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Unveiling Flying Blue (Air France + KLM) Miles 101 and Best Uses

Flying Blue is an exciting program that is now transferable from Citi ThankYou points, Amex MR points, and SPG points. But little did I know just how awesome this program is. So I’m very excited for this post.

I’m very proud of this research. Not only is this a “best use” post, I created the first complete Flying Blue award chart, defined regions, discovered some odd pricings, made a list of which partners do/don’t have fuel surcharges and which partners can be booked online. In many ways, this post will be the first (that I know of) to stumble upon a lot of things.

I was a little down on Flying Blue early on because of their passing on fuel surcharges. But the reality is that they don’t pass on full fuel surcharges on all partners and there are some great cheap redemptions. In fact, some of the best redemptions to Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Tahiti and many places in the Middle East. That’s quite a list to be the best at. Oh, and it’s one of the cheapest ways to get to Tahiti from the US (60k roundtrip).

This is a gem of a program and a couple gems in this post. 😉

Also, one of the best parts of this program is the sheer availability to Europe, or anywhere. While they and Delta haven’t had as generous award programs in the past, today they are closer in price, and they don’t have super successful partners taking away all their award availability. Looking at flights to Europe on United.com can be depressing, and most of the routes I checked with FlyingBlue were wide open with daily availability.

 

How Loosely Defined Regions Work In Your Favor

One thing that is really confusing is their definition of regions. They don’t define regions well at all, and their regions aren’t intuitive. For example, Tel Aviv is considered Europe but Amman is not. This works out really well if you need a flight to Tel Aviv. Just compare…

US to Tel Aviv with different mileage programs roundtrip:

  • US Airways = 80,000 miles
  • United = 85,000 miles
  • AA = 90,000 miles

And what is Flying Blue? 50,000 miles to Tel Aviv roundtrip! Not only do they have one of the best award prices to Europe, they include a ton of stuff in Europe. Get it while it lasts, as this may be the cheapest flight to the Middle East, period.

Plus, award availability is (again) great and the fuel surcharges are actually very low, or non existent depending on who you fly. Here are daily oneway flights from NYC to Tel Aviv on Delta for 25,000 miles and $23 USD (or 18 Euro).

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 6.56.53 PM

What is North America?

Another example is the “North America” region, which excludes Hawaii and includes Alaska… Okay, I saw that coming. But it also includes “Mexico”, which is technically true, but most award charts consider Mexico as “Central America” or specifically prices it the same as Central America.

Thus, you can get a flight to Mexico for 12,500, plus the stupid Mexican taxes (which can be $100 roundtrip).

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 7.03.44 PM

That’s not too odd, but you would think Puerto Rico would be in the “Caribbean” region, and it’s not, it’s in the North American region. Thus, a trip to Puerto Rico can be 12,500 miles (instead of 17,500 miles with most airlines).

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 7.07.54 PM

And my next test, is obviously the US Virgin Islands, which are also North America. Gold.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 7.10.04 PM

Although, I should note that US to the Caribbean is only 15,000 miles each way anyways. So not only are you saving 10,000 miles roundtrip over other airlines, but you’re also saving 5,000 miles roundtrip using FlyingBlue on the rest of your Caribbean destinations.

 

The Hawaii-Caribbean Region?

Why Hawaii and the Caribbean sometimes get lumped together by foreign rewards program, I do not know, but it’s a huge gain for us. First, I must call attention to the fact that mainland US to Hawaii is only 15,000 miles each way. That’s 30,000 miles roundtrip! Compare that to other programs:

  • US Airways = 40,000 miles
  • AA = 45,000 miles
  • United = 45,00 miles
  • Air Canada = 45,000 miles

And Air France / Flying Blue is 30,000 miles! The other airlines are nearly 50% more.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 7.17.33 PM

Although, that’s not the really odd part.

What’s odd is that you can fly from Hawaii to the Caribbean for 12,500 miles each way. This obviously benefits someone in Hawaii more than us mainlanders, but it’s interesting. However, I couldn’t make it price out online, but it should be possible.

