Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Air France is one of the largest airlines in the world. With a strong brand and recognition globally, it should be one of the first names you think of when planning a trip to Europe.
Known for its lavish La Première first class product that’s extremely difficult to book with points, Air France also has a fantastic business class product.
You can expect excellent airport lounges, a refined onboard experience, comfortable reverse herringbone seats that recline completely flat, and so much more.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to book nonstop business class flights on Air France using points, so you can enjoy high-quality red wine, visit the Eiffel Tower, and get that selfie with Mona Lisa.
Air France’s award-winning business class starts with a chic ground experience. First, you’ll enjoy priority check-in lines and an extra baggage allowance.
And if you’re flying from its hub in Paris, you’ll enjoy spacious business class lounges complete with saunas, plentiful catering options, nap rooms, showers, and even detox bars in select lounges.
Once onboard, you’ll see why Air France’s business class product is so well-regarded. However, a word of caution: Air France has wild variations in its business class seats — on one hand, its flagship product is a sleek reverse herringbone seat arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access and lie-flat capabilities.
On the other hand, if you’re not vigilant, you might find yourself in an old, angled-flat business class seat that doesn’t have direct aisle access and is arranged in a more crowded configuration.
You’ll want to be sure to avoid any planes that don’t have a 1-2-1 arrangement unless absolutely necessary, as it could drastically impact your experience.
In addition to great seats on most of its long-haul planes, Air France has one of the best wine lists in the sky, plus an amazing menu, good amenities, and warm service.
Solo travelers should do their best to reserve a window seat while traveling companions can enjoy each other’s company in the middle seats.
Fortunately, Air France generously releases a swath of business class award availability at various points in time.
If you happen to be planning a trip far in advance, you’ll often find entire weeks with award space, with 9 seats available on some flights!
If you’re planning a trip within a month of departure, you should still find solid opportunities to redeem points for business class.
Air France levies fuel surcharges of around $200 to $400 for flights between the U.S. and Europe. Generally, fuel surcharges will be higher on flights originating in Europe.
Here’s a list of Air France’s nonstop flights between the U.S. and France:
Air France is a subsidiary of Air France-KLM Group, which has a single frequent flyer program under its umbrella: Flying Blue.
Flying Blue, as a whole, offers the best redemption prices for Air France flights in the world.
But one of the most confusing aspects of Flying Blue is that it maintains a hybrid pricing structure — a mix of dynamic award pricing and region-based award pricing.
Specifically, Air France has several buckets of award space, each of which is priced at different mileage amounts.
So even though a nonstop flight between Los Angeles and Paris in Air France business class could require just 67,500 miles each way, it could also cost as much as 285,000 miles!
Whenever you look for award availability on Air France, you’ll want to make sure you’re redeeming points on the lower end of that spectrum in order to get maximum value.
Flying Blue allows one-way and round-trip award bookings — here’s an approximate award chart for one-way flights between the U.S. and Paris:
|Cabin Class||Flying Blue Miles Cost (One-way, Cheapest Awards)||Taxes and Fees|
|Economy||From 21,500 to 29,000||~$70 to $158|
|Business||From 53,000 to 72,000||~$221 to $380|
In addition to being the best frequent flyer program to book Air France business class tickets overall, Flying Blue’s website is also the best website to search for award space!
Hot Tip: If you’re planning on redeeming other frequent flyer miles or points for Air France business class, we wouldn’t recommend searching on Flying Blue’s website due to the confusing award buckets that partners can’t access.
Follow these steps to book your ticket with Flying Blue miles:
A successful award search on Flying Blue will show a green box with the lowest-level award space available, the mileage price, and the required taxes and fees.
Flying Blue miles are very easy to earn, thanks to a long list of transfer partners. This includes American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Brex Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
All transfers from Amex, Bilt, Brex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi should transfer almost instantaneously at a 1:1 ratio.
And if you transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy, it’ll be at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to Flying Blue.
There’s also a co-branded credit card issued by Bank of America that earns Flying Blue miles directly.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
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If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.
The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options. Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.
Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!
This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is easily one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. There aren’t many no-annual-fee credit cards that offer multiple great bonus categories like 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
When paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards family, you can transfer that cash back into points if you wish – making it one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.
Don’t forget too, there’s 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.
The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ sure does pack quite a punch — especially for a no-annual-fee card.
The Freedom Flex card is an incredible option for those looking for a well-rounded cash-back card, or a powerful point-earner when paired with a premium card in the Ultimate Rewards family.
