Citi ThankYou Points now transfer 1:1 to AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue miles.
This is huge news because:
- Flying Blue Promo Awards to Europe cost only 12,500 miles each way
- Flying Blue miles can book one way awards on Delta flights, with no fuel surcharges
- Flying Blue miles can book award flights on any of the 20 SkyTeam member airlines, a few with no fuel surcharges
- Flying Blue charges only 15,000 miles each way between the continental United States and Hawaii
You can transfer Citi ThankYou Points at a 1:1 ratio to nine airlines across all three alliances plus Hilton points. Singapore KrisFlyer miles are still my favorite transfer partner, and Flying Blue miles are now my second favorite transfer partner.
Right now the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is offering 40,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
- What airlines can you book with Flying Blue miles?
- What are the best value awards with Flying Blue miles?
- How can you book Flying Blue awards?
What Airlines Can You Book?
Flying Blue miles can book any of the 20 SkyTeam member airlines:
- Delta Airlines
- Aeroflot (Russia)
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air Europa (Spain)
- Air France
- China Airlines (Taiwan)
- China Eastern Airlines
- China Southern Airlines
- Czech Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- Kenya Airways
- KLM (Netherlands)
- Korean Air
- Middle East Airlines (Lebanon)
- TAROM (Romania)
- Vietnam Airlines
- Xiamen Airlines (China)
1. 12,500 Miles Each Way to Europe (Promo Awards)
Every month, Flying Blue releases a set of cities from which you can book discounted awards to Europe.
Right now you can book economy awards to anywhere in Europe from Washington DC, Chicago, or Houston for 12,500 miles each way.
These awards do have small fuel surcharges, so that the total cost of a roundtrip award ticket is 25,000 Flying Blue miles + $260 or so, depending on your exact destination.
2. One way awards on Delta, including 15,000 miles to Hawaii and 25,000 miles to Israel.
Delta miles cannot book one way awards on Delta flights for half the roundtrip award price (until 2015), but Flying Blue miles can.
Many Flying Blue awards have fuel surcharges, but Delta flights booked with Flying Blue miles do not have fuel surcharges.
Flying Blue charges only 15,000 miles each way in economy + $5.60 in taxes between the continental United States and Hawaii.
That is the second cheapest award to Hawaii behind the 12,500 Avios that you’d pay for a direct flight from the western US to Hawaii, and it is the cheapest award from the Midwest or east coast to Hawaii.
Flying Blue charges only 25,000 miles each way from the United States to Israel. The direct Delta flight has only $23 in taxes.
Awards with connections in Europe have slightly higher taxes and include small fuel surcharges for segments on European carriers.
The same flight that costs 25,000 Flying Blue miles costs 85,000 Delta miles, since Israel is in the Middle East region, and Delta doesn’t do one way award pricing.
Less exotic, but very useful, is the ability to book one way awards on domestic Delta flights for only 12,500 Flying Blue miles + $5.60. Here’s an example of two such flights from Los Angeles to Tampa.
Delta would charge 25,000 miles for the one way award.
The flights cost $220, so you are getting about 1.8 cents per ThankYou Point on the redemption.
3. Booking Other Partners That Don’t Include Fuel Surcharges
Besides Delta, you can book the following airlines without fuel surcharges.
- Aerolineas Argentinas (Miami to Buenos Aires, intra-Argentina)
- AeroMexico (serves several US destinations and has great connections throughout Central and South America)
- Any flight departing Brazil on any airline
If you want to head to Central or South America, these airlines have great award space. Flying Blue charges only 25,000 miles each way to Southern South America, which is a great price.
Booking Flying Blue Awards
First, sign up for Flying Blue. It’s free.
Most Flying Blue awards can be booked online. Sign into your account, and the “Award ticket reservation” link appears on the home screen.
The search screen is intuitive. Never ask to be shown Flex options, which are the expensive awards most airlines call Standard awards as opposed to the Classic (“Saver”) awards we want.
The search results calendar highlights days with the cheapest mileage awards in green. Taxes/fuel surcharges are listed below the miles price, so you can see which days have award space on surcharge-free partners.
If you can’t book a Flying Blue award online, you can call 800-375-8723. All major partners are bookable online, except Korean Airlines. Any Korean Airlines award space you see on delta.com should be bookable by calling Flying Blue.
Keep in Mind
“You can book award tickets between 10 months and 3 hours prior to departure for short and medium-haul flights, and between 10 months and 24 hours prior to departure for long-haul flights. ” I don’t see short, medium, and long haul defined.
Here’s a chart of the change/cancellation fees and rules.
We only book Promo Awards and Classic Awards. Promo Awards cannot be modified or cancelled. Classic awards have a very low 45 euro change or cancellation fee.
Citi ThankYou Points added a ninth airline transfer partner: Air France/KLM Flying Blue. Flying Blue miles have several strategic uses.
They are excellent to book Promo Awards to Europe for 12,500 miles + ~$100 one way.
They are excellent for booking one way Delta awards, which never include fuel surcharges. You pay only 12,500 miles within the continental United States, 15,000 miles to Hawaii, and 25,000 miles to Israel.
Finally Flying Blue miles are great for trips to Latin America since you can book AeroMexico and Aerolineas Argentinas flights without fuel surcharges.
You can get over 40,000 ThankYou Points from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which has a huge sign up bonus and big category bonuses.