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Flying Blue May-June 2013 Promo Awards Announced – Business Class From Chicago, Montreal and JFK to Europe for 50,000 Miles Roundtrip

by on April 11, 2013 · 16 comments

in Air Europa, Air France, Flying Blue, KLM

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The next round of Flying Blue 50%-off Promo Awards is out with new awards priced out through June 30, 2013.

Fly to Europe for half the miles with Flying Blue Promo Awards.

Fly to Europe for half the miles with Flying Blue Promo Awards.

Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program of SkyTeam partners Air France, KLM and Air Europa. Promo awards are 50% off normal award levels and run all year long, but the gateway cities generally change every two months on a rolling basis, and these awards include either business class and economy awards (though there have been mostly economy awards lately).

Using Promo Awards, you can find award itineraries from North America to Europe and beyond for as low as 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 50,000 miles in business class on Air France, KLM and Air Europa. Each airline offers these discounts on different destinations and cabins. Promo award pricing is not available on Skyteam partners. So for example, you cannot book Delta flights at these reduced levels.

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 get in on a transfer bonus like the 35% transfer bonus they ran in September. Promo awards could also be a good deal if you got in on Flying Blue’s recent 40% buy miles bonus.

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 and also accrue miles (award/promo tickets do not accrue miles).

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 next round of Flying Blue Promo Awards includes flights from Chicago, Montreal and New York.

The next round of Flying Blue Promo Awards includes flights from Chicago, Montreal and New York.

The North America section of the promo awards includes three new North American gateways with discounted business class for the May-June round:

Chicago ORD to Europe 1, 2, 3 in business class for awards on KLM booked between April 29 – May 27, 2013, for flights between May 1 – June 30, 2013.

Montreal YUL to Europe 1, 2, 3 in business class for awards on Air France booked between April 29 – May 27, 2013, for flights between May 1 – June 30, 2013.

New York JFK to Europe 1, 2, 3 in business class for awards on Air Europa booked between April 29 – May 27, 2013, for flights between May 1 – June 15, 2013 (so two weeks shorter).

Here are the European zones and which countries they include:

Europe 1
Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Europe 2
Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain inc. Balearic Islands, Sweden

Europe 3
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.

So if you’re based on the east coast, you might be able to take advantage of some really well-priced award tickets this spring to some pretty far-flung places.

You won’t be able to start booking any of these until April 29, 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.

Let’s say you just wanted to take a fun long weekend in Amsterdam in May, flying from Chicago so you can take advantage of the KLM promo award from that city. A standard business class roundtrip ticket on this route in May (during the promo period) would cost you a base fare of $5,583 plus taxes and fees totaling $954 for a total ticket price of $6,537.

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 11.23.31 AM

You’d still have to pay that $954 on the promo award, but you’d be saving $5,500 and getting a per-mile value of 11.2 cents each – pretty great.

If you wanted to fly from Montreal to, let’s say Rome (remember, for the promo award, all your segments have to be on Air France), a ticket for a week in May is running at around $2,455 – a base fare of $1,492 + $963 in taxes. So you’d still be paying those taxes and fees, yielding only about 3 cents per mile in value – worse deal, but still you’re getting about a 60% discount on an already cheap business class fare.

This Air France fare is cheap as it is and since taxes are high, you might want to save your miles for something else.

This Air France fare is cheap as it is and since taxes are high, you might want to save your miles for something else.

As always, do the math and make sure a particular redemption makes sense for you – especially when there are such large taxes involved. You can definitely find some very expensive flights to redeem for that will save you a ton of money and miles. The other good thing is that when the booking period begins, at least, there is usually plenty of promo award availability, so if you’re thinking about a trip to Europe in May or June, definitely look into booking using promo awards starting April 27.

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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  • Bart

    Who in the world would buy a business class ticket from US to Europe for $6000+?

    This is a very very false and misleading statement as no one in their right mind is going to pay the full fare:

    “” You’d still have to pay that $954 on the promo award, but you’d be saving $5,500 and getting a per-mile value of 11.2 cents each – pretty great “”

  • Sam

    I’m slightly confused; did you not mention Dallas because it isn’t a new inclusion? Dallas is one of the promotion cities, correct?

  • thepointsguy

    Believe it or not, there are people who pay for business class- the airlines just don’t offer it so we can redeem for award tickets! $6k is high, but still I’m sure there are people who pay it

  • vortix

    You can also transfer SPG points into Flying Blue miles at a 1:1 ratio, or transfer in 20,000 SPG points and receive 25,000 Flying Blue miles (5k bonus). That means you can fly business class to Europe for 40K SPG points. Info taken from http://boardingarea.com/blogs/pointsmilesandmartinis/2012/12/the-20k-spg-point-one-way-business-class-to-europe-or-40k-point-round-trip/

  • Brian L.

    Yeah, but SPG points don’t transfer instantly. They can take a while to transfer, and by the time miles hit your FB account, award space may be gone.

  • wolfgang

    indeed. but it’s not people that spend $6k on a business class tix but corporations that send execs on business trips. happens in my company all the time.

  • jmw2323

    chill out Bart. feel free to think you are saving whatever you want.

    why does everyone get their panties in a bunch about how much they are getting per mile? (I get it, max it out)
    I am going to Oz this summer in F. How much am I saving per mile? I don’t care. How much would I pay if I wasn’t using miles? Zero, as no way I would be taking this trip without miles. Does this mean I am getting an infinite amount per mile? Once again, who cares.

  • Mjodotcom

    Can these be booked with skymiles THRU Delta (so long as you are flying FB metal?

  • Brian L.

    No, you have to use FB miles.

  • railingk

    The fees really undermine this. $620 + 25,000 points for an Economy seat to Amsterdam from JFK doesn’t strike me as a great deal. Which is too bad because a long weekend in Europe is one of the great pleasures of life.

  • HeraSentMe

    Well, well. Look who’s here, lashing out at somebody unhappy with the travel industry. Could it be a paid travel industry shill, using one of a potentially infinite number of online identities, to harass those who post online their dissatisfaction with said industry?

    You’d might as well burn this one, because if you don’t, I will.

  • jmw2323

    tough to go TATL on miles in Y. There are some carriers that don’t charge such high fees. However, the best bet is usually J or F. $954+50k miles is a much better deal

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