Best Ways To Book Air France La Première First Class With Points [Step-by-Step]

Image Credit: Air France

With La Première first class, your experience starts long before you step onto the plane. To start off, if you’re originating in Paris, Bordeaux (BOD), Lyon (LYS), Marseille (MRS), or Nice (NCE), you’ll have a driver pick you up and take you to the airport. You’ll be taken directly to the La Première check-in area, and your personal concierge will perform all of the check-in formalities for you.

Then, head to the La Première first class lounge and make yourself comfortable — enjoy spa treatments, white tablecloth dining with waiter service, and the finest gastronomic experiences available in an airport. Next, you’ll be whisked away by a luxury car directly to your aircraft to board your flight. The La Première first class cabin has just 4 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration with floor-to-ceiling curtains separating you from any disturbances in the aisle.

Enjoy top-shelf bedding, service, and a dining program masterminded by celebrity chefs such as Jean-François Rouquette and Michel Roth.

There is a possibility that you may pinch yourself when flying one of the world’s most exclusive and chic first class experiences out there!

How To Fly Air France La Première First Class Using Points

Booking Air France La Première first class using points and miles for a reasonable price is difficult to accomplish — let’s get that out of the way first. And although it’s not impossible to at least get a major discount on these flights, it takes quite a bit of work and some luck in most cases.

Air France recognizes that La Première is a world-class experience, so the airline tries its best not to dilute the quality of the product. One of the ways this is accomplished is by making it really difficult to book using points.

So, in this next section, we’ll explore all of the best ways to fly La Première first class using points.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue La Première Award Tickets (With Elite Status)

The first way to book La Première tickets with points is to redeem Flying Blue miles for an award ticket entirely.

However, this method is only achievable for Flying Blue Platinum and Ultimate members. If you don’t have Flying Blue elite status or aren’t planning on pursuing Flying Blue elite status, this strategy won’t be applicable to you.

As of January 1, 2023, even if you have Platinum or Ultimate status, there will only be up to 1 award seat made available per flight.

If you satisfy the elite status requirements here, you can typically redeem anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 Flying Blue miles for a one-way ticket in La Première first class between the U.S. and France. Taxes and fees will typically be around $200 to $400 per person.

Hot Tip: On rare occasions, Air France may offer status match promotions to get you to Platinum status, but you’ll typically need another high-level status like Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion or Platinum Medallion status.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue Paid Upgrades on Business Class Award Tickets

One of the best, highest-value ways to book La Première first class is by first booking a business class award ticket using points. Then, a day or 2 before your flight, you can request a paid upgrade to La Première first class, which effectively enables you to enjoy a deeply discounted La Première first class experience.

Obviously, this isn’t a guaranteed fool-proof strategy because you might happen to be flying on a date when the La Première cabin of 4 seats is totally sold out. For example, according to a recent study we performed, flights between Paris (CDG) and Los Angeles (LAX) have a 40% to 45% probability of having 2 seats or less within a month of departure. So if you’re looking to upgrade 2 seats to La Première first class, you might not be able to confirm any upgrades because that Los Angeles-Paris route happens to consistently sell out to revenue passengers.

Theoretically, though, if you originally booked an Air France business class award ticket from Paris (CDG) to Los Angeles (LAX) for 80,000 miles + ~$330 in taxes and fees and are offered a paid La Première upgrade for $3,000, you’d be getting an experience worth at least $12,000. So, in total, you spend roughly $3,330 plus 80,000 miles for $12,000 in value, which is still an incredible redemption value of nearly 11 cents per mile!

Bottom Line: Our favorite way to book Air France La Première first class with points is to book a business class award ticket in advance and request a paid upgrade to La Première first class. The main drawback is that it’s not a totally free way to book first class, and it’s also subject to availability since upgrades are confirmed close to departure.

