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The Best Ways to Use Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles

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Looking for a fare to Europe, North Africa, a Delta flight, or maybe even … a trip all the way to Madagascar? With a stash of Flying Blue miles, you can stamp your ticket – and earning those miles may be much easier than you think.

Air France and KLM share a frequent flyer program called Flying Blue. And you can go far by using Flying Blue miles, including seats in Air France business class or KLM business class. It was already one of our favorite ways to book business class … then it got even cheaper! But these miles can also be some of the best ways to book flights on Delta, whether you're flying within the continental U.S., over to London, or down to Mexico.

Best of all, Flying Blue miles are some of the easiest miles to earn thanks to transfer partnerships from top travel credit cards like the *chase sapphire preferred*, *venture x*, or the *amex gold*. And travelers who recently hopped on insanely cheap business class mistake fares to Europe are suddenly sitting on a pile of Flying Blue miles after the airline canceled them – though they've since announced they'll allow affected customers to transfer those points back.

While you'll get hit with some slightly higher cash fees on top of your miles when using Flying Blue miles, the ease of finding award availability to actually book with miles and the low rates you'll pay more than make up for it – especially for business class flights across the pond.



Flying Blue Award Chart & Miles Calculator

The Flying Blue program recently implemented a new award chart that determines how many miles you need to book a given flight … sort of.

For starters, this award chart only applies to Air France or KLM flights – not partner redemptions. And the values listed are simply a “starting from” point, so it's not a very accurate way to work out exactly how many miles you'll need to book a flight using these miles. You might see an economy flight from North America to Europe for 15,000 miles … but you might also see it for 45,000 miles, 70,000 miles, or more.

Nonetheless, if you want to know the lowest possible price in miles you'll need to fly between different regions, you can consult these charts, which also give some point-to-point examples. Just keep in mind that the lowest possible rates will be higher depending on the specific route you're looking to fly.


Flying Blue Award chart


Fortunately, Flying Blue also has a handy miles price estimator to give you an idea of how many Flying Blue miles any given route will cost. The downside: It also only works for Air France or KLM-operated flights.

The aptly named “estimator” tool will simply let you know the lowest level redemption that is possible on certain routes – not necessarily what is available at the moment. Since Flying Blue has dynamic pricing on award tickets, you may find much higher rates when you go to search for dates.

This tool should only be used as a guide for how low an award could be. And since it only works for routes where Air France or KLM actually fly, you'll get an error message if you try searching other routes, like between the U.S. and Mexico.


Flying Blue Miles Price Estimator


Taxes & Fees on Flying Blue Award Tickets

The upside to booking with Flying Blue miles is that its low rates are some of the best in the business. Plus, it's easier to find availability to book at those lower rates than most other airline programs.

The downside? Flying Blue charges some carrier-imposed surcharges, which results in higher cash costs on award tickets than you'll find when booking with programs that don't pass along these surcharges, such as Delta SkyMiles. Still, those fees are fairly reasonable compared to some of the crazy high fees you'll find when booking British Airways flights with nearly any program or Virgin Atlantic flights with Virgin points, for instance.

The total fees will vary depending on your destination and the airline you're flying but expect to pay roughly $75 one-way or $200 roundtrip on economy awards and $200 one-way or $450 roundtrip on business class awards when flying Air France or KLM flights to Europe.


Specials: Promo Rewards & Child Discounts

Flying Blue Promo Rewards

The best way to book an Air France/KLM award with Flying Blue is to take advantage of its monthly Flying Blue Promo Rewards. Each month, Flying Blue puts select routes on sale for up to 50% off normal award rates. The discount is valid for booking throughout the month for a specific travel period, typically five or so months in advance.


promo rewards


If you scroll down the list, you'll find the long-haul flights including any routes from the U.S. or Canada.

