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 American cities to anywhere in Europe or to Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, or Algeria for 25% off standard economy and Business Class award prices. Economy is 18,750 miles each way (+ minor fuel surcharges) as opposed to the standard 25,000 miles, and 46,875 miles each way in Business Class (+ more expensive fuel surcharges) as opposed to the standard 62,500 miles.
The marketing on FlyingBlue’s website says you can get up to 50% off, but we haven’t actually seen 50% off Promo awards to the US for a while now.
Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of ThankYou Points, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards and Starpoints.
These Flying Blue Promo Awards must be booked by August 31, 2017 for travel in October or November, 2017.
Note that Flying Blue has promo award prices to other countries outside the US as well if you’re trying to put together an extended trip or around the world itinerary.
- What cities are these Promo Awards good for? What if you don’t live in one?
- How do these awards compare to awards with lower fuel surcharges?
- How do you book a Promo Award?
- How can you eliminate the out-of-pocket cost of the award?
**Note that View from the Wing, at the end of July, reported on Air France shutting down accounts of those that had transferred in bank points to their Flying Blue accounts for redemptions. This was a problem back in 2015 that appeared to have calmed down over time, but apparently it’s still happening–although I’m not sure to what extent. I personally have transferred points to Flying Blue and had no issues, but be aware you could be one of the unlucky ones.**
Flying Blue Promo Awards Explained
Every month, Flying Blue releases a new list of Promo Awards, which allow travel from from places around the globe to anywhere in Europe for 25% or 50% off the normal miles price. Flying Blue’s definition of Europe includes Israel and Morocco.
The current list of Promo Awards between “Europe” and North America is available for booking through August 31, 2017 for flights from October 1 to November 30, 2017.
Four North American cities are on the list this time.
- Flights in October and November from/to Edmonton (Alberta) in Air France Business Class are 25% off — 46,875 miles each way
- Flights in October and November from/to Vancouver (British Columbia) in Air France Business Class are 25% off — 46,875 miles each way
- Flights in October and November from/to Calgary (Alberta) in Air France Business Class are 25% off — 46,875 miles each way
- Flights in October and November from/to New York City in Air France economy are 25% off — 18,750 miles each way. Note with this promo award that you must fly into or connect at Paris Orly, not Charles de Gaulle Airport.
The Promo Award prices are only good flying to or from the cities specifically listed here. If you don’t live in one of the cities listed but want to take advantage of Flying Blue Promo awards and live pretty close to one, you could use British Airways Avios for a short economy flight on American Airlines to get there.
How do these awards compare to awards with no fuel surcharges?
None of the legacy carriers’ collect fuel surcharges on their awards, but you have to pay more in mileage. Between the United States in Europe (one way), it costs:
- 57.5k United miles to fly United Business Class and 70k United miles to fly a Star Alliance partner
- 57.5k American Airlines miles in Business Class on any oneworld carrier
- Delta doesn’t publish an award chart online, but from what I can see for travel in October and November it costs 30k Delta miles fly Delta economy between New York and Paris, and 87,500 miles to fly Delta One.
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:
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.
At current exchange rates, that works out to:
- a modest $118+ taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in economy
- an annoying $260 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in Premium Economy
- a more painful $426 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip Business Class awards to Europe.
Promo Awards are valid for one ways or roundtrips.
To book a Flying Blue Promo Award, sign in to your Flying Blue account on airfrance.com and select to use miles. Everything on the search form is pretty intuitive; just make sure you don’t check “Flights allowing changes only” because Promo Awards don’t allow changes.
Also, check the box that says “You are looking for a flight around these dates” if you want to see an award calendar for five weeks instead of just a particular day.
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.
Here is a one way Business Class search for two travelers from Calgary to Paris. Award space is available at the Promo Award price (days that have a green banner reading Lowest fare) 19 days in July for 46,875 miles + $270.67 per person.
These Promo Awards must start in the city the discount is listed for, but they can go anywhere in Europe. The one condition for the New York promo award is that you either fly into or connect at ORY airport in Paris, not CDG.
Oddly Flying Blue classifies Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and the Canary Islands as part of Europe, so Promo Awards can even fly to Tel Aviv or North Africa at Promo Award prices. Here is the award space from Calgary to Tel Aviv for two travelers the end of October through November.
I priced out a roundtrip from Vancouver to Florence in Business Class to see the total price.
It costs 93,750 Flying Blue miles and $538.75. $426 of that is out-pocket-cost is fuel surcharges–the rest is unavoidable taxes.
Getting the Miles
Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of ThankYou Points, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and Starpoints. And as usual, increments of 20k Starpoints transfer to 25k Flying Blue miles.
That means Flying Blue miles are extremely easy to accrue because those are the major transferrable point currencies. Check out our top 10 travel credit cards list (updated twice a month) if you want Flying Blue miles.
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 Arrival miles from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, which earns $560 in free travel credits after spending $3,000 in three months. Another good option to cover out-of-pocket costs on Flying Blue awards is to charge them on a premium card you get travel credits for, like the Citi Prestige or the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.
Book by August 31 and fly in October or November, and you can enjoy 25% off Business Class awards between American cities and Europe, Israel, or North Africa.
Flying Blue miles are easy to come by as you can transfer them from any major point type– Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, Ultimate Rewards, or SPG Points.