19 Best Ways to Redeem Flying Blue Miles (Air France / KLM Airlines) for Max Value [2017]

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Flying Blue is the loyalty program of Air France, KLM and several partner airlines. With its range of mile earning opportunities and large group of airline partners, Flying Blue offers strong value to travelers.

Using Flying Blue miles for award flights is relatively simple. Many itineraries can be booked online. Award charts and routing rules are straightforward across member airlines.

Plus, there are great values including monthly Promo Awards for discounts of 20-50%. Let’s find some of the best Flying Blue values!

CONTENTS

Table of Contents

The 19 Best Ways to Redeem Your Flying Blue Miles

1. Save 20-50% With Flying Blue Promo Awards (Air France / KLM)

Use Flying Blue Promo Awards to get a seriously good deal on flying Air France in business class. Image curtesy of airliners.net.
Use Flying Blue Promo Awards to get a seriously good deal on flying Air France in business class. Image courtesy of airliners.net.

The best ways to use Flying Blue miles while getting the highest values per point are monthly Promo Awards. Discounts range 20-50% off the miles price!

Promo Awards are bookable for travel within 3 months. You still pay the full fees and any application surcharges.

Each Promo Award specifies the available dates, route, airline (Air France and/or KLM) and class (economy or business). Some Promo Awards are between 2 specific cities, while others are between a city and region.

Example: A US city may offer 50% off to Europe, so one-way economy is only 12,500 miles. Check regularly as these offers come and go. You must book online.

Hot Tip: Even if there is no Promo Award from your home airport, it might be a good deal to buy a Promo Award from another airport and a separate, cheap ticket to get to that airport. This is called a ‘positioning flight’.

2. Israel and North Africa Savings Because They’re in ‘Europe’ Region

Visit Chefchaouen in Morocco for the same number of miles as going to Europe with KLM/Air France Flying Blue. Image courtesy of lonelyplanet.com
Visit Chefchaouen in Morocco for the same number of miles as going to Europe with KLM/Air France Flying Blue. Image courtesy of lonelyplanet.com

Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and the Canary Islands are all part of Europe according to Flying Blue. Most other programs put them in Middle East or Africa regions which are more expensive than Europe when coming from North America.

Coming from the US, Classic Awards are only 50,000 miles round-trip in economy, 100,000 in business.

When these go on Promo Award sale you have huge savings!

In addition to Air France/KLM flights, Delta flies to Israel and Alitalia to North Africa.

The flip side of this is an Israel to Middle East award is quite expensive even if just a short flight.

3. US 48 to Hawaii (Delta and Alaska Airlines)

use flying blue miles to travel to Hawaii
Using your Flying Blue to get to Hawaii can present some incredible value! Image courtesy of hawaii.com.

Using Flying Blue partner airlines Delta and Alaska, a great Flying Blue redemption is for flights from the US 48 to Hawaii. Round-trip is only 30,000 Flying Blue miles in economy and less than $10 in fees.

This is less than US programs charge their own members!

Hot Tip:  If you’re flying Delta, The Platinum Card® from American Express will grant you access to the Delta Sky Club lounge for your flight.

4. US 48 to the Caribbean (Delta and Alaska Airlines)

use flying blue miles to travel to the Caribbean Beach
Relax on a Caribbean beach for only 30,000 Flying Blue miles. Image courtesy of caribbeanislandcruises.com

Like Hawaii, US 48 to the Caribbean on Delta is a good deal at 30,000 miles round-trip in economy. That is a savings of 5,000 miles off what Delta SkyMiles charges for the same flights.

Delta has many Caribbean flights from New York and Atlanta.

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5. Caribbean to Hawaii with a US stopover (Delta and Alaska Airlines)

Even cheaper than US to Hawaii is Caribbean to Hawaii, just 25,000 miles round-trip! This is because Flying Blue puts the Caribbean and Hawaii in the same award region.

The cool thing is that on a round-trip award you can have a stopover. That means you can book Caribbean to US 48 (your home), stop for a few months, then continue to Hawaii.

Then do it all over again in reverse with a Hawaii to US to Caribbean ticket!

Hot Tip:  Another way to make hanging out at the airport better is free Boingo WiFi with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

6. Stop in the Caribbean on the Way to Europe (Air France/KLM)

Air France/KLM have many Caribbean to Europe routes. A few start in Miami and stop at an island en route to Europe.

You can combine the Caribbean and Europe on one award by booking a US to Europe round-trip with a stopover in the Caribbean.

7. US to Mexico (AeroMexico, Delta and Alaska Airlines)

use flying blue miles for AeroMexico Business Class
Use Flying Blue miles to plan a fun multi-destination trip with partner AeroMexico. Image courtesy of businesstraveler.com.

While the Caribbean and Hawaii are in separate regions from the US 48, Mexico is in the same region, making for cheap awards.

Round-trip economy is 25,000 miles, same as a US domestic award. This saves 10,000 miles off most US to Mexico awards!

Hot Tip: Look for routes with AeroMexico’s 787 Dreamliner: New York JFK-Mexico City often has one flight daily with this plane featuring lie-flat seats in business class.

8. Cheap Economy Flights to the South Pacific (Air France, Aircalin, Delta)

US 48 to the South Pacific is only 60,000 miles round-trip in economy. Air France flies Los Angeles to Tahiti.

In addition you can fly to South Pacific via Japan on Aircalin or via Australia on Delta.

On a round-trip Flying Blue award you can have one stopover, so combine Japan or Australia with the South Pacific for an awesome trip. You need to call Air France to book a stopover.

9. Pacific Island Hopping (Aircalin)

travel on flying blue to south pacific and see the New Caledonia Shark
Dive the South Pacific and see the sharks in New Caledonia with a Flying Blue award on Aircalin. Image courtesy shutterstock.com

Aircalin is a South Pacific airline that connects some of the most remote and beautiful islands in the world.

A great place to start is their nonstop flight from Tokyo Narita to Noumea, New Caledonia. New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands have it all, and all levels of luxury.

Business class is 150,000 miles round-trip, while economy is 60,000 miles.

With the South Pacific, flights are 30,000 miles round-trip in economy, often a great deal for how expensive these tickets can be. Visit Wallis and Fortuna, so small the two islands share only one ATM!

10. Central America Beaches and Jungles (Copa)

Copa is a Star Alliance airline yet partners with Flying Blue. From its hub in Panama City you can reach Central and South America destinations that are often expensive cash tickets.

US to Central America round-trip is just 30,000 miles round-trip in economy. Within Central America, flights are 25,000 round-trip in economy.

11. Europe Domestic Flights

Air France, KLM and its partners such as Alitalia and Czech Airways cover much of Europe. Awards start at just 8,500 miles one-way. Focus on economy because intra-Europe business class is not much different from economy.

Always shop around because Europe flights usually have a high cash component due to taxes, which are passed on for awards. It may be better value on some trips to buy a cash ticket.

12. Visit Corsica, Napoleon’s Home Island (Air France, Air Corsica)

Speloncato Village Corsica
What better than a combination of France and Italy with spectacular beaches and towering mountain villages? Image courtesy shutterstock.com

Corsica is a ravishing island blending French and Italian culture, and is the birthplace of Napoleon.

Air France and Air Corsica awards are available to the island’s 4 airports: AJA, BIA, CLY and FSC. You have many options and it is really hard to choose where to go for your Corsica vacation!

Hot Tip:  When visiting tourist attractions, you can often get 2x points when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

13. Into India (Jet Airways)

Flying Blue now partners with India’s Jet Airways so you no longer have to book an award to New Delhi or Mumbai and then add a separate domestic ticket to continue to India’s many wonderful destinations.

Now you can add a Jet Airways segments to your award to India.

