Air France-KLM Flying Blue Award Sweet Spots Air France-KLM Flying Blue Award Sweet Spots

Air France-KLM Flying Blue Award Sweet Spots

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Flying Blue is one of the only frequent flyer programs that is a transfer partner for all five major flexible rewards programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. Plus, it's a transfer partner of the comparatively new Bilt Rewards. With so many partnerships, it's easy to aggregate points from a variety of sources for the redemption you want. With this in mind, we'll take a look at some of the best Flying Blue sweet spots.

The sheer number of partnerships provides the Flying Blue program with considerable value. Points earned on cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Citi Premier® Card, and The Platinum Card® from American Express, among many others, can be transferred into Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio (and usually instantly). Additionally, you can take advantage of the occasional transfer bonus from Chase, Amex, Capital One, Bilt, or Citi to stretch your points even further.

These are the best uses of your Flying Blue miles.

Flying Blue Award Basics

Before we review the most attractive Flying Blue sweet spots you can book with award miles, you should keep some things in mind:

  1. Flying Blue passes on fuel surcharges imposed by the operating airline for award redemptions, including on their own flights. These can really increase the out-of-pocket costs of a “free” flight.
  2. Flying Blue does not publish an award chart. You can see the minimum amount of miles required for any city pairing by using its award calculator. However, this calculator doesn't work for many partner routes.
  3. You can book one-way awards.
  4. You can book free stopovers on Flying Blue award tickets — but only on Air France and KLM flights.
  5. Flying Blue releases Promo Rewards regularly. Bookmark that link to see the latest offerings.

Related: Airline Programs that Don't Add Fees and Surcharges to Award Flights

Flying Blue Promo Rewards

As we just mentioned, Flying Blue runs monthly Promo Rewards. These are KLM and Air France routes available at discounted award rates. The booking window for these awards is typically up to three months before the eligible travel period. Typical savings on Promo Rewards range from 25% to 50%, which can result in excellent deals during the promotional period.

Since only Air France and KLM flights are eligible for Promo Rewards, fuel surcharges are almost always a concern. However, many awards are still worth booking — especially if business-class awards are discounted. This is true even if you're paying $200 to $300 in taxes, fees, and surcharges.

Flying Blue promo awards screenshot shows offerings for May 2023
Some of the Flying Blue promo awards for May 2023.

Now, let's dig into some of the other Flying Blue award sweet spots.

Flying Blue Sweet Spots

Partner awards between the contiguous U.S. and Hawaii

Flying Blue only requires 17,500 miles each way for an economy-class award ticket to Hawaii on Delta. Best of all, there are no fuel surcharges on this route. You can book some of the same flights using Delta SkyMiles, though those often cost more. Hawaii has sweet spots across many programs, so Flying Blue isn't your only source of great value.

Lately, the main problem with this award sweet spot is the lack of award availability on the Flying Blue website. It can be difficult to find Delta partner award space. Large swaths of the calendar have no seat availability, making this a chronic exercise in frustration. If you can find space, though, it's a great deal.

Partner awards between the contiguous U.S. and Mexico

Flying Blue puts Mexico in the same award region as the contiguous U.S. This means you'll pay 10,500–17,500 miles for most tickets. The prices are generally based on the distance flown. That makes routes between Texas airports and Mexico City the cheapest. Redeeming Flying Blue miles provides a good opportunity to leverage SkyTeam partners Delta and Aeromexico.

screenshot of Flying Blue award pricing from New York City to Mexico City
Award pricing options from New York City to Mexico City.

Comparatively, United charges a minimum of 17,500 miles, with 19,300 miles being a common requirement from some major airports. American Airlines prices hover around 17,500 miles one-way, though you can find flights for as cheap as 10,000 miles through AA's dynamic award pricing. You also can use British Airways Avios on nonstop American Airlines and Alaska routes for good value.

If you have Flying Blue miles and prefer to fly Delta or SkyTeam partner Aeromexico, using your miles for a trip to Mexico may be a decent bet.

