes many times. 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 current promo awards seem to be staggered a bit. Some are bookable through November for travel through February, some are bookable through December for travel just through December, and a few are even bookable until the end of November for travel good through March 2013.
There are two distinct sets of information here that I want to pinpoint at good-value possibilities.
Looking at the North America section of the promo awards, it looks like most of the promo awards are for economy class, and just through December 2012 including:
KLM: Atlanta (Economy), Washington DC (Economy) to Europe 1, 2, 3
Air France: Los Angeles (Economy), Miami (Economy) New York JFK (Economy), San Francisco (Economy) and then both Toronto and Montreal in Business to Europe 1, 2, 3
So if you’re based in eastern Canada or can get to Montreal or Toronto easily, you might be able to take advantage of some really well-priced award tickets this winter.
You won’t be able to start booking any of these until October 30-December 29 for travel between November 1-December 31, so I can’t show you any actual promo award availability, but I did want to point out a couple routes to take a look at taxes and charges and give you an idea of how much these awards might cost you.
On a sample Toronto to Tel Aviv (which counts as Europe 3) in business class on Air France in November, a promo ticket would cost 50,000 miles (instead of the 100,000 listed below) and 763 EUR ($990).
That same itinerary would cost $4,723, though, so you’d be saving $3,700 and only using 50,000 miles, equating to a value of 7.5 cents per point.
From Montreal to Rome, also in November in business class on Air France, would cost 50,000 miles and 729 EUR ($945).
To buy that ticket would cost $4,228. You’d be saving $3,283 by using 50,000 Flying Blue miles with a promo award, and you’d be getting a value of over 6.5 cents per mile. Not a bad redemption (if you were actually going to shell out that much cash for business class).
Sure the cash outlay on both these is a bit high at nearly $1,000, but when you consider how much it would cost to buy a business class ticket, you are saving money in the end. You may also want to consider transferring to Delta and booking the award at the full 100,000 mile threshold- you’d be spending 50,000 more points/miles to save ~$725 in taxes/fees, or 1.45 cents per point. Not the best value per point, but an option to consider if you are low on cash.
What’s also interesting is that all European destinations are being discounted in a rolling time frame over this winter on Air France and KLM, but only by 25%, which isn’t terribly exciting.
- Booking dates: 30 October to 29 November 2012
- Travel dates: 1 November 2012 to 26 March 2013
- Blackout dates: 20 December 2012 to 13 January 2013, 15-16 and 15 February to 23 February 2013
The award levels are:
Europe 1 to Europe 1: 7,500 miles each way
Europe 1/2 to Europe 2: 9,375 miles each way
Europe 1/2/3 to Europe 3: 11,250 miles each way
If you’re wondering what counts as each Europe zone:
Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain inc. Balearic Islands, Sweden
Albania, Algeria, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzogovina, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, Poland, Romania, Western Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine.
Air Europa will feature the following promo awards bookable October 30 – November 29 for travel November 1 – December 31.
Bilbao to Europe 1, 2: 18,750 miles roundtrip (or half each way, and same for all below)
Bilbao to Europe 3: 22,500 roundtrip
Valencia to Europe 1, 2: 18,750 roundtrip
Valencia to Europe 3: 22,500 roundtrip
Personally, I’m not too excited about the 25% discount, though it might save you money on some particularly expensive routes like Amsterdam to Madrid (which can go for $500 roundtrip, and even more one-way) or to fly to the far reaches of Europe 3, which includes places like Turkey and Israel. Still, if you are thinking of redeeming Flying Blue miles this winter, it’s good to have more discount options. Just do the math and make sure a redemption makes sense for you in terms of value.