US to India is 80,000 miles round-trip in economy. Business is expensive at 200,000 miles.

In contrast, because domestic flights in India are typically cheap, it is not often a good award value to use Flying Blue for purely domestic India award flights.

14. Into Japan (Japan Airlines)

SkyTeam lacks a Japanese partner airline, so it is great that Flying Blue partners with Japan Airlines.

Like using Jet Airways in India, if you are booking a Flying Blue award to Japan, you can fly Japan Airlines all the way or fly another airline and add a Japan Airlines domestic flight in Japan.

The US to Japan award price is the same as India, 80,000 miles round-trip in economy, while prohibitively expensive at 200,000 miles.

Take advantage of 1 free stopover on round-trip awards to visit two destinations for the price of one!

15. From Maldives to Angkor Wat (Bangkok Airways)

use flying blue miles Park Hyatt Maldives
You’ll love your free stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives! Image courtesy hyatt.com

One more interesting non-SkyTeam Asian partner of Flying Blue is Bangkok Airways. They fly to destinations from Maldives to Angkor Wat. Add a Bangkok Airways flight to your Flying Blue award to Southeast Asia.

A one-way trip from Angkor Wat (Siem Reap) to Maldives via Bangkok is 20,000 miles in economy. Business is pricey at 50,000 miles one-way.

16. Visit Africa From Tip to Toe (Air France/KLM and Kenya Airways)

With the colonial legacies of France and Netherlands, Air France and KLM have extensive Africa networks. Add in Nairobi-based Keyna Aiyways and you have one of the most extensive Africa networks in the sky.

Many of these tickets are extremely expensive in cash so use your Flying Blue miles to travel around Africa!

17. Add Victoria Falls to Your South Africa Trip (Comair)

fly to Victoria Falls with flying blue miles
Victoria Falls is a world highlight you can visit with Flying Blue’s cross-alliance Comair partnership. Image courtesy shutterstock.com

British Airways-owned Comair is a Flying Blue partner so if you have an award to South Africa, add a Comair flight up to Victoria Falls.

At 80,000 miles round-trip in economy from US this is a good value. Business at 200,000 miles is steep.

If you are already in Africa, standalone Comair flights are a better award value using British Airways Executive Club than Flying Blue.

18. Indian Ocean Island Hopping (Air Mauritius)

Air Mauritius is a key Flying Blue partner that gets you to magnificent Indian Ocean islands such as Mauritius, Reunion, and Madagascar.

US to these islands is 80,000 miles round-trip in economy, 200,000 in business.

If you love flying business class, you can sometimes go one island to the other via Paris on Air Mauritius or Air France. Don’t do this in economy!

19. The Remote African Beaches of Cabo Verde (Transavia)

flying blue miles to Cabo Verde islands
Drift away your cares in the Cabo Verde Islands, image courtesy shutterstock.com

The beaches of the islands of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) are not easy to reach but oh so beautiful.

Transavia is a subsidiary of Air France/KLM and you can use Flying Blue miles for awards to their destinations around Europe, Morocco and all the way to Praia and Sal in Cape Verde.

Check the Transavia website for Flying Blue award availability.

How to Earn Flying Blue Miles

Flying Blue Accounts and Credit Card Transfers

A great feature of Flying Blue is the number of credit card and hotel transfer partners. Points from many sources can combine in Flying Blue for awards.

If you are new to Flying Blue, follow these steps to ensure a smooth start:

  1. Register your Flying Blue account now, before you need to book an award.
  2. Credit a flight on a Flying Blue participating airline to your new account. You need to do this every 20 months to keep miles from expiring anyway.
  3. Initiate transfers as needed.

The reason for these steps is that Flying Blue fraud prevention flags new accounts that immediately receive large points transfers with no flight activity. It is frustrating to try to resolve this, especially if you have a great award to book.

By registering now and crediting a flight to Flying Blue, you should have no problems with transfers.