If you see a KLM logo, that generally means that flights to, from, or via Amsterdam (AMS) are on sale. If you see an Air France logo, flights to, from, or via Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) are on sale. But it's not just nonstops available: You can typically connect anywhere in Europe at deeply discounted rates, too.

Economy flights can sometimes drop as low as 11,000 miles one-way during these promo rewards sales.


Flying Blue promo rewards long haul


Business class awards to and from the U.S. aren't always discounted with these Flying Blue promo rewards sales, but we occasionally come across deals like this one that popped up last fall.  Thrifty Traveler Premium members received an award alert when business class dropped as low as 42,375 Flying Blue miles thanks to a 25% off Flying Blue promo reward sale.


chicago to amsterdam flying blue promo rewards


Better yet, travelers with American Express Membership Rewards could stack this deal with a 25% transfer bonus to Flying Blue – making it possible to book these seats with just 34,000 points one-way.


thrifty traveler premium deal flying blue promo rewards


Get the next great Flying Blue Promo Rewards sale (plus other award alerts and cheap cash fares) with Thrifty Traveler Premium!


25% Discount for Children, Too

Another neat perk when redeeming Flying Blue miles is that you can book kids ages 2 to 11 at a 25% discount when they are traveling with an adult. This means if an award from New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG) costs 55,000 miles one-way in business class …


flying blue miles new york to paris for one adult


You'll be able to book yourself and a child in business class for just 96,250 miles one-way total: 55,000 miles for the adult and 41,250 miles for the child.


flying blue miles child discountflying blue miles child discount price breakdown


Read more on how to book these discounted awards for kids!


Flying Blue Sweet Spots

Business Class to Europe for 50K Miles

Even when there aren't any promo rewards, using Flying Blue miles to fly Air France business class or KLM business class to Europe can be one heck of a deal – and it's gotten even better lately.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue recently decreased award rates between North America and Europe in a move toward more standardized award pricing. Business class redemptions to or from Europe now price out as low as 50,000 miles nationwide, down from the previous norm of 55,000 miles each way from East Coast cities like New York City (JFK) to as much as 80,000 miles from San Francisco (SFO) and other, longer West Coast flights.


flying blue la paris


Previously, this flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) would have cost you 70,000 miles and about $200 for a one-way ticket. Now, you can book it for 50,000 miles.


air france business msp cdg


And you can get these great rates whether you're flying nonstop to Paris or Amsterdam or connecting onward almost anywhere in Europe.

Take this flight from Washington D.C.-Dulles (IAD) to Athens (ATH) via Paris, for instance. It's just 50,000 miles one-way in business class – the same as the nonstop flight to Paris.


Air France award flight from Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Athens (ATH)


Just keep in mind that Flying Blue's dynamic award pricing means award rates are still all over the map, so you won't see these lowest rates every single day – especially in business class, where you're more likely to see rates closer to 200,000 miles or more.

Thrifty Tip: When searching for award tickets on Air France or KLM, leave your date blank to pull up a calendar you can click through to find the lowest-priced availability.


fly business class to europe for 88k points roundtrip


Air France Premium Economy (or Even Biz Class) to Tahiti for Fewer Miles

Tahiti is an ocean away, so you might think it'll take a boatload of miles to get there, even in a cramped economy. Not so.

Flying Blue recently dropped the number of miles it charges to fly from the West Coast all the way to French Polynesia in Air France's Premium Economy. Air France's nonstop from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) now costs you just 50,000 miles each wayabout 25% off previous rates.


Air France Premium Economy award flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT)


Air France Premium Economy is no slouch either. You'll get more legroom, foot, and leg rests, larger entertainment screens, two free checked bags, priority boarding, and better food service.

A well-timed transfer bonus like the recent 25% bonus from Chase to Flying Blue and you could be flying in those seats for as few as 40,000 points one-way! 




Want to lie flat for that transpacific journey? You can book this same route in Air France's fancy new business class for just 70,000 miles each way, plus about $206 in taxes and fees. Just beware that finding award availability on this route can be more challenging than others on this list.


