As someone that’s spoiled by US frequent flyer programs (in terms of the abundance of opportunities to earn miles, the cheap redemption rates, and typically lack of fuel surcharges), I often don’t even consider some foreign frequent flyer programs. But given how many of them are partners with programs like Starwood, Membership Rewards, etc., they shouldn’t always be overlooked since they are quite easily accessible.
For example, Air France/KLM’s frequent flyer program, Flying Blue, offers promotional 50% off awards for select routes. Right now, Chicago to Europe on KLM is one of the featured 50% off awards, costing 50,000 points for a roundtrip business class award. Now, Flying Blue does charge fuel surcharges, so the ticket will cost you something like $400-500, but still, 50,000 miles plus a reasonable “co-pay” isn’t bad for a business class ticket to Europe. While the dates are always limited and this is only for travel through the end of February, it’s worth keeping an eye on the list of cities that are featured for promotional awards, because there might just be a deal that suits your travel needs and is worth taking advantage of.
(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)