Air France KLM’s Flying Blue program should be interesting to U.S. frequent flyers for several reasons.
- They offer one-way awards
- They are an American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Thank You points, and a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.
- They have far more award space on their own flights than Delta has access to.
- They have most of their partners available for online booking
Unfortunately their call centers are frustrating, their website can be too (and has been known to show ‘phantom’ award availability, seats that look available but aren’t really here to book). And they add fuel surcharges onto award tickets.
One of the great values, historically, has been their ‘promo awards’ — a rotating set of cities for discounted travel. You can fly from any featured city through Paris (if Air France) or Amsterdam (if KLM) to anywhere in Europe for fewer miles.
A few things have made these awards less valuable than they used to be, though.
- The award chart got more expensive.
- Promo awards used to be uniformly half off, they’re frequently now 25% off. Raise prices, then discount them a little bit, and you’re really looking at ‘regular price’
- Promo awards tend to be available for fewer destinations, at least for business class.
Indeed, the new promo awards list is out for August bookings and travel in October and November.
They advertise up to 50% off, but routes between North America and Europe are usually only 25% off.
The only North American city on sale in July is New York JFK – Paris Orly (so excluding Air France’s De Gaulle flights). Disappointing…