The 2017 Paris Marathon is coming up very fast! It will be held this year in a little over 3 weeks from now, on April 9. Given that this is a very popular marathon, the registration is already full and there are only 3 ways you can still gain entry – run for a charity (and raise a minimum amount of funds for the charity), go with a tour group (and pay for the whole tour), or with a corporate entry using people in your corporation to run together (probably not happening for most of you). Hopeless or expensive, right?
How To Gain Entry To The (Sold Out) 2017 Paris Marathon Using Only Miles
Actually, there is one more way to gain entry to the 2017 Paris Marathon. You can use Flying Blue miles to gain entry to the 2017 Paris Marathon – and it will not cost you any money at all! But, what if you don’t have Flying Blue miles (or even know what they are!)? Here are the details of how you can get them.
How to Book Entry to the 2017 Paris Marathon
First of all, you will need a Flying Blue account to use the miles. You can set that up right here (it is free).
Next, you will need to have some miles to book the Paris Marathon. The cost is 15,000 miles. The good news is that American Express and their Membership Rewards program are transfer partners of Flying Blue and the points transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 rate with a minimum of 1,000 points.
Then, You will need to link your American Express Membership Rewards account with your Flying Blue account. The names on both accounts need to match (you can book this race entry from anyone’s account, though, so the name does not have to be yours) and the linking may take a couple of days.
The transfers should be instant or pretty close (has been my experience). After that, go back to the Flying Blue page to book your “award.” You add it to your cart and then go through the checkout process.
Is It A Good Value?
Most travelers may look at this and say that it is crazy to spend 15,000 Membership Reward points for a marathon entry. And, to be honest, it is really not the best value at all. But, if you really want to run the 2017 Paris Marathon, then this is a great way to do it!
At this point in the calendar, if you could pay for entry, it would cost you about $118 at today’s rates. That puts the value of your Membership Reward points at less than 1 cent each, but the value is increased a bit because you cannot even buy an entry at this point. The only way in is to run for a charity (and raise a minimum amount of funds) or go through a tour group (and pay for the overall package). So I think this is a nice value if you want to do the 2017 Paris Marathon.
Getting The Points
To get/earn Membership Reward points, you will need an American Express card that feeds into that rewards system. The cards you want to look at (or that you might already have) include the Platinum cards (business, personal, Mercedes), the Premier Rewards Gold, the Business Gold Rewards, and the Everyday Preferred cards. All of those cards have bonuses that are in the Membership Rewards system and earn Membership Reward points with your spending.
Just a note that right now, the public bonuses on those cards are not the best that they can be. Since you can only get one personal Amex bonus in a lifetime, I would hold off for now. However, check out the CardMatch Tool as some people are targeted with some very nice offers there (using the tool does not apply for a card – it simply shows you the offers targeted to you).
I would not transfer SPG Starpoints (though you could do that as well) since I view them as too valuable for that. However, if you did do that, you would want to transfer 20,000 Starpoints as that is the threshold to get an extra 5,000 miles on the transfer.
But, if I was going to do the 2017 Paris Marathon, I would consider transferring MR points since they are relatively easy to earn with bonus categories and spending and/or nice bonuses. It is up to you but it is really nice to have the option of getting into a sold-out marathon using only miles!