Business Owner? Read our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank has suffered from several devaluations over the years, which ultimately relegated the program to a thing of the past for most travelers.
And being among the hardest miles to earn in the world doesn’t boost the value proposition of Mileage Bank, either.
Still, Japan Airlines partners with Air France, which means you can redeem Japan Airlines miles for Air France business class tickets, assuming you can get your hands on Japan Airlines miles in the first place.
Its award structure consists of a straightforward, distance-based award chart, which means you’ll pay more miles the further you fly.
In general, Japan Airlines doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges on flights originating in the U.S., though it does levy relatively mild fuel surcharges on flights originating in Europe — around $150 per ticket. This is a welcome policy that’ll save you hundreds of dollars per person.
Follow these steps to book your ticket online:
Hot Tip: Japan Airlines, as well as all other Air France partners, can only access the lowest level partner award availability, so keep that in mind if you’re not seeing availability match up with Flying Blue’s website.
As we mentioned above, Japan Airlines’ miles are difficult to earn. Even though there are many ways to earn them, most of these probably don’t intersect with your daily life.
That’s why the best way you can earn JAL miles is through its only U.S. transfer partner: Marriott Bonvoy.
You’ll transfer points to JAL at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. That means for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points you transfer, you’ll earn 25,000 Japan Airlines miles. Transfers take around 2 business days to process.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
A great option for Marriott hotel fans who want a no annual fee card and automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Casual travelers who like to frequent properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy collection of brands may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.
The Marriott Bold card rewards cardholders for Marriott stays and gives them a boost towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual free night award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.
If you’re a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, there’s a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple options for redeeming points.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.
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The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.
So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?
Another solid frequent flyer program to use is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which maintains a strategic partnership with Air France.
Again, you can only access the lowest-level partner award availability when redeeming Virgin Points.
Unfortunately, fuel surcharges are passed on when redeeming Virgin Points and its search engine can be difficult to navigate.
That said, there are plenty of ways to earn lots of Virgin Points, which is why we’re fans of this program.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club uses a region-based award chart for long-haul business class flights on Air France. Here’s what it looks like:
|Cabin Class||Virgin Points Cost (One-way)
[From East Coast North America & Caribbean to Western and Central Europe]
|Virgin Points Cost (One-way)
[From West & Central North America and Central America to Western and Central Europe]
|Taxes and Fees|
|Economy (Standard)||12,000||15,000||~$164 to $243|
|Economy (Peak)||22,000||25,000||~$164 to $243|
|Business (Standard)||48,500||61,000||~$302 to $409|
|Business (Peak)||58,500||71,000||~$302 to $409|
You’ll also notice that Virgin Atlantic Flying Club uses standard and peak pricing, as well. Here’s the breakdown of seasonality dates:
For example, a one-way business class flight departing on June 10, 2022, would fall under standard season pricing, while the same flight departing on June 20, 2022, would fall under peak pricing.
Ready to redeem your Virgin Points? Follow these steps:
As we mentioned earlier, Virgin Points are easy to earn. Virgin Atlantic has transfer partnerships with American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex, Bilt, Capital One, Chase, and Citi transfer at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly. Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus after transferring 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Transfers generally take around 6 to 10 business days to complete, so keep that in mind.
You can also earn Virgin Points from the co-branded Bank of America credit cards.
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
This card is undoubtedly the #1 card for luxury travel benefits. From the best lounge access (of any card) to statement credits, to complimentary elite status, you can’t go wrong.
When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.
This is the go-to card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants and those who want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
The American Express® Gold Card is definitely a game-changer.
With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.
There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are a number of other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards.
Korean Air is one of Air France’s SkyTeam alliance partners. And with an attractive award chart, using Korean Air miles to book Air France business class should at least be on your radar.
Korean Air SKYPASS only allows round-trip award bookings on partner airlines (it allows one-way flights on Korean Air flights only), and all fuel surcharges are passed on. The fuel surcharges make booking Air France economy flights with Korean Air miles totally not worth it.
However, business class may still be worth it because of the amazing redemption rates between the U.S. and Europe (France included):
|Cabin Class||Korean Air SKYPASS Miles Cost (Round-trip)||Taxes and Fees|
Here are the steps to book Air France business class using Korean Air miles:
Korean Air miles are very difficult to earn. Its only transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy, which transfers at a 3:1 ratio.
Transfers to Korean Air may take as few as 2 days but can be excruciatingly long — up to 3 weeks in some cases.
You can also earn Korean Air miles directly from the co-branded credit card products issued by U.S. Bank.
