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It often takes a bunch of miles to move a family around the world on award tickets when you are multiplying by many travelers, so that’s why families are the ones who benefit the most from award chart sweet spots and limited time discounted awards. It can be hard to keep track of the different discounted awards that are out there, so I wanted to offer a summary of some of the discounts available right now. Even if you can’t lock something in at the moment, just knowing that these discounts can happen may help when you go to make a booking down the road.
Flying Blue (the frequent flyer program of Air France KLM) offers a monthly listing of discounted awards that price as low as 50% off, or 25,000 miles from United States – Europe round trip (in economy). Flying Blue is a 1:1 transfer partner of the American Express Membership Rewards program and the transferable cards in the Citi ThankYou program, as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest Program. With the automatic 5,000 mile bonus, that means that 20,000 SPG points transferred to Flying Blue will result in 25,000 Flying Blue miles. In other words, you can potentially fly round trip to Europe for the same points price as it would cost for one non-peak season night at the Category 6 W in Austin. The W in Austin is nice and all, but flights to Europe vs. one night in downtown Austin…
Houston – Europe 50% off in economy (25,000 miles) on KLM or Air France 01/12/15 – 02/28/15
JFK- Europe 50% off in economy (25,000 miles) on KLM or Air France 01/12/15 – 02/28/15
Chicago – Europe 50% off in business (62,500 miles) on KLM 01/01/15 – 02/28/15
Washington DC – Europe 50% off in economy (25,000 miles) on KLM 01/12/15 – 02/28/15
Miami – Madrid 50% off in business (62,500 miles) on AirEuropa 01/01/15 – 02/28/15
There are fuel surcharges on these tickets that will vary, but the taxes/fees came to about $225 on the economy award I priced to Europe (Houston – Amsterdam – Houston). Some awards will have higher fuel surcharges, but you can easily price that out on their website even if you have 0 miles in your account.
Thanks to View from the Wing for sharing the new list.
The American Airlines AAdvantage program has a list of discounted cities each month for co-branded card holders. Depending on the type of card you have, you can fly round trip in economy for as low as 17,500 miles (7,500 miles off) or 42,500 miles in first (also up to 7,500 miles off).
To get the discount, you need to find MileSAAver availability, have one of the co-branded cards, and call 1-800-882-8880 to book, referencing the discounted mileage awards.
Here is a sampling of what is available:
November 2014: Boston, Houston, Colorado Springs, Montreal
December 2014: Toronto, Norfolk, Memphis
January 2015: Vancouver, Austin, Vail, Crested Butte, Jackson Hole
There are lots of popular ski destinations on the list for January 2015!
As a practical example, you could fly nonstop JFK – Vail Eagle (EGE) for a long weekend of skiing January 22 – 27th for just 17,500 miles….which is further reduced to an actual cost of 15.750 miles counting the 10% redeemed miles rebate that comes via cards like the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard®. That is a huge value during ski season which gives a return of over 3 cents per mile on an economy domestic ticket (2 cents per mile is a threshold I often use when deciding whether to use airline miles).
To give a few other discounted airline award examples:
US Airways operated awards are always discounted 5,000 miles when you have The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®
I have seen discounted Virgin Atlantic flights as low as 25,000 miles round trip to Europe
Discounted off-peak awards are available with several programs, including US Airways and American Airlines
Which discounted awards have you been able to use in order to stretch your family’s miles?