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How To Use FlyingBlue “Promo Awards”

First, FlyingBlue is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou, Amex, and Chase. Second, every month FlyingBlue puts out a list of discount tickets to/from Europe (or within Europe). Right now I could book a ticket for two months out, for only 18,750 miles.

Heck, I’ve seen tickets to Europe as low as 12,500 miles, or 31,250 miles in business!

This may be the single best use of Citi ThankYou points, and obviously a great use of Amex MR or Chase points… which is a lot of options for earning points via credit cards.

I want to explain what Promo Awards are, how to book them, and also give some interesting updates about intra-Europe pricing.

What are promo awards?

  • 25% to 50% off AirFrance or KLM award flights
    • Often from a specific airport to “Europe”
    • Roundtrip or Oneway
    • No mixing with partners like Delta. The airline is specified on the deal.
  • Book this calendar month. Travel is for two months away.
  • Book online!
  • Air France/KLM taxes are ~$45 – $200 each direction.

How?

  • List of Promo Awards here
  • Click to book
  • Network map here
    • click “Destinations” and uncheck “Include connects”

I suppose, the first step could be to transfer from Citi TY, Amex MR, or SPG points. But this isn’t a post about earning FlyingBlue miles, but using them.

 

Best Uses

FlyingBlue Promo Awards are specific to flights to and from Europe, or within Europe. In other words, this is a discount for routes from specific cities to anywhere in Europe. This month includes Houston to Europe for 25%, but it also includes Bangkok to Europe, and Dakar.

Sometimes the discounts are as high as 50%, and discounts are usually for either economy or business.

Obviously, the best use is if your lucky enough to be coming from a city that is getting 50%.

 

However, there are many great uses beyond Promo Awards. See, PromoAwards is only for AirFrance/KLM flights to/from Europe, when there are many interesting deals on airlines all over the world.

Make sure to read Best Use Of Flying Blue Miles.

There are lots of cool prices, like Tel Aviv is considered Europe in terms of pricing and is always 25,000 miles, and would qualify for Promo Awards’ discount to Europe.

Or Tahiti for 60,000 miles roundtrip, or Hawaii for 30,000 miles roundtrip… There are lots of good prices not related to Promo Awards.

 

But there are other reasons to not book Promo Awards, like fuel surcharges! Air France charges ~$50 in fuel surcharges to cross the Atlantic. However, you could totally avoid that by flying Delta across the pond.

Let’s say you live near Detroit, you could drive/Amtrak down to Chicago and get 25% off right now, and pay 18,750 miles to anywhere in Europe. However, you could fly out of Detroit, pay 25,000 miles, but you’d save time and $50. Not a big deal, but something to know.

 

However, right now I have something like 45,000 Citi points, and would have enough for two oneways to Europe with Promo Awards, and only one with regular prices.

And if 50% discounts happen, I’d see it hard to pass up.

Even with business class (which more commonly gets the 50% discount), their prices go from quite high to cheap with a 50% discount.

 

Intra-Europe Promo Awards

FlyingBlue does this odd thing where Europe is one region- one single region price when coming from another region, but divided into different regions on flights within Europe…

So a flight from New York to Paris is the same price as New York to Istanbul.

But the odd part is that a flight within Europe could be three different prices.

The best and most complete post (I’ve seen on the subject) is still my “Best Use Of FlyingBlue Miles”, from 2014.

Here’s a quote from that…

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 pricing. Odd, but I’ll do my best to explain.

  • 1 region = 8,500 miles*
  • 2 regions = 10,500 miles*
  • Eastern Europe / Non Europe = 12,500 miles*

*Prices have decreased since 2014.

The point there was that a flight from Eastern Europe to one of the other sub-regions is 12,500 miles.

 

What happens with Promo Awards in Europe, is that it just discounts it based on the region prices I gave above.

Right now there is a 20% discount for all flights within Europe to Toulouse, France. A ticket from Budapest to Lyon, France would be 12,500, but with this discount, it’s only 10,000.

Which is to say that when Promo Awards say something broad like Toulouse to “Europe”, they give a specific price as an example. However, that price is an example of a flight within the sub-region, but it is the percentage that is the discount.

 

Caribbean

On a totally random note, I just realized that the Caribbean is grouped into three regions as well for flights to Europe. And most of the Caribbean routes seem to be discounted right now, or in general.