Air France Business award flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT)


Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to London from 71K Miles One-Way

Want to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class across the pond? Other airlines may charge you fewer miles or less in taxes and fees, but you'll get the best deal overall by booking with Flying Blue miles.

Virgin generally charges fewer points for these but has massive cash fees of up to $1,700 roundtrip. Booking Virgin Atlantic flights with Delta SkyMiles requires minimal taxes and fees (just $6 one-way), but you'll typically need to shell out 300,000-plus SkyMiles for a business class seat after Delta continued its massive devaluation of partner awards.

Using Flying Blue miles is the happy medium, with which you can book business class flights flying Virgin Atlantic for as little as 71,000 miles plus roughly $200 in taxes and fees one-way, like this example from Boston (BOS) to London-Heathrow (LHR).


Boston to London using flying Virgin using Flying Blue miles


Flying roundtrip? Taxes and fees jump to around $700 for business class flights to London due to high U.K. departure taxes and surcharges. If you can make it work, you'll save money by just flying over to London on Virgin and then choosing an alternate route on the way home from a different European city.

This deal to book Virgin Atlantic flights using Flying Blue miles works better for flights from the northeastern U.S. since Flying Blue has varying rates for booking Virgin Atlantic flights: The longer the flight, the more miles it'll cost you.

For instance, flights from Atlanta (ATL) to London cost 91,500 miles one-way as of publication.


Atlanta to London flying Virgin using Flying Blue miles


One quirk with the Flying Blue program is that these rates to fly partner airlines are not set in stone. We've seen these rates fluctuate slightly depending on which day we're conducting the search, so you may see slight variances.


Fly Delta One to London from 68K Miles One-Way

Looking to get to London in a lie-flat seat without such high fees? Using Flying Blue miles to fly Delta One is one of the best ways to do it, too.

While it's extremely rare to find availability on any of Delta's nonstop routes from the U.S. to London's Heathrow Airport (LHR), we've alerted Thrifty Traveler Premium members to multiple deals flying Delta One from New York (JFK) to London-Gatwick Airport (LGW) for just 68,000 miles one-way.


New York to London flying Delta using Flying Blue miles


Thanks to a timely transfer bonus, it was possible to book for even fewer points. Best of all, these flights have low cash fees on top of your miles. It's just $10 one-way or around $295 roundtrip – which is drastically lower than the $1,000+ in fees you'd pay to fly Delta to the U.K. using Virgin points.


premium deal JFK to LGW using Flying Blue miles


Business Class to Northern Africa from 50K Miles One-Way

One of the best sweet spots with Flying Blue miles is the fact that it prices flights to Northern Africa roughly the same as for Europe: As low as 50,000 miles one-way.

Most frequent flyer programs put flights to Africa in a different category and charge more, but you'll often find the same low rates to destinations such as Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, as you do to European cities when using Flying Blue miles.

For instance, you can fly from New York City (JFK) to Marrakech (RAK) for just 50,000 miles each way in business class.


jfk to marrakech


Or you can fly from Miami (MIA) to Tunis (TUN) for 50,000 miles one-way in business class.


miami to tunis flying blue redemption


Fly Etihad Airways Business Class to the Middle East (& Beyond!)

Etihad Airways has some of the best business class seats flying to the Middle East (and beyond). Thanks to an expanded partnership with Air France/KLM, you can now book these flights with Flying Blue Miles.

While booking Etihad flights through American Airlines might be a better deal, AAdvantage miles can be much harder to earn. But if you've got points from any of the major banks, you can easily transfer them to Flying Blue to book the same flights. Just keep in mind you'll pay higher taxes and fees when booking through Air France/KLM.

Booking through Flying Blue, award rates fluctuate slightly for Etihad redemptions. Generally, you can expect to see business class award rates between 84,500 and 89,500 miles between the U.S. and the airline's Abu Dhabi (AUH) hub, depending on the route.


