PROMO AWARDS ARE UP: Discounted Business/Coach Redemptions for Fall Travel to Europe

Air France KLM’s Flying Blue program should be interesting to U.S. frequent flyers for several reasons.

  1. They offer one-way awards
  2. They are an American Express Membership Rewards, Citi Thank You points, and a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.
  3. They have far more award space on their own flights than Delta has access to.
  4. 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.

  1. The award chart got more expensive.
  2. 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’
  3. Promo awards tend to be available for fewer destinations, at least for business class.

The new promo awards list is out for September bookings and travel in November and December.

They advertise up to 50% off, but routes between North America and Europe are usually only 25% off.

I like best here New York to Europe via Paris Orly in business class and Vancouver to Europe on KLM in November or Air France in November and December.

Vancouver availability is great, and in my opinion a good enough value to make the trip from the Pacific Northwest worthwhile.


Vancouver – Paris, 2 passengers business class

And note that ‘Europe’ is really broad, even including Israel! Less than 50,000 in business between the US and Israel is a steal.

Of course there are awards between Europe and other cities and regions. Intra-Europe flights are on offer as low as 6800 miles each way in economy. And that’s including specific cities to and from Tel Aviv.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Stop yelling at me with your capital letters. Especially for something as trivial as discounted flights from Calgary to Europe

  2. @Gary – I think maybe helpful to include average cash taxes someone taking advantage of these promo awards would have to fork up. Air France I believe levies $250-$300 one-way business per person.

  3. @Niraj
    No guessing necessary. There are examples in the graphic posted which show fees of around $250.

  4. I’m creating FlyingBlue account, and their password is a 4-digit PIN. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

  5. @Gary, your prior post says that award holds are allowed. Is that over the phone? I don’t see this option on the website.

  6. @James K – as a first class idiot, you probably don’t realize that no one makes you read this blog. If you get this easily disturbed, I hope to hell you don’t have a wife or children.

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