Economy class awards between the contiguous U.S. and Colombia

Flying Blue awards start at 17,500 miles for a one-way economy ticket to Bogota, Colombia, with rates climbing the further north or west you go in the U.S. Prices are decent in the Midwest or Northeast. You'll pay 20,500 miles for the nonstop out of New York (JFK) — not bad for a six-hour international flight. Using Flying Blue miles for this route is a good bet considering the distance flown. Taxes and surcharges for this route are pretty reasonable at about $45.

screenshot of Flying Blue award pricing from JFK to Bogota; this is one of our favorite sweet spots in this program
Economy flights from the U.S. to Bogota are a good use of Flying Blue miles.

If you want to travel around South America, starting in Colombia works well. You can make your way down the continent using other miles. If you do a quick scan, there is a lot of award availability. Singapore KrisFlyer is a decent option for Avianca and Copa flights. People don't realize how large of a continent South America is. In fact, it's further to fly from Bogota to Buenos Aires than it is from New York to Bogota.

Unfortunately, business class to northern South America isn't a great deal at 55,000 Flying Blue miles one-way from most U.S. airports.

Awards between the U.S. and Europe

With many programs increasing their award prices, Flying Blue remains a reasonable option for flying business class to Europe. You can book business class on Air France or KLM to many European destinations starting at 55,000 miles one-way. This is the typical price from the East Coast to Western Europe.

Flying Blue Business Class New York JFK to London is one of the program's best sweet spots
Fly in business class to Europe starting at 55,000 miles.

Prices generally climb the further you have to fly. However, you can find deals with seemingly random city pairings — like Dallas to Budapest:

business class award pricing from Dallas to Budapest with Flying Blue
Make sure you check prices on odd routes. The results may not match Flying Blue's estimator tool.

Even Los Angeles to Athens — almost 7,000 flown miles via Paris — prices at 55,000 Flying Blue miles one-way on some dates. This flies in the face of Flying Blue's own award ticket estimator, which states a starting price of 67,000 miles on this route.

award pricing from Los Angeles to Athens in business class
Fly from the West Coast to Greece for just 55,000 miles one-way in business class.

Flying Blue occasionally puts business class tickets from North American airports in the mix of Promo Rewards.

Flying Blue also partners with Virgin Atlantic. While this has produced a host of new redemption opportunities for Flying Blue, it has specifically created a sweet spot for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business). Prices vary across U.S. airports but can cost as few as 56,000 Flying Blue miles and ~$200 in taxes and fuel surcharges to fly one-way to Europe.

Business-class awards on Delta Air Lines are rare, but they are a great deal if you can find them. Check for last-minute options. You may score a seat at a great price. Delta was asking 375,000 SkyMiles for this same ticket at time of writing.

Flying Blue Sweet Spots include this last-minute Delta award
Sometimes you can find great deals on last-minute Delta tickets

Even economy awards are a decent Flying Blue sweet spot, especially for cities where flights to Europe are generally expensive. Economy seats start at just 15,000 miles one-way. The taxes and fees cut into the value you get for your miles, so the value often isn't there if you're departing a major hub like JFK or LAX. But from other airports, you can sometimes score a deal.

Awards between the contiguous U.S. and Northern Africa

Flying Blue considers Northern Africa a part of Europe when it comes to award pricing. This is true about at least the areas that were previously French colonies. Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia all cost the same as Europe. This can be advantageous for all cabin classes. Flights from New York to Morocco start at 15,000 miles in economy.

North Africa - A Solid Flying Blue Sweet Spot
Tickets to northern Africa are a great use of Flying Blue miles

Premium economy and business are a great deal as well, charging 30,000 and 55,000 miles, respectively. Factor in some slightly dynamic award calculations, so sometimes you'll pay a bit more. Taxes and fees can still hit hard, too. Even though economy costs very few miles, sometimes using cash to book is the best option.

The same is not true for business class. It's overwhelmingly an excellent deal.

Flying Blue award pricing for business class between Detroit and Tunis
Business class to northern Africa can be a steal when compared to cash prices.

Business class awards between East/Southeast Asia and Europe

This isn't so helpful for U.S. folks, unless you're trying to put together an around-the-world adventure. However, it's a good option if you want to fly SkyTeam carriers. Tickets on Air France and KLM are available from major East and Southeast Asia airports for 70,000 miles one-way in business class. Fees are around $200, like many other awards.