The oddness continues and despite them never explaining that Europe is actually three different regions, I’ve been able to figure most of it out. However, I’ll explain a bit more about that in a minute.

 

The Complete Flying Blue Award Chart

Unfortunately, if you go to the FlyingBlue website, there is no parnter award chart. Well, there is one award chart completely based out of Europe. So I decided to make a complete award chart by using their semi-broken calculator. Thus, a little present to the miles community.

Prices are in thousands of miles, and in roundtrip (economy on top, business on bottom):

Air France Award Chart

It’s actually slightly more complicated than it appears at first, but I want to continue with the good stuff before getting into the nitty gritty details.

But just to highlight that French Polynesia is its own region, that’s 60k roundtrip. Air France has a direct flight from LAX to PPT, and it’s some of the best availability around for Tahiti.

 

50% Award Tickets

The big noticeable thing with FlyingBlue is their “Promo Awards” list which can be found here. These are like the PointBreaks of flights (actually it’s just like Lufthansa’s Mileage Bargain) – flash sales for certain times and certain routes. It’s not always what you want but they are amazing deals for whoever does book them.

It’s all KLM and AirFrance, which means for a long haul you’ll always have a $63 fee each direction, on top of the airport taxes. Not free by any means, but still a decent deal. So you’re giving up $63 to fly on KLM/AF instead of Delta and gaining 12,500 miles, each direction.

Right now I don’t see any 50% off awards on North America to Europe, but when there are that means you can get a flight to Europe for 12,500 miles.

Still, for December and January there are flights to Chicago for 18,750 miles, instead of 25,000 miles. That’s 37,500 miles roundtrip to Europe! I see the same deal for Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami and DC.

 

Sky Team Fuel Surcharges When Using Flying Blue Miles

My main problem with Air France was that they pass on fuel surcharges, but as you’ll see in a minute, that’s not always true. And even when it is true, it isn’t always true.

The best example is pretty much any flight to/from Europe. KLM and Air France can have fuel surcharges as high as 200 Euros each direction, and the actual charged rate is 50 Euros ($63 USD). Some of the Asian airlines follow suite and charge 50 Euros when coming from Europe but then charge more from flights to the US.

I tried to base everything on long haul flights from the US. However, for airlines that don’t go to the US, I just looked at various long hauls. Prices are per direction (not roundtrip). I also included if that airline is bookable online, and most are.

Fuel Surcharges in $ Book Online?
Aeroflot 63 Yes
Aerolíneas Argentinas None ?
Aeromexico None Yes
Air Europa 190 Yes
Air France 63 Yes
Alitalia 25 – 63 Yes
China Airlines 139 Yes
China Eastern 183 Yes
China Southern 177 Yes
Czech Airlines Yes
Delta Air Lines None Yes
Garuda Indonesia 172 Yes
Kenya Airways 177 Yes
KLM 63 Yes
Korean Air None Yes
Middle East Airlines ?
Saudia None ?
TAROM None Yes
Vietnam Airlines 146 Yes
XiamenAir

Why Flying Blue isn’t great for business class

Business Class almost always has more expensive fuel surcharges. For example, KLM and Air France flights that are $63 in economy, are now $228 per direction, greatly increasing the price of a roundtrip. Plus, as you may have noticed, business awards are well over double the economy price most of the time. And, award availability isn’t too great on many business class flights. Worth looking, but still not great.

 

Definition of Award Regions

I never went over the basic definitions of a region, and I’ll just expand to what they call each region… Which isn’t always a lot of info. But since I shortened some, here are the full region names:

  • North America
  • Central America, Caribbean, Hawaii
  • Latin America 1: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela
  • Latin America 2: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay
  • Europe
  • Middle East, Central Asia, Central Russia
  • Central, East, & West Africa
  • South Africa
  • Indian Subcontinent
  • Asia 1: China, South Korea, Japan, East Russia, Mongolia
  • Asia 2: Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand
  • Oceania (my name for it, which includes all of the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand).
  • French Pacific (my name): New Calcedonia, French Polynesia

Also, it says “North America, Netherlands Antilles”, this isn’t because it’s one region, but because it’s the same price from Europe, 25,000 miles. But from the US to St. Maarten (for example) would be 15,000 miles.

