Award Availability Alert: Montreal to Paris round trip business class for only 106K to 112K American Express Membership Rewards points

At the beginning of the month we brought you the details of the latest Air France KLM Flying Blue promo rewards which included economy class flights between Montreal and Europe. Turns out that even though they have only listed it as ‘Economy’ on the Promo Rewards page they are also offering discounted business class tickets! A few U.S. blogs noticed this over the past week or so for U.S. departures (I believe Frequent Miler may have been first?) and I have been meaning to check it out for Montreal. And sure enough there are some days that you can book for 39,750 miles each way in Business Class.

The business class options: 

Here is one example that I found:


Here is the cash price for the exact same flights that we can use to compare:

Thus you can see you are redeeming 79,500 miles for $3,245.90 in ticket value. That works out to just over 4 cents per mile in value so it’s a pretty good redemption.  If you don’t have any Flying Blue Miles but do have American Express Membership Rewards points this is an ideal redemption. Amex Membership Rewards points can be be converted to Flying Blue at a 1 to 0.75 ratio. That means you would require 106,000 Membership Rewards points for the above flight reward (or any other round trip you can find at that price). Plus you have to pay the fees, which AF KLM does charge quite a bit at $743.21. In terms of math, your 106,000 MR points for $3,245 of the ticket price means you are receiving 3.06 cents per Membership Reward point in
value. So for your 1x point spending that’s of course a 3.06% return,
for 2x points it is 6.12%, 3x points is 9.18% and the Cobalt Card‘s 5x points
gives you a 15.3% return! Not too shabby at all.



But, I feel you can actually do better than this unless you are really itching to fly Air France or KLM. I checked Aeroplan for the same days as the above example and they want 112,600 points + $230.55 in fees. So for only 6,600 more Membership points (MR points convert to Aeroplan 1:1) you can fly round trip in Air Canada business class but save yourself $413.21 in cash. Air Canada wants $4,020.55 for this flight, so if you subtract the $230.55 in fees you are receiving 3.36 cents per point in value. Almost 10% higher than you are getting with the Flying Blue redemption. If I had to pick I would redeem the 6,600 more points and save the extra cash – even if you take into account 6,600 points being worth $202 for the Air France redemption you would still be saving over $200 with the Aeroplan route.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, with Amex’s Fixed Points for travel you would be looking at 140,000 points plus a very hefty fees and taxes portion so I’m not even going to compare it.

Buying Points for the Flying Blue Redemption

There is another option to get the Flying Blue award ticket if you don’t have enough Flying Blue miles or Membership Rewards points. Right now until February 27 the Flying Blue program is offering up to a 100% bonus when buying their miles. You can buy 40,000 miles and get 40,000 as a bonus for 80,000 in total to cover the Flying Blue redemption. The cost? 1,100EUR or about C$1,600 or 2 cents per mile but are getting a redemption value of 3.06 cents. Then add in the $743 in fees and you are looking at spending around $2,300 – $2,400. Overall you would be saving at least $1,600 over the cash price of the flight. Click here to learn more about the buy miles offer.

Wrapping it up

There are some really good deals to be had if you are looking to redeem for business class flights to Europe right now. No matter which way you go, the Flying Blue route or the Aeroplan route they are both valuable redemption options for those holding onto Membership Rewards points or for those who have miles in Flying Blue or Points in Aeroplan.  However, that’s the beauty of Amex’s program as it gives you that flexibility to choose from either of these programs – you can compare first and then choose the route you want to go with your points.  And if you earned all those points with the American Express Cobalt Cards 5x points it would mean you would have spent $21,200 to $22,520 (not including any sign up bonuses). No other card in Canada can even come close to letting you spend that little for these flights. 

Images via Air France & Air Canada