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On Oct. 1, AirFrance/KLM published its monthly Flying Blue Promo Rewards, which allow you to travel to certain destinations for as much as half off the usual award rates.
These discounted flights could be a great way to try an award that previously seemed a bit too pricey, but note that AirFrance/KLM adds carrier surcharges, fees and taxes to award tickets.
To take advantage of the promotional rate, awards must be booked between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31, and are valid for travel from Dec. 1, 2019 through Jan. 31, 2020. Discounts on long-haul flights range between 25% and 50%. Short-haul award tickets are marked down 20% to 40%.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of these promo redemptions to help fuel your winter wanderlust.
25% off economy and premium economy: Europe to/from North America
Thinking of heading to Europe in December or January? If you’re flying from Chicago, Washington, D.C., or Boston, you could take advantage of discounted award tickets. Although the winter can be a chilly time to be in Europe, these transatlantic awards are 25% off — a great option if the weather doesn’t deter you (or if you plan to ski).
Here are some example fares:
Chicago to/from Europe: 16,500 miles in economy or 31,875 miles in premium economy.
Boston to/from Europe: 17,250 miles in economy.
Washington, D.C., to/from Europe: 20,625 miles in economy.
For comparison, award seats in economy between the U.S. and Europe are priced at 30,000 United miles and 22,500 (off-peak) American Airlines miles.
A scan of the calendar for various locations (Chicago, Boston, Paris, London) in December and January shows decent availability for this promo, albeit with much higher (non-promo) priced awards around the holidays.
50% off premium economy: Europe to/from Madagascar
If a cold getaway isn’t your thing, AirFrance has awards in premium economy available from Europe to Madagascar (and vice versa) for 33,000 miles plus $183 in taxes. A flight from Paris to Madagascar is over 10 hours, so splurging on a premium economy award could make a lot of sense.
Madagascar is in the Southern Hemisphere, which means it will be summertime during December and January. Although December availability is limited to the early part of the month due to the holiday season, there is pretty decent availability throughout January.
For comparison: Although United doesn’t publish award prices for premium economy, we found economy awards from Europe to Madagascar priced at 30,000 miles + $59 in taxes. Although taxes are higher with AirFrance, the small incremental increase in miles and taxes for an upgraded cabin experience might be worth it for such a long flight.
25% off business class: Europe to/from China
Business class awards between Europe and Hangzhou or Chengdu, China, are discounted 25% on KLM. Surprisingly, there is availability from Amsterdam to Chengdu right around the holidays. If you’re considering going away for Christmas or New Years, a business class award is only 67,500 miles plus $192 in taxes.
In comparison, we found awards with United and American Airlines both pricing out at 75,000 miles. Taxes on United awards ranged from $32 to $49, while taxes on AA were $39.
A search of availability to Hangzhou revealed very few Flying Blue awards during December and January, so flying to/from Chengdu may be a better bet.
Earning Flying Blue Miles
Given that AirFrance is a transfer partner of all five transferrable point programs (AmEx Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Marriott Bonvoy, Citi ThankYou, Capital One Venture), collecting Flying Blue points is fairly easy.
A few things to note:
Only the Citi Premier℠ Card, Citi Prestige® Card and American Express Chairman credit cards allow ThankYou points transfers to AirFrance.
Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio (3,000 Bonvoy points = 1,000 Flying Blue miles), and with every 60,000 points transferred you will earn a 5,000-mile bonus (60,000 Bonvoy points = 25,000 Flying Blue miles)
Capital One Venture points transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio (2,000 Capital One Venture points = 1,500 FlyingBlue miles), so unless there is a promo on transfers, this isn’t the most lucrative ratio.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you 5 award sweet spots using Air France/KLM miles Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies