Amazing West Coast – Europe Business Class Award Availability for 53,000 Miles Each Way Per Person

Yesterday I offered a number of tricks and ways to get extreme value out of Air France KLM’s Flying Blue miles. One of the things I noted is how much better availability can be when using their miles than when using other programs between the US and Europe.

Flying Blue is a transfer partner of Chase, American Express, Citibank and Capital One so it’s easy to get their miles. There’s even a current transfer bonus for Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card cardholders. And they make much better award space available when using miles in their own program than what they offer to partners like Delta.

Carol (SanDiego1K on FlyerTalk) shares something worth underscoring in the comments to that post,

Air France has abruptly become my go to airline for travel to Italy. We had booked award seats from [Rome to Los Angeles] a year back and flew them in the past few days. I was impressed with comfort, food and service in long haul Air France business class.

I’ve been searching for award seats to [Rome] in spring 2020. [United and American] are charging 150K to 240K one way for one person in business class. That’s crazy pricing.

Imagine my delight to find Air France with seats at 53K one way per person. I don’t have Capital One points, but I do have AMEX and Ultimate Rewards. Both transfer instantly and I was able to secure my seat. Check FCO-LAX in May 2020 and you’ll find award seats for 53K for at least 2/3 of the dates.

Rome – Los Angeles is a good search because as long as there’s award space available within Europe it’ll pick up availability for Alitalia non-stop as well as flights on KLM via Amsterdam and Air France via Paris. Flying Blue is cheaper when you add flights through hubs rather than terminating at a hub.

Here’s availability Europe – US West Coast… Rome to Los Angeles… towards the end of the booking calendar (largely May 2020):

You’ll often find that there’s availability on more than one flight per day even for two passengers in business class.

West Coast – Europe is tough in business class using miles from just about every program, but best availability can often be found using Flying Blue miles.

Do read yesterday’s post though on important things to know when moving points to Flying Blue.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yeah.. It’s really nice, until Flying Blue / Alitalia decide to just cancel your flight and rebook you a few days later.

    I transferred 12.5k pts to FB in order to book Alitalia CDG – FCO – OLB. Alitalia cancelled the flight, i don’t know why (upon demand: “flight cancellation reason is flight cancellation”), and rebooked me for two days later with two stops in Bologna and Naples. Given it was more than 14 days out, no compensation through EU 261 applies. Flying Blue claims it’s Alitalia’s fault, and Alitalia claims that they rebooked me, so what’s my issue? (MY ISSUE IS THAT I HAVE A 10 day vacation, and I don’t want to give up 20% of it sitting in Paris). They don’t offer any comp, or offer to pay for my flight, and there is no other availability that day that fit’s my schedule. They will not pay for inter-line on another alliance, and they won’t even pay for the same day Transavia flight, which is technically a AF partner, and is showing paid availability, because “flying blue center cannot pay for customer’s flights”. A total shitshow.

  2. The $300 fuel surcharges carrier fees make this an okay deal not a great deal. Yes the availability is good compared to others but the price is the same or worse (think how many miles could you buy on other airlines for $300).

  3. Pretty much only available on their angle flat A380 product. Nevertheless, it’s what passes for a good deal these days, and the operative is being able to book a premium cabin at all.

  4. @Gary – Any suggestions on ways to lower the fuel surcharges besides starting off in Mexico, since Mexico limits these?

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