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It’s the beginning of the month (kind of) so it’s time for another set of Flying Blue Promo Awards and, while this time around they’re about as miserly as they can be, there are still some very interesting deals to be had for travel between North America and Europe (originating for either side of the Pond).
Flying Blue has decided to only issue Promo Awards for North America, Asia/Middle East, and Europe this time around, and it’s only really the North America Promo Awards that are worth discussing from a premium cabin perspective.
Here’s what’s on offer (with the Business Class awards highlighted in red):
There are two awards that stand out from the others:
- Roundtrip Business Class between Europe and Chicago – 87,000 miles + taxes
- Roundtrip Business Class between Europe and Edmonton – 61,000 miles + taxes
As always, however, the Flying Blue Promo Awards table doesn’t tell the full story.
Promo Award pricing is based on non-stop travel to/from Paris and Amsterdam (the homes of Air France and KLM) so if you search for Business Class awards for travel between Chicago and Paris (originating in either city) you should find Promo Awards available for 87,000 miles + taxes just as the table above suggests:
However, thanks to the rather strange way Flying Blue awards are priced up, it’s actually possible to reduce the number of miles needed to travel between Chicago and Europe by flying to a different European city and simply transiting through Paris or Amsterdam
Here’s a Promo Award for travel from Chicago to London for example:
The number of miles needed for the award is now reduced to 79,500 (although because London is a high-tax destination the award surcharges increase) and it’s often possible to reproduce this lower award cost with awards to other European cities too.
The savings you can make by not terminating or originating in Amsterdam or Paris can be substantial and if you take a good look around there are some very good deals to be had.
Here’s a Business Class Promo Award for roundtrip travel between London and Calgary for just 79,500 miles…
…where the official Promo Award cost (from Paris or Amsterdam) is set at 90,750. In this example, you would be saving over 11,000 miles by not originating in Paris or Amsterdam.
Using the same strategy as outlined above is how you get the best deal I’ve managed to find in December’s Promo Awards….and it’s a very good one indeed!
If you book Business Class travel between Edmonton and Amsterdam you’ll be quoted a price that’s very close to what the Promo Award chart shows…
…but if you choose to end your journey in London the cost drops to just 53,000 miles + taxes:
The taxes may be on the high side for this award but having to use just 53,000 miles to fly roundtrip Business Class between North America and Europe is still a very, very good deal.
Things To Bear In Mind
1. The December Flying Blue Promo Awards must be booked by 31 December 2019 and they cover travel between 1 February and 31 March 2020.
2. Don’t view these Promo Awards as just a means to get to one specific city look at them as a way of getting from one region to another. It may well be cheaper to book a low mileage Promo Award to a random city in Europe (for example) and then take a low-cost flight to wherever it is you really want to go than it is to book a Promo Award to the city you intend to visit.
3. Don’t forget to consider what aircraft are being offered on the routes you’re considering. Some Air France/KLM aircraft offer considerably better Business Class cabins than others so choosing the right flights (where there’s more than one option) could be key to you having the best experience – check the seat maps of the flights you’re considering and try to book yourself on to aircraft with 1-2-1 Business Class seating configurations….like this one:
4. As you’re going to have to pay surcharges when you book these awards make sure you maximize your earnings by using a credit card that will either earn you a lot of points in a valuable currency (e.g. the Platinum Card® from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card) or use a card that earns you a good rate of cashback.
5. If you’re based in the US and you’re short of miles don’t forget that you can transfer points to Flying Blue from all three major credit card currencies
As I always say, if you see something that interests you, I suggest booking sooner rather than later as I expect availability to dwindle quickly…especially on routes to the more popular destinations.