The last major frequent flyer program we’ll be discussing is Delta SkyMiles, simply because it’s a familiar program for U.S.-based travelers.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where the positives end, because this program has been mercilessly devalued over the years.
Here’s the award chart for Air France-operated flights booked with Delta SkyMiles:
|Cabin Class||Delta SkyMiles Cost (One-way)||Taxes and Fees|
|Economy||35,000 (55,000 when booking less than 21 days in advance)||~$5.60 to $237|
|Business||120,000 (195,000 when booking less than 21 days in advance)||~$5.60 to $362|
Delta SkyMiles doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges for Air France award flights originating in the U.S. Unfortunately, Delta SkyMiles does pass on fuel surcharges for Air France flights originating in Europe.
However, the good news is that the booking process is simple:
While it’s going to take more SkyMiles to book a given flight, it’s also a bit easier to earn Delta SkyMiles.
That’s because, in addition to earning SkyMiles on paid Delta flights, you can earn SkyMiles through transfers from Amex Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex transfers to Delta SkyMiles instantly at a 1:1 ratio, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio. Marriott Bonvoy transfers take approximately 1 business day.
You can also earn Delta SkyMiles directly through an assortment of Delta SkyMiles credit cards issued by American Express.
Recommended Delta Cards
This card provides bonus SkyMiles on all purchases, along with a free bag, priority boarding, and discounted award flights.
Frequent Delta flyers will love the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. The card offers great benefits that will help save you money, effectively mimics low-level elite status with Delta SkyMiles, and helps you earn miles even faster, all for a low annual fee. Let’s dive into the benefits to see if the Delta Gold card is a good fit for your needs.
Frequent Delta travelers will enjoy this card's bonus categories, benefits, and ability to reach higher levels of elite status.
The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card can be a great option for those seeking additional ways to obtain a higher level of status — or to maintain their current status — with the airline.
A key feature of this card is the ability to earn bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) that are essential for earning Delta status. This could help you get closer to earning free flights and other valuable rewards.
Delta loyalists will love the fast track to Delta elite status, lounge access, baggage benefits, and upgrade priority with the Delta Reserve card.
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a stellar option for frequent travelers who always fly with Delta thanks to its lounge access, status boost, annual companion certificate, and many other great benefits.
Here is a full look at everything the Delta Reserve card can offer to you to help you decide whether the card deserves a place in your wallet.
In addition to the frequent flyer programs mentioned above, you can also redeem miles from other programs, such as Aeromexico Club Premier, China Southern Sky Pearl Club, and Aeroflot Bonus for Air France business class flights.
However, these typically have subpar redemption prices, difficult booking processes, or miles that are hard to earn, so we’d recommend sticking to the programs listed in the previous sections.
Now that we’ve dissected our 5 favorite loyalty programs to book Air France business class, let’s put all of our findings together. For some programs, the exact price you’ll pay will depend on the route you’re flying, which is why some of these programs have price ranges.
Here’s what a round-trip business class flight on Air France between the U.S. and Paris would look like:
|Route (Round-Trip)||Flying Blue Miles Cost||Japan Airlines Miles Cost||Virgin Points Cost||Delta SkyMiles Cost||Korean Air Miles Cost|
|U.S. to France||106,000 to 144,000 + $601||80,000 to 100,000 + $160||97,000 to 142,000 + $711||240,000 + $400||80,000 + $711|
If you were capable of racking up any type of currency, Korean Air SKYPASS and Japan Airlines Mileage Bank would likely have the lowest redemption prices; Japan Airlines also offers the lowest fuel surcharges.
More realistically, however, we’d recommend Air France-KLM Flying Blue, especially if you need to access a larger bucket of award availability.
But if you’re departing from the U.S. East Coast during the standard season (as defined by Virgin Atlantic), you might also consider redeeming Virgin Points.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Air France-KLM Flying Blue are transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. Flying Blue is also partners with Brex Rewards.
If you have a bunch of Delta SkyMiles sitting around, you can redeem those for an Air France business class flight, but we would generally never recommend transferring points from Amex to Delta SkyMiles for this redemption.
Let’s talk about stopovers. For the most part, you’ll find that these rules apply:
Now that we’ve gone over all of the details, let’s put this together and outline some of the best redemptions you can make on Air France business class:
Remember, as long as you have transferable rewards points, you can book Air France business class easily.
We took a deep dive into each of the recommended frequent flyer programs, and in this section, we’ll show you how to approach transfer partnerships to book Air France business class.