 

Defining “Europe”

Now is as good of a time as any to explain the Europe award chart. The award chart and calculator officially say 25,000 miles roundtrip, and that’s just not true. It can be true, but it’s an over simplification.

First, let me split up Europe into sub-regions:

  • Western Europe
  • Central Europe
  • Scandinavia
  • Spain
  • Eastern Europe + Countries that aren’t actually Europe

To go from 1 region to another within this region has different pricings. Odd, but I’ll do my best to explain.

  • 1 region = 10,000 miles
  • 2 regions = 12,500 miles
  • Eastern Europe + Non Europe = 15,000 miles

How does this play out? For example:

1 Region: Amsterdam and London would be one  region, I’m calling Western Europe. Since it’s one region it’s 10,000 miles. Same with a flight from Italy to Romania, for whatever reason, they are considered part of the same region and are thus 10,000 miles.

2 Regions: London to Rome (Western to Central) would be two different regions and therefore would be 12,500 miles.

Eastern Europe + Non Europe: The problem is when going to/from any eastern European country, you will be the higher intra-Europe price of 15,000 miles each way. Even Romania (Western Europe for whatever reason) to Athens (Eastern Europe) is a tiny flight that is 15,000 miles.

So no matter where you are flying from, if you’re flying to Eastern Europe, or the Non-Europe countries, it prices at 15,000 miles.

Adversely, if you’re flying from anywhere not Eastern Europe and Non-Europe, to Spain or Scandinavia, it will be 12,500 miles.

I can’t say all this makes sense, but it’s how it seems to work.

 

The Extra Non-Europe Europe

So the thing that makes me think the Tel Aviv being priced at 25k is an error is the fact that the neighbors are not also priced at 25k. Oneways to Amman or Beirut are 40k. However, it doesn’t only generously add Israel to the Europe award pricing, it adds Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya… which I guess is no further from the US than Istanbul.

Canary Islands is also a part of this region, however, it’s hard to find award availability from the US. But from Spain it’s 12,500 miles, and from the rest of Europe it’s 15,000 miles. And on Air Europe via Madrid it’s very low taxes.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.20.35 PM

Again, this has to be the lowest award prices to Israel, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and the Canary Islands. 50,000 miles roundtrip is a steal!

 

What is the Middle East?

The “Stans”, Georgia, down through the Middle East, all the way to Egypt.

I feel like the rest is clear enough.

 

Flying Blue Stopover and Routing Rules

  • Stopover is allowed.
  • You can only open-jaw on the destinations and within the same award region.
  • You can’t book a stopover online.

That’s pretty boring and basic, although it never specifies the number of stopovers, just says “there may be a break in the journey (stopover)” and little else. Mostly it talks about how flights have to be direct, which isn’t remotely true.

I’m not going to claim to know all the Flying Blue routing rules, I haven’t been focusing on that much at all. In some ways they seem logical, and if the computer tries to boomarang you through some crazy region it charges for both tickets… most of the time.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 10.31.10 PM

There are odd exceptions but none so far that work in my favor. I checked Dubai to Mauritius and it routed me through France for no extra cost. Now it’s no benefit as a ticket to France would be 20,000 miles and a ticket to Mauritius would also be 20,000 miles. So in this case it’s no real trick, but it’s odd that this is one example where they don’t charge both ways.

Okay, I was going to leave this out and save it for a newsletter… but what the heck.

I discovered this today when searching for a ticket.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 11.28.04 PM

A way to get a oneway to Sydney for 30k miles instead of 50k. Let’s not use big headlines about this, but instead backlink here if we need to talk about this. 😉 Really, this is an interesting trick, and I’m sure there are more like it. Routes that would be a great price in theory, but can’t be flown. However, some I’ve tried jack up the price, and some don’t. I tried one Intra Africa flight and when it routed through Paris, it charged for the flight to Europe and back. I wonder if it was because there were often direct routes available or if the good ones are glitches?

