In This Article
Explore the ins and outs of the Air France-KLM Flying Blue Program.
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Both Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are two of the world’s oldest active airlines. Air France was formed in 1933 from a merger of several French airlines. KLM, a Dutch carrier, was formed in 1919, making it the world’s oldest airline that still operates flights under its original name. Air France’s main hubs are in Paris, including both Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris-Orly Airport. KLM’s hub is at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport.
In 2004, these two historic airlines merged to form Air France-KLM Group, which is one of the largest airline holding groups in the world. Both airlines are subsidiaries of the group, and they share many of the same resources. For instance, in 2005, they formed the Flying Blue program, a joint rewards program shared by Air France and KLM.
The Flying Blue program quickly became well-renowned for its list of credit card transfer partners and airline partners. However, since the program was created, it’s undergone quite a few devaluations. With that being said, there’s still a lot of value to be found in this program, particularly if you frequently book flights with either Air France or KLM.
Let’s cover everything you need to know about the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program. That includes how to earn and redeem Flying Blue miles, how to earn elite status, the overview of the Flying Blue co-branded credit card and the best sweet spots in this program.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue Program Overview
As previously mentioned, Flying Blue is the joint frequent-flyer program of Air France and KLM. However, several other airlines also use Flying Blue as their default rewards program, including:
- Kenya Airways
If you fly with any of these airlines and you’re enrolled in the Flying Blue program, you can add your Flying Blue number to your booking to earn miles, Experience Points (which are the metric used for earning elite status) and more. All elite status perks can be used on any airline that uses the Flying Blue program, and elite status members are entitled to certain reciprocal benefits on partner airlines.
Likewise, you also can elect to earn and spend Flying Blue miles while flying with other carriers. Most of the partner airlines that allow you to earn and redeem Flying Blue miles are members of SkyTeam alliance, but there are others, too. Note that certain airlines allow you only to earn Flying Blue miles while others allow you to redeem miles but not earn them.
Here are all of the Flying Blue program’s partner airlines:
|Aerolineas Argentinas||Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes|
|Aeroméxico||ITA Airways (earning only)|
|Air Corsica||Japan Airlines|
|Air Europa||Korean Air|
|Air Mauritius||Malaysia Airlines|
|airBaltic||Middle East Airlines|
|Bangkok Airways (redemptions only)||Qantas|
|Chalair Aviation||Saudi Arabian Airlines|
|China Airlines||Twin Jet|
|China Eastern Airlines||Vietnam Airlines|
|China Southern Airlines||Virgin Atlantic|
|Czech Airlines||Winair (redemptions only)|
|Delta Air Lines||Xiamen Airlines|
To reiterate, with Bangkok Airways and Winair, you can only redeem Flying Blue miles and not earn them. With ITA Airways, you can earn Flying Blue miles, but you can’t spend them. It’s also worth noting that there are restrictions for each of these partners on which classes and flights are eligible to earn or redeem Flying Blue miles.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue Elite Status
Just for signing up for the Flying Blue program, you’ll earn Explorer status and get certain perks that non-members don’t receive. So, even if you don’t fly with Air France or KLM (or any partners) often, you might as well sign up for the program to receive these perks.
Flying Blue has three elite status tiers: Silver, Gold and Platinum. To achieve these tiers, you need to earn enough XP within 12 months. The qualification period starts when you earn your first mile or your first XP.
If you achieve elite status and then earn even more XP, your surplus will be rolled over into the next 12-month period. For instance, if you earn 120 XP during a 12-month period, you will have earned Silver elite status (which requires 100 XP), and then the additional 20 XP would roll over into your next 12-month period.
However, if you didn’t earn elite status in the previous 12-month period, your XP won’t roll over. For instance, if you earn 80 XP in your first 12-month period, you’ll start the next 12-month period with 0 XP (because you didn’t earn elite status).
To retain elite status, you need to have met the XP threshold for that elite status during the previous 12-month period. So, in the previous example, if you started the year with 20 XP (which were rolled over), you’d need to earn 80 XP (for a total of 100 XP) in the current year to retain Silver elite status. If you earned 160 XP during the current 12-month period (for a total of 180 XP), then you’d be bumped up to Gold elite status.
On the other hand, if you start a 12-month period with Gold elite status, and then don’t earn at least 180 XP (which is the minimum required for Gold elite status) during that period, then you’ll be bumped to the next-lowest tier for the next 12 months.
