Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France-KLM, has standardized pricing for those looking to travel to Europe. While some redemptions have increased in price, many now require fewer miles than before on select dates.
The program prices flights dynamically, meaning the cost varies hugely based on demand. However, at the lowest “saver” level, you could previously book flights from the United States to Europe at the following prices (subject to availability):
- 15,000 miles in economy from the East Coast, up to 24,000 from the West Coast
- 30,000 miles in premium from the East Coast, up to 40,000 from the West Coast
- 55,000 miles in business class from the East Coast, up to 80,000 from the West Coast
As first reported by Thrifty Traveler, rather than using different pricing depending on the length of the transatlantic flight, and any short connections beyond the hubs of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), Flying Blue has now standardized pricing for all one-way transatlantic flights as follows, regardless of origin or destination:
- 20,000 miles in economy
- 35,000 miles in premium economy
- 50,000 miles in business class
Overall, the changes mean that in economy and premium economy, you may be paying slightly more on shorter itineraries from the East Coast and slightly less on longer itineraries, and those involving connections in Europe, from the West Coast.
This is particularly great news for business-class redemptions, with saver-level rates reducing on all itineraries. This makes award flights from the West Coast particularly valuable. Flying Blue is progressively rolling out the updated pricing, so for now, you may still see the odd search result at the old price.
Remember that these rates are only for the lowest saver-level seats, which are limited. We have found plenty from the West Coast at the new lower rates (including those with European connections) in the economy and premium economy cabins.
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However, business-class seats at saver levels remain very hard to find, with only a few flights available on some routes over the entire next 12 months. And looking ahead to next summer, we’re seeing 148,000 miles as one of the lowest available prices.
If you can’t find the seats you want at these new standardized prices, remember that the regular Flying Blue Promo Rewards may offer seats at even lower levels.
We are currently seeing flights from the East Coast to the United Kingdom for just 15,000 miles in economy, which is much cheaper than the new standardized price of 20,000 miles from the U.S. to Europe.
Earning Flying Blue miles
You can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio from American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. You can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer.
Based on our tests, Amex, Bilt, Capital One, Chase and Citi transfers should post almost instantly. However, that wasn’t the case with our test transfer from Marriott, which took three days to arrive in our Flying Blue account. Because of this, credit card points are your best bet if you hope to book right away, though Flying Blue generally allows three-day holds on award tickets when you call.
Whether these pricing changes are an improvement or devaluation will depend on where you fly from in the United States. Those on the East Coast looking for direct flights to Amsterdam and Paris on Air France or KLM may now face slightly higher prices for saver-level award space in economy and premium economy. Business-class rates are slightly cheaper — when they’re available at this lower price, that is.
The change is great news for anyone looking at longer flights from other destinations in the U.S. and those connecting beyond Paris and Amsterdam in Europe, with reductions across all classes.
Unfortunately, business-class awards at saver levels are very limited, with most dates costing significantly more. However, booking business class from anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in Europe for 50,000 Flying Blue miles is a fantastic deal.