Amex Travel Pay With Points

Another way to book La Première first class flights, if you’re not able or willing to find award availability, is to use points through a travel portal with a fixed redemption value. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through Amex Travel. To be specific, when you use Pay With Points through specific Amex cards, you can enhance your redemption value.

Here are the cards on which you can get enhanced redemption value when booking Air France La Première first class tickets:

  • Business Centurion® Card from American Express — 50% airline bonus (up to 2 cents per point)
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express — 35% airline bonus (up to ~1.54 cents per point and up to 1 million points back per calendar year)
  • American Express® Business Gold Card — 25% airline bonus (up to ~1.33 cents per point and up to 250,000 points back per calendar year)

So for example, if you see a La Première first class flight available between New York (JFK) and Paris (CDG) for $16,000 round-trip, you can redeem:

  • 800,000 points if you have the Amex Business Centurion card
  • 1,040,000 points if you have the Amex Business Platinum card
  • 1,350,000 points if you have the Amex Business Gold card

Plus, if you have either the Amex Business Centurion card or the Amex Business Platinum card, you’ll have access to an exclusive benefit called the International Airline Program (IAP) benefit, which gets you even lower fares when you book through Amex Travel (including if you use Pay With Points) on first, business, and premium economy tickets.

Check out this screenshot below:

Image Credit: American Express

As you can see, the ordinary ticket price is $16,465 — and through IAP, the price can drop to $15,162. After the Pay With Points airline bonus, this translates to a total redemption cost of:

  • 985,559 points instead of 1,070,255 points with the Amex Business Platinum card (savings of 84,695 points)
  • 758,123 points instead of 823,273 points with the Amex Business Centurion card (savings of 65,150 points)

If you include the IAP benefit, you can get a redemption value of around 1.67 cents per point with the Amex Business Platinum card or 2.17 cents per point with the Amex Business Centurion card.

While the cost in points (and cash) is astronomical, if you have millions to spare, booking La Première first class flights this way is a possibility.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

The last major way we’ll be discussing to book Air France La Première first class using points is to go through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal — but it’s lowest on our list when compared to Amex because it doesn’t have any equivalent benefit to Amex’s International Airline Program (IAP).

So if you plan on using points for a La Première business class flight, you can only expect to get a maximum of 1.5 cents per point, assuming you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which has a 50% redemption bonus on travel bookings made through Ultimate Rewards.

And if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you’ll get a 25% redemption bonus, which makes your points worth 1.25 cents apiece. 

Unfortunately, for that same flight we discussed above in the Amex section, this means you’ll have to redeem 1,097,666 points if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card or 1,317,200 points if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Business Preferred card. That’s a lot of points!

Great Air France La Première First Class Redemptions

Image Credit: Air France

At a very high level, Air France La Première first class is very difficult to book with points. That said, it’s not impossible.

If you’re able to qualify for Flying Blue Platinum or Ultimate status, you can access up to 1 award seat bookable through conventional means using Flying Blue miles + ~$300 or so in taxes and fees.

Otherwise, you’ll need to think outside the box to book these tickets with points.

We talked about our major strategies in depth above, but check out this table to get an idea of how much a one-way La Première first class flight would cost:

Route (One-way) Flying Blue Miles Cost With Elite Status Paid Upgrades for Business Class Award Tickets  Amex Travel Pay With Points* Chase Travel Portal**
Paris (CDG) to Dubai (DXB) From 175,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees From 60,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees plus ~$750 to $1,250 in upgrade costs From 400,000 points for a round-trip ticket From 440,000 points for a round-trip ticket
Paris (CDG) to Johannesburg (JNB) From 230,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees From 81,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees plus ~$1,000 to $1,500 in upgrade costs From 650,000 points for a round-trip ticket From 730,000 points for a round-trip ticket
Paris (CDG) to Los Angeles (LAX) From 230,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees From 80,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees plus ~$2,500 to $3,000 in upgrade costs From 800,000 points for a round-trip ticket From 890,000 points for a round-trip ticket
Paris (CDG) to New York (JFK) From 220,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees From 55,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees plus ~$2,000 to $2,500 in upgrade costs From 475,000 points for a round-trip ticket From 530,000 points for a round-trip ticket
Paris (CDG) to San Francisco (SFO) From 230,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees From 80,000 miles + ~$358 in taxes and fees plus ~$1,500 to $2,000 in upgrade costs From 625,000 points for a round-trip ticket From 700,000 points for a round-trip ticket

