European Winter Festivals & Museums for 50% Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

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Thinking of a winter vacation in Europe?  The newest Flying Blue Promo Awards from KLM and Air France are now out.  You can save 25% to 50% off the usual number of miles required to fly between Europe and certain North American destinations.

There’s a new group of destinations on sale each month.  This time, the sale includes cities in the US and Canada.

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

Enjoy a (Relatively) Warm Vacation In Madrid, Spain, This Winter for 50% Fewer Miles

If you don’t have Flying Blue miles, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood points, or Citi ThankYou points.

With the new set of Flying Blue Promo Awards, you’ll pay 25% to 50% fewer miles between Europe and:

  • Houston, Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, DC, in coach class
  • Chicago in Business Class
  • Toronto or Montreal in Business Class

There’s also a new addition to the list.  You can fly in coach or Business Class on Air Europa between Miami and Madrid for 50% off.

To get the discount, book tickets by November 30, 2014, for travel between January 12, 2015, and February 28, 2015 (Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC).  Travel from Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, and Miami is between January 1, 2015, and February 28, 2015.

If your city isn’t included this month, you can still get in on the deal.  That’s because there are lots of ways to get to these cities cheaply.  I’ll show you how!

How Does It Work?

Link:   Flying Blue Promo Awards

Link:   Flying Blue Frequent Flyer Program

Each month, Flying Blue discounts award tickets on certain routes.  There are 8 North American cities on this month’s list, and you’ll save 25% to 50% off the number of miles for a regular award ticket.  You can fly between:

  • Houston, New York, or Washington, DC, and Europe 1-way in coach class for 12,500 miles (normally 25,000 miles)
  • Los Angeles and Europe 1-way in coach class for 18,750 miles (normally 25,000 miles)
  • Chicago and Europe 1-way in Business Class for 31,250 miles (normally 62,500 miles)
  • Miami and Madrid 1-way in coach class for 12,500 miles (normally 25,00 miles) or in Business Class for 31,250 miles (normally 62,500 miles)
  • Toronto or Montreal and Europe 1-way in Business Class for 46,875 miles (normally 62,500 miles)

You will pay taxes and fees, which vary depending on the route.  KLM and Air France fly to Amsterdam and Paris from the North America, but you can connect onwards to other destinations in Europe for the same number of miles (except the Miami to Madrid deal).

Flying Blue’s definition of Europe also includes destinations in North Africa, the Middle East, and near Asia.  For example, Israel, Morocco, and Western Russia are included in the sale.

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

You’ll Save 25% to 50% Between Europe and North America (Which Apparently Includes Tahiti These Days!)

Even though KLM, Air France, and Air Europa are part of the SkyTeam Alliance, only Flying Blue miles (not miles from another SkyTeam airline, like Delta or Korean Air) can be used to book your ticket.

Award tickets can be cancelled within 24 hours of purchase without penalty.  But after that, NO changes, cancellations, or refunds are allowed.

And before you engage in mental gymnastics over how to make the most of the Tahiti discount, remember:  You can NOT add a stopover, because Promo Awards can ONLY be booked online.

Is It Worth It?

Many of this month’s destinations are 50% off, which means you can fly round-trip in coach class to Europe for only 25,000 miles.  If you don’t mind paying taxes and fees, this is a really good deal!

Flying Blue doesn’t always discount Business Class award tickets, and this month Business Class award seats are on sale from Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, and Miami.  This could be a great way to try a transatlantic Business Class flight for fewer miles!

But do the math to see if this is a good deal for you.  Depending on the destination, the taxes and fees on these tickets can be pricey!

Note:  To book these tickets, click through the Flying Blue Promo Awards website first.  You won’t see the sale if you log into your Flying Blue account through the regular website.

Example:  Miami to Madrid on Air Europa

You can fly in coach class from Miami to Madrid on Air Europa in February for 12,500 miles and ~$271.  

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

You’ll Pay 12,500 Miles and ~$271 for a Coach Class Ticket From Miami to Madrid in December

Coming back from Paris, there are slightly fewer award seats available, but the fees are similar (~$260).

So for a round-trip coach class award ticket between Miami and Madrid, you’ll pay a total of 25,000 miles and ~$531 in taxes and fees.  This is actually not that great a deal, because a paid round-trip ticket for the same route on Air Europa costs ~$848.

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

The Price of a Paid Ticket Is Not Much More Than the Taxes and Fees on an Award Ticket!

I’d rather save my miles for a more expensive ticket!  But if you need to fly this route anyway, this could be a good deal for you.

Example:   Los Angeles to Paris on Air France

You’ll pay 18,750 miles and ~$87 to fly in coach class from Los Angeles to Paris on Air France.  There are lots of award seats available.

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

It Costs 18,750 Miles and ~$87 to Fly From Los Angeles to Paris in Coach Class

Returning from Paris, there are also plenty of seats available, but the fees are ~$254.

