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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has always been a high-value way to compliment your stash of traditional airline miles. But it got even more valuable with the recent announcement that it was joining the ranks of credit cards that offered rewards that could be transferred to airline miles. And for a limited time, new applicants can earn 75,000 Capital One miles after spending $5,000 within three months of account opening.

In today’s post, I want to show you the best ways to redeem your 75,000 Capital One miles with Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program for Air France, KLM and several other carriers.

How transfers to Flying Blue work

The Capital One Venture Rewards card offers double miles on all purchases, and your miles can still be redeemed for one cent each as statement credits towards any airfare, hotel or rental car purchase. But now, you have the option to transfer those rewards to 12 different frequent flyer programs, including Flying Blue. For most programs, the transfer ratio is 2:1.5, meaning that for every two Capital One miles you transfer, you’ll receive 1.5 airline miles.

So if you transfer your 75,000 Capital One miles,  you can receive 56,250 Flying Blue miles. However, you will also have spent $5,000 to get the bonus, and earned another 10,000 Capital One miles. So at a minimum, you could have 63,750 Flying Blue miles to play with.

About Flying Blue

First, Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program of not only Air France and KLM, but also the following airlines:

  • Joon. An Air France subsidiary based in Paris.
  • HOP!. which is a regional subsidiary of Air France that has hubs in Lyon and Paris-Orly.
  • Kenya Airways, the fourth largest carrier in Africa and a member of SkyTeam.
  • Air Europa, a Spanish carrier that offers service to New York and Miami, as well as seasonal service to Las Vegas. Air Europa is a SkyTeam carrier.
  • TAROM, Romania’s flag carrier and also part of the SkyTeam alliance.
  • Aircalin, a small airline based in New Caledonia, which is a French territory in the South Pacific.

Flying Blue is a part of the SkyTeam alliance, which includes 16 additional carriers such as Delta, Aeroflot, AeroMexico, Korean Air and China Airlines.  Finally, the Flying Blue program also partners with the following non-alliance carriers:

  • Air Corsica, a small carrier that operates service to the Mediterranean island of Corsica.
  • Air Mauritius, an international carrier based in Mauritius, which is an island in the Southern Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar.
  • AIRCALIN, a small New-Zealand based carrier
  • Bangkok Airways, which serves several cities in Asia.
  • Chalair Aviation, a regional carrier based in Caen France.
  • Copa Airlines of Panama, which is a member of the Star Alliance.
  • GOL of Brazil.
  • Japan Airlines
  • Jet Airways of India.
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines, national carrier of Lebanon.
  • TAAG, which accepts Flying Blue miles for flights between Paris and Luanda Angola.
  • Transavia, which offers charter service, and books awards by phone only.
  • TwinJet, which is a French regional carrier based in Marseille.
  • Ukraine International Airlines, which serves Europe, Asia, and even New York-JFK.
  • WestJet, a discount carrier from Canada.
  • WiJet, a private business jet operation.

Flying Blue used to have a relatively simple award chart, until it made large changes to its program earlier this year. Gone are award charts, but at least they offer some consistency in their award pricing. Furthermore, there are still some excellent values to be realized from this program, especially if you have 56,000 to 63,000 miles to play with from your new Capital One Venture Rewards card. According to TPG’s latest monthly valuations, Flying Blue points are worth 1.2 cents each, which makes your 56,250 Flying Blue miles worth $675 and 63,750 Flying Blue miles worth $765. But with some creativity, you can find some even more valuable ways to use these miles.

Here are some of the best ways to spend those miles:

25,000 miles from New York to Tel Aviv is a steal when most frequent flyer programs charge 40,000 or more.

1. A round-trip flight to Israel. Flying Blue’s old award chart was unique in that it included Israel within it’s zone for Europe. Thankfully, that system seems to have carried over to the new program, which prices out economy flights from New York to Tel Aviv from 50,000 miles, round-trip, with modest taxes and fuel surcharges of approximately $100 each way. Unfortunately, prices go up as your departure point moves south or west, but they can still be reasonable, such as 52,000 miles from Washington Dulles or 58,000 from Chicago O’Hare.  For more information about exploiting similar geographic loopholes, read my post on Using Airline Geography to Find Award Chart Sweet Spots.

27,000 miles from LAX to Paris is also a great deal, especially considering the excellent award availability with sufficient advanced notice.

2. Round trip flights to Europe. Even from as far as the west coast, Flying Blue has great availability for flights to Europe, with plenty of award space between LA and Paris for just 54,000 miles round-trip. And oddly, flights beyond their hubs in Paris and Amsterdam often cost less, such as LA to Rome from 21,500 miles. For more information, read Richard Kerr’s post on The Illogical New Flying Blue Program, Explained in Screenshots.

Flying Blue Promo awards can be one of best award travel deals of any airline.
Flying Blue Promo awards can be one of best award travel deals of any airline.

3. Two Promo Rewards tickets to Europe. Flying Blue offers regular award sales from select cities called Promo Rewards. For example, currently featured cities include Boston, Washington-Dulles, Houston-Bush, Chicago-O’Hare and Seattle. With these offers, you can find economy class flights to Europe for as little as 21,600 miles round-trip, which could potentially mean two round-trip tickets to Europe. For more information, read JT Genter’s  Deal Alert: Award Flights to Europe From 21,600 Miles Round-Trip.

4. Flights to South America. Flying Blue is partnered with  Delta, COPA, Aerolineas Argentina and the Brazilian carrier GOL, giving you extensive options for flights to South America. Flights to destinations like Buenos Aires, Argentina and Sao Paulo Brazil are just 58,000 miles round-trip.

5. Take a side trip from Paris to Reunion or Mauritius. While a somewhat longer side-trip than Versailles, these two exotic islands in the Indian Ocean are easily accessible from Paris using Flying Blue miles. That’s because Air France flies to the French territory of Reunion  and is also partnered with Air Mauritius. Round-trip flights from Paris start at 62,000 miles.

Flying Blue miles can be used to book the Air France flight from LAX to Tahiti.

6. Visit Tahiti. Have you ever just felt like getting away from it all, like Guaguin? For as little as 59,000 Flying Blue miles, you can buy round-trip ticket for the eight-hour flight on Air France from Los Angeles to Tahiti.

What are best options you’ve found for spending Flying Blue miles?

 

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