After 5 nights at the JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi, it is time for us to fly to another destination with a domestic flight: Hue and Hoï An. It will be on Vietnam Airlines, using Flying Blue miles!
Obtaining Flying Blue miles
Flying Blue is the Air France – KLM frequent flyer program. Since I am French, I have had a Flying Blue account for a long time.
Problem? In Canada, it is almost impossible to collect Flying Blue miles easily. Indeed, much to our regret:
- Flying Blue is not an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner (as are Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club and Delta Skymiles). In the United States, however, this is the case!
- And no Canadian credit cards are affiliated with the Flying Blue loyalty program.
So sure, you can still earn “some miles” by crediting your flights on Skyteam (or Westjet) airlines, but it’s going to be a long process before you can earn an airline award!
What’s up? What are the options for earning Flying Blue miles?
Via the Marriott Bonvoy program
Starpoints can be transferred into miles from over 35 airline loyalty programs, including… Flying Blue.
The transfer rate is 1:1. And for every 20,000 starpoints transferred, SPG adds 5,000 miles.
So the bonus offered by each American Express Marriott Bonvoy card can give you 25,000 Flying Blue miles (or Aeroplan, Avios…).
What about Delta Skymiles?
No way to find a flight on the Delta website. I also called, Skymiles was unable to see the award tickets I was seeing with Flying Blue.
Booking on Flying Blue of the flight with Vietnam Airlines
In Vietnam, the only airline to be part of an airline alliance, in this case Skyteam, is Vietnam Airlines. There are other low cost airlines such as Vietjet or Jet Airways, which often have very low prices… to which you have to add other fees, especially for luggage.
Domestic flights on Vietnam Airlines cost 10,000 Flying Blue miles and a few dollars in taxes (around $5). Availability is quite good on all destinations served by Vietnam Airlines.
You will still have to compare with the public fare, but for us, traveling on Vietnam Airlines represented several advantages:
- One 20kgs luggage included
- A serious company (few delayed flights)
- Greater comfort compared to low-cost airlines
- Schedules that were more convenient for us
On our dates, the ticket cost about $170 per person for 10,000 Flying Blue miles and $5. This gives you an idea of the small savings.
However, I must admit that the booking was not easy for our baby, I wrote it in a previous article: Flying Blue, Air France and Vietnam Airlines kept on passing the buck. In the end, it was Flying Blue that had to issue the ticket.
Travel between Hanoi and Hue on Vietnam Airlines in economy class
After a 30-minute drive from the JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi to Hanoi Airport, we arrived at the check-in counters of the domestic flight terminal.
Check-in and security at Hanoi airport
As you can see on the clock at the top left: it is 07:35, a little less than an hour before the flight departure.
The check-in is done quickly at Vietnam Airlines.
We had optimized each of our suitcases to the best of our ability in order not to exceed the weight limit of 20 kgs. The proof:
Vietnam Airlines is however tolerant to within 2 kgs.
After a short passage through security…
… we are now at our boarding gate. Unfortunately, this section of the terminal was under construction at the time of our visit: no playground for children. No lounge for Priority Pass holders either. We will be satisfied with the “food court” and a Vietnamese coffee.
Boarding on Vietnam Airlines to Hue
Boarding will be on time and passengers travelling with children will be invited to board first. The Vietnamese coffee was so good… that we missed out on priority boarding. We will still pass through the “business” line without any problem.
The cabin of an A321 of Vietnam Airlines
We pass the business class.
Then the first rows of the economy class.
The seats offer reasonable comfort with good legroom.
No individual screens though. But the flight is short (1h). A blanket, in the company’s colors, will be donated by the crew.
The flight will take off on time after a final cabin tour by the flight attendant. As you can see, the weather is gloomy.
The flight on Vietnam Airlines
Shortly after takeoff, the crew will give only… water bottles and refreshing towels. No coffee service.
The screens will be deployed above our heads during the whole flight to allow us to follow our progress. A little thought at this time of the morning in Vietnam for Canada which has just entered the night!
We will land in Hue… under the rain, for a change.
Like most of our flights in Vietnam, we will land on the tarmac with a very short bus transfer.
Last view on the aircraft: I like the blue and gold livery of Vietnam Airlines!
The airport is very small: the luggage will arrive in a few minutes.
A smooth flight with Vietnam Airlines: take-off and landing on time. The seats are comfortable. A little disappointed with the service on board (a coffee would have been appreciated…).Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!