 

Best Uses & Conclusion

We’re already over 2,000 words, so I’ll end it hear and highlight a few things.

First, some details I’ve yet to cover:

  • There are no close in fees for booking last minute.
  • Stopovers need to be booked by phone.
  • You can see the list of their non-alliance partners here, which includes Alaska.
  • To search for award availability just create an account and log in, on flyingblue.com
  • Citi ThankYou points, Amex MR points, and SPG points all transfer 1:1

Now, some best uses:

  1. US to Tel Aviv for 50,000 miles roundtrip
  2. US to Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Mexico for 25,000 miles roundtrip.
  3. US to Hawaii for 30,000 miles roundtrip.
  4. US to North Africa for 50,000 miles roundtrip.
  5. US to Peru for 35,000 miles roundtrip.
  6. US to Tahiti for 60,000 miles roundtrip.
  7. US to Sydney for 30k miles oneway.
  8. Hawaii to the Caribbean for 30,000 miles roundtrip.
  9. Promo Awards for 50% off. Like US to Europe for 25,000 miles roundtrip, or Madrid to Canary Islands for 15,000 miles roundtrip.

Wow. These are all amazing awards. Even the least ordinary on this list, US to Peru for 17,500 miles is above most, it’s even better than AA’s off-peak! Everything else is phenomenal.

This post is in my top 10 for sure. :-p

Related Posts:

73 Comments

  1. Great post if you have a lot SPG points around and you wanna fly coach. Their biz prices are criminal though… 250k to australia?

    Reply
    • Again, you can transfer from Amex and Citi as well.

      Reply
  2. Flying Blue is awesome! We got 2 x Y tickets for TNR-NBO-ACC on KQ which we will be flying soon (will be blogging it on return). Courtesy of an Amex PRG! I hope there’s a good deal on the BRG next year as I have my eye on several domestic Garuda tickets.

    Reply
    • Am definitely sold on FlyingBlue, and see the benefits of SkyTeam in places like Africa, the Caribbean and a few other hard to reach routes, like LAX – PPT.

      Reply
  3. For me, using Flying Blue would always require paying for a positioning flight somewhere, using more miles with another program, or actually finding a seat out of my airport on Delta, which will change the value proposition a lot. Great post for those who can really use the program, though.

    Reply
    • Thanks. So your saying the delta availability from where you are is lacking? Business class specifically?

      Reply
  4. Drew,

    I’ve been a silent fan of yours for a couple years. The quality/originality of the posts was always high. The only thing lacking was that you didn’t post often enough. But in the last couple months you’ve been cranking them out almost on a daily basis (and amazingly the quality hasn’t gone done). Very impressive! Keep it up! And thanks.

    Reply
    • Ditto

      Reply
    • Thanks Michael, I’m trying my best to provide good content. Very glad to hear the content is being appreciated. Also, a big thanks for reading and breaking the silence to share some encouragement!

      Reply
    • Haha, best comment ever.

      Reply
  5. Why would you think Israel is an error?
    They obviously looked at the Eurovision Song Contest and defined Europe from that.

    Reply
  6. Brilliant! I have been eyeing a trip to Tel Aviv next year. Thanks for your excellent research!

    Reply
    • Thank you for reading! Hope it lasts for ya.

      Reply
  7. Awesome post Drew!! Thanks for all your hard work :)

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading!
      Drew

      Reply
  8. This is a goldmine. Thank you for sharing! Being in the Delta’s stronghold, this open up a lot of options for me that I was unaware of.

    Reply
    • Great, glad to hear it. Even better for those with great Delta flights.

      Reply
  9. Wow. This is why I read TIF-great quality, in depth content. I’ve been waiting for someone more knowledgable to take a fresh look at the lesser known programs.

    For anyone reading this comment: send your CC signups to Drew by clicking the Best CC tab at the top/right! He doesn’t talk about it much (if at all) but I’m under the impression that he DOES get a (well deserved) commission from those links.

