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Flying Blue is the mileage program of SkyTeam partners Air France, KLM and Air Europa. The program regularly offers Promo Awards where you can book award flights for as little as 50% of the miles normally needed. Starting in March, the program will start releasing a new set of Promo Awards on the first of every month (instead of every two months as it used to do).
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. Whereas in the past flights have been priced at 50% of the miles, now some are only discounted 25%. Coupled with the recent Flying Blue award chart devaluation, don’t plan on saving too many miles on those routes. This time around, there are only 3 US gateways: Dallas (KLM), Miami (Air France) and Washington DC (Air France) – and the promo awards are only 25% off economy redemptions from them so that roundtrips will cost you 37,500 miles.
That’s still nearly 40% fewer miles than SkyTeam partner Delta would charge you for the same awards, so it’s a significant discount and unlike Delta awards (for now) you can book Flying Blue awards one way, giving you extra flexibility.
You have to book between March 1-31 for travel dates between May 1-June 30, so it’s just a two-month window, but might be a good chance to get a jump on your summer travel plans. Looks like there is still plenty of availability as well – take a look at the sample Washington IAD to Paris CDG award calendars.
Outbound in May:
Just note that taxes/fees on the outbound are about $90, and about $180 on the return, so you’re looking at $270 roundtrip. That’s quite a bit on an award ticket (though not to Europe these days, unfortunately!), but the lowest economy tickets I could find on Air France around the same dates are about $1,210.
So you’re saving over $900 and getting about 2.5 cents per point in value. My two big disappointments are that there aren’t more gateway cities from North America this time around – though hopefully we’ll see more next month and if Flying Blue rotates these out each month maybe that will mean more cities overall – and that the current awards are just for economy tickets instead of business class redemptions we’ve seen in the past. Also – how about some more enticing 50% off tickets, Flying Blue!
One are where these could also be especially, however, is if you’re already in Europe and want to score some discounted awards flying within Europe. All the European promo awards are for 25% off economy tickets (with three exceptions below at 50%) and the gateways are:
- Amsterdam (Air France)
- Bremen (KLM)
- Hamburg (KLM)
- Helsinki (KLM)
- St. Petersburg (KLM)
- Madrid to Rome, Tenerife Norte and Tenerife Sur (Air Europa)
- Marseille-Marrakech (Air France)
- Paris Orly to Bordeaux and Montpellier (Air France)
- Toulouse-Tunis (Air France)
So you can score awards from Amsterdam to the rest of Europe for 7,500 miles each way, for instance (though taxes and fees are about $60-$70 each way), and Europe includes destinations like Turkey and Israel, so you could fly roundtrip Amsterdam to Istanbul for as little as 7,500 miles each way (and $85 in taxes/fees).
Also keep in mind that Flying Blue is also an instant 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, so if you have a card like the Premier Rewards Gold or Platinum, this promo could be a good value for using those Amex points especially if they run another 35% transfer bonus like they ran last May.
You could also transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points to Flying Blue, and get a 5,000-mile bonus on transfers of 20,000 miles. The current sign-up bonus on both the personal and business Starwood Preferred Guest cards from Amex are 25,000 points when you spend $5,000 in 6 months.