25% Amex Transfer Bonus to Flying Blue= Cheap Business Class and Delta One-way Awards
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Thru February 29, 2012 you can get a 25% bonus on American Express Membership Rewards points transferred to Flying Blue (the frequent flyer program of Air France and KLM).
The Flying Blue program isn't great normally - while they have a reasonable award chart (50,000 miles roundtrip for coach to Europe and 100,000 miles for business), their fees and fuel surcharges can easily cost more than the price of a coach ticket. Therefore, I rarely recommend booking through them - generally it makes sense to transfer to Delta, unless you need a one-way award, which Delta charges the same price as a roundtrip.
However, you can get huge value out of this special 25% transfer bonus, especially when taking advantage of:
1) Promo awards, especially in business class and to far destinations like Istanbul and Tel Aviv. Note: you need to leave from the city listed in the chart and transit via Amsterdam (KLM) or Paris (Air France). However, you don't need to end in either of those cities - you can go anywhere in Europe 1/2/3 and flying Blue classifies Tel Aviv as part of Europe 3! In the example below I was able to pull up a promo award from JFK to Istanbul one way in business class for 25,000 miles and $362. That's 20,000 Amex and $362 for a $5,000+ flight! Granted, I would never pay that much, but you still get the point.
Check out this guide for details on booking Promo Awards
2) Intra US awards on Delta has low fees. Plus you can book one-way awards for half the price of a roundtrip - Delta charges the same price as roundtrip to their own Skymiles members.
3) Delta awards to South America - low fees
If you need a Flying Blue account, you can get one here for free. AirFrance.us isn't perfect and I noticed several times that after a bunch of searches it starts to go insane and produce wacky results (kind of like delta.com). I recommend closing out of your browser and starting fresh again.
If you want to get a Membership Rewards credit card, the best offers right now are private referrals - 50,000 points for the Platinum Card after $3,000 spend in 3 months ($450 annual fee) and 25,000 for Premier Rewards Gold after $2,000 spend in 3 months ($175 annual fee, waived the first year). Email me at info @ thepointsguy.com and use subject AMEX REFERRAL if you need a referral or ask someone you know who has the card and tell them to go to Americanexpress.com/refer. If they get an error, tell them to log-out of their Amex account and try again.