    Drew: my next CC signups are going to you! Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • This is not a comment paid for by me! hah.
      Thanks Brian. I appreciate your support and appreciate your reading and commenting. Very glad to have you hear. And I’ll keep trying to look under these programs. Some are duds (Air New Zealand) and some are amazing (Flying Blue). Lucky to find such a great program here!
      Thanks again Brian!
      Drew

      Reply
  10. The Sydney trick looks fantastic! I’m trying to book a flight for parents to go so I might try this one out, thanks!

    Reply
    • It seems when I enter in any trips to New Caledonia it says “No flight is available. Please, modify your travel dates or class of travel.” Even when I enter the exact date as your screen grab. I wonder how to make this magic happen!

      Reply
    • That’s odd, I just recreated the exact same thing, so I don’t know why it wouldn’t be working for you. You’re doing it on flyingblue.com I assume?

      Reply
    • Yeah nothing opens up until April 22nd so I figure maybe I just missed the boat but it does seem a bit odd you were able to recreate that date though

      Reply
  11. Awesome post! Thank you!

    Reply
    • As always, thank you dizzy.

      Reply
  12. Drew, I am in the process of signing up for cc and I want you to know that I will use TIF site from this day forward. Also, did you get the $30 UBER credit that you should have gotten from me using your link? I am new to this point and miles program and it is a lot of information. One other thing, is michael the same person (mike) that commented on your blog about your map of hotels? If so ask him to read my comment about that post. If you have ideas or information about new credit card sign up bonus. It will help me alot. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the support Janet. I believe I did. Thanks for that too. 😀
      Doubt its the same mike though.
      What kind of new credit card info are you looking for?

      Reply
  13. Drew, do they allow one ways on Garuda flights? Do they charge phone booking fees? Than you

    Reply
    • меня тоже самое интересует. думаю да. но stopover только на round trip. + garuda берет YQ.

      Reply
    • Ho domestic YQ on Garuda, intra Asian YQ are pretty low on garuda, like Euro 40/round trip, phone booking fee is $22, stopovers are only on round trips, one ways on Garuda are allowed

      Reply
    • Wait, FlyingBlue said they charge a $22 phone fee?

      And yes, the rest is correct. They allow oneways, and Garuda intra Indonesia is YQ free, and regionally its low.

      Reply
  14. Drew, this is truly incredible content! I agree with your readers, you deserve to be rewarded financially for countless hours this stuff takes. If you make a commission on Citi Thank You Premier card (and I think you do), you should mention it, since it’s a transfer partner of Flying Blue.
    There is nothing wrong with letting readers know how to support you, if they choose to do so. It appears that many don’t even know where to sign up for your links.

    Reply
    • Thank Leana for the comment and support. I definitely should have mentioned more about the credit card transfer options for the sake of the reader, however, I didn’t think my offer was the best offer and didn’t want to direct attention to it.
      Anyways, thanks for saying so, I should keep that in mind more.

      Reply
  15. One hell of a post, Drew. Hopefully your readership pays you back with cc signups — I certainly will!

    Reply
    • Thanks, glad some people appreciate this post and think its as cool as I did. 😀
      Thanks for the support and readership!
      Drew

      Reply
  16. Drew thanks for the post

    Reply
    • You bet, glad I could uncover this kind of stuff!

      Reply
  17. @travelisfree
    -so using flyingblue incurs YQ on garuda, but no YQ when using korean miles for garuda?
    -flyingblue would also be useful for the indonesia hopper since they allow one-ways?

    Reply
    • Yes, so Korean Miles would, but with the Indonesian Hopper it works because domestically there are no YQ charges. And regionally they are low.
      And… um, wow. You make a really good point. It’s exactly the same! Both have similar restrictions and policies. You could basically do the exact same thing for the exact same price.
      Great comment!

      Reply
    • awesomesauce.
      your indonesia hopper idea inspired me.. ive already made a google map of the route i intend to fly… packing my flip flops

      Reply
  18. What about around the world tickets for only 140,000 miles?? That seems like a good value too!

