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. 25% off is more common to see.
Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of ThankYou Points, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards and Starpoints. You can get 80,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 on the Ink Business Preferred card.
These Flying Blue Promo Awards must be booked by February 28, 2017 for travel in April or May, 2017. The precise travel dates for the promotional price depend on the city the award flies to/from. This newest list is pretty strong with more US cities than usual.
Note that Flying Blue has promo awards 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?
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 bewteen “Europe” and North America is available for booking through February 28, 2016 for flights from April 1 to May 31, 2017.
Three American cities, two Canadian cities, and Cancún are on the North America list.
- Flights in April and May from San Francisco in KLM Business Class are 25% off — 46,875 miles each way
- Flights in May from Boston are 25% off Air France economy — 18,750 miles each way
- Flights in May from Detroit in Air France economy are 25% off — 18,750 miles each way.
The Promo Award prices are only good flying to 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:
- 30k United miles in economy, 57.5k United miles to fly United Business Class and 70k United miles to fly a Star Alliance partner
- 22.5k American Airlines miles in American Airlines economy (from January 10 – March 14, November 1 – December 14), and 30k American Airlines miles in economy and 57.5k American Airlines miles in Business Class on any oneworld Alliance carrier any other time of the year
- Delta doesn’t publish an award chart online, but from what I can see for travel in April/May it costs 30k Delta miles in Delta economy and 70k Delta miles in Delta One between San Francisco and Paris for example
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.
At current exchange rates, that works out to:
- a modest $108+ taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in economy
- an annoying $238 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in Premium Economy
- a more painful $389 + 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 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 economy search for two travelers from Boston to Paris. Award space is available at the Promo Award price (days that have a green banner reading Lowest fare) 19 days in May for 18,750 miles + $23.60 per person.
These Promo Awards must start in the city the discount is listed for, but they can go anywhere in Europe. 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 Detroit to Tel Aviv for two travelers in May.
I priced out a roundtrip from Detroit to Tel Aviv in economy to see the total price.
It costs 37,500 Flying Blue miles and $247.98 ($108 of which is fuel surcharges– the other $140 is unavoidable taxes).
Getting the Miles
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.
One of the easiest ways to get a ton of points transferrable to Flying Blue is via the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. You’ll earn 85,000 Ultimate Rewards after meeting the minimum spending requirement of $5,000 in three months. Read our review of the Sapphire Reserve here.
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.
Book by February 28 and fly in April or May, and you can enjoy 25% off awards from American cities to Europe, Israel, or North Africa.
Flying Blue miles are easy to come by as you can transfer them from any of the big transferable point currencies– Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, Ultimate Rewards, or SPG Points.