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards

American Express cards with Membership Rewards can transfer Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue at 1,000 points to 1,000 Flying Blue miles in increments of 1,000. Transfers are usually instant.

Earn Membership Rewards points with these credit cards:

Loyalty Program Credit Card Review
American Express Membership Rewards Loyalty Program The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Enhanced Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN
Gold Card from American Express
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
American Express® Green Card
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
Blue from American Express®
Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express
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Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

Chase Ultimate Rewards points also transfer 1,000 points to 1,000 Flying Blue miles in blocks of 1,000 points. Transfers are usually instant.

Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards include:

Loyalty Program Credit Card Review
Chase Ultimate Rewards Program Review Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
Chase Freedom®
Chase Freedom Unlimited℠
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Citi ThankYou Rewards Credit Cards

Citi ThankYou Rewards! also transfer to Flying Blue at the same rates of 1,000 points for 1,000 Flying Blue miles. Transfer take about 48 hours.

Earn ThankYou points with these Citi credit cards:

Loyalty Program Credit Card Review
Citi ThankYou Rewards Loyalty Program Citi ThankYou Preferred Card
Citi ThankYou Premier Card
Citi Prestige Card

Hotel-Branded Credit Cards

You can transfer several major hotel program points to Flying Blue miles:

Hotel Loyalty Program Convert To Flying Blue
AccorHotels 4,000 Le Club Points 2,000 miles
Hilton Honors 10 Honors Points* 1 mile
Hyatt Gold Passport 1,250 Gold Passport Points** 500 miles
Melia Hotels International 6 MAS Reward Points 1 mile
Starwood Preferred Guest 2,500 Starpoints 2,500 miles
IHG Rewards Club 10,000 Rewards Club Points 2,000 miles

*Must transfer a minimum of 20,000 Honors Points; can then increase in increments of 10,000 points.
**Convert 50,000 miles to receive a 5,000-mile bonus

Marriott Rewards points transfer to Flying Blue at different rates depending how many points you transfer:

10,000 Points 1,500 miles
20,000 Points 3,500 miles
30,000 Points 7,000 miles
70,000 Points 17,500 miles
140,000 Points 35,000 miles

Remember how we showed you how to earn miles by transferring them from some of the top hotel loyalty programs? Build those loyalty balances by earning miles with the following credit cards:

Loyalty Program Credit Card Review
Hilton Honors Loyalty Program Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express
  Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card
Citi Hilton Honors Reserve Card
Marriott Rewards Loyalty Program Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Chase Marriott Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Loyalty Program Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
IHG Rewards Club Loyalty Program Chase IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
World of Hyatt Loyalty Program Chase Hyatt Credit Card

See Ways To Earn LOTS of Flying Blue Miles for more!

Flying Blue Program

To get started, you simply need to sign up for the loyalty program. Sign up with Flying Blue for free here.

Award Booking Guidelines

Flying Blue allows one-way and round-trip awards.

What Flying Blue calls a ‘multi-destination award’ online is really an open-jaw, meaning you can fly to one destination and return from another. When booked online, you cannot add additional stops and you must return to your origin.

In essence, this is like 2 one-way awards. By calling in you can add 1 true stopover to a round-trip ticket.

Most partner airlines can be searched on the Air France website. For others, you can search alternate sites or call Air France for availability.

Hot Tip: For the several airlines you cannot check award availability on the Air France website, find one of their partners’ websites that shows availability. Example: use American Airlines’ website to check Alaska Airlines flights. Why not use Alaska Airlines’ website? Because airlines often release more award seats to their own members than to partners and you will be inaccurate results.

Phantom Partner Award Availability

The Air France website is great for searching partners. It has one big flaw: so-called phantom availability on partner airlines.

Sometimes award will show as available but then be possible to book. Either the award is not available or the routing is not possible to book with Flying Blue.

It is always best to call Air France to confirm an award is available PRIOR to transferring miles to Flying Blue.