For example, if you start a year with Platinum status and then earn 0 XP that year, you’d still have Gold status for the next 12 months. Then, if you earned 0 XP for that 12-month period, you’d still have Silver status for the next 12 months.
While this may seem fairly confusing, it’s actually a pretty nice aspect of the Flying Blue elite status programs. Many elite status programs don’t allow you to roll over elite points from one year to the next, regardless of whether or not you already have elite status.
The number of XP you’ll earn for a specific flight depends on whether that flight is domestic or international, the distance of the flight and the seating class. Here’s a chart that explains how many XP you’ll earn.
|Domestic (within the same country)||Medium (under 2,000 miles)||Long 1 (between 2,000 and 3,500 miles)||Long 2 (between 3,500 and 5,000 miles)||Long 3 (over 5,000 miles)|
|Economy||2 XP||5 XP||8 XP||10 XP||12 XP|
|Premium Economy||4 XP||10 XP||16 XP||20 XP||24 XP|
|Business||6 XP||15 XP||24 XP||30 XP||36 XP|
|First||10 XP||25 XP||40 XP||50 XP||60 XP|
Air France-KLM Flying Blue recently added the option to earn XP with almost every one of their partner airlines. The above chart applies to flights on Air France, Aircalin, KLM, TAROM, Transavia and certain other partners. However, with most of the partner airlines, only certain flights and classes are eligible to earn XP, so it’s best to check Flying Blue’s partner page before you travel to know what you’ll earn.
You also can earn additional XP if you choose to travel responsibly or to participate in good cause projects. This includes donating your Flying Blue miles to charities, choosing to purchase Sustainable Aviation Fuel when paying for your flights or contributing cash or miles to reforestation projects through Flying Blue, among other things. For instance, Flying Blue will give you 1 XP for every 2,000 points that you donate to one of their reforestation projects.
It’s also possible to earn XP by spending with the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Now that we’ve covered the extremely complicated rules that govern how you earn and retain Flying Blue elite status, let’s cover the actual benefits you’ll receive when you earn elite status. The table below explains how many XP you need to earn to achieve each Flying Blue elite status and the perks available at each tier.
|Status tier||XP required||Perks|
|Explorer||0 XP||4X points per €1 spent|
10% discount on your first paid checked baggage item
|Silver||100 XP||• 6X points per €1 spent|
• Priority check-in, baggage drop-off and boarding
• Some free seat options 24 hours before departure
• Free selection of standard seats
• One free extra checked baggage item on SkyTeam flights
|Gold||180 XP||• 7X points per €1 spent|
• Priority check-in, baggage drop-off and boarding
• Free access to SkyTeam lounges worldwide with a guest (conditions apply)
• SkyPriority: priority access throughout the airport
• Free seat options 72 hours before departure
• Free seat selection of standard seats
• One free extra checked baggage item on SkyTeam flights
|Platinum||300 XP||• 8X points per €1 spent|
• Priority check-in, baggage drop-off and boarding
• Free access to SkyTeam lounges worldwide with a guest (conditions apply)
• SkyPriority: priority access throughout the airport
• Free access to seat options
• One free extra checked baggage item on SkyTeam flights
• Platinum Service Line for dedicated help
It’s also worth noting that if you achieve Platinum status for 10 years in a row, you’ll receive Platinum status for life.
The ability to get free extra checked baggage items with Silver, Gold and Platinum status can save you a decent chunk of money if you fly with Air France or KLM often. The ability to access SkyTeam lounges with Gold and Platinum status is also a great perk that can make your travel experience much more comfortable. And earning more Flying Blue miles per €1 spent at each status tier can help you earn award flights much faster.
How to Earn Air France-KLM Flying Blue Miles
Of course, the most obvious way to earn Flying Blue miles is to book flights with airlines that use Flying Blue as their native rewards program. You can also elect to earn Flying Blue miles when flying with almost any of Flying Blue’s partner airlines (with the exceptions of Bangkok Airways and Winair).
However, you also can earn Flying Blue miles without ever leaving the ground by signing up for the Flying Blue co-branded credit card, booking hotels, renting cars, shopping and more.
Let’s take a look at all of the different ways to earn Flying Blue miles.
Book Flights with Airlines That Participate in the Flying Blue Program
While many airlines issue miles based on a number of factors, such as flight distance and fare class, calculating how many Flying Blue miles you’ll earn on a flight is actually fairly simple. If you’re flying on an airline that uses Flying Blue as its native rewards program, the number of miles you earn will always be based on the amount of money you spent on your ticket and your elite status level.
