Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
Air France / KLM Flying Blue is a point transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and more recently Citi ThankYou points. You can use Flying Blue miles to fly airlines close to home like Delta and Alaska Airliens.
And it has some good bargains year round on awards to parts of the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Mexico, including:
Curacao, Bonair, and Suriname are also available at 12,500 miles, but there’s no good SkyTeam air service from the U.S. to those destinations so it’s not worth paying attention to them.
Are these good deals?
If you use regular Delta, American, or United miles you’ll pay at least 17,500 miles one way to the Caribbean or Mexico. And 22,500 miles to Hawaii.
So transferring your Amex or Citi ThankYou points to FlyingBlue to get these flights at lower prices is a good deal.
Yes, transferring to British Airways Avios can be a better deal to Hawaii at 12,500 points *if* you can catch a nonstop flight on American or Alaska Airlines. But most of us don’t live in a place with nonstop flight to Hawaii.
So this is the cheapest real alternative for most of us, since Flying Blue charges the same 15,000 miles regardless of whether you’re leaving from Detroit, Miami, or Austin, and regardless of how many connecting flights you need to get there.
It’s the same story for many places in the Caribbean and Mexico. Avios are great if you have an American Airlines hub nearby. Less so if you live further away. Aruba is so far away you’ll only find Avios cheaper if you live in Florida to catch American’s flight from Miami or near Charlotte to catch US Airways’ flight.
Why are these so cheap?
Flying Blue treats Mexico as part of mainland North America, while it considers Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands part of the U.S.
Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, and Suriname are harder to explain.
But Air France’s award regions specifically label them as part of the general North America region, which lets you enjoy the low prices. The rest of the caribbean prices at 15,000 miles one way. Still cheaper than most mile programs, but not quite the same bargain as 12,500 miles.
And as for Hawaii – there’s also no good reason why it’s lumped in with Central America and the rest of the Caribbean.
With other mile programs awards to Hawaii are generally more expensive than to Central America or the Caribbean. But not with Flying Blue, and you can use that to your advantage.
Where can you find space?
You can create an account on AirFrance.us to do award searches.
Unfortunately it’s a really buggy site.
You’ll often see flights priced higher than what they should be.
And it will sometimes show flights available, but not let you book them.
So it’s best to use it for some basic research, then call Air France KLM directly – and quote the prices you see here.
The U.S. number is (800) 375-8723.
But their hours are limited, and their agents aren’t the most reliable. Better to try their UK number using Skype or Google Voice.
They’re open 24 hours a day and you can reach them on +44 0113 39 68 022.
What are the catches?
But overall, Flying Blue is an under used option for travel close to home that can save you tens of thousands of miles a year.
With Citi ThankYou points so much easier to earn this year, it’s worth thinking about Flying Blue as an option for your next beach holiday.
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