There are no award holds, however American Express and Chase transfer are instant, so if the agent confirms availability, you can immediately transfer and book the award. There is no phone booking fee.

Classic Awards and Flex Awards

The main types of Flying Blue flight awards are Classic Awards and Flex Awards.

Classic Awards are lower-priced and less available. All partner awards except Kenya Airways and TAROM are Classic Awards.

Flex Awards are higher-priced awards on Air France, KLM, Kenya Airways and TAROM. While Classic Awards may be hard to find, Flex Awards are available for most flights.

Hot Tip: If you must take a specific flight and have enough miles, you can lock in a Flex Award since it is free to change or cancel, then keep checking back to see if a cheaper Classic Award becomes available.

How Much Do Flights Awards Cost?

Flying Blue does not publish full award charts. Instead, check the cost of award flights using the Flying Blue Miles Calculator.

Flying Blue Miles Calculator
Use the Flying Blue Miles Calculator to find out award flight and upgrade prices.

Pricing is by zones and not too complicated. Unlike many other airlines, award prices in miles are the same regardless of airline.

What can differ among airlines is the cash component since some Flying Blue partner airlines assess fuel surcharges and others do not. Always check alternate Flying Blue partner options for your trip.

Example: Taipei-based China Airlines does not have fuel surcharges while Shanghai-based China Eastern and Guangzhou-based China Southern, do. A similar itinerary may cost several hundred dollars more on China Eastern or China Southern.

Flying Blue vs Delta SkyMiles

Air France / KLM and Delta are both SkyTeam members so in many cases you can use either miles for the same trip.

Generally, the differences are:

  • Air France First Class can only be booked with Flying Blue miles and only by Flying Blue elites (same for Flex Business Class awards)
  • US domestic awards on Delta will have less availability for Flying Blue but often lower prices
  • International awards typically cost fewer miles but higher cash on Flying Blue than SkyMiles
  • Flying Blue has partners such as Air Mairitius and Aircalin that are not SkyMiles partners
  • SkyMiles has partners such as Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia that are not Flying Blue partners
  • SkyMiles has award blackout dates on China Airlines, China Southern and Korean Air, while Flying Blue has no partner blackout dates

What are Flying Blue Promo Awards?

Released monthly, Flying Blue Promo Awards are discounts of 20-50% of mileage for award travel.

Flying Blue Promo Awards
Check Flying Blue Promo Awards for new offers every month!

You must book Promo Awards online. If you call to book you will be charged the full price.

Promo Awards offered for travel between two specific cities or regions. You can travel in either direction, one-way or round-trip.

Each promo award is specified for Air France or KLM or both.

You cannot change, cancel or refund Promo Awards.

Book Upgrade Awards

Upgrade awards are available on Air France, KLM and several partner airlines (Delta, Aeroflot, Aeromexico, Aircalin, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Kenya Airways, and Korean Air).

Flying Blue Upgrade Awards
You can upgrade paid flights on Air France, KLM and select airline partners.

Air France and KLM upgrades are the most flexible. They can be requested online up to 24 hours departure and may also be available at the airport or on board the aircraft.

Partner awards are subject to availability and various restrictions specific to the airline, route and fare class of ticket. Best is to contact Flying Blue at least 72 hours prior to departure for availability and price. See upgrade award terms here.

Check the cost of upgrade awards using the Flying Blue Miles Calculator.

Fees, Changes and Cancellations

There are three different types of awards: Classic, Flex, and Promo.

  • Classic Awards have a €45 change or cancel fee.
  • Flex Awards are free to change or cancel.
  • Promo awards cannot be changed or canceled.

There is no phone booking fee, thankfully. However, Promo Awards must be booked online.

Mileage Expiration Caveat

To keep miles from expiring, you need to credit one flight to your Flying Blue account every 20 months.

You can fly Air France, KLM or any Flying Blue partner airline, however this must be a mileage-earning flight (award flights and certain other types of tickets do not earn miles).