Ho Chi Minh City to Paris screenshot of Flying Blue award pricing; this is one of the program's best business class sweet spots

In addition to Air France and KLM, you can book awards on SkyTeam carriers Vietnam Airlines, China Airlines, and Korean Airlines. These aren't as great a deal. As an example, nonstop tickets in Vietnam Airlines' business class between Hanoi and Paris cost a minimum of 112,500 miles. I recommend using Delta miles between these regions — one of the few areas where you'll get a decent premium cabin award deal.

Flying Blue award pricing for business class between Hanoi and Paris with Vietnam Airlines
This is not a good value.

Awards between the contiguous U.S. and Central/Southern Africa

Africa can be hard to reach. But regions make for additional Flying Blue sweet spots. Economy awards to/from the U.S. awards start at only 35,000 miles for a one-way ticket to destinations like Ghana, Senegal, and Gabon. If you can find space on the nonstop Delta flight from New York (JFK) to Accra (ACC), you'll save a ton of miles compared to what Delta charges.

screenshot of Flying Blue award pricing from JFK to Accra, Ghana
Use Flying Blue miles to reach Africa from the U.S.

Even flying to Johannesburg won't break the mileage bank, as it's available for 35,000 Flying Blue miles some dates.

Flying Blue award pricing for economy class between JFK and Johannesburg

The economy class fuel surcharges average about $160, which stings a bit. Award availability can be hit or miss at 35,000 miles. We found some award availability close-in, but your best bet is searching well in advance for award seats.

You may be able to find cheaper tickets with other airline alliances, but Flying Blue is the best SkyTeam program by far. The only thing that hurts for business class is the taxes, fees, and surcharges. You should expect to pay around $400 one-way. Business class award availability at reasonable rates is more irregular. But we consider 95,000 miles one-way to some destinations a good deal. You have your choice between flying nonstop Delta One business class for 100,000 miles or connecting in Paris to save 5,000 miles.

screenshot of business class Flying Blue pricing JFK to Accra, one of the program's sweet spots
Business class to Africa is a solid Flying Blue sweet spot.

Personally, I'd pick Delta. You save a ton, since there are no surcharges.

Kenya Airways flights within Africa

Flights within Africa can be mind-bogglingly expensive. Consider that Kenya Airways charges around $900 for an economy round-trip ticket between Nairobi and Johannesburg.

screenshot of cash price for NBO-JNB direct flights in economy for $862 round-trip

You can get this same ticket for just 18,500 Flying Blue miles and ~$100 each way. Business class is 55,000 miles, though, which I don't consider worth it for a four-hour flight.

screenshot of Flying Blue award pricing between Nairobi and Johannesburg
Use Flying Blue miles on expensive intra-Africa routes.

Even paying 24,000 to 29,000 miles for tickets on some destination pairs isn't terrible (e.g. Nairobi–Accra or Zanzibar–Lagos). Having Kenya Airways as a SkyTeam partner opens up some destinations you might not think of immediately and is great since SkyMiles finds almost zero availability within Africa. United MileagePlus is another program that is useful for flights within Africa. This is because it partners with Ethiopian Airlines — a major carrier on the continent.

South America to Europe and beyond — without massive surcharges

You might not know that flights departing Brazil are not subject to massive taxes, fees, and surcharges. Brazil is one of several countries that ban or limit additional surcharges on award tickets. What's cool is that this carries over for your entire itinerary. So if you can find a business class award that normally has high fees — say, to an African country — you'll pay far less out of pocket. This is a great option to keep in mind if you're trying to piece together an around-the-world trip.

Screenshot of award pricing departing from São Paulo to Accra
Take advantage of Brazil's laws to save on taxes, fees, and surcharges.

Awards including a Europe stopover

Flying Blue recently improved its program by allowing free stopovers on one-way award tickets. It's one of few programs — Alaska Mileage Plan being the other — that offer free stopovers on one-way award tickets. Some other programs, such as Air Canada Aeroplan and Singapore KrisFlyer, allow stopovers for a reasonable cost.

The catch with Flying Blue is that the stopover must be on either Air France or KLM flights. This is still an excellent benefit, though, as you can add a stint in Europe before continuing on to Africa, for example. Or simply stop in Paris or Amsterdam for a few days before continuing on to another European city. This is a great way to stretch the value of your Flying Blue miles, as it saves on the cost of the next flight.