St. Maarten to Europe seems to always be 20,000, and right now it’s discounted to 15,000 miles. The other direct Caribbean islands like Curacao and Aruba seem to be 25,000 to Europe, and the rest of Latin Caribbean/Central America is 30,000.

So there’s an interesting play where, for instance, let’s say you don’t live in a PromoAwards hub and would pay 25,000 miles for a oneway to Europe. You could book a flight to St. Maarten for 15,000 miles… enjoy it, and then fly to Europe for 15,000. You’ll pay $200 in fees, but only 30,000 miles to do both.

 

Conclusion

I suppose it’s likely that another blog out there has talked about the Flying Blue region for intra Europe, the price changes, and how Promo Awards are effected… I just haven’t seen those blog posts.

And while this post is about Promo Awards, I’m glad I noticed that the Europe prices changed. This could be valuable info for someone.

Although, I have to say, that I’m way more likely to use FlyingBlue miles on a long haul flight. I mean, 18,500 miles to cross the Atlantic is always a good deal, and 10,000 can be a good deal. However, Israel to Europe for 10,000 miles is a great deal – and still great at the regular price of 12,500 miles.

Finally, if a ticket really is 50% off… that is incredibly tempting. That means a roundtrip from the US is 25,000 miles in economy, or 62,500 in business class.

 

But again, the Best Use Of FlyingBlue Miles is a great original post on FlyingBlue Miles and unlike FlyingBlue’s site, it has an award chart we made for FlyingBlue miles.

 

One last note… ease of use is a big deal for me now. I’ve done one too many calls to Asia just to find out a price, and have heard of too many issues with some of the other unusual rewards programs. But FlyingBlue has their act together. You can not only search and book online, but the discounts are automatically applied.

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10 Comments

  1. FYI. Chase Ultimate Rewards are a Flying Blue transfer partner since May 2016 as well.

    Reply
    • Right. Thanks.

      Reply
  2. Very useful post! You say they have their act together, so I assume that means no more security freezes on accounts where people transfer in points to redeem travel – reports of that had prevented my participation in the program.

    Reply
    • Can’t guarantee it won’t happen. Can’t remember the last word I heard about that, but I remember on VFTW they said they were trying to fix it… so that’s good.
      But I tend to be skeptical of these epidemics. Not saying it wasn’t a huge pain for somebody, but just doesn’t deter me.
      Again, I’m not vouching for their buggy security system being fixed. IDK what the deal is. But I’m not worried about it (if it happens to me, I would be super annoyed). YMMV.

      Reply
  3. FYI, Israel to several promo Europe cities were the first routes I checked (before I even finished reading your post) because of FBs insane(ly cool) region definitions, and couldn’t find any for 10k. Maybe they all got grabbed up? Promo Europe couldn’t be different than their defined Europe zone, could it?

    Reply
    • Hmm… I assume you checked Promo Award cities to TLV in Sept?

      I don’t think would be all grabbed up, like PointBreaks. It could be that TLV isn’t “Europe” for intra-Europe Promo Awards? Seems odd.
      The odd thing is that Promo Awards works for US to TLV. Like I checked Houston to “Europe” and put in TLV and it shoed as 18k. So don’t know why it wouldn’t work… but on the other hand, don’t know why TLV would be “Europe”.

      Reply
  4. Very useful post. Great to see you back. Be very careful of transferring large number of miles to FB. They have some kind of fraud prevention system that sometimes takes ages to clear a transfer.

    Reply
  5. Problem is that the search engine wants me to fly Delta everywhere. I called in and spoke to a fellow who didn’t seem interested in helping me figure out alternate itineraries. I wanted to get business tickets to NE Asia, coming back via the EU. I did manage to wrestle a few out of him, but it was like pulling teeth with an 18″ Crescent wrench to get him to do more then the minimum.

    Reply
  6. What are the stopover rule on a round trip rewards for KLM? is stop over allowed on one way?

    Reply
  7. Drew, now that you are back responding to posts. Would you be so kind and reply to your post of January 1, 2016. “3 (Temporary) Credit Card Bonuses We Jumped On”. Many of us are waiting to hear how you evaded the 5/24 Chase rule.

    Reply

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