    Reply
    • It is actually a good price, although the disadvantage of using FB instead of AA or USA is that they do still pass on fuel surcharges with most airlines. So you might not be able to connect the entire thing as cheaply in cash. But it is a good 60k cheaper than the UA one, I think.

      Reply
  19. The problem with Flying Blue awards is the lack of award space for Delta flights, which will get worse next year with the changes to Delta’s frequent flyer program. Are there any non-Sky Team partners to work with when redeeming Flying Blue miles? Also, how many stopovers and/or open jaws are allowed on award tickets?

    Reply
    • Hmm, I found lots of award space internationally, but I was look in Economy. But to fly AF would only be $63 more and there’s great availability.
      There are partners, and I linked to them. They might have different policies but I haven’t gotten into that.

      It basically says that you are allowed a stopover, but I didn’t try adding more… So I’ll stick with one. And I think you can only open-jaw on the destination anyways.

      Reply
  20. One of the biggest drawbacks of the program is the limit of three segments per OW trip, or six segments per RT. Oh and totally incompetent agents in their north american call center.

    Reply
    • It is a french airline… jk

      Reply
  21. have been searching and need help. do you have a service that i can pay you guys to help me find tickets??

    Reply
    • I do not have any such service. But thanks for asking.

      Reply
  22. I was looking at Air France to book domestic tickets. When I open the window I am given the choice of: Economy – Premium Economy – Business – La Première. Once I add the US cities, the only class available is economy. Thoughts or advice?

    Reply
    • Exactly. No idea what that’s about. And when you use the calculator it says biz is 31.25k… which doesn’t seem right. Something is obviously broken there as it says econ is 12.5k roundtrip. Anyways, couldn’t price it out no matter how I tried. I didn’t try calling because I wasn’t getting into those details this post, but that would be the only way I’d figure how. If you do, please report back.

      Reply
  23. Do you know how flying blue compares on using miles to “upgrade”? Do they offer it, how many miles does it take? As much as my husband hates delta, they seem to be one of the few you can pay cash for a ticket and then use miles to upgrade to business. Since he flies for business, the price of the economy ticket doesn’t matter too much, but they won’t pay for him to fly business so upgrading with miles is a huge plus for him….

    Reply
  24. Drew, do you know why there’s no business award within north america? Any workarounds?

    Reply
  25. This article and the subsequent one was perfect timing as I just got a flyingblue acct earlier today for the purpose of using skymiles. So, once I identify a trip on flyingblue, how do I book? Do I call Delta w flight numbers and Delta will ticket? Something else? Thanks – this will be my first time using miles for international travel.

    Reply
    • You can book a trip with the Skymiles program using Skymiles – and you can book a trip with the Flying Blue program using the Flying Blue miles. But you can’t use Skymiles to book with the Flying Blue program. And as far as I’m aware, you cannot transfer miles between the two. If you want to be able to book using the Flying Blue program, you need to collect the miles directly with Flying Blue (or transfer in points from one of the credit card schemes mentioned in the blog post).

      Reply
  26. Great post!

    Quick question if you don’t mind:

    I’m assuming you can’t transfer and get points for Flying Blue from chase UR?

    If not, I wanna start getting points from Citi or SPG or something to be able to look into doing something like this.

    I’m going to apply again for a few cards in a couple months, what card would you recommend that would get me access to this?

    Reply
  27. if there is any award for best blogging, I would vote you at the very top, even more than “one mile at the time”. you make post reading less dried and add lots of humors into it.

    Reply
  28. Great post, thanks a lot for your work, time spent building the award chart, and thorough search. It helps me calculating the best program to redeem my miles from (FB,*A or 1W), for flights from China to Asia 1 / Asia 2 countries
    Thanks again!
    Nicolas

    Reply
  29. When I tried to price out a ticket to Hawaii in December, the classic award showed at 25,000 miles per one way. Am I doing something wrong?

    Reply
    • I figured it out, you have to fly into Honolulu for the 15,000 mile award. I wanted to fly to Kauai. Something to think about if you want to go somewhere other than Oahu.

