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I’m a big fan of the transferable currencies various credit cards offer and a major reason why I love collecting these currencies is that they help me get outsize value when I use them for premium cabin travel.
Right now Citi is offering a 25% bonus when you transfer its ThankYou points over to the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program and this represents a very good opportunity to book some great Business Class cabins for comparatively few points.
Ordinarily, Citi ThankYou points convert over to Flying Blue miles in a ratio of 1:1 but, until 20 July 2019, this increases by 25%:
There are two issues with Flying Blue that you need to know about:
- Flying Blue uses dynamic award pricing so the cost of an award is linked to the cost of the airfare for the same seat on the same date – this leads to some pretty ludicrous award costs at times when fares are very high.
- Flying Blue adds surcharges to its award and, although these aren’t generally as heinous as the changes we see from the likes of BA or Virgin Atlantic, they’re still incredibly annoying.
However, despite those two issues, there’s still great value to be had here as you can find one-way Business Class fares between the US and Europe starting as low as 53,000 miles (there may even be some lower cost Business Class awards out there that I haven’t found).
To make sure you end up with 53,000 Flying Blue miles in your account you’ll need to convert 42,400 ThankYou points during the promotion period.
As I value ThankYou points at 1.5 cents each that makes the cost of one of these awards $636 + taxes/fees (or $885.25 total)…and that’s not bad going.
There are two things to notice here.
Firstly, this is for travel from the West Coast so I haven’t cherry-picked a short route just to find a low-cost award and, secondly, you may need to be creative with your choice of European destination.
If you search for non-stop fares to cities like Paris and Amsterdam (big Flying Blue hubs) or fares to cities like London (major business and tourist destinations) you may not find the cheapest deals…but if you’re happy to connect elsewhere into Europe (like into secondary cities like Rome) you may find you have a lot more dates to choose from and cheaper awards you can book.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that we’re only 6 – 7 days away from the next set of Flying Blue Promo awards being announced so, if Flying Blue is generous enough to publish some good North America awards, there’s a good chance that Business Class fares to Europe may cost even less.
In my experience, Citi ThankYou transfers to FlyingBlue are pretty much instant (not something I can say about a lot of other transfers from Citi) so there’s no big hurry to transfer any points here.
This promotion runs through 20 July 2019 which should give you plenty of time to carry out a thorough award search as well as time to check out the Flying Blue awards that will be out at the beginning of July.
Don’t forget to account for any taxes you’ll have to pay and make sure you compare the cost of any awards you want to book to the cash cost of the same fare – that’s the only way to really know just how good or bad of a deal you’re getting.