Best Ways to Accumulate FlyingBlue Miles

Transfer Points to Flying Blue

It's pretty easy to get Flying Blue miles, considering that it is a transfer partner of multiple reward programs. You can use the following transfer partners:

The abundance of transfer options means you don't need to worry about building up a balance with Flying Blue. Instead, you can focus on a strategy to accumulate the flexible points. Then, you can transfer to Air France or KLM when needed. And keep an eye out for transfer bonuses, where you may get 15%–25% bonus miles when sending your credit card points to Flying Blue.

KLM plane taxing to a runway

Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®

In addition to the various bank transfer partners, you can earn Flying Blue miles directly with the Air France KLM Mastercard. The card earns 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases miles on everyday spending, which is better than many cards if you compare miles on a 1:1 basis. You also can use the card to augment earning Flying Blue elite status:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles plus 60 XP after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
  • Earn 3 miles per $1 spent directly on Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and SkyTeam member airlines purchases.
  • Earn 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 20 XP every year on your account anniversary.
  • Receive 5,000 bonus miles each account anniversary after you spend $50 or more on purchases within the prior anniversary year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $89 annual fee.

Keep in mind that Bank of America issues the card and has a 2/3/4 rule for new card approvals.

Related: Understanding Rewards Credit Card Application Rules and Restrictions

Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®
Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®
Annual Fee$89
Welcome Bonus Earn 50,000 bonus miles plus 60 XP after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.

Buying miles

We don't generally recommend buying airline miles, but there can be situations where this is advantageous. This is usually when you're close to having enough miles for a specific redemption or when you can immediately use them for a ticket that would ordinarily cost a ton in cash. Flying Blue occasionally sells miles at reasonable rates during promotions. A recent promotion offered 100% bonus miles, bringing the cost to around 1.53 cents per mile.

Book park this page for future deals to buy Flying Blue miles at a discount or with a bonus.

Final Thoughts

Given the relative ease of earning miles through ubiquitous transfer options, it's valuable for you to know the Flying Blue award sweet spots. It's true that you'll pay hefty taxes, fees, and surcharges in some circumstances. But if you're saving a significant amount of miles, the cost could be worth it. Make sure you keep an eye on the monthly Promo Rewards and also look out for transfer bonuses to the Flying Blue program. Both of these will let you maximize the value of your hard-earned miles and points.

5 / 5 - (12 votes)
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  • Juliette says:

    And other important thing to know is child from 2 to 11 year old pay 25% less miles on Award flight!

    If you have several child it can be very interesting

  • How quickly do points post back to account if an award is cancelled?booked through klm side and canceled within 24 hrs. Funds back within 24 hrs but can’t see points .

  • I signed up for FlyingBlue in the periphery “just because”, but it’s great to learn that all transferable points plug into the program. That eliminates the dissonance I face with other programs (looking at you, Turkish Airlines). I’m eager to get back to exploring the Middle East in the coming years, and AF/KLM have an extensive route network in the region. I’ll keep this program on my radar in the future, especially the Promo Rewards.

  • Juan Ignacio says:

    Flyingblue promo awards are (maybe) by far the best option to redeem miles. I’ve found nice deals from Australia (Sydney and Melbourne) yo New Caledonia with Air Calin or Qantas and Montevideo to New York for 65 miles with Air Europa, yes making a stop in Madrid for 12 hours, each way.

  • Can’t wait to try out TLV-LAX/NYC, such a good deal, mile-wise. In December 2019 we flew Air France for 53k +/- in business from CDG-LAX on the 777 with approx $200 in taxes/fees like they say, highly recommended. I don’t know why AF gets a bad rap in the mileage game, so easy to transfer in points from everywhere.

  • I used a flying blue promo award to fly from Washington DC to southern France during peak summer season for 10,590 miles. But at the same time, AMEX had a transfer bonus to flying blue so it was even lower.

  • 35000 miles for a round trip between Hawaii and the mainland USA? That was like what “Delta Frequent Flyer Program” charged for the same award 30 years ago!

    • Please don’t quantify the point devaluation in print. It’s too painful to be reminded of the old numbers and my old age. It’s like Fight Club or Voldemort. Oops.

