It’s the first week of the month, time to check out Flying Blue’s monthly promo. Every month, they promise discounts of up to 50% when using their points to book flights. I have yet to see more than 1 city with such deep discount in a month. However, for the last few months, I’ve taken a look at the promo with hopes I will find something worth transferring points to Flying Blue.
This month they are offering 25% off for flights between JFK and ORY. Economy goes for 18,750 one way and 37,500 round trip. Business on the other hand goes for 46,875 and 93,750. The news are much better for Canadians since this time around the promo includes 5 cities! I happen to be writing this in Canada, maybe I brought the good luck?
Is this a good deal?
According to Awardhacker, a round trip economy ticket between JFK and ORY goes for 39,000 to 50,000 miles, and 63,000 to 80,000 in business. To my surprise the taxes and airline imposed fees for economy come up to $237.89! Round trip business will set you back 93,750 miles plus $596.55 in taxes and fees. Delta would charge 65,500 and $79.16 in economy. 120,000 SkyInches (our new official name for SkyMiles) and $133.96 in taxes and fees. United would cost 60,000 miles and $44 in economy round trip while business SaverAward would cost 115,000 miles round trip and $74 in taxes and fees.
With the proliferation of cheap flights to Europe, now more than ever using points/miles only makes sense for premium travel. For the dates included in the promo, Air France charges $752.85 in economy and $3,408.02 for business both round trip. Putting things in perspective, 37,500 points plus $237.89 is a about 2 cents per point in economy and ~3.6 cents in business. To see if this is a good deal, one would have to calculate what’s the best possible value with the available points. For example, if you value your points at 2 cents, then your economy redemption would look like this: $750 (37,500 * 2 cents) + $237.89 taxes and fees, thus the total cost would be $987.89. Remember that Air France is charging $752.85 if you pay cash. In case you want to get rid off those points this is not such a bad proposition after all. Of course there could be much better uses for those points. Let’s take a look at a business redemption, using points/miles the cost of your round trip business ticket would cost: $1875 (93,750 * 2 cents) + $596.55 in taxes and fees. Since Air France charges $3,408.02 for round trip business ticket, paying with points would save you $1,533.02 vs paying cash. As you know, you can transfer points from Chase, Amex, Citi and SPG. I would argue that this is an even better deal when transferring points from Citi or Amex than for those transferring super valuable Chase UR points or SPG Starpoints. In the case of Starpoints one would need to transfer less points since you would get 5,000 points for every 20,000 points you transfer. The argument against it would be that you can transfer Starpoints to airlines that charge less than 93,750 points for a round trip business trip to Europe. You can also transfer UR points to Korean Air and travel for 80,000 points plus taxes and fees.
Ultimately, if you have points spread around several programs that have Flying Blue as a transfer partner then this promo is a no brainer. It is less appealing if you have UR and SPG Starpoints.