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Good afternoon everyone, I hope your week is going well. A few nights ago, I was helping a friend find and book award tickets from the Bay Area to Kauai, Hawaii (LIH – Lihue, Hawaii). She is a teacher and wanted to travel over Spring Break next year. Her Spring Break is the first week of April and Easter is on April 1, 2018, so she wanted to leave right after Easter. I went to Google Flights to see what flight options were available but their flight calendar doesn’t show any flights past April 1, 2018 (if you are reading this post after May 8, then it should show you later dates).
I checked on Wikipedia to see which airlines and routes flew to LIH and then I manually checked all paid and award tickets for Alaska Airlines (plus using the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card Companion Ticket), American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines. The prices for one way nonstop and 1 stop flights were $450-$900 per person and most award prices were all standard/high/peak, not saver/off-peak. I didn’t search Island Air and WestJet since she didn’t have miles in any of those programs.
Delta did have some of the cheapest one way flights that were a little under $500.
I then checked to see if Delta had any decent award flights. To my surprise, there were 3 options that were priced at 22,500 Delta SkyMiles and $5.60 in taxes/fees. Crunching the numbers, she would have gotten 2.06 CPP using Delta SkyMiles for the cheapest flight ($468.80 – $5.60 = $463.20 / 22,500 = 2.06 CPP). Before she booked those flights, I wanted to check KLM and see if they had any better prices using Flying Blue miles. Good thing I checked…
I logged into my KLM Flying Blue account and searched for the same flights. To my shock and amazement: 1) the KLM website actually loaded results instead of erroring out on me and 2) there were Classic Awards priced at 15,000 Flying Blue miles + $5.60 in taxes/fees. Crunching the numbers, she would get 3.01 CPP using KLM Flying Blue miles for the cheapest flight ($468.80 – $5.60 = $463.20 / 15,000 = 3.01 CPP).
I selected a flight and went to the next page to confirm the price, but then the price jumped up to 27,500 KLM Flying Blue miles + $5.60 in taxes/fees. I tried multiple times to get the correct 15,000 KLM Flying Blue miles price, but I could not get it to work.
I figured she could call into the KLM Flying Blue award department and book the award over the phone. Unfortunately, that department closes at 9pm ET on Saturday and 6pm ET on Sunday. Bummer!
Undeterred, I searched KLM’s website for the Australian phone number. After googling how to dial Australia (type 011 61 1300 392 192), she called them using Skype. The rep was very helpful and was able to see the award space, confirm that the price of 15,000 KLM Flying Blue miles, and book the award tickets over the phone. The rep acknowledged that the online award booking service was experiencing some issues pricing awards correctly, but she was able to book the award tickets quickly with no phone booking fee.
As a side note, my friend did not have enough KLM Flying Blue miles in her account to book all the awards, but was able to transfer in the necessary number of KLM Flying Blue miles from Citi Thank You Points and American Express Membership Reward Points (she could have used Chase Ultimate Reward Points too, but she wanted to save those for other uses – and SPG transfers are not instant). Both transfers were instant, she just needed to sign out and sign back in to view her new account balance. Regarding the return flight, the schedule is not open that far in advance, so she will need to check flights in the next few days to see what flight options are available.
If you have any questions about searching and booking award tickets using KLM Flying Blue miles, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!