      Reply
  30. Hey Drew,
    first, thanks for your awesome blog!
    When searching for Award space on Delta it seems that Flying Blue is adding fuel surcharges for Delta flights when originating in Europe (example Stuttgart to Atlanta on March, 1st 2016 with surcharges of €277.76, where €141.00 of that are fuel surcharges). However, on the return there seem to be no fuel surcharges. I searched for both flights as oneways… Is there any explanation for this?

    Reply
  31. The thing I hate about Flying Blue is how hard it is to get miles. Spending them is ok, but 3200 miles for Paris-Cape Town round trip?
    Paris – Toulon: 431 miles = +250 FB miles, 0,58 FB miles per actual mile
    Paris – Bucarest: 1162 miles = +287 FB miles, 0.24 FB mile/actual mile
    Amsterdam – Cape Town: 8975 miles = +1510 FB miles, 0,16 miles/actual mile

    If I was flying to CPT at the same rate I got for domestic french flights; I would get 8975*0,58 = 5205 miles. More than 10K miles on a round trip!

    I am probably an idiot.

    That being said, I flew from Paris to Moscow for $30 using my miles…Not too bad.

    Reply
    • This is what has been troubling me as well. I just flew from New Delhi to Detroit today and somehow managed to accumulate ZERO miles. I guess my sub-class on my tickets was too low.

      I’d really appreciate suggestions from anyone on what I can do to make this travel more worthwhile for my mile collecting? Should I switch to a different program or is the alternative to not find as good of a deal on these Flying Blue flights so that I’m in a higher sub-class? That feels weird. Like I said, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

      Thank you to everyone on here contributing ideas.

      Reply
  32. The Flying Blue search engine is a mess. Either it shows phantom availability or doesn’t show true availability on many routes. Pricing a flight from TLV to the US, comes up at 25,000K OW to a hub city such as IAD or JFK. However, when I add a domestic connecting flight on DL, Flying Blue is saying it costs a further 10,000 miles even though saver space on DL (N class) is available. Is that right?

    Reply
  33. THANK YOU so much for this. I have been looking all over trying to gather information about Flying Blue. This is by far the best, most informative, article I have found yet. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  34. Does flyingblue allow mixed cabin award flights?

    Reply
  35. I am having the worst time on their website trying to redeem for a short haul Delta award ticket. Either there are phantom spaces on the calendar or everything works until you try to issue the ticket and a “technical error” pops up. Flying Blue seems great until you try to spend your miles. They have a lot to learn from Star Alliance. Not impressed.

    Reply
  36. I’ve always had my eye on those Tunisia and Israel redemptions for 50k miles. I can not get anything at any time to price without a huge fuel surcharge. Maybe they upped the base surcharge since you wrote this article?

    It seems to be for most Air France and KLM. Makes the redemption much harder to justify – Almost $300 RT.

    Any insight?

    Reply
  37. It looks like SJU and STT (US Virgin Islands) are no longer priced for 12,500 miles each way. It is 15,000 miles now for Central America.

    Reply
  38. Is there any way to change date or get a refund on a PROMO award once booked ?
    Any loopholes ?
    Thank you

    Reply
  39. I’m searching for LAX-PPT route but minimum miles required to spend is 90 k OW??Any advice to reach 30 k OW??

    Reply
  40. Can anyone tell me HOW to spend Flying Blue miles on hotels? It is THE most convoluted system I’ve ever used. With others, like milage plus, there is a search for your location and presto, all their partners come up and how many points to stay. With FB, all I get is the chance to book and pay with money, not points, no matter what I do. Seems I have to become a member of all their partners in order to first find out if they have a hotel in the location I’m visiting!
    Feeling very frustrated and would love someone to tell me if they’ve done this successfully recently.

    Reply

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We have spent the majority of our marriage traveling full time, living out of hotels.   All the while, we list our expenses publicly, budgeting $25,000 a year for our nomadic life while still staying in mostly 4 or 5 star hotels across ~20 countries a year.
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