* The redemption prices assume a 35% airline bonus from the Amex Business Platinum card ** The redemption prices assume a 50% redemption bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card

Air France is one of those airlines that charges just slightly more for a round-trip ticket than a one-way ticket — but if you look at the numbers above, you’ll notice that you can get some great redemption value if you’re a Flying Blue elite member and only need 1 seat. Just remember that it’s not easy to qualify for Flying Blue Platinum or Ultimate status.

For the rest of us, the best strategy to snag an Air France La Première first class ticket will be to book an award seat in business class first and then request a paid upgrade within 2 days of departure.

If you walk through the math here and assume that you’re booking a $10,000 plane ticket on a route like Los Angeles (LAX) to Paris (CDG) or New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG) and end up redeeming only 55,000 to 80,000 miles + total costs of around $2,500 including the upgrade, you’d be getting a solid redemption value of 9.4 to 13.6 cents per point!

A nice feature about the Flying Blue program is that it affords you the ability to book additional stopovers at no additional cost. So for example, if you want to fly to Paris, spend a couple of days in Paris, and continue on to a city like Johannesburg (JNB), all in La Première first class, it should theoretically be possible.

The business class ticket from New York to Johannesburg with a stopover in Paris should cost around 95,000 miles. And since upgrade costs from New York to Paris are roughly $2,000 to $2,500 and the upgrade costs from Paris to Johannesburg are roughly $1,000 to $1,500, we can expect our total upgrade costs to be around $3,000 to $4,000. Typically, these flights sell for around $14,000, which nets a redemption value of around 10.0 to 11.6 cents per point!

If you plan on redeeming points through the Chase or Amex travel portals, expect to pony up a small fortune of points.

How To Earn Enough Miles for Air France La Première First Class

When it comes to booking Air France La Première first class with points, there are 2 major avenues to go:

  • Redeem Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles (which can be earned from points transfers)
  • Redeem flexible points directly through the bank’s travel portal

Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles can be earned very easily — you can transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards Points, Brex Rewards points, or Bilt Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio.

So if you have 50,000 Chase points and 250,000 Amex points, you can transfer those all to Air France-KLM Flying Blue and end up with 300,000 Flying Blue miles.

If you’re short on miles and have Marriott Bonvoy points, you can also transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Flying Blue at a 3:1 ratio. And for every 60,000 points you transfer to Flying Blue in a single transaction, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 Flying Blue miles.

Even better, Air France-KLM Flying Blue routinely offers transfer bonuses of up to 30% with Amex, Brex, Capital One, and Chase.

When Should You Search for Award Space

If you’re booking La Première first class tickets directly through Flying Blue with your Platinum or Ultimate elite status, you can generally access very good award availability. So although booking further in advance is always better, you shouldn’t run into major issues.

And if you’re planning on booking Air France business class seats and then paying for an upgrade if it’s available, you’ll want to plan further ahead to get the lowest-possible award ticket price. Air France is generally awesome about releasing 4 or more business class seats on nonstop routes between the U.S. and France very far in advance. The drawback of that is that Air France’s business class inventory gets progressively more and more expensive the longer you wait to book, so you’ll want to plan as far in advance as possible!

Lastly, if you’re redeeming Amex points through Amex Travel or Chase points through Chase Ultimate Rewards for La Première first class tickets, the number of points you’ll pay is tied to the revenue ticket’s price. The revenue ticket’s price is determined by how many passengers are already booked in La Première first class. Typically, the revenue tickets in La Première first class are broken down into:

  • 2 tickets in P class (most expensive)
  • 2 tickets in F class (slightly cheaper)

If you’re planning to purchase 2 tickets and there are still La Première first class seats available, you may save some points by booking the cheaper F class.

