Flying Blue is a joint loyalty program of two European airlines: Air France (headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport in France) and KLM (headquarters at Amsterdam Schiphol airport in the Netherlands).
In 2004 the two airlines merged and formed a combined Air France-KLM group. Both airlines are part of the SkyTeam alliance, which consists of 19 airlines.
Here is what a strategic point collector needs to know and understand about Air France-KLM and its Flying Blue loyalty program. We’ll explain how earning and redeeming works, how you can get the maximum value from your miles and what other aspects of this rewards program make it worth taking a second look.
About Air France-KLM
Here’s a quick look at some of Air France-KLM’s key features.
Tariff types: Air France operates Economy, Premium Economy, Business Class and First or La Première class aircraft. KLM operates service in Economy and either World Business Class cabins (on international routes) or Europe Business Class cabins (on international or national routes within Europe).
Main routes in the USA: Both Air France and KLM cover a large part of the world with their routes. In the USA, Air France flies to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas (seasonal), Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis (seasonal), New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington. DC KLM has flights to Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami (seasonal), Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Salt Lake City (seasonal) and Washington, DC
Points currency and loyalty program: The joint loyalty program of the two airlines is called Flying Blue and can participate free of charge. As a member, you will receive Flying Blue miles that can be redeemed for award flights.
How to earn Flying Blue miles
Earn by flying
You can earn Flying Blue miles by flying on the following airlines and crediting flights to Flying Blue. Note that the list includes Air France-KLM non-SkyTeam partners.
When you fly partner airlines, miles earned are credited based on the percentage of the distance flown, which is calculated based on the fare code of a flight you have purchased and which depends on the partner airline you are on. You can click through the individual partner sites the Flying Blue website Get details.
When you fly with Air France or KLM, the miles you earn depend on how much you spend on each ticket – minus taxes – and your elite status with the airline. Remember, Flying Blue works in euros. In terms of the exchange rate, 1 euro was typically worth $ 1.10 to $ 1.25 over the past five years.
4 miles per euro ($ 1.10 – $ 1.25)
6 miles per euro (1.10 – 1.25 US dollars)
7 miles per euro (1.10 – 1.25 US dollars)
8 miles per euro ($ 1.10 – $ 1.25)
Flying Blue is an example of a revenue-based rewards program, at least on the earnings side, for flights operated by Air France and KLM. The more money you spend, the more rewards you will earn.
Make money by spending on credit cards
With the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®Air France KLM flyers receive additional bonus miles and credit after spending a set amount on purchases in the first 90 days of opening their account.
After this initial welcome bonus, you’ll continue to earn 3 miles per dollar spent on Air France, KLM and other SkyTeam airlines, and 1.5 miles per dollar on all other purchases.
Spend $ 50 on that each year as a member Airline credit cardYou will receive 5,000 anniversary miles which will be automatically added to your Flying Blue account.
Earn by transferring points between programs
Perhaps the easiest way to get Flying Blue miles is to transfer a flexible currency from one of the bank rewards programs. Fortunately, Air France-KLM works with all major transferable point programs.
You can transfer the following points to Flying Blue:
Of all of the flexible point programs listed above, we recommend using American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards®, or Citi ThankYou Points, as these offer the highest conversion rates.
Nerd tip: Occasionally, AmEx and Citi will add bonus miles to convert points. During these promotional transfer periods, the bonus can be up to 30% more miles in your Flying Blue account, which can make certain mileage bookings really attractive.
Other ways to earn
Hotels: Earn Flying Blue miles on hotel stays with brands such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt.
Car rental companies: Earn Flying Blue miles on rental cars with car rental companies like Hertz, Avis and Budget.
Shopping: Earn more miles when you shop at Batavia Stad Amsterdam Fashion, the Bicester Village Shopping Collection and Voyageurs du Monde.
Buy miles: In a pinch, you can buy Flying Blue miles starting at around US $ 66 for 2,000 miles. Buy up to 75,000 miles and you’ll make more than $ 2,500 again. The program sometimes offers bonuses for mileage purchases.
Nerd tip: As miles are always at risk of devaluation, we do not recommend buying speculative points without redeeming them.
How to redeem Flying Blue miles for the maximum value
Book award seats early
Flying Blue uses a dynamic map for its award flights. In other words, redemption rates start at a certain point and can increase depending on when and where you fly.
Flying Blue will sell a certain number of award seats at the lowest redemption level before prices are raised based on demand. To find out what that level is, put a pair of cities in that Mileage Estimator and watch what shows up on your preferred route.
For example, let’s say you want to fly from Salt Lake City to Budapest, Hungary. According to the Miles Price Estimator, the lowest redemption level is 24,000 Flying Blue miles for a one-way ticket in Economy and 53,000 miles for a one-way ticket in Business Class.
So if you have the flexibility to be flexible with your travel plans, look for dates when tickets are available at discounted prices to redeem miles.
Use promo rewards
One of the sweet spots of the Flying Blue program is his Promo rewards. Every month the airline releases discount routes for certain city pairs, and you get up to 50% discount on standard award rates in the Economy, Premium Economy and Business service classes.
The promo page is updated on the first day of the month and you have all month to book a discounted flight for travel during a specific time period. Keep in mind that some trips sell out quickly. We recommend not waiting too long to grab one of these special prices when you see one you like.
Delta partner flights
As Air France-KLM is an alliance partner of Delta Air Lines, use Flying Blue for the following mileage redemptions on Delta-operated flights.
United States to Hawaii: Earn 35,000 miles back on a round-trip ticket from the continental United States to the state of Aloha with this redemption.
United States to Mexico: Another great redemption that will cost you 29,000 on round-trip flights from the United States to Mexico.
Flying Blue’s elite status program
Imagine reaching Flying Blue elite status like a game. The more experience points or XP you earn by flying Air France-KLM or its partners, the faster you will level up. The number of XP earned per flight depends on the class of travel and the type of flight.
Flying Blue Flyers are divided into four elite levels: Explorer, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Everyone starts at the Explorer level when they join the loyalty program. Then members can go up while flying.
Once you have reached a tier within 12 months of becoming a member, you will receive the associated benefits for 15 months (unless you qualify for a higher tier during that time – at which point the clock will be reset). On the other hand, if you do not re-qualify for the same status level within 12 months, you will return to the previous level.
What status holders get
Here are the benefits associated with each elite tier. As already mentioned, Flying Blue works in euros. For comparison, we’ve listed a typical range in US dollars.
It’s worth noting that one of the desirable perks of being Gold or Platinum Elite status with Flying Blue is the ability to redeem miles for La Première awards – Air France’s premium cabin. The redemption option is not available to Silver Elites or Explorer members of the program.
What makes Air France-KLM unique?
Passengers flying in KLM’s World Business Class cabin receive a unique gift: a miniature house in Delft blue, filled with jenever, a juniper-flavored drink from the Netherlands. The airline designs a new Dutch house every year and has been presenting these souvenirs to KLM Premium Cabin Airmen since the 1950s.
To add a Delft china house to your collection, simply book an intercontinental flight in World Business Class.
The final result
Flying Blue may be a overseas loyalty program, but US-based travelers shouldn’t overlook it.
The miles are easily accessible through several transferable programs. This means that when you are ready to redeem miles for an award, it is not difficult to pool awards in a single account.
Although the program uses dynamic rates for its repayment rates, it continues to provide low-level rewards to those whose schedule is flexible. Additionally, referral bonuses from certain banking programs can lower repayment rates even further.
If you are looking to fly a SkyTeam Affiliate on an award ticket, consider Flying Blue and its redemption options.
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