As we noted earlier, the lowest mileage cost will likely come from Korean Air SKYPASS or Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. To earn these miles, your best shot is to transfer from Marriott Bonvoy.
If you need to access enhanced award space, stick with Flying Blue.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is also a great option, particularly for flights that fall under its standard season dates, though keep in mind you’ll have to pony up hefty fuel surcharges.
If you already have a bunch of Delta SkyMiles sitting in your account, you can redeem them for Air France business class flights.
Here’s a summary of the transferable points you can earn to book Air France business class:
Also, transfer bonuses of 15% to 30% have been offered to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Air France-KLM Flying Blue, primarily from Amex and Citi.
You can expect to never get any transfer bonuses from Delta SkyMiles.
Air France is one of the few airlines that releases 8 or more business class seats on select flights between the U.S. and France.
In general, you’ll have better luck finding flights to/from the U.S. East Coast, as opposed to the U.S. West Coast.
That being said, if you plan ahead (ideally 4 months or more before departure), you can usually find flights with 6 or more business class seats available.
Generally, the closer you get to your departure date, the harder it is to find low-level award availability.
We recommend searching for award availability on Air France’s website if you intend on redeeming Flying Blue miles. Otherwise, Virgin Atlantic has a decent search engine, as well as Delta SkyMiles.
Air France business class is one of the most sought-after products when crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
And as long as you’re not flying on an older aircraft with a dated business-class seat, you should have a great flight.
Today, though, most of its planes are equipped with reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. These seats recline 180 degrees, have direct aisle access, and are easily bookable using points.
As we mentioned, Air France business class is readily bookable using a variety of different frequent flyer programs. And if you look far in advance, you will often see flights with 8 or more business class seats available on points.
That’s an incredible value proposition because this represents one of the rare airlines that releases enough award availability for large families.
Thanks to Air France’s airline partners in the SkyTeam alliance, as well as non-alliance partners, it’s easy to make this product the next one you fly.
Air France’s hard product is, for the most part, awesome.
Certain flights offer a downgraded Airbus A330-300 or 3-cabin Boeing 777-300ER business class product that falls behind its flagship product.
To avoid booking one of these flights, we recommend using SeatGuru to check your seat map before booking your ticket, just in case.
In addition to a superb hard product, you’ll get comfortable bedding, including a pillow, a duvet, luxury amenities, and more.
The last element that makes Air France stand out is the food and beverage. Classic French delicacies are served, ensuring a delightful dining experience.
The beverage list — the wine selection in particular — is expansive. Laurent-Perrier is the main Champagne pour here.
Generally, long-haul flights have at least 2 full meals, though you can also enjoy snacks and small bites throughout the flight.
Air France offers a generally consistent business class product that many airlines aspire to emulate.
Luckily, Air France business class can be booked in an assortment of ways, including with any transferable rewards currency — our top picks are Flying Blue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank, Delta SkyMiles, and Korean Air SKYPASS.
With all of this knowledge in mind, have fun booking your next trip, and cheers to your next Air France business class flight!
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
The best way to book Air France business class is with Flying Blue miles, Japan Airlines miles, Delta SkyMiles, Virgin Points, or Korean Air SKYPASS miles.
Generally, Japan Airlines and Korean Air will have the best redemption rates, but these miles are hard to come by. More realistically, you can use transfer partners to get Flying Blue miles, Delta SkyMiles, or Virgin Points.
Flying Blue gets you access to the best award availability.
Flying Blue is transfer partners with Amex, Bilt, Brex, Capital One, Chase, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy.
You can also transfer Amex or Marriott Bonvoy points to Delta SkyMiles.
Another interesting option is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which is transfer partners with Amex, Bilt, Capital One, Chase, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy.
If you have lots of Marriott Bonvoy points, you can move them to Japan Airlines Mileage Club or Korean Air SKYPASS for the best redemption rates.
Air France is probably the most well-rounded European business class product out there. And while you have to be aware of which plane you’re flying on, Air France’s best seats are reverse herringbone in a 1-2-1 configuration with lie-flat capabilities and direct aisle access.
Additionally, these products come with excellent food and beverage choices, professional European service, and top-shelf lounges at the airport.
Yes! Most of Air France’s long-haul aircraft have flat-bed seats. The exception is certain older models of the 777-300ER — in particular, the 3-cabin 777-300ER aircraft have angled-flat seats in a cramped 2-3-2 setup.
The newest business class seats on Air France are aboard the A350 aircraft. These seats are refreshed, sleek, and feature lie-flat capabilities and direct aisle access.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.