From Promo Awards to just flat out great award rates, Flying Blue is an intriguing program that can help you book some great flights. A go-to option for booking award tickets with miles between the US and Europe, Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue program has some sweet spots you won’t want to miss.
While the program has made some annoying changes since 2018, that fact hasn’t changed. It just takes knowing the best ways to book and a few little tricks to make the most of your miles.
Now, let’s have some fun!
How To Earn Flying Blue Miles
You won’t have any trouble earning Flying Blue miles as it has partnered with all 4 transferable points programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points. You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points or earn Flying Blue miles directly with its co-branded card issued by Bank of America.
Each bank program transfers to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio and offer several credit cards that can help you earn miles quickly. Some of our favorites include:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
- American Express Gold Card (Learn More)
- American Express Business Gold Card (Learn More)
- Capital One Venture (Learn More)
- Capital One Spark Miles (Learn More)
- Citi Prestige (Learn More)
- Citi Premier (Learn More)
In the UK, you can get Flying Blue miles by transferring Membership Rewards points to your account.
Capital One Transfer Bonus To Flying Blue (June 2019)
If you have Capital One miles, now is a great time to use them for Flying Blue award ticket. Through June 30 at 11:59pm ET, you’ll get a 20% bonus on your transfers which bumps the standard 2:1.5 ratio to 2:1.8. So, for every 2,000 Capital One miles you transfer, you’ll get 1,800 Flying Blue miles.
Citi ThankYou Points Transfer Bonus To Flying Blue
Citi has joined the transfer bonus party. You can transfer ThankYou Points with a 25% bonus through July 20, 2019 at 11:59 pm ET. For every 1,000 Citi points you transfer, you’ll receive 1,250 Flying Blue miles.
Flying Blue Promo Awards
Without a doubt, Promo Awards are our favorite ways to use Flying Blue miles. I mean, who wouldn’t want to use fewer miles for the same flight? Exactly, no one. Every month, Flying Blue releases a new batch of Promo Awards which allow you to use 25-50% fewer miles on Air France and KLM flights. Sometimes, you’ll even see 50% off business class awards between the US and Europe.
If you’re clever, you won’t book a non-stop between the US and Amsterdam or Paris — the home airports of KLM and Air France, respectively. The Flying Blue award rates to these cities are actually higher than many other European cities.
With a 25% off a one-way business class award ticket from the US to cities such as Budapest, Munich and Prague, you’d only need 39,750 Flying Blue miles instead of the usual 53,000 miles. If there’s a 50% off opportunity, that drops the miles required down to a stunning 26,500. Even with surcharges of $200+, these are still amazing deals.
Business Class To Israel On Air France Or KLM
It’s quite a hike from the US to the Middle East and, unsurprisingly, award rates for business class tickets can be a bit steep. However, Flying Blue offers a unique sweet spot for flights to Israel. In fact, it Tel Aviv (TLV) basically gets treated like a European destination as you’ll only need 53,000 Flying Blue miles for a one-way business class ticket.
You probably picked up on this, but a Promo Award could drop this rate down to 39,750 miles or even 26,500 miles. Seriously, if you fly business class to Israel for 26,500 Flying Blue miles, you’re winning. Congratulations.
Air France Or KLM To Many European Cities
When Air France-KLM Flying Blue ditched its award chart in 2018, many people were understandably upset. What we now have instead is a combo award program in which Flying Blue bases award rates based on your origin and destination and also uses dynamic award pricing. To find the fewest number of miles needed on your desired route, just use the Miles Price Estimator.
Why did we get into the nerdy details just to talk about flying Air France and KLM to Europe? Well, Europe is where this is most important as the number of miles needed varies from city to city across the continent. Knowing this, you’ll be able to dig up the best opportunities.
We already mention Budapest, Munich and Prague but there are other cities to which you can fly from the USA for 53,000 miles in business class. Dublin and London also work at this rate. Now, compare that to flying Los Angeles to Paris. LAX to Dublin is only 53,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket while LAX to Paris is 67,500 miles. That’s a savings of nearly 15,000 miles!
Economy Class To Hawaii On Delta
Always among the most popular destinations for travelers from the USA (and plenty of other countries), flights to Hawaii can get expensive. With that in mind, using 17,500 Flying Blue miles for an economy ticket on Delta could be just the ticket to make your island getaway a reality.
We won’t lie to you and say award space is easy to find but, like many things, it’s worth the effort as it can save you a ton of cash on flights to Hawaii. With a little luck, you’ll be relaxing in no time.
U.S. To Mexico In Economy On Aeromexico Or Delta
If you’re looking for something a bit closer for a long weekend, Mexico is quite popular thanks to its beaches and resorts. With 14,500 Flying Blue miles, you can book a one-way economy ticket on Aeromexico or Delta to a number of Mexican destinations.