Flying Blue search for Etihad Airways award flight from New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH)


Banks like Chase and American Express frequently offer transfer bonuses to Flying Blue – another reason this new booking option can be so valuable. Chase recently offered a 25% bonus when transferring points to Flying Blue, which would bring the cost of the New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi flight above to as low as just 68,000 points each way. 

Flying Blue charges per segment for these award flights, though. That means you should expect to pay slightly more if you want to connect onward to another destination in the Middle East, India, Africa, or elsewhere.


Flying Blue award search for New York (JFK) to Muscat, Oman (MCT) flights on Etihad Airways


Your best bet for finding Etihad flights you can book with Flying Blue miles is to start your search on American's website. If the flights are available to book via American, you're likely to see the same award availability through Air France/KLM, too.


Etihad Airways Flying Blue Thrifty Traveler Premium flight deal


Fly ITA Airways Business Class to Italy From 69K Miles Each Way

Italian flag carrier ITA Airways is now bookable through Flying Blue, too, and it's got a swanky new lie-flat business class you can fly overseas to Rome (FCO).

You can find rates as low as 69,000 miles one-way from Boston (BOS) to Rome (FCO). That's fewer points than Virgin Atlantic is charging for the exact same flight.


boston to rome award flight


Longer routes like the new Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Rome (FCO) cost slightly more at 81,500 Flying Blue miles one-way. 


ITA Flying Blue ORD-FCO


Economy to Africa, the Middle East, or the Indian Ocean from 30K Miles One-Way

It can sometimes be hard to justify booking an economy award with Flying Blue miles due to the higher cash fees on top of your miles.

But with award rates starting from 30,000 miles one-way in economy flying to destinations such as Israel and 35,000 miles each way to Kenya or even all the way to South Africa, it can be a great way to save compared to the normally high cash fares you'll pay on these routes.




Plus, it can be even easier to find the seats bookable with miles in economy. Check out this calendar view for one-way flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tel Aviv (TLV).


los angeles to tel aviv flying blue calendar


You may have to do some digging to find good connection times at the lowest rates, but they are there if you're flexible with travel dates.


los angeles to tel aviv using flying blue miles


Redeeming Flying Blue miles can also be one of the best ways to get to remote destinations in the Indian Ocean like Madagascar. Check out this flight from New York City (JFK) to Antananarivo (TNR) for 48,000 miles one-way in economy.


new york to madagascar using flying blue miles


Tips to Book with Flying Blue

You'll need to create a free account and log in to search with either Air France or KLM. If you're looking for flights that are operated by either Air France or KLM, you can view fares on a flexible calendar by using this link.

Just enter your departure and arrival cities, and choose your cabin, but leave “passengers” set to “1 adult” and “departure date” blank. Then, click “Search Flights.” It's easiest to search for availability for one-way flights separately, then combine them into a roundtrip booking if necessary.


air france klm award search


That'll open up a calendar search tool as long as either Air France or KLM operates a flight on the route you're searching.

It's strange for sure, but once you understand this quirk, the calendar search can be an invaluable tool to help you nail down the cheapest fares.

One important note: The site can be wonky, and the calendar isn't always entirely accurate. Sometimes, the fares on the calendar are no longer available when you click through.


Flying Blue calendar search for award flights from Chicago (ORD) to Amsterdam (AMS)


Another drawback is that there isn't a way to filter for nonstop flights in the calendar view, so it will still take a bit of trial and error. Still, once you understand its limitations the calendar search can be an invaluable tool to help you nail down the cheapest fares.

After you find some dates, you'll want to go back and search those exact dates for the total number of passengers traveling to ensure there are enough seats for your party.

Searching for flights operated by partner airlines like Delta or Virgin Atlantic? You'll need to choose dates during your search and search day by day. Unfortunately, Flying Blue's monthly calendar function doesn't work for partner airline flights.

