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Flying Blue–the loyalty program of Air France/KLM, Air Europa, Kenya Airways, and TAROM Romanian–has released its newest Promo Awards that let you fly from select North American cities to anywhere in Europe or to Israel for as little as 12,500 miles each way with only modest fuel surcharges.
Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of ThankYou Points, Membership Rewards and Starpoints. You can get over 50,000 ThankYou Points from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card: 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening and an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember.
These Flying Blue Promo Awards must be booked in March 2015 for travel in May and June 2015. There are three Canadian cities, one American city, and Mexico City on the discounted list with discounts for economy and Business Class travel. There is also one Brazilian city on the list, which is a huge deal, since Promo Awards leaving Brazil are the only Promo Awards with no fuel surcharges.
- What cities are these Promo Awards good for? What if you don’t live in one?
- Why do you care that Rio de Janeiro is on the Promo Awards list?
- How do you book a Promo Award?
- How do these awards compare to awards with lower fuel surcharges?
- How can you eliminate the out-of-pocket cost of the award?
Flying Blue Promo Awards Explained
Every month, Flying Blue releases a new list of Promo Awards, which allow travel from specified American cities to anywhere in Europe for 25% or 50% off the normal miles price. Flying Blue’s definition of Europe includes Israel.
The current list of promo awards is available for booking through March 31, 2015 for flights from May 1 to June 30, 2015.
There are five North American cities on this list: Dallas, Edmonton, Mexico City, Montreal, and Toronto.
- Flights from Dallas in KLM Business Class are 25% off and 46,875 miles one way.
- Flights from Edmonton in KLM Business Class are 50% off and only 31,250 miles one way.
- Flights from Mexico City in Air France economy are 25% off and only 18,750 miles one way.
Dallas is an American Airlines hubs, which greatly expands the number of cities from which you can get in on the deal with Avios. For 4,500+ Avios each direction, you can get from much of the country to Dallas and from there to Europe. Unfortunately the deal out of Dallas is pretty weak after factoring in fuel surcharges, and the list in general this month is weak. That’s probably because the bookings cover part of the peak North America to Europe travel season, so Flying Blue doesn’t need to give discounts to fill seats.
Promo awards have the same out-of-pocket taxes and fuel surcharges as normal Flying Blue awards. The taxes are the same as you would pay on any award ticket. The fuel surcharges are listed on this table (click to enlarge):
From the US to Europe, the fuel surcharge each way is 50 euros in economy, 110 euros in premium economy, and 180 euros in business or first.
That works out to:
- a modest $112 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in economy
- an annoying $246 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in Premium Economy
- a punitive $403 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip Business Class awards to Europe.
To book a Flying Blue Promo Award, go to the Flying Blue Award Search and sign in or create an account. You can search with zero miles in your account, but you need to be signed into an account.
Promo awards are valid for one ways or roundtrips.
Under “Which class?”, select your cabin and leave “Show Flex options only” unchecked.
In your search results, the discounted Promo Award prices are already coded into the price displayed on the calendars, which will display the one way price.
These examples are from a previous round of Promo Awards. Everything is basically the same this time except that the euro keeps weakening making the out of pocket expense in dollars lower.
Here was a roundtrip economy class search from Detroit to Paris. The green dates are days with Promo Award space available for 12,500 miles each way. That’s basically every day in November.
Flying Blue classifies Israel as part of Europe, so the Promo Awards can fly to Tel Aviv.
Many days had multiple possible routings available at the discounted price.
I priced out an award from Detroit to Barcelona roundtrip in November. It came to 25,000 miles + $283 all in, including $132 in fuel surcharges. (This would now be only $112 in surcharges.)
I priced out the Washington DC to Paris roundtrip in Air France Premium Economy in November. It came to 50,000 miles + $433, about $300 of which is fuel surcharges.
By the way, the Air France Premium Economy product is roughly equivalent to domestic First Class on American airlines.
Triangle Trip to Brazil and Europe
In “Incredible Trick: Flying Blue Promo Awards with No Fuel Surcharges,” I explained that Brazilian law prohibits fuel surcharges on all tickets including Promo Awards.
Rio de Janeiro to Europe is on the current list with discounts for Premium Economy travel.
If a triangle trip to South America and Europe in a few months sounds amazing, this is an unbeatable deal for the hypotenuse of that triangle.
Getting the Miles
You can get over 50,000 ThankYou Points from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which has a huge sign up bonus and big category bonuses.
- Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards
- Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
- Annual Fee: $125 (fee waived for the first 12 months). On 4/19/2015, this fee will be reduced to $95 on all accounts
- Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
- Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology
Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
The drawback for the Promo Awards is the out-of-pocket cash needed to book them. You can eliminate the out-of-pocket cash needed by paying for the Promo Award with your Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®.
The Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® comes with 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3k in three months, and the Arrival miles are worth 1.14 cents toward any flight, hotel, car rental, cruise, or other travel expense.
The $250+ out of pocket for these roundtrip awards can turn into zero out of pocket by redeeming about 25,000+ Arrival miles.
Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®
Book by March 31, and fly in May or June, and you can enjoy up to 50% off awards from five North American cities to Europe or Israel. Unfortunately there is only one American city on the list, with only a 25% discount in Business Class. This is probably due to the travel period covering part of the peak season to Europe. Hopefully the next list for bookings in April is better, but we may need to wait until lists for Fall travel to come out to get the best deals.
Get Flying Blue miles by transferring points earned on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, and avoid the out of pocket expenses with Arrival miles from the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®.