If you’re not already using Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue rewards program, you should start thinking about getting familiar with it. Flying Blue is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Starwood Preferred Guest points and offers some incredible sweet spots. Let’s take a look at some of Flying Blue’s best sweet spots.
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Flying Blue Award Rules & Search Tips
Before we go into detail about some of Flying Blue’s sweet spots, let’s first take a look at the rules that need to be followed in order to book an award with your miles.
Flying Blue allows both roundtrip and one way bookings. Booking a round trip can be an advantage because you are allowed to make one stopover on a round trip itinerary. Note, however, that mixed cabin awards are not available. If you want to fly business class on the long-haul segment of your itinerary, but only economy class is available for the short haul segment, you’ll be out of luck.
Many Flying Blue awards can be booked online, but occasionally you’ll have to call in. Flying Blue agents are generally great to deal with.
However, you do need to be somewhat careful of phantom availability when using Flying Blue’s online award search tool. From time to time, it will appear that a flight is available, but when you click through to book the award you will be notified that one of the flights you selected is no longer available. Yet, when you return to the search you will still see the same flights. If this happens to you, you may have luck calling in and booking anyway if the flight showing phantom availability is an Air France or KLM flight. If it is a partner flight that is showing phantom availability, you’re probably out of luck.
Promo Awards Offer Round Trips to Europe Starting at 25,000 Miles in Economy
Flying Blue offers Promo Awards every month from a variety of U.S. cities. These awards are bookable for the coming three months and offer 25% or 50% off economy class and business class redemptions. Valid cities change from month to month, as does the discounted rate. The best deal available is the ability to snag a round trip flight to Europe for only 25,000 miles in economy–that’s the same number of miles it generally costs for a round trip flight within the U.S. Business class awards can be a good deal, but taxes are considerably higher especially for flights departing out of Europe.
Weird Region Definitions
You can really get far with Flying Blue if you want to make use of their weird region definitions. While you might think you know which countries are in Europe, you might be surprised to see a few included on Flying Blue’s Europe list: Libya, Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and the Canary Islands. If you’re looking to travel to one of these desinations, Flying Blue offers considerable savings compared to most other airline programs that would charge 40,000 miles each way to fly between the U.S. and Israel or Northern Africa in economy. At Flying Blue’s regular pricing, you’re looking at 25,000 miles each way in economy, and these destinations are eligible for Promo Awards too, so you can see prices as low as 12,500 miles each way!
Hop Through the Pacific Islands on Aircalin
You might not be familiar with Aircalin, but that’s a good thing for award availability. They offer an extensive route network throughout some of the most beautiful islands in the world, and Aircalin flights are bookable with Flying Blue miles. Within the South Pacific, round-trip flights cost 30,000 miles in economy class. Considering that these flights are regularly over $1,000, this is an amazing use for your miles.
Fly From the Contiguous U.S. (or the Caribbean) to Hawaii
Amazingly, Flying Blue charges less miles to fly from the contiguous U.S. to Hawaii than any U.S.-based carrier. An economy class round trip award will only set you back 30,000 miles. If you book with U.S.-based carriers, you’ll spend 45,000 miles or more!
If you want to take a more extended trip or plan two vacations at the same time, you can actually save miles if you fly from the Caribbean to Hawaii. A round trip award costs only 25,000 miles in economy, even though you have to fly through the U.S. anyway. Since you’re allowed a stopover on round-trip awards, you can actually use this award to plan two trips at once. Buy a cash ticket or book a separate award to the Caribbean, book a Flying Blue award with a stopover in the U.S. on your way to Hawaii, on your return from Hawaii you’ll still be flying on your Flying Blue award back to the Caribbean (and through the U.S.).
Fly Air France First Class
If flying first class is your thing, it’s good to know that the only way to book Air France First Class is with Flying Blue miles. Unfortunately, you also need to be a KLM/Air France Flying Blue elite to be eligible to book these awards. If this is a goal you have in mind, consider flying enough to become elite and use your miles to book first class while you have status. After that, there’s no need to keep your status in the future.
Fly Through the Caribbean on Your Way to Europe
KLM and Air France offer a few different direct flights between Europe and the Caribbean, so if you’re looking for award space and willing to make a little detour, these routes are a great option. Better yet, if you book a round-trip flight you can make one stopover. Why not spend a few days in St. Martin on your way to Europe?