Read more:  The Best Websites for Finding Award Availability


How to Earn Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles

Flying Blue miles are some of the easiest airline miles to earn since you can transfer points from all the major transferable points programs.

This means if you're earning Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou® Points, you can instantly transfer those points to Flying Blue miles at an even 1:1 ratio. Earning points on rent with Bilt Rewards? You can transfer those points to Air France/KLM Flying Blue as well.

Here are some of our favorite credit cards that earn points which can be converted to Flying Blue miles.

If you're just starting out with points and miles, we consider the *chase sapphire preferred* the best travel rewards credit card for beginners. bonus_miles_full

And with 3x points per dollar spent for dining and 2x points for travel purchases, it's really easy to rack up a ton of Chase points that can be instantly transferred to Flying Blue miles.


*chase sapphire preferred*


Learn more about the *csp*.


We can’t say enough good things about the *venture x*. It’s the bank’s first premium card, so it's loaded with benefits such as access to Capital One Lounges and Priority Pass lounges, a $300 annual travel credit, a credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, great travel and rental car insurance protection, and more. The annual fee clocks in at $395 a year, but the benefits can easily outweigh that.

The best part is that you can currently earn 75,000 Venture Miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Considering you earn at least 2x for every dollar you spend on the Venture X Card, you’ll earn a total of at least 83,000 Venture Miles, which can be transferred instantly to 83,000 Flying Blue miles. That alone is enough to fly business class to Europe from anywhere in the U.S.


*venture x*


Learn more about the *venture x*.


The *amex gold card* is currently offering a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $6,000 in the first six months. Better yet, you may be able to qualify for a whopping 75,000-point welcome bonus using CardMatch.


Beyond that bonus, this card is easily one of the best all-around travel cards on the market thanks largely to an unbeatable 4x return on an unlimited amount of spending at restaurants and 4x points on up to $25,000 a year spent at U.S. supermarkets – and 1x points after that.


*amex gold card*


Learn more about the *amex gold*


The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is another great way to earn points that can be transferred to Flying Blue miles. You’ll earn 3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations and for travel booked with the card. Plus, there is a bonus of 70,000 ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.


Citi Strata Premier Card


Learn more about the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card (for full disclosure, this is not an affiliate link).


Of course, you can also earn Flying Blue miles by crediting flights flown on Air France, KLM, or any other SkyTeam partner airline, such as Delta, to your Flying Blue frequent flyer account. But we think it's easiest and more practical to rack up a ton of Flying Blue miles by transferring credit card points.


Bottom Line

Flying Blue Miles can get you a lie-flat seat to Europe or beyond for an amazing rate. And if you just want to fly economy, it can be the best way to get to far-flung destinations such as Southern Africa or Madagascar.

The fact that you can easily earn Flying Blue miles and it's generally not too difficult to find the lowest redemption rates available make Air France/KLM's Flying Blue program one of the easiest ways to use points and miles for your next trip.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Responses

  • It’s a nice thought, but I have never found a decent redemption opportunity on FlyingBlue. As a hobby, I arrange travel for 25+ friends and family, as well as a charity that regularly sends people around the world. Occasionally, you might find an economy seat at a decent price through FlyingBlue, but they have just one seat, and who travels to Europe alone? When you look for business class seats, the prices quickly jump up to 300K, and 500k+ is not unusual. I remain optimistic about finding a decent redemption on FlyingBlue, but it has not happened yet.

    • I’ve booked business class on Air France three times in the last two years for 41k, 27750, and 33k points, and that’s almost routine at this point. Sure, there’s the 125k redemptions, but it’s easy to find multiple seats in J for under 40k. I’ve also booked economy for less than 15k three times this year alone, one of them the day before traveling. I even found one of those recent 5k business class unicorns that TT texted me about, although the dates conflicted with an existing trip. Flying Blue is quite reliable for booking business class and economy.

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