Summer Travel from DC to Europe: Business Class for 31,250 Miles

Not too long ago I posted about a cheap way to travel from NY to London for just 13K miles and $98, which is an awesome redemption on Virgin Atlantic. Since that post, several readers have emailed me asking for the best strategy to get back to the states, while avoiding the ridiculously-high fuel charges that most airlines impose on tickets departing London.

As posted in my previous post, the following are the return prices (i.e. LHR-JFK) in both miles and dollars.

  • Virgin Atlantic – 13,000 miles + about $277
  • United – 30,000 miles + $181
  • American Airlines – 30,000 miles + $181 (or 20,000 miles + $181 during off-peak times)
  • British Airways – 20,000 Avios + $361

However, if you fly out of a different country, the tax goes down dramatically. For example, for Paris to New York, the taxes are only $86 on the United Award. Think about using Avios for short-hops around Europe, as awards under 650 miles are only 4,500 Avios each way.

Now, today I stumbled across another amazing option that could essentially be a golden ticket return award. How about a business class ticket from DC to Europe (or vice versa) for just 31,250 miles? That’s a deeply-discounted redemption gem that I found in Air France/KLM “Promo Award” chart. Side note: for those in the NYC area, you can get to and from DC to NYC for just 4,000 Ultimate Rewards points for travel on Amtrak. Fares can also be decent in the $49 range.

The only caveat is that you can not book this award just yet. The reduced DC to Europe/Europe to DC awards can only be booked between June 29 – August 29 for travel between July 1 – August 31, 2013. So before you get all excited and go on a booking frenzy, you’ll have to wait just a few more days. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the value of this redemption.

While doing a sample search from DC to Paris for revenue fares during the promotional period, this is what comes up – a oneway fare is pricing at close to $7500 in business class!

How Do I Get Flying Blue Miles?

Well, as I posted yesterday, the down-right easiest way to get Flying Blue miles is to play the Find Mr. Miles game on Facebook. Of course, you have to have incredible luck.

Another more sensible option is with American Express Membership Rewards. Membership Rewards transfer 1:1 to Flying Blue miles in increments of 1,000.

If you don’t already have a Membership Rewards-earning card already, a great card is the The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN, which comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months. This 50,000 sign-up bonus can be quite lucrative if you take advantage of an occasional transfer bonuses from Membership Rewards to Flying Blue miles that we’ll see time to time (unfortunately there’s none now). 

Two other other Membership Rewards cards include:

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card (sign-up bonus is 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in 3 months) and The Platinum Card® from American Express (offer no longer available). Also, see related post about the awesome perks related to this card). Both of these are personal charge cards.

Conditions on Promo Awards@

  • Reservations must be made exclusively on or (except for bookings for children, infants and minors, who are not authorised to book an award on the website).
  • In the event that a technical problem occurs when reserving the promotional fare or if the reservation cannot be finalised, the Flying Blue member must log on to the site and repeat the procedure.
  • This award ticket may be used on connecting flights within Europe and on connecting flights from Europe to long-haul flights and vice-versa.
  • These promotional Promo Award@ may not be modified, cancelled or refunded.
  • Promo Award@ are available for one-way tickets and round trips.
  • Flex Award are not included in the Promo Award@ offer.
Bottom Line
Combining the NYC to London deal for 13K miles and this deal for Europe to DC for ~31K miles, you could essentially have yourself a nice roundtrip ticket to Europe this summer with one leg in Business class.

Of course, there are many other reduced awards that are part of the Air France/KLM Promo Awards promotion. I just happened to scan the masses, and the Europe to DC award in Business class seemed pretty lucrative to me. Perhaps some of the other city pairs work well for you too.

Let me know your thoughts. For those who have flown Air France’s premium cabins before, feel free to share your experiences as well.

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  1. says

    The bad part is that the taxes will still be high – probably around $400~. There is one other gem that would really up the quality of the return, but it is quite a few more miles – Singapore Airlines from FRA-JFK. It is around $180 in taxes and about 47K for business or 57K for their first class suites.

  2. says

    @Charlie & Heather: My guess is that taxes will be about 196 Euro from DCA to Paris or 296 Euro from Paris to DCA based on the results shown in their normal award engine

  3. J says

    Great stuff.
    Thank you!

    P.S – “While doing a sample search from DC to Washington for revenue fares…”

    I think you meant DC to Paris?

  4. Al says

    I saw some even better deals. Lufthansa is offering business class round trip awards for 55000 miles between US and Europe.

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