Book Discounted Award Tickets to Europe for the Holidays!
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
The newest Flying Blue Promo Awards from KLM and Air France are out, and you can fly to Europe for 25% to 50% fewer miles in November and December. So if you’re planning a trip for the holidays, you can book it now!
Each month, a new group of destinations goes on sale. 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 can fly between Europe and:
- Detroit in coach class for 50% fewer miles
- New York (JFK) in coach class for 25% fewer miles
- Washington, DC, in Premium Economy class for 50% fewer miles
Tickets must be booked by September 30, 2014, for travel:
- Between November 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 (for Detroit and Washington, DC)
- Between November 5, 2014 and December 18, 2014 (for New York)
Even if you don’t live near Detroit, New York, or Washington, DC, you might still be able to use these awards, because there are lots of ways to get to these cities cheaply. I’ll explain!
How Does It Work?
Link: Flying Blue Promo Awards
Each month, Flying Blue offers discounted award tickets on certain routes. Their current list includes 3 US cities, and you’ll save 25% to 50% off the number of miles for a regular award ticket. You can fly between:
- Detroit and Europe 1-way in coach class for 12,500 miles (normally 25,000 miles)
- New York and Europe 1-way in coach class for 18,750 miles (normally 25,000 miles)
- Washington, DC, and Europe 1-way in Premium Economy class for 25,000 miles (normally 50,000 miles)
You’ll pay fees and fuel surcharges which vary depending on the route. KLM and Air France fly to Amsterdam and Paris from the US, but you can connect onwards to other destinations in Europe for the same price.
Flying Blue’s definition of Europe includes destinations in North Africa, the Middle East, and near Asia. For example, Algeria, Turkey, and Lithuania are included in the sale.Although KLM and Air France are part of the SkyTeam Alliance, you use Flying Blue miles (not miles from another SkyTeam airline, like Delta or Korean Air) to book your ticket.
And if you book an award ticket, you can cancel it without penalty within 24 hours of purchase.
But after that, no changes, cancellations, or refunds are allowed. And you can NOT add a stopover, because Promo Awards HAVE to be booked online.
Is It Worth It?
12,500 miles for a 1-way ticket to Europe from the US sounds like a steal, but remember, you will pay fees and fuel surcharges. You’ll have to do the math and decide if this is a good deal for you.
Example: Detroit to Paris on Air France
You can fly in coach class from Detroit to Paris for 12,500 miles and ~$88. There are award seats available most days in November.
There are fewer dates available in December, especially around the holidays.
Returning from Paris to Detroit in November, you’ll pay 12,500 miles and ~$169. There are still award seats available on most days.
There are award seats available in the 1st 2 weeks of December almost every day, but closer to the holidays there are few seats left.
So for a round-trip coach class award ticket between Detroit and Paris, you’ll pay a total of 25,000 miles and ~$257 in taxes and fees. Although the fees sound expensive, consider that a paid Air France ticket in December for the same route costs ~$1,321.
So if you would otherwise have to pay for a ticket, this could be a very good deal for you!
Example: New York (JFK) to Amsterdam on KLM
It costs 18,750 miles and ~$88 to fly in coach class from New York (JFK) to Amsterdam on KLM. The Flying Blue sale between New York and Europe is only for travel between November 5, 2014 and December 18, 2014 (not the entire months of November and December like the other destinations).
There are award seats available for almost every eligible date in the travel period. Here’s what it looks like for November.
Here’s the calendar of available award seats for December. Remember, the sale is only good for travel until December 18, 2014, not the whole month.
Returning from Amsterdam to New York, you’ll pay 18,750 miles and ~$139. There are plenty of seats available in November.
And every day in the 1st 2 weeks of December has award seats available, too.
So a round-trip coach class ticket between New York and Amsterdam costs 37,500 miles and ~$227. This isn’t as good a deal as flying out of Detroit, because the discount is only 25%.
But it still could be a good deal for some folks, because a paid KLM coach class ticket for the same route costs ~$1,040.
I’m surprised there are so many award seats available on this route during Thanksgiving! This might be an option if you’re looking for a quick European getaway that week.
Example: Washington, DC, to Paris on Air France
To fly from Washington, DC, to Paris, it costs 25,000 miles and ~$165. That’s because the sale is for Premium Economy award seats on this route.
Most dates in November have award seats available.
December has most dates available, too.
Returning from Paris, it costs 25,000 miles and ~$246. There are a similar number of award seats available in November.
And in December, there are still award seats available every day.
In total, you’ll pay 50,000 miles and ~$411 for a round-trip Premium Economy class ticket between Washington, DC and Paris. This is still much cheaper than buying paid ticket, which costs ~$4,507.I think this is a very good deal for a Premium Economy round-trip ticket, even with the fees.
Where Else Can You Go?
What I like most about this deal is that you don’t have to end your trip in Paris or Amsterdam (the destinations served by Air France and KLM from the US). For the same number of miles, you can connect onward to other cities in Europe, near Asia, Africa, and the Middle East!
There are still lots of award seats available in November and December. A 1-way coach class ticket from Detroit to Zurich costs 12,500 miles and ~$113.
There are plenty of award seats available coming back, too.
If you’d rather escape to warmer weather, the beaches in Morocco might appeal to you. They have some of the most beautiful and interesting beaches in the world!
You’ll pay 18,750 miles 1-way plus ~$128 from New York to Casablanca. There are lots of award seats available.
Coming back, there are award seats available almost every day, too.
If you use your imagination, you can find lots of interesting and unusual destinations in Europe that might be harder to visit during the peak summer season. And you’ll pay fewer miles!
What If You’re Not in Detroit, Washington, DC, or New York?
If you don’t live near the cities included in the sale, you might consider using points (like British Airways Avios) to get there. British Airways Avios points are great for short-haul flights on American Airlines, 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, with no fuel surcharges.
Another way to get to these cities cheaply is 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.
Or you could try to find a cheap paid ticket from your home airport to 1 of the included cities. You might get lucky and find a seat sale or low fare!
How Do You Get Flying Blue Miles?
Link: Citi Prestige
You can only use Flying Blue miles to book Flying Blue Promo Awards, and 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 can be a very good deal, 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 you’re really only spending 20,000 Starwood points plus fees for a round-trip coach class ticket to Europe.Note: Starwood points can take up to 4 weeks to transfer, although in my experience it’s taken from 2 to 12 days. So keep in mind the award ticket you want might disappear while waiting for the points to transfer!
Or, 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.Note: You don’t get an extra 5,000 miles on the transfer like you would with the Starwood Preferred Guest card. However, sometimes there are balance transfer promotions between AMEX Membership Rewards and Flying Blue.
With the newest Flying Blue Promo Awards, you can fly from Detroit, New York (JFK), and Washington, DC to Europe and beyond on KLM and Air France for 25% to 50% fewer miles.
You must book by September 30, 2014, and travel between November 1, 2014, and December 31, 2014 (dates are slightly different for New York). Only award tickets booked directly through the Flying Blue Promo Award website using Flying Blue miles are eligible for the deal.
The taxes and fees for these award tickets can be expensive. But it might be worth it for you, because you’re saving so many miles. And it’s much cheaper than a paid ticket!
There are still a good number of award seats available, and you can connect to North Africa, the Middle East and near Asia for the same number of miles.
Starwood Preferred Guest points, American Express Membership Rewards points, and Citi ThankYou points transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio. And you’ll get a bonus 5,000 miles if you transfer 20,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points, which makes the deal even sweeter!
Do you have a favorite winter holiday destination to recommend?
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardAPPLY NOW
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)