So a round-trip coach class ticket between Los Angeles and Paris costs 37,500 miles and ~$341.  Again, while the fees seem high, if you bought a paid ticket on the same route you’d pay ~$1,410.

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

It Costs Over $1,400 to Fly Round-Trip Between Los Angeles and Paris

That’s not a bad deal for a round-trip flight to Europe, especially considering the length of the journey.

But there’s a cheaper way to fly to Europe this winter!  Between January 15, 2015, and February 28, 2015, it only costs 35,000 miles round-trip in coach class on US Airways (30,000 miles if you have the Barclays US Airways MasterCard).  That’s a much better deal. 

Where Else Can You Go?

Your trip doesn’t have to end in Paris or Amsterdam (the destinations served by Air France and KLM from the US).  You can continue to other cities in Europe, near Asia, Africa, and the Middle East for the same number of miles (except for the Air Europa deal, which is only between Miami and Madrid).

You could visit Berlin, Germany, in February and check out Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival.  And it’s a good time of year to visit all the museums the city offers.

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

Berlin Has Dozens of Museums, Including the Bode Museum, Which Features Renaissance Art

You can still get award seats to and from Berlin, for example from Houston.  You’ll pay 12,500 miles and ~$107 to get there.

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

There Are Award Seats Available Every Day in February Between Houston and Berlin

Coming back there are award seats available almost every day, too.  The fees are higher (~$199).

What If Your City Isn’t Included?

If you’re not near a city included in the sale, you could use points (like British Airways Avios) to get there.

British Airways Avios points are great for short-haul flights on American Airlines and US Airways, because you only pay 4,500 points 1-way for flights up to 649 miles, and 7,500 points for flights up to 1,149 miles.  And they don’t add fuel surcharges.

It’s even cheaper for folks with the Southwest Companion Pass.  That’s because with the Companion Pass, your companion flies with you for almost free on both paid and award tickets.

Note:   If you’re flying from Houston, Southwest flies into Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) while KLM and Air France fly out of Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).  So you’d have to change airports if you fly in on Southwest.

And in Chicago, Air France and KLM fly out of Chicago O’Hare airport (ORD) but Southwest flies out of Chicago Midway (MDW).  So you’d have to change airports there, too.

Or if there’s a seat sale, you might consider a cheap paid ticket from your home airport to an included city.  Do the math 1st to see if it’s worth it.

How Do You Get Flying Blue Miles?

Link:   American Express Starwood Preferred Guest

Link:   American Express Platinum

Link:   American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum

Link:   American Express Premier Rewards Gold

Link:   American Express EveryDay

Link:   American Express EveryDay Preferred

Link:   Citi ThankYou Premier

Link:   Citi Prestige

To book Flying Blue Promo Awards, you’ll need Flying Blue miles, NOT miles from other SkyTeam airlines (like Delta).  But if you have certain credit cards, they’re easy to get.

You could transfer points from the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.

This is a very good deal if you’re booking a coach round-trip ticket for 25,000 miles.  Because if you transfer 20,000 points, you’ll get a 5,000 point bonus for a total of 25,000 Flying Blue miles.  So essentially you’re only paying 20,000 miles for a round-trip ticket to Europe!

Note:   Starwood points can take up to 4 weeks to transfer, although in my experience it takes 2 to 12 days.  So keep in mind your exact award ticket might disappear while waiting for the points to transfer!

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

You Might Wait up to 4 Weeks for Starwood Points to Transfer

Or, if you have an American Express card that earns AMEX Membership Rewards points, like the American Express PlatinumAmerican Express Mercedes-Benz PlatinumAmerican Express Premier Rewards Gold, American Express EveryDay, or American Express EveryDay Preferred card, you can transfer your points to Flying Blue miles at a 1:1 ratio.

European Winter Festivals And Museums For 50 Fewer Miles With Flying Blue

AMEX Membership Rewards Points Transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 Ratio

Note:   You don’t get an extra 5,000 miles on the transfer like you would with the Starwood Preferred Guest card.  However, there have been transfer bonus promotions in the past between AMEX Membership Rewards and Flying Blue.

And you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Flying Blue when you have the Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige, or the no longer available Citi Chairman card.

Bottom Line

You can get to Europe for 25% to 50% fewer miles with this month’s Flying Blue Promo Awards.  This time, the cities on sale are Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, Toronto, Montreal, and Washington, DC.

Tickets must be booked by November 30, 2014, for travel between January 1 or 12, 2015 (depending on the city), and February 28, 2015.

Book directly through the Flying Blue Promo Awards website to get the discount.  You’ll still pay taxes and fees, but there are still lots of award seats available.

Remember, you can connect to North Africa, the Middle East and near Asia for the same number of miles (except for the Air Europa deal, which is only between Miami and Madrid).

You can get Flying Blue miles by transferring Starwood Preferred Guest, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.

Which European destinations interest you for a winter getaway?

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