In contrast, if there’s only 1 seat left on your flight, you’ll have no choice but to book the P class tickets, which are the most expensive.

Why Air France La Première First Class Is a Great Redemption

Air France has done a fantastic job at maintaining exclusivity in its flagship La Première first class cabin. That’s why the ultra-wealthy, celebrities, and other AvGeeks love to fly on it — and are willing to shell out a pretty penny to do so.

If you’re redeeming points for La Première first class, you can get upwards of 10 cents per point of value, even if you probably can’t redeem points for the entire flight cost!

In this section, we’ll walk you through why Air France La Première first class is absolutely a bucket list flight to book.

Some of the Best Service in the World

Image Credit: Air France

After you’re done with your flight, the part of the experience that you’ll most likely remember for the longest time is the service. From the moment you leave to head to the airport, someone is taking care of you every step of the way. Whether it’s your first class flight attendant, your personal check-in concierge, the lounge staff, or the chauffeur driver, the service is absolutely impeccable.

You’ll be addressed by your name personally, and that’s just the beginning!

An Amazing Ground Experience

Image Credit: Air France

Air France is world-famous for its impeccable ground experience. If you’re on a La Première first class ticket departing from one of the major cities in France, you’ll actually have a chauffeur pick you up to head to the airport.

Once you’ve arrived at the airport and your check-in festivities are completed, you’ll head to the La Première First Class Lounge where you can relax, enjoy a meal, sip some superb Champagne, freshen up with a shower, and even get a massage!

When it’s time to board your flight, you’ll be fetched by a La Première agent and taken directly to a luxury car where your chauffeur will drive you directly to the plane, and you’ll board through your own personal jet bridge — no need to wait in any boarding lines or look at any passersby as you’re settling down into our first class seat.

Top-shelf Exclusivity

Image Credit: Air France

Everything about the La Première first class experience is centered around exclusivity and hospitality.

The La Première first class cabin itself is just 4 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. This is one of the smallest first class cabins in the whole world.

The service is totally personalized — you’ll have a staff member taking care of your the entire time, whether it’s in the airport, during the chauffeur transfer, while boarding the plane via private jet bridge, or when you’d like to order more caviar.

Gourmet Food and Beverage Options

Image Credit: Air France

Air France’s La Première first class experience is helmed by various celebrity chefs, some with multiple Michelin stars and James Beard awards.

When you’re savoring La Première first class, there’s no chance you go hungry or thirsty in the lounge or on the plane.

Superb bottles of Champagne are free-flowing here, as is caviar service. The coffee service is amazing, too, thanks to the freshly-served espresso drinks.

You’ll enjoy a variety of French delicacies as well as international options to round out your gastronomic experience on La Première first class. Come hungry!

Final Thoughts

Air France La Première first class is one of the most flawless commercial aviation experiences you can book. And even though it doesn’t have the wild gold accents the Emirates does, or the enormous first class suites like Singapore Airlines does, it has the most well-rounded first class luxury experience out there.

Its product oozes French elegance, amazing Michelin star-level dining, hotel-like beds, and most importantly, amazing exclusivity and privacy.

Unfortunately, La Première first class continues to get harder and harder to book with points — your best bet is to either get Flying Blue Platinum or Ultimate Elite status and redeem around 200,000 to 250,000 Flying Blue miles for a one-way flight or to book business class award tickets and hope for the privilege of paying for an upgrade starting around 2 days before your flight leaves.

Otherwise, you can redeem an enormous stash of Amex or Chase points through their respective travel portals to book your pricey La Première first class flight.

Hopefully, you found this guide useful in helping you plan your La Première first class flight with points!


The information regarding the Business Centurion® Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here. For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.

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