  • Hopefully the monthly promo awards will return soon.
    Really miss those.

  • They should get rid of the insanely high fees.

  • The fuel surcharges can be painful for sure!

  • There can’t still be fuel surcharges by the airlines with these record breaking cheap oil prices.

    • Some airlines though have just renamed the fuel surcharge and instead call it something like a “carrier imposed charge”. The end result though is the same enemy of the airline miles collector. It does seem to apply more to European airlines mileage schemes than US schemes.

  • To be honest I have always dismissed Flying Blue as I thought taxes and charges were always high. It is nice to discover there are some sweet spots where that is not the case. Hawaii is particularly interesting.

  • I hope these sweet spots are still around when flying returns to normal. I’ve got a decent stash of Flying Blue miles. ?

  • Florencia says:

    Very interesting, I had not seen any program that offered good swaps for Israel. Without a doubt, Flying Blue is an option to consider.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I’ve taken the time to look this over, and it seems to pencil out well.I’m looking forward to travelling when this absurd over reaction of covid panic is over. Good timing for a good deal.

  • Maybe it is time to strat earning in FlyingBlue?

  • The option to redeem for flights to Mexico is a good value for quick trips.

  • Earning Flying blue miles when booking a hotel with is also possible by approaching via the website of flying blue.

  • Air France/KLM has a good network and the quality is good, even in economy/coach class. The only thing is that the Boeing 777 is configured 10 seats across, although many major carriers are these days.

  • It’s good to know this is an option for North Africa with reasonable rates.

  • New Caledonia isn’t somewhere I’ve thought of going before but from this article it’s now on my list.

  • Promo awards are great, but availability…(at list in my region)

  • i’m hoping to leverage one of the promo awards for the toronto to europe offers and this is particularly attractive with the citi 25% transfer bonus offer.

  • I agree with the previous poster that New Caledonia seems to be a great redemption. I have heard great things about the island. I will need to keep this in mind for the future. Thanks

    • Now I have the curiosity to check where is located geographically New Caledonia.
      It could one of my future destinations!

  • The Arts Traveler says:

    In November, I am flying BOS-CDG on Delta using Flying Blue miles. It was a great deal and only $10.10 in fees. But site has phantom space. Still a big fan.

  • I like the idea of using 35,000 Flying Blue miles to get to Hawaii on Delta Airlines.

  • Claire Wrigley says:

    I just wish that there was some way to extend your Flying Blue miles without having to fly. The two year expiration is about to catch up with me!

    • The_Bouncer says:

      This is the big drawback with Flying Blue and the reason I tend to burn miles quickly.

    • Yes, this is yet another important consideration when you evaluate loyalty programs and where to invest your travel dollars. If only every program was as easy as completely a quick survey for a few miles/points to extend an expiration.

    • If you have 4000 Accor points, you can transfer them to the Flying Blue program. That’s why it is a good idea to transfer points to the FB program when only you need the FB awards.

  • looks like a cheap way to get to the middle east

  • Thanks for this. I’ve been contemplating whether to use Air France as my primary Oneworld partner.

  • The Flying Blue Promo Awards (when useful) are one of the the sweetest sweet-spots in award travel..

  • Nice reminder about ways to make Hawaii work

  • Yes, there are still some nice spots with Flying Blue.
    As they implemented the flexible rewards we will see in the future as this may evolve.

  • Clearly have not paid really close attention to the information that Air France passed on surcharges. Good to know. Thank you! Now New Caledonia does sound interesting but thinking I’d have to have a couple of weeks off to visit. I bet it would be a good add on to a Australia trip.

    Is there an article on what intra Europe first class is like? I have heard it’s mainly the airlines putting a tray in the middle seat and ppl sitting in the window and aisle.

    • Just be aware that New Caledonia is very expensive to stay and eat in.

    • Intra-European “business” class nowadays even do away the economy class middle seat back trays. The middle seat is simply left empty so it is “reserved for your comfort.”

    • You would need… like a full month, to properly cover a decent area of eastern Australia and New Caledonia.

  • I’m new to Air France and only recently open account after Accor announced their partnership and cross rewards with Air France / KLM (I’m staying a lot in Europe in Accor hotels). But I already found in this article some very useful tips for me. New Caledonia redemption is best in my opinion