Flying Blue–the loyalty program of Air France/KLM, Air Europa, Kenya Airways, and TAROM–has released its newest Promo Awards that let you fly from select US cities to anywhere in Europe for as little as 12,500 miles each way with only modest fuel surcharges.

Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of Membership Rewards and Starpoints.

These Promo Awards must be booked in June 2014 for August and September 2014 travel. You can fly from Houston to anywhere in Europe for only 25k Membership Rewards or 20k Starpoints + $264 out of pocket.

  • What cities are these Promo Awards good for?
  • How do you book a Promo Award?
  • How do these awards compare to awards with lower fuel surcharges?
  • What Promo Award route can you fly without fuel surcharges?
  • How can you eliminate the out of pocket cost of the award?

Flying Blue Promo Awards Explained

Miles Price

Every two months, 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.

The current list of promo awards is available for booking through June 30, 2014 for flights between from August 1 to September 30, 2014.

There are only two discounted cities on this list, probably because it covers peak travel times.

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Flights from Houston in economy are 50% off and only 25,000 miles roundtrip to anywhere in Europe. Flights from Boston are 25% off and only 37,500 miles roundtrip to anywhere in Europe.

These are the exact same cities as last Promo Awards list with their discount percentage flipped. Perhaps Air France and KLM are having trouble with these routes.

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:

For 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 $137 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip awards to Europe in economy, but a punitive $488 + taxes out of pocket on roundtrip business class awards to Europe.

Booking

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.

Everything on the form is standard except selecting the number of passengers. You have to manually add each additional passenger by age in the “Who’s going?” section.

In “Where to?”, you can select one-way or return. The promo awards are valid one way or roundtrip.

In “When?”, leave “My dates are flexible” checked to get a helpful calendar.

In “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.

Example from Houston to Paris

Here was a roundtrip economy class search from Houston to Paris. The green dates are days with Promo Award space available for 12,500 miles each way.

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The return is nearly as good.

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As you can see, the Promo Award space is excellent, even for an ideal Friday-to-Sunday trip, though the out-of-pocket cost of $264 roundtrip is not.

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Using a Promo Award, the roundtrip cost between Houston and Paris this summer is 25,000 Flying Blue miles + $264.

About half of that is fuel surcharges.

You can save a little bit of money by flying out of a lower aviation-tax country like Spain, but you’ll save less than $100.

How Good of a Deal are Promo Awards?

For peak summer travel, Promo Awards are an incredible deal. Let’s compare Houston to Paris for 25,000 Flying Blue miles + $264 to other options:

  • You could book an award with connecting flights for 60k United miles + $150 on Lufthansa planes.
  • You could book an award with connecting flights for 60k American Airlines miles + $150 on American and airberlin planes.
  • You could pay $1,000++ for the flights.

Of these three options, the Flying Blue Promo Award is clearly the best deal even with $264 out of pocket.

Getting the Miles

Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of Membership Rewards and Starpoints. And as usual, increments of 20k Starpoints transfer to 25k Flying Blue miles.

You can get the Starpoints from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express with 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $5k in six months.

You can get Membership Rewards from several cards. My favorite personal card is The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz with 50k bonus Membership Rewards after spending $3k in three months. The card has a $475 annual fee that is totally worth paying.

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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 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 $264 out of pocket for the roundtrip award from Boston to Paris could turn into zero out of pocket by redeeming about 26,400 Arrival miles.

Application Link: Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Double Bonus

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.

Brasilia to Europe is on the list for 20k/40k/50k miles each way in economy/Premium Economy/business with no fuel surcharges.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 2.07.23 AMIf you want a triangle trip to South America and Europe this summer, this is an unbeatable deal for the hypotenuse of that triangle.

Recap

Book by June 30 and fly in August or September, and you can enjoy half price awards from Houston or Brasilia to all of Europe with Flying Blue miles.

Roundtrip economy awards are only 25k miles + $138 + taxes.

Get Flying Blue miles by transferring points earned on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express or American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card and avoid the out of pocket expenses with Arrival miles from the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®.

 

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