With record-breaking exchange rates between the euro and the dollar, it’s no wonder so many people are dying to hop across the pond to explore (and shop) Europe.
Flying Blue – the loyalty program of KLM and Air France – is one of the most popular programs for booking transcontinental awards. In the past, the program was known for low-cost redemptions of business and economy miles between many US cities and Europe.
A sweet spot lies right in the middle: premium economy flights. For just 30,000 miles on some dates, Flying Blue lets travelers cross the Atlantic without breaking the bank in this mid-size cabin.
If you’re looking for your next European escape, here’s how to fly to Europe with this Air France and KLM sweet spot.
Why it’s special
While many airlines charge 30,000 miles or more for economy flights, you can get a more comfortable seat, better service and meal for the same number of miles with Air France or KLM when you fly in premium economy.
For example, if you want to ski in Switzerland this winter, you can fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Zurich Airport (ZRH), connecting in Amsterdam, for just 30,000 miles.
Those flights would cost $943, meaning the redemption value is about 2.7 cents per mile, well above TPG’s valuation of 1.2 cents per mile.
This price also applies to flights for next summer. In this example, you can fly in Premium Economy from JFK to Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) via Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) for the same 30,000 miles.
Looking at this sweet spot it seems that this low fare is available from several east coast cities to numerous European cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam.
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The only downside to these awards is that Flying Blue’s taxes and fees are relatively high. It’s not uncommon for one-way awards to require over $150 out of pocket or over $300 for a round trip.
How to book this award
You can book these flights with your Flying Blue Miles on AirFrance.us or KLM.com. Make sure to tick ‘Book with Miles’ and you will be prompted to log in to your Flying Blue account.
Enter your itinerary and dates and select “Premium Economy” from the “Cabin” drop-down menu.
All available routes are displayed and you can check tickets priced at 30,000 miles one way. If nothing seems that low, you can use the seven-day calendar features at the top of the page to click through to other days that week. (Note that some routes are earmarked for promo awards through the end of October 2022, costing just 22,500 miles per route.)
After clicking on the flight you want, that flight will be highlighted and you will also see options to book in Economy and Business for that route. You can select the Premium Economy option and a verification page will appear before you fill out the information and book your ticket.
Also see: The 5 Best Premium Economy Cabins in the Sky Today
How to collect points for this award
Luckily, Flying Blue miles are some of the easiest to earn – even in the US
You can transfer points to Flying Blue from most major transferable programs including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Note that Marriott points transfer at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus awarded for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. All other programs transmit 1:1.
Here are some of TPG’s most popular credit cards and their respective welcome bonuses:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.
- Citi Premier® card: Earn 80,000 Citi ThankYou Points miles after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.
- The American Express Platinum Card®: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on the card within the first six months of membership.
Related: How (and why) should you earn transferrable points?
For less than what some airlines charge for economy, you can fly more comfortably to and from your next trip to Europe. This award option is ideal for travelers departing from the east coast as it connects to a variety of cities across Europe.
Though the taxes and fees can sting, they’re still reasonable relative to the higher cost of cash tickets. Be sure to put this surcharge on a card that earns bonus airfare points, such as B. the Amex Platinum.
From skiing in the Swiss Alps to living on the Amalfi Coast, this sweet spot is perfect for getting to Europe with a little more luxury without breaking the bank thanks to easy access to Flying Blue miles with the program’s many transfer partners.