Since cash tickets to Mexico can be cheap, it’s a good idea to check and compare to decide if you want to use miles on these tickets. If the cash price is a bit high, using Flying Blue miles can help you save the cash so you can book an even nicer hotel while you’re there. Or, if you’re like me, you might have your eye on a meal at Pujol — a Michelin-starred restaurant — or another amazing restaurant in Mexico City.
Aircalin Economy Class To New Caledonia
Not the most well-known airline but Aircalin is a useful one if you want to vise New Caledonia during a trip to Australia. While not a member of SkyTeam, it has an individual partnership with Flying Blue which means you can use miles to book it. For a one-way economy flight from Australia to Nouméa for 17,500 miles. This rate also works from Auckland, New Zealand.
For those who like putting together some more serious adventures, you can book Aircalin one-way between New Caledonia and Tokyo for 34,500 Flying Blue miles. Considering it’s the only non-stop on the route, it might be just what you want.
Japan Airlines Business Class To Tokyo
The partnership between Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Japan Airlines seems like one that would stand out but even miles and points experts often forget this one. Considering how great the service is on Japan Airlines, perhaps this deserves a little more attention. To book a one-way business class ticket from between the USA and Tokyo, you’ll need 95,000 Flying Blue miles.
Now, we know you can use fewer American miles or Alaska miles to book this same flight. However, there’s one important factor in Flying Blue’s favor. Quite simply, it’s just so much easier to get Flying Blue miles. While you can’t transfer points from any bank program to American or Alaska, you can transfer points to Flying Blue from all 4 of them. So, while the miles required is steeper, it might be easier for you to earn the necessary miles for the flight.
Los Angeles To Tahiti On Air France
If we put together a list of dream destinations, there’s a good chance Tahiti would make the list. On the flip side, if we put together a list of hard to reach dream destinations, Tahiti would also make that list. With limited options from the USA, that means limited award booking opportunities. However, Flying Blue provides a fun option.
While you might expect it to be a flight on Flying Blue’s SkyTeam partner Delta, it’s actually a fifth freedom flight on Air France out of LAX. Admittedly, I just find fifth freedom flights fun! You can book a one-way business class ticket with 64,000 miles or an economy ticket for 25,500 miles.
Delta Economy To Sydney
While Flying Blue requires a jaw-dropping 121,500 miles — yikes! — to book a one-way business class flight on Delta, economy flyers can a much more reasonable deal. For 48,500 miles, you can fly Delta non-stop one-way from Los Angeles in economy class. It’s not the most glamorous way to fly but you’ll have plenty of points left over for hotels and other flights by using this option. If you want to add a connection, you should expect to use more miles.
Copa Airlines To Central America
Here’s an interesting one for you. While Copa Airlines out of Panama is a member of Star Alliance, it has a partnership with Air France-KLM. If you need a flight to Central America, it can be a very useful partnership. For 17,500 miles, you can book one-way flights between the USA and Central America with connections in Panama. Of course, you could just choose to visit Panama as well.
While you could also book flights on Delta or Aeromexico, it’s great to have another option, especially if you want a non-stop to Panama from the USA. In fact, Copa Airlines offers non-stop flights to Panama from over 10 US airports.
Europe to South Africa In Business Class
If you’re based in Europe, a fun way to use Flying Blue miles is to visit South Africa. From many European cities, you can use 67,500 miles to book a one-way business class ticket on either Air France or KLM. Considering the flight on KLM to/from Amsterdam is nearly 11 hours, that’s a great way to book.
Bonus: Transfer Promos
The best times to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles or Citi ThankYou Points to Air France-KLM Flying Blue is when there is a transfer bonus. Fortunately, all three of these banks have run transfer bonus promotions. You can expect to see bonuses of 20-30% during these promos.
Just make sure you have a use for the Flying Blue miles before you transfer as we’d hate to see you move points only to see the program devalue. More broadly, this is important to remember whenever you see a transfer bonus.
We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of booking with Flying Blue in this piece but there are a couple of things you should know about booking award tickets with miles. Let’s start with something we touched on above: dynamic award pricing.
The number of miles required by Flying Blue can vary and they don’t publish an award chart. However, they do allow you to use the Miles Price Estimator to check the saver level rate — this is the fewest number of miles required for a route. When you run a search, you’ll notice some dates don’t have saver space but it will still let you book for a staggering number of miles. It’s a bit like Delta in that respect.
Now, when it comes time to book, keep in mind that Flying Blue has been known to freeze newly created accounts. For this reason, it can be best to call to book if you’ve just created an account and plan to transfer points to it. Speaking of calling to book, while transfers are often instant, you can put an award ticket on hold over the phone so you don’t lose the award space.
Finally, Flying Blue does pass on surcharges on award tickets so the total taxes/fees might be a bit steeper than you prefer but the award rates can often make up for that.
Overall, Flying Blue is a great program for many travelers thanks to the ease with which you can get your hands on miles via transfer partners. Pair that with some great redemption rates and Promo Awards — seriously, the Promo Awards — and you can get some amazing value out of Flying Blue. All that’s left is to figure out where you’re going to go!