Unlike many other frequent flyer programs, non-flight mileage activity does not prevent expiration.

Conclusion

Flying Blue is a versatile airline frequent flyer program with strong mileage values and a wide range of partners. Flying Blue has some great values like Promo Awards and Israel in the Europe region. It is a contender for best overall SkyTeam mileage program.

Now that you know some of the best ways to use Flying Blue miles, we hope you’ll enjoy your next redemption!

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  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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FAQ

What is Flying Blue? How much does it cost?
Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program of Air France and KLM. It is free to join and you can earn miles from flying Air France, KLM and their airline partners.

Flying Blue also has many other travel and non-travel partners where you can earn miles.

You can use Flying Blue for award flights, upgrades, and more!

How do I enroll in Flying Blue?
Sign up for Flying Blue here.

Is there a Flying Blue credit card that earns miles?
There is not a Flying Blue credit card in the US, however there are plenty of other ways to earn Flying Blue miles with credit cards.

Flying Blue partners with several credit card loyalty programs, where you can transfer your credit card points to Flying Blue miles.

Here are just a few examples of credit cards that you can use to earn Flying Blue miles:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited℠
  • Membership Rewards: The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, or the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Citi ThankYou: Citi Prestige Card

You can also transfer points from hotel loyalty programs:

  • SPG: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Hilton Honors: Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express

Where can I log in to my Flying Blue account?
Sign in to your Flying Blue account on the Flying Blue website. You can learn about Flying Blue, check account activity and research awards. In order to book award flights, you’ll need to use the same log-in on either the Air France or KLM website to search and book.

Can I earn miles with Flying Blue partners?
Flying Blue has many partners such as airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, retailers, and many more.

How much do Flying Blue award flights cost?
Check the cost of award flights using the Flying Blue Miles Calculator. Prices are zone-based regardless of airline.

What are Flying Blue Promo Awards?
Flying Blue Promo Awards are monthly discounts of 20-50% for award travel. Promo Awards are for travel between two specific cities or regions, in either direction, one-way or round-trip. Each promo award is available for Air France or KLM or both. You cannot change, cancel or refund Promo Awards. You must book Promo Awards online.

Is it possible to upgrade a flight with Flying Blue Miles?
Yes, you can upgrade Air France or KLM flights with Flying Blue miles.

How can I earn Flying Blue Miles shopping online?
Earn miles by shopping at the Flying Blue Shop & Earn Store or the Air France Online Store. From these portals you can earn miles shopping at participating major retailers.

Which airlines are in the Flying Blue loyalty program?
KLM and Air France are members of SkyTeam along with airlines such as Delta and Alitalia. Fliyng Blue has additional airline partners such as Air Mauritius, Alaska Airlines, and Japan Airlines, see all Flying Blue airline partners here.

Can I earn Flying Blue Miles by flying Delta?
Yes, you can earn Flying Blue miles on Delta flights marketed as DL, AF, KL, or a SkyTeam-partner. You will earn Flying Blue miles at the rate of the marketing airline on the ticket, meaning that if you ticket shows an AZ-coded flight (sold by Alitalia) operated by Delta, you will earn according to Flying Blue’s rates for Alitalia. This mostly occurs with connecting tickets that involve multiple airlines.

Can I transfer Flying Blue miles to Delta SkyMiles?
You can’t transfer Flying Blue miles to Delta SkyMiles, however you can use Flying Blue miles for awards on Delta flights. Sometimes the miles price is much lower, too! Note that award availability differs, so a flight Delta makes available to SkyMiles members may not be available to Flying Blue members.

When do Flying Blue Miles expire?
Every 20 months you need one flight on a Flying Blue airline to prevent your miles from expiring. This can be Air France, KLM or any Flying Blue partner airline. Unlike many other frequent flyer programs, other mileage activity does not prevent expiration.

Can I rent a car to earn Flying Blue Miles?
Yes, Flying Blue has car rental partners including Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt.