Deals and Unicorns in the New Citi 25% Bonus to Flying Blue — Part 2: USA to Europe and South America

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Previous post: Deals and Unicorns in the New 25% Citi Transfer Bonus to Flying Blue — Part 1: USA to Israel

UPDATE 6.2019: This article was posted 3 months ago when Amex had the same 25% transfer bonus to Flying Blue. I’ve completely rewritten it by looking for new deals (and duds) in the Citi 25% bonus and checking current availability. As I was digging in, I realized that there are so many things I needed to say that I broke this piece in 2. The previous post covered deals (including Unicorn-grade deals) for travel to Israel. This one will deal with some new ways to save on travel to Europe and Latin America.

As a reminder, Citi ThankYou is offering a 25% transfer bonus to Flying Blue until 7.20.2019. Do remember, though, that most Flying Blue airlines add fuel surcharges to their tickets. For a Business Class round-trip ticket to Europe, taxes and fees can reach about $500+.  

Citi 25% bonus to Flying Blue: U.S. to Europe

UPDATE 06.2019: I’ve thoroughly updated this post and removed the outdated information. Many sweet deals that were available are gone or I can’t find them any longer, for example:

  • JFK-DUB on Delta for 56,500 miles (46,000 points) and no YQ: GONE
  • JFK-MAD on Delta for 58,000 miles (47,000 points) and no YQ: GONE
  • JFK-CDG on Delta for 61,000 miles (49,000 points) and no YQ: GONE 

Yet, in this hobby it often happens that whenever one door slams shut, another one opens. Read on! 

Cheap rates to Europe start at 53,000 and go up from there. I wish I could figure out how Flying Blue is pricing their award redemptions, but I don’t see the rhyme or reason. Sometimes, longer flights cost more (but not always); connecting flights often cost more, but (again) not always — in fact flights connecting in Europe often cost less. Just check the Flying Blue Miles Calculator and go from there, but it can be inaccurate too. Nevertheless, here are some datapoints.

Here are some notable Business Class deals.

New York to Madrid from 62.500 miles (50,000 Citi points with the Citi 25% Bonus) on Air Europa

Have you heard of Air Europe? This airline, alone with Delta, is one of only 2 Flying Blue member that don’t add fuel surcharges to transatlantic flights (at least to the ones originated in the U.S.). 

Citi 25 Bonus JFK-MAD

New York to Amsterdam from 57.500 miles (46,000 points with the Citi 25% Bonus) on KLM

JFK-AMS 46K Citi 25 Bonus

You can fly from New York to Amsterdam for 57,500 miles (46,000 Citi points) one way

Or you can pay more in miles and less in cash on Delta (finding a transatlantic on Delta is pretty hard, but possible)

New York to Amsterdam on Delta: 72,000 Flying Blue miles (60,000 Citi points) and no fuel surcharges

 

Or (rarely) you can fly from New York to Amsterdam on Delta also for 72,000 miles

Miami to Madrid for 72,000 miles (60,000 Citi points with the Citi 25% Bonus) and no fuel surcharges

Citi 25 Bonus MIA-MAD 60K

Air Europa has nonstop flights between Miami and Madrid, but they are difficult to get

Other good Citi 25% bonus to Flying Blue Deals

Some other decent (not great) Business Class Flying Blue deals include flights to South America. Just to be clear: they are decent only because of good-to-great availability, no fuel surcharges, and the Citi 25% transfer bonus. Flying Blue partner airlines for South America include Delta, AeroMexico, Aerolineas Argentinas, Copa, and GOL.

  • U.S. to northern South America is 50,500 miles (41,000 Citi points). Think Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru.
  • U.S. to southern South America is 72,000 (60,000 Citi points). Think Brazil, Argentina, and Chile.

These values are not spectacular, but availability is solid, at least at the time of writing.

