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Sweet Spot Sunday: Booking premium economy tickets to Europe for just 30K miles

With record-breaking exchange rates between the euro and dollar, it’s no wonder so many people are itching to hop the pond to explore (and shop) their way around Europe.

Flying Blue — the loyalty program of KLM and Air France — is one of the most popular programs used to book transcontinental awards. Historically, the program has been known for reasonably priced business and economy mileage redemptions between many U.S. cities and Europe.

One sweet spot falls right in the middle: premium economy flights. For as few as 30,000 miles on some dates, Flying Blue lets travelers cross the Atlantic in this middle-ground cabin without breaking the bank.

When looking for your next European escape, here’s how to fly to Europe with this Air France and KLM sweet spot.

Why it’s special


While many carriers charge 30,000 miles or more for economy flights, for the same amount of miles on Air France or KLM, you can get a more comfortable seat, better service and a better meal by flying in premium economy.


For example, if you were looking to ski in Switzerland this winter, you can fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Zurich Airport (ZRH) with a connection in Amsterdam for just 30,000 miles.


These flights would cost $943, meaning that the redemption value is about 2.7 cents per mile, far higher than TPG’s valuation of 1.2 cents per mile.


This price is also available for flights for next summer. In this example, you can fly from JFK to Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) via Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) for the same 30,000 miles in premium economy.


Digging into this sweet spot, it seems that this low rate is available from multiple East Coast cities to numerous European cities including Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam.

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The only negative of these awards is that Flying Blue’s taxes and fees are relatively high. It’s not uncommon for one-way awards to require $150-plus out of pocket or over $300 round-trip.


How to book this award

You can book these flights using your Flying Blue miles on AirFrance.us or KLM.com. Make sure to check “Book with Miles,” and then you will be prompted to sign in to your Flying Blue account.


Plug in your route and dates and choose “Premium Economy” in the “Cabin” dropdown.


All available routes will appear and then you can review the tickets priced at 30,000 miles one-way. If nothing appears that low, you can use the seven-day calendar features at the top of the page to click through other days that week. (Note that through the end of October 2022 some routes are targeted for Promo rewards and cost as low as 22,500 miles one-way.)


After clicking on the flight you would like, it will highlight that flight and also show options for booking in economy and business for that routing. You can select the premium economy option, and a review page will appear before filling in the information and booking your ticket.

Related: The top 5 premium economy cabins in the sky today

How to earn points for this award


Thankfully, Flying Blue miles are some of the easiest to earn — even in the U.S.

You can transfer points to Flying Blue from most major transferable programs, including American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Note that Marriott points transfer at a 3:1 rate, with a 5,000-mile bonus awarded for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. All other programs transfer 1:1.

Here are a few of TPG’s favorite credit cards and their respective welcome bonuses:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.Citi Premier® Card: Earn 80,000 Citi ThankYou Points miles after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of account opening.The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on the card within the first six months of membership.

Related: How (and why) you should earn transferable points

Bottom line

For less than what some airlines charge for economy, you can fly more comfortably to and from your next trip to Europe. This award option is great for travelers departing from the East Coast as it opens up a wide variety of cities throughout Europe.

Although the taxes and fees may sting, they are still reasonable relative to the higher cost of cash tickets. Make sure to put this surcharge on a card that earns bonus points for airfare, such as the Amex Platinum.

From skiing the Swiss Alps to living it up on the Amalfi Coast, due to the ease of access to Flying Blue miles with the program’s many transfer partners, this sweet spot is perfect for getting to Europe in a little more luxury without breaking the bank.