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As part of the first semi-meaningful Promo Awards that we have seen in over 18 months, Flying Blue (the Air France/KLM rewards program) says that it’s currently offering 25% off award bookings to/from Miami. If you stack this with a current Amex promotion, 88,000 Membership Reward points (possibly less) combined with the taxes and fees that Flying Blue charges, will be enough to book a roundtrip Business Class fare between Miami and a number of cities in Europe.
The key to booking roundtrip travel between Miami and Europe for no more than 88,000 points + taxes/fees is stacking these two deals:
Amex Flying Blue transfer bonus
American Express is now offering a 25% bonus for points transfers made to Flying Blue.
Earning the 25% bonus is simple – you just have to transfer across a minimum of 1,000 Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue by 30 November 2021 and Amex will add on the 25% bonus automatically.
Flying Blue Miami offer
Flying Blue is running a new set of Promo Offers and for the first time since the pandemic started, it’s offering a discount on Business Class awards to/from the United States. Specifically, awards to/from Miami are reduced by 25%.
The problem is that at the time of writing, there doesn’t appear to be any discounted award availability in the system. The cheapest awards are pricing up at 55,000 miles (one-way) and that’s the standard cost of Flying Blue’s cheapest Business Class redemptions.
Hopefully Flying Blue will sort this issue out asap but in the meantime, I’ve done the math based on Business Class awards costing 55,000 miles each way so if/when the discounted awards finally appear, the deals will be even better than what I discuss below.
Key Promo Rewards Terms
- Promo reward tickets must be booked via www.airfrance.com or www.klm.com (except for bookings for minors travelling alone or when travelling with an infant under the age of 2, in these cases bookings must be made by calling customer service).
- Promo reward tickets can be changed free of charge until further notice in view of coronavirus situation.
- Promo reward tickets can’t be cancelled or refunded.
- Promo reward tickets are available for one-way and round-trip tickets paid with Miles (Promo reward tickets are not available for purchase with Miles & Cash).
- Promo reward tickets for long haul-flights depart from or arrive in Europe, as defined by IATA as the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Austria, Balearic Islands, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, West Russia.
Note: Due to COVID-19, Flying Blue has an updated rebooking policy for Promo rewards, which you should read (here) before making any bookings.
Stack the promotions
The biggest issue with Flying Blue is that the program loves to add surcharges to award bookings which can make them uneconomical. You almost always need to use a promotion to get good or outsized value from Flying Blue miles and that’s why no one should ever be making speculative transfers of a flexible currency (like Membership Rewards points) across to Flying Blue.
Right now, the two promotions mentioned above offer flyers an opportunity to book some good value Business Class awards to Europe.
Flying Blue is currently pricing up Business Class award bookings between Miami and Europe from 55,000 miles one-way and the 25% transfer bonus that Amex is offering means that 55,000 Flying Blue Miles can be generated from just 44,000 Membership Rewards Points.
On its own, that would be a fantastic deal for Business Class travel across the Atlantic but we still have to take into account the surcharges that get added to the awards.
On one-way bookings from Miami, the surcharges to a lot of European destinations cost between around $250 – $285.
44,000 Membership Rewards points will generate the 55,000 Miles needed to book one of these one-way awards so as I value Membership Rewards at 1.5 cents each (based on the value that I can get out of them with ease), that would see these one-way Business Class awards costing between $910 and $945 ($660 + taxes and fees).
That’s hardly spectacular, but it’s certainly a lot cheaper than most one-way cash fares that you’re likely to find.
For roundtrip travel, you need to be a little careful with your chosen destination.
For most European destinations you should find that the taxes and fees for roundtrip travel will come in at somewhere between $535 and $570…
…which will see roundtrip awards costing between $1,855 and $1,890 (88,000 Membership Rewards points valued at $1,320 + taxes/fees) if you value Membership Rewards at 1.5 cents each.
Again, those are not exactly fantastically low prices to pay but given that US – Europe roundtrip Business Class fares usually cost well over $2,000, they can still represent a good saving.
If, however, you choose a destination that charges high departure taxes, the value proposition looks noticeably worse.
With taxes and fees on a roundtrip Business Class award between Miami and London, for example, coming in at over $800, the effective cost of the award goes above $2,100. That’s not a ‘deal’ that’s going to get many people excited.
If you absolutely have to travel on dates where cash fares are very high and this award booking is available, you’ve got lucky and you’ll be able to save a bit of cash. Most of the time, however, this is a booking to avoid.
Whether or not Flying Blue gets around to actually offering discounted Business Class awards from Miami and what value you place on Membership Rewards Points will both end up dictating how good or bad you think this opportunity is, so different people will view this opportunity in different ways. At my valuation of Membership Rewards points, there’s definitely value to be had with the one-way awards (even if the award cost doesn’t fall below 55,000 miles) and there can be value to be had out of the roundtrip awards if you avoid the higher tax destinations like London. YMMV as they say.