Awards

Air France/KLM FlyingBlue Improves Their Mileage Expiration Policy

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I find the Air France/KLM FlyingBlue program to be pretty useful, especially since the program is transfer partners with all major transferable points currencies. So the points are pretty easy to accrue, and FlyingBlue is reasonably good about opening up Air France and KLM business class award availability for their own members.

Recently FlyingBlue extended how far in advance you can redeem miles — previously you could only redeem miles at most 305 days out, while now they let you redeem miles 360 days out. That’s a great development, especially as the old system made no sense — members of partner airline frequent flyer programs had access to Air France and KLM award seats before the airlines’ own members did.

Well, FlyingBlue has just announced another improvement. It’s fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, though still worth pointing out. As of March 15, 2017, FlyingBlue miles expire after 24 months of inactivity, rather than after 20 months of inactivity.

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Alaska Mileage Plan Cuts JAL Premium Economy Awards

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Alaska Milage Plan is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs, thanks to their unique array of partners, the ability to do a stopover even on a one-way award, and much more.

One of the other things that sets Alaska Mileage Plan apart from many other U.S. frequent flyer programs is that they allow award redemptions in premium economy on many of their partner airlines. Historically American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, and United MileagePlus haven’t allow premium economy redemptions.

Presumably this is because in the past they didn’t offer a premium economy product themselves, and the concept of premium economy has been growing a lot the past several years. Now American and Delta are both introducing premium economy, so it’ll be interesting to see if they allow premium economy redemptions on partner airlines (Delta has already introduced premium economy redemptions on Virgin Atlantic, and perhaps that will be extended to other partners in the future).

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Delta Flash Sale: Save On Award Tickets To Europe ThIs Summer

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Delta SkyMiles has announced a great award sale for travel between the U.S. and Europe. The promotion is valid for travel in both business class and economy class, so it’s a great way to snag a discounted award ticket to Europe this summer and fall.

Through this promotion, roundtrip economy class awards start at just 50,000 miles, while roundtrip business class awards start at just 110,000 miles.

The major terms of the promotion are as follows:

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Singapore KrisFlyer Announces Award Chart Devaluation As Of March 23, 2017

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I love the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program, given that it’s just about the only way to redeem miles for Singapore Airlines longhaul premium cabin flights. They only make most award space available to their own KrisFlyer members, and not to members of partner frequent flyer programs.

On top of that, KrisFlyer is transfer partners with all four major transferable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest — so the points are quite easy to come by.

Well, Singapore KrisFlyer has just announced an award chart devaluation for bookings as of March 23, 2017. The good news is that the devaluation is fairly mild, and even sort of fair. This isn’t some insane devaluation where some award costs are increasing by 100%, as we’ve seen from other airlines over the years.

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Air France FlyingBlue’s March 2017 Promo Awards

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One of the best uses of Air France/KLM FlyingBlue miles is booking their Promo Awards.

FlyingBlue publishes these every month, and they offer 20-50% off select award tickets on Air France and KLM metal.

Back in the day Promo Awards would consistently be for 50% off and would have a good number of options in business class, though unfortunately they’ve devalued the promotion somewhat since then, and the discounts are now pretty consistently for 25% off. That’s still good, just not as good.

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LifeMiles Quadruples Award Ticket Cancelation Fees In Some Markets

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I’m a big fan of the LifeMiles program for the great premium cabin Star Alliance award opportunities they open up. However, there’s no denying that the program has some quirks. Fortunately with a bit of planning, it’s possible to avoid some of the downsides of the program.

One of LifeMiles’ unusual policies is that historically they’ve charge $50 to cancel an itinerary, but $150 to change an itinerary. That’s the opposite of most airlines — most programs charge at least as much to cancel an award itinerary as they do to change one. But LifeMiles has historically charged three times as much to change an itinerary as to refund it.

Well, that’s no longer the case, and it looks like LifeMiles has recently changed the costs to redeposit award tickets in some regions.

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5 Fantastic Uses Of United Miles

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There are numerous ways to use United miles, and you can do some really fun stuff with stopovers and open-jaws.

For the purposes of this post I’m going to keep it simple and highlight the one-way prices for some of the “sweet spots” in the United award chart, along with a couple of regions where I find United miles to be particularly useful.

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I Made An American Agent’s Night By Redeeming Miles

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I’m on a bit of a crazy trip at the moment (I’m excited to eventually share the reasoning), and am enroute from Asia to Europe. Long story short, I saw a flight with four Cathay Pacific first class award seats, which is exactly what we needed. This was two days before departure, and not a single seat was taken in the first class cabin at the time.

