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There are only three airline rewards programs that are transfer partners for all four major flexible rewards programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Rewards. One of these is Air France/KLM's Flying Blue (other two are Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer).
With those partnerships, Flying Blue instantly has immense value because points earned on cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the Citi Prestige® Card, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, among many others, can be transferred into Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio, with Marriott Rewards points transferring from cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express at 3:1, with a 5,000 mile bonus if you transfer 60,000 points.
In this post we identify what we consider to be Flying Blue's most attractive award sweet spots. A few of things to keep in mind about Flying Blue:
- Flying Blue passes on any fuel surcharges imposed by operating airline on awards, including their own flights
- Flying Blue does not publish an award chart (you can check how many miles are required for each award through their award calculator)
- Flying Blue allows one-way awards
Partner Awards between the contiguous U.S. and Hawaii
Imagine only needing to redeem 17,500 miles each way for economy class awards to Hawaii. It's possible redeeming FlyingBlue miles with Air France/KLM being a part of the SkyTeam Alliance. Best of all, fuel surcharges are not imposed on this route. Hawaii has sweet spots across many programs, so Flying Blue isn't your only source of great value. For the same seats on the same aircraft, honestly, we're not sure what Delta would charge as their award prices keep changing and they don't post an award chart, but you won't get prices this low.
Partner Awards between the contiguous U.S. and Mexico
Flying Blue puts Mexico in the same award region as the contiguous U.S., which means you'll only pay 25,000 miles round-trip leveraging their partners — Delta and Aeromexico are a huge win here if you're looking to visit the U.S.'s southern neighbor.
Economy Class Awards between Australia/New Zealand and New Caledonia
750 miles east of Australia sits New Caledonia, a French territory that is every bit as beautiful as Fiji and French Polynesia, albeit lesser known. The challenge with New Caledonia is that it is difficult to visit due to expensive fares ($1,000+) typically from Australia and New Zealand. New Caledonia's main airline, Aircalin, happens to be an AF/KLM partner and even shares Flying Blue as a rewards program. With Aircalin, economy class awards to New Caledonia from Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne require only 15,000 miles each way. Fuel surcharges on these routes are slightly under $100 each way at the moment.
Awards between the contiguous U.S. and Israel
Unlike most major rewards programs, Flying Blue considers Israel part of Europe when it comes to award rates. We're not sure where that geography comes from, but as a sweet spot, it is a win. Redemption rates with Flying Blue from the U.S. to Israel price at 25,000 miles each way in economy class and 62,500 miles each way for business class. The only drawback is that fuel surcharges are imposed on this route. In the case of economy class awards, fuel surcharges are slightly below $100 at the moment, while in the case of business class awards, fuel surcharges are slightly above $200 at the moment. We've seen more expensive surcharges, but keep in mind, you'll have to pony up some cash for the great mileage rates.
Awards between the contiguous U.S. and Northern Africa
Similar to Israel, Flying Blue considers Northern Africa part of Europe when it comes to award pricing. You'll pay the same 25,000 and 62,500 miles for round-trip economy and business class flights if Northern Africa is your destination. This includes Algeria, Canary Islands, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. Notably missing is Egypt, considered a part of the Middle East region with Flying Flue.
All Promo Awards
Every month, Flying Blue announces their Promo Awards, which consist of routes at discounted award rates. The booking window for these awards is typically up to three months ahead of the eligible travel period. Typical savings on Promo Awards range from 25% to 50%, enabling these routes to become exceptionally good deals during the promotional period. However, only Air France and KLM flights are eligible for Promo Awards, meaning fuel surcharges are almost always imposed on Promo Awards.
Top Ways to Accumulate Miles with Flying Blue
Earning miles with Flying Blue is done easiest through its credit card transfer partners. Flying Blue partners with all four major flexible travel rewards currencies:
This means that you don't need to worry about building up a balance with Flying Blue. Instead, focus on a strategy to accumulate the flexible points and then transfer to Air France when needed.
The combination of transfer partners and attractive rates within the Flying Blue program make it an asset in any travel rewards strategy. Yes, in some circumstances, you'll pay hefty taxes/fees, but if you're saving a significant amount of miles, the cost you'll pay could be well worth it. Focus on these sweet spots as additional tools to help you get the most out of each mile.
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