Citi 25 Bonus JFK-GRU 60K

72,000 miles (60,000 Citi points) for New York to Sao Paulo in Biz

I’ve tried to find deals from the U.S. to Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific. Unfortunately, I haven’t discovered any more sweet spots. What you would be dealing with, mostly, are high redemption rates and fairly high fuel surcharges. 

And now — the unicorns!

As I’ve mentioned in Part 1 (DoubleDip with the Flying Blue Promo Awards), Flying Blue runs monthly promos. These promos combined with the Citi 25% transfer bonus can offer a terrific value. I’ve already covered incredible deals between the U.S. and Israel that start at 11,000 miles each way. Flights to Europe follow the same pattern. You must fly on Air France and KLM to be eligible, but you can travel to any cities in Europe served by these 2 airlines. If you don’t mind paying around $500 in taxes and fees, you can get a terrific bargain. Remember that you must book by June 31 to travel between August 1 to September 30. Here are some examples of pricing in Business Class.

Flying Blue Promo Citi 25 Bonus

Chicago to Amsterdam for 53,250 miles (43,000 Citi points with the Citi 25% Bonus) one way

Things get even better if you want to fly to Paris.

Chicago to Paris for 43,500 miles (35,000 Citi points with the Citi 25% Bonus) one way

Citi 25 Bonus ORD-CDG 35K

35,000 points for a Business Class flight to Paris? That almost beats Iberia (Iberia charges 50,000 miles until September 15).


However, if you thought that was the floor, think again. I believe this is the floor! 

Chicago to Dublin or Prague for 39,750 miles (32,000 Citi points with the Citi 25% Bonus) one way

Both Dublin and …

Same value for Prague!
Citi 25 Bonus ORD-PRG 32K

… Prague are priced very reasonably — just under 40,000 miles (32,000 Citi points)

The current Flying Blue Award Promo can get you from Canada to Europe for less than 40,000 miles in Business Class. Montreal is another Flying Blue June promo city, so if you can’t find a flight you need from Chicago, consider Montreal — especially if your final destination is Paris, since it’s 4,000 miles cheaper.

YUL-CDG 32K Citi 25 Bonus

A Business Class flight between Montreal and Paris is under 40,000 miles or 32,000 Citi points with the 25% bonus

Of course, if you don’t live in Chicago or Montreal, you’ll need a positioning flight to either city to double dip into both the Citi transfer bonus and the June Promo Award. And the fuel surcharge, albeit not terribly high, isn’t too comforting. But, once again, as much as I hate fuel surcharges (and I really do hate fuel surcharges), these are nice little sweet spots.

Let’s recap

So, should you transfer Citi points to Flying Blue with the current 25% bonus?

  1. Please keep in mind that the purpose of these updates is to find sweet spots FROM/TO the U.S. Flying Blue is huge; it’s larger than any airline alliance and has 37 SkyTeam and individual airline partners. I encourage you to look for other interesting options around the world! 
  2. Flights between North America and Europe/Israel/North Africa are the strongest feature of Flying Blue, but finding ones with no/low fuel surcharges is a challenge.
  3. Flights to Israel can be a terrific value even with surcharges, especially considering the 25% bonus, both in Economy and Business Class.
  4. Cheap Delta redemptions with no fuel surcharges are mostly gone.
  5. If you’re planning on flying to Europe or Israel from Chicago or Montreal between August 1 and September 30, definitely double dip with the 25% Citi bonus and 25% Promo Awards. Flights start at 32,000 Citi points. This is an incredible redemption value for Business Class despite the moderately high fuel surcharge.
  6. If you’re not crazy about these possibilities (or hate fuel surcharges even more than I do) consider hoarding Citi points, as it often has transfer bonuses to other programs, such as Virgin Atlantic, Avianca, and Flying Blue, as well. No one will blame you if you sit this one out. 🙂

Well, that’s about it. Have I missed any other bargains? Are you going to transfer your Citi points to Flying Blue? Share your thoughts.

Photo By: Trending Topics 2019

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