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Flying Blue, the mileage program of SkyTeam partners Air France, KLM and Air Europa, offers Promo Awards each month, through which you can book award flights for as little as 50% of the miles normally needed on certain routes and in specific cabins. While these awards used to be released every two months, Flying Blue now updates them each month instead. The list of awards you can book between August 1-31 for travel October 1-November 30 is now up on the Promo Awards page, though you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to start booking them.
The current list includes:
- Chicago to Europe on KLM: 50% off economy class – 12,500 miles each way, 25,000 miles roundtrip, travel dates November 1-30
- Houston to Europe on Air France: 50% off economy class – 12,500 miles each way, 25,000 miles roundtrip, travel dates October 1-November 30
- Washington DC to Europe on Air France and KLM: 50% off economy class – 12,500 miles each way, 25,000 miles roundtrip, travel dates October 1-November 30
- Cancun to Europe on Air France: 50% off premium economy – 25,000 miles each way, 50,000 miles roundtrip, travel dates October 1-November 30
And in case you missed them, the September/October awards, which are still bookable until the end of today (though I’m finding little to no availability left at this point) are:
- Dallas to Europe on KLM: 50% off economy class – 12,500 miles each way, 25,000 miles roundtrip, travel dates September 1-October 31
- Montreal to Europe on KLM: 50% off business class – 31,250 miles each way, 62,500 miles roundtrip, travel dates September 1-October 31
- Mexico to Europe on Air France: 50% off economy – 18,750 miles each way, 37,500 miles roundtrip, travel dates September 1-October 31
While this round of awards isn’t as exciting as the summer awards, which included 50% off business class from several cities in the US, there are still some savings to be had here, and at least all the awards listed are 50% off instead of the 25% discount that Flying Blue offered on many Promo Awards for the first half of 2014.
If you’re thinking of fall travel to Europe and can get to the gateway cities, it’s worth looking into these Promo Awards since, at least when they first open up, availability tends to be pretty good, and you can score award tickets for half of what SkyTeam partner Delta would charge you for the same awards, despite last year’s Flying Blue award chart devaluation. Plus, Flying Blue lets you book one-way awards, which Delta does not. Note (and this question comes up every time I post about this topic), you cannot use Delta miles for these awards. Likewise, you cannot use Flying Blue miles at these rates to book awards on Delta.
Before you go booking tons of awards, remember that Flying Blue levies fuel surcharges, though they are now less than before on economy and premium economy tickets. I cannot show you Promo Award availability on the new routes just yet, but so you can get an idea of what those costs look like, on a roundtrip economy ticket from Dallas to Amsterdam on KLM in October, you’re looking at about $233 in fuel surcharges and taxes:
Subtracting the taxes and fuel surcharges, you’d still be getting a value of about $1,069 for the 25,000 miles needed for the roundtrip Promo Award. That’s a pretty good value of 4.28 cents per miles.
Also keep in mind that you don’t have to fly just to Paris or Amsterdam to maximize these awards. They are for travel to/from Europe, so you can continue on to any number of destinations. In Flying Blue’s terms, the Europe region encompasses a couple dozen countries, including some that are not traditionally classified there. Here’s how Flying Blue classifies Europe:
- 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.
Within Europe, the following cities are also offering discounted awards, so if you already have your transatlantic ticket booked but are searching for ways to get around the region, these could be useful to keep in mind:
- Billund on Air France 25% off
- Edinburgh on Air France 25% off
- Istanbul on Air France 25% off
- Moscow on KLM 25% off
- Sofia on Air France 25% off
- Marseille-Istanbul on Air France 50% off
- Nice-Strasbourg on Air France 50% off
- Montpellier-Paris Orly on Air France 50% off
- Toulouse-Lyon on Air France 50% off
- Madrid-Alicante on Air Europa 25% off
- Palma-Alicante 25% off
Stocking up on Flying Blue Miles
If you don’t have enough Flying Blue miles (or any at all), there are a few ways you can stock up on them relatively quickly. The program is an instant 1:1 transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, the program of cards like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold and Platinum.
Flying Blue is also a 1:1 transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest, and you get a 5,000-mile bonus on transfers of 20,000 points. So at the Promo Awards rate, you could book a roundtrip economy award ticket to Europe for just 20,000 SPG points. Just note that transfers can take a few days. The current sign-up bonus on both the personal and business Starwood Preferred Guest cards from American Express are 25,000 points when you spend $5,000 in 6 months. So even if you never fly Air France/KLM, or if you bank your SkyTeam miles elsewhere, there are still plenty of options to top up your account quickly using points you might already have.
Do you plan to book any of these awards? Let us know your thoughts and plans in the comments below! Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.