For those of you not familiar with Cathay Pacific, they have just six first class seats on the 777. Typically they make up to one award seat available in advance, and then closer to departure they’ll often release more seats. You often see an extra seat, and sometimes even see two seats closer to departure.

However, four seats at a time — and more specifically, a completely empty first class cabin two days before departure — is extremely rare.

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Great Deal: Get 25% Off Iberia Business Class Awards

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Through February 14, 2017, the Iberia Avios program is offering 25% off select economy and business class awards. The promotion is valid for travel in the following markets:

— To/from Madrid to Zurich, London, Wien and Moscow (valid for travel through June 14)
— To/from Madrid to Bogota, Medellin, Johannesburgo, Miami, New York, Boston, Chicago, Panama, Shanghai, Mexico and Lima (valid for travel through June 14, except the month of April)
— To/from Madrid to Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires and Havana (valid for travel May 1 through June 14)

The offer is valid for new bookings only. The promotion is only valid for travel over off-peak dates, which means that the following dates are excluded: April 7-18, April 21-24, April 28-29, May 2-3, May 6-8, and June 9-12).

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Caution: Lots Of Phantom Swiss First Class Award Availability

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Swiss is one of the most restrictive airlines when it comes to making first class award seats available. Only elite members in the Miles & More program can redeem miles for Swiss first class. Unfortunately non-elite Miles & More members, and elite members in other programs, can’t redeem miles for the product.

At least that’s usually the case. Last June there was a glitch where Swiss first class award space was temporarily bookable using partner airline miles, and it’s an opportunity that many of us took advantage of. I decided to fly from Zurich to Los Angeles in November in Swiss first class, and had a great flight (though I’m not sure Swiss is so exceptional as to warrant how protective they are of the product).

As noted by View from the Wing and several OMAAT readers, at the moment there’s a lot of Swiss first class award availability showing through United’s website. I know this probably got some people excited, given what a rate opportunity this is.

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How To Redeem The Fewest Points For An Air France First Class Ticket

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There are a lot of amazing first class products in the world, though they’re not all created equal in terms of how difficult it is to redeem miles for them. Some first class products are wide open with miles, like Korean Air first class. Others are quite difficult to redeem miles for, like Singapore first class and Lufthansa first class.

Then then there are products that are almost completely off limits when redeeming miles. For example, Swiss first class is only available to Miles & More Senator members and above, while Air France first class is only available to FlyingBlue elite members, and only at the flex cost (which is expensive).

However, earlier I wrote about how I really want to try Air France’s new La Premiere product, as I think it’s the only great first class product I haven’t yet flown. With that in mind, in this post I want to take a closer look at the best ways to snag a seat in Air France La Premiere.

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Finally: FlyingBlue Now Lets You Redeem Miles 360 Days In Advance

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Well here’s some great news for Air France and KLM FlyingBlue members, and not so great news for those with partner program miles that they want to redeem for travel on Air France and KLM.

Different airlines open their award “calendars” at different times. Some airlines make award seats available a year out, while others make award seats available only about 10 months out. But there’s even more to the equation when you’re redeeming on partner airlines — there’s the time that the airline with which you have miles opens up their award calendar, and also when the airline you want to actually fly with opens up award seats.

FlyingBlue (the loyalty program of Air France and KLM) has had one of the most restrictive award booking windows. FlyingBlue members have only been able to redeem miles at most 305 days before departure, regardless of which airline they’re looking to fly.

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Check Out The Air France FlyingBlue Promo Awards For February!

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One of the best uses of Air France/KLM FlyingBlue miles is booking their Promo Awards.

FlyingBlue publishes these every month, and they offer 20-50% off select award tickets on Air France and KLM metal.

Back in the day Promo Awards would consistently be for 50% off and would have a good number of options in business class, though unfortunately they’ve devalued the promotion somewhat since then, and the discounts are now pretty consistently for 25% off. That’s still good, just not as good.

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A Transpacific Flight Where You Can Get A First Class Seat For Business Class Miles

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Did you know there’s a transpacific flight where you can redeem miles for a business class ticket but get a first class seat?

Specifically, I’m talking about China Airlines’ flight between Vancouver and Taipei, which is their only remaining flight to North America operated by a 747-400.

I suppose this is a very low yield route, given how they choose to sell the plane. China Airlines’ 747 features 12 first class seats, 49 business class seats, and 314 economy class seats. However, rather than selling first class as first class and business class as business class, the airline sells first class as business class, and business class as premium economy (with service corresponding to business class and premium economy).

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