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Are you hoping to beat the winter blahs by treating yourself to a European getaway?
If you don’t have Flying Blue miles, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood points, or Citi ThankYou points.
There are only 3 North American destinations included this month – Chicago, New York, and Toronto.
With the newest Flying Blue Promo Awards, you’ll pay 50% fewer miles between Europe and:
- Chicago in coach class
- New York or Toronto in Premium Economy Class
To get the discount, book tickets by December 31, 2014, for travel between February 1, 2015, and March 31, 2015.
Even if you don’t live in Chicago, New York, or Toronto, there are lots of ways to get to these cities cheaply. I’ll explain!
How Does It Work?
Link: Flying Blue Promo Awards
Flying Blue discounts award tickets on certain routes every month. This time, you can fly between:
- Chicago and Europe 1-way in coach class for 12,500 miles (normally 25,000 miles)
- New York or Toronto and Europe 1-way in Premium Economy Class for 25,000 miles (normally 50,000 miles)
You’ll still have to pay taxes and fees, which vary depending on the route. KLM and Air France fly non-stop to Amsterdam and Paris from the North America, but you can connect onwards to other destinations in Europe for the same number of miles.
Flying Blue’s definition of Europe also includes destinations in North Africa, the Middle East, and near Asia. For example, Israel, Tunisia, and Morocco are included in the sale.
Award tickets can be cancelled within 24 hours of purchase without penalty. But after that, NO changes, cancellations, or refunds are allowed. You can NOT add a stopover, because Promo Awards can ONLY be booked online.
Is It Worth It?
All 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, or in Premium Economy Class for 50,000 miles.
If you don’t mind paying taxes and fees, you’ll save a lot of miles!
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: Chicago to Amsterdam on KLM
You can fly in coach class from Chicago to Amsterdam on KLM for 12,500 miles and ~$85. There are still a good number of seats available.
Coming back from Amsterdam, there are a similar number of award seats available, but the fees are higher (~$135).
So for a round-trip coach class award ticket between Chicago and Amsterdam, you’ll pay a total of 25,000 miles and ~$220 in taxes and fees. To compare, a paid ticket on the same route costs ~$928.
Example: New York to Paris on Air France
You’ll pay 25,000 miles and ~$160 to fly in Premium Economy Class from New York to Paris on Air France. There are award seats available every day.
Returning from Paris, there are also seats available every day, but the fees are ~$238.
So a round-trip Premium Economy Class ticket between New York and Paris costs 50,000 miles and ~$398. If you bought a paid ticket on the same route you’d pay ~$1,468.
That’s not a bad deal for a more comfortable round-trip flight to Europe.
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!
In March, why not fly to Dublin for the St. Patrick’s Festival, which runs from March 14, 2014, to March 17, 2014. There are parades, live music, and of course, beer!
There are still a few award seats to and from Dublin, for example from Toronto. You’ll pay 25,000 miles and ~$210 to get there in Premium Economy Class.
Coming back there are a similar number of award seats available. The fees are slightly lower (~$190).
What If Your City Isn’t Included?
If you’re not near Chicago, New York, or Toronto, you could use points (like British Airways Avios) to get there.
I like using British Airways Avios points 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, yet! And if you fly Southwest to Chicago, keep in mind that they use Chicago Midway (MDW) airport, while KLM and Air France fly out of Chicago O’Hare airport (ORD). So you’d have to change airports.
If there’s a seat sale, you might consider a cheap paid ticket from your home airport to 1 of these cities, but do the math 1st to see if it’s worth it.
How Do You Get Flying Blue Miles?
Link: Citi Prestige Card
To book these tickets, you have to use Flying Blue miles, NOT miles from other SkyTeam airlines (like Delta). But they’re easy to get if you have certain credit cards.
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. When you transfer 20,000 points, you’ll get a 5,000 point bonus for a total of 25,000 Flying Blue miles.
So really 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!
If you have an American Express card that earns AMEX Membership Rewards points, like the American Express Platinum, American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, 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.
You can get to Europe and beyond for 50% fewer miles with this month’s Flying Blue Promo Awards. This time, the cities on sale are Chicago, New York, and Toronto.
Book your ticket by December 31, 2014, for travel between February 1, 2015, and March 31, 2015.
Go through the Flying Blue Promo Awards website to get the discount. And check the taxes and fees before you buy, because some destinations are expensive.
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.
Do you have any ideas for a European getaway?