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% to 30% off standard economy and Business Class award prices. That means economy for 18,750 miles each way ( + minor fuel surcharges) and 43,750 to 46,875 miles each way in Business Class ( + more expensive fuel surcharges). 

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% to 30% off still represents a decent amount of savings though.

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Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of ThankYou Points, Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards and Starpoints. You can get 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Our Review of the Sapphire Reserve Card

These Flying Blue Promo Awards must be booked by October31, 2016 for travel in December 2016 or January 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

Miles Price

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 and Morocco.

The current list of Promo Awards to North America is available for booking through October 31, 2016 for flights from December 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

There are six American cities on the list.

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  • Flights in December from Atlanta in KLM Business Class are advertised as being 25% off but are actually pricing on airfrance.com at 30% off — 43,750 miles
  • Flights from Washington D.C. in:
    • KLM Business Class are 25% off — 46,875 miles one way for travel in December
    • Air France economy are 25% off –18,750 miles one way for travel in January
  • Flights in December from Detroit in Air France Business Class are 25% off — 46,875 miles one way.
  • Flights in December and January from Chicago in KLM Business Class are 25% off —46,875 miles one way.
  • Flights in December and January from Houston in Air France Business Class are 25% off — 46,875 miles one way.
  • Flights in December and January from New York (JFK) in KLM Business Class are 25% off — 46,875 miles one 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 the short economy flight 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 December/January it costs 30k Delta miles in Delta economy and 62.5k Delta miles in Delta One

Out-of-Pocket Cash

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):

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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 $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 more painful $402 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip Business Class awards to Europe.

Booking

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.

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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.

Examples

All award space calendars are for one traveler.

Here is a one way Business Class search from New York to Paris. Award space is available at the Promo Award price (days that have a green banner reading Lowest fare) 13 days out of this five week period for 46,875 miles + $237.82.screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-8-30-34-am

Here is a one way Business Class search from Atlanta to Amsterdam. Almost every day in December has the Promo Award price (for this route, 30% off instead of 25%) of 43,750 miles + $224.75.

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Here is a one way economy class search from Washington, D.C. to Madrid. Every day in January is available at the Promo Award price of 18,750 miles + $100.15.

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These Promo Awards must start in either Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Houston, Chicago, or New York, 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 Chiago to Tel Aviv.

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I priced out a roundtrip from Washington D.C. to Madrid in economy to see the total price.

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It costs 37,500 Flying Blue miles and $243.17 ($112 of which is fuel surcharges– the other $131.17 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.

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 Sapphire Reserve card. You’ll earn 104,000 Ultimate Rewards after meeting the minimum spending requirement of $4,000 in three months. Read our review of the Sapphire Reserve here.

Bonus

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.

Bottom Line

Book by October 31 and fly in December or January, and you can enjoy 25-30% 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.

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