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Thinking of an early spring getaway to Paris, Amsterdam, or beyond?
If you don’t have Flying Blue miles, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood, or Citi ThankYou points.
There are 4 North American cities included this month – Atlanta, Houston, Montreal, and Toronto.
And there are ways to get to these departure cities cheaply. I’ll explain!
What’s the Deal?
With the newest Flying Blue Promo Awards, you’ll pay fewer miles between Europe and:
- Atlanta in Premium Economy class – 50% off
- Houston in coach class – 25% off
- Toronto or Montreal in Business Class – 50% off
To get the discount, book tickets by January 31, 2015, for travel between March 1, 2015, and April 30, 2015.
How Does It Work?
Link: Flying Blue Promo Awards
Flying Blue offers cheap award tickets on certain routes each month. This time, you can fly between:
- Atlanta and Europe 1-way in Premium Economy for 25,000 miles (normally 50,000 miles)
- Houston and Europe 1-way in coach class for 18,750 miles (normally 25,000 miles)
- Toronto or Montreal and Europe 1-way in Business Class for 31,250 miles (normally 62,500 miles)
There’s no discount on the taxes and fees, which vary depending on the route.
KLM and Air France fly non-stop to Amsterdam and Paris from the North America. That’s perfect for seeing the 75,000 tulips in Amsterdam’s Keukenhof flower show. You’ll see why it’s called the Garden of Europe!
And you can connect onwards to other destinations in Europe, plus certain cities in North Africa, the Middle East, and near Asia, for the same number of miles.
Note: Award tickets can be cancelled within 24 hours of purchase without penalty. But after that, NO changes, cancellations, or refunds are allowed.
And you can NOT add a stopover, because Promo Awards can ONLY be booked online.
Is It Worth It?
If you don’t mind paying taxes and fees, you’ll save a lot of miles with Flying Blue Promo Awards. And this month, Business Class tickets are included (50% discount from Toronto and Montreal) which isn’t always the case.
As always, do the math to see if this is a good deal for you. Some destinations have higher taxes and fees.
Note: To get the discount, click through the Flying Blue Promo Awards website first. If you log into your Flying Blue account through the regular website, you won’t see the sale.
Example: Atlanta to Paris on Air France
You can fly in Premium Economy class from Atlanta to Paris on Air France for 25,000 miles and ~$160. There are seats available every day (but the discount isn’t showing yet, because you can’t book until January 1, 2015).
Coming back from Paris, there are a similar number of award seats available, but the fees are higher (~$238).
So for a round-trip Premium Economy class award ticket between Atlanta and Paris, you’ll pay a total of 50,000 miles and ~$398 in taxes and fees. To compare, a paid ticket on the same route costs ~$1,768.
So even though you’re paying almost $400 in taxes and fees, you’re still saving money compared to a paid ticket. And 50,000 miles round-trip is a great deal for a more comfortable journey to Europe and back!
Where Else Can You Go?
You can continue to other cities in Europe, near Asia, Africa, and the Middle East for the same number of miles. So you don’t have to end your journey in Amsterdam or Paris!
If you’re a music lover, maybe you’d enjoy a trip to Austria for the Snowbombing festival, a week of live music, DJs, parties, and alpine sports. It’s been dubbed “The Greatest Show on Snow,” and runs from April 6 to April 11, 2015.
I checked for award seats to Vienna, for example from Houston. You’ll pay 18,750 miles and ~$104 to ~$110 to get there in coach class (the discount isn’t updated yet). And there are plenty of seats available.
Coming back there are slightly fewer award seats available. The fees are higher (~$192).
What If Your City Isn’t Included?
If you’re not near Atlanta, Houston, Montreal, or Toronto, 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 it only costs 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: Southwest does NOT fly to Canada. And if you fly Southwest to Houston, keep in mind that they use Houston Hobby (HOU) airport, while KLM and Air France fly out of George Bush Intercontinental airport (IAH). So you’d have to change airports.
If you can find a seat sale, you might consider a cheap paid ticket from your home airport to 1 of these cities, but do the math 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 Card
- Link: Citi Prestige Card
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 ticket for 25,000 miles. When you transfer 20,000 points, you’ll get a 5,000 point bonus for a total of 25,000 Flying Blue miles.
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!
If you have an American Express card that earns AMEX Membership Rewards points, like the American Express Platinum, American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum, American 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.
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.
Note: Occasionally there are transfer bonuses between American Express Membership Rewards and Flying Blue.
You can get to Europe and beyond for 25% to 50% fewer miles with this month’s Flying Blue Promo Awards. This time, the cities on sale are Atlanta, Houston, Montreal, and Toronto.
Book your ticket by January 31, 2015, for travel between March 1, 2015, and April 30, 2015.
To get the discount, book through the Flying Blue Promo Awards website. And remember, some destinations have expensive taxes and fees.
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 sound good for a spring getaway?
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