Here’s how many miles you’d earn at each elite status tier:
- Explorer: 4X miles per €1 spent
- Silver: 6X miles per €1 spent
- Gold: 7X miles per €1 spent
- Platinum: 8X miles per €1 spent
These rates include the base fare as well as any money paid for carrier surcharges. For instance, if you spent 500 euros on the base fare and then another 100 euros on carrier surcharges, you’d earn miles on all 600 euros. So, if you have Silver elite status, you’d earn 3,600 miles on that flight (which is 600 x 6).
As you can see, calculating how many miles you’ll earn on a flight with a Flying Blue airline is simple. However, this is not to be confused with calculating how many XP (Flying Blue’s elite status metric) you’ll earn on a flight, which is much more complicated.
Book Flights with Partners
Unlike flying with Flying Blue airlines, the number of miles you’ll earn on flights with partner airlines depends on quite a few different factors. When flying with partners, the number of miles you’ll earn depends on the specific partner, your fare class, your elite status and the distance of your flight.
To make your head spin even more, there’s a unique set of rules that dictate how many miles you earn with each partner. So, if you’re interested in earning miles on an upcoming flight with one of Flying Blue’s partners, you should visit their partner airline page and check the specific rules for that airline.
For example, if you visit the page for Japan Airlines on the Flying Blue website, you’ll find a list of flights that aren’t eligible to earn Flying Blue miles.
One of these rules is that flights between Japan and France in certain booking classes aren’t eligible to earn Flying Blue miles. As you can see, these rules can get very specific, so it’s best to check them before booking your flight.
The Flying Blue website also includes the earning scheme for Japan Airlines flights that are eligible to earn miles.
These percentages apply to the distance of your flight, not how much money you spent on your fare. For instance, if you booked an international flight on Japan Airlines that was 1,000 miles long in economy class M as an Explorer member, you’d earn 700 miles on that flight. That’s because you’d multiply the distance of the flight (1,000 miles) by the earnings rate for that fare class (70% for class M).
However, Japan Airlines applies a minimum mileage of 500 miles for domestic flights and 750 miles for international flights. So, if you took a domestic flight on Japan Airlines that was 346 miles long in economy class Y as an Explorer member, you’d earn 500 miles. Because 346 miles is less than the minimum mileage for domestic flights, you multiply the minimum mileage (500 miles) by the earnings rate for that fare class (100% for class Y).
You also can earn more miles on partner flights if you have elite status in the Flying Blue program. However, it’s not clear how those bonus miles are calculated.
Spend on the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard
Flying Blue currently offers only one credit card to U.S. consumers. The Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard is issued by Bank of America and has an annual fee of $89.
This credit card is a great way to rack up miles as well as XP quickly. Currently, Air France-KLM Flying Blue is offering a large sum of XP just for being approved for the card. Plus, if you meet minimum spending requirements, you’ll be rewarded with a bunch of miles and even more XP. So, if you want to earn Flying Blue elite status, signing up for the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard and earning the welcome bonus is a great way to do so quickly.
After that, you can continue to earn miles by spending on your Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard. Here are the spending bonuses included with this card:
- 3X miles on purchases made directly with Air France, KLM and SkyTeam member airlines
- 1.5X miles on all other purchases
Aside from that, the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard includes several other notable perks. You’ll earn 5,000 miles every account anniversary after you spend $50 or more on purchases in the prior year. You’ll also receive 20 XP every account anniversary and an additional 40 XP (for a total of 60 XP) if you spent $15,000 or more on your card in the previous year.
This card also comes with several other partner benefits, including a complimentary three-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass and Lyft statement credits.
The Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. All in all, the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard is a great option if you’re determined to achieve elite status within the Flying Blue program.
However, if you live in the United States and your goal is to earn miles that can be redeemed for SkyTeam flights, then you’d probably be better off going with the American Express Green Card, which has a slightly higher annual fee of $150 and offers 3X points on all travel purchases, 3X on transit, 3X points on restaurants worldwide and 1X on all other purchases.
The points earned with the Amex Green Card are flexible and can be transferred to a number of airlines, including Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic, which are all part of SkyTeam.
Alternatively, you could go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card ($95 annual fee), which comes with much better benefits and spending bonuses for most people. Plus, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to any one of their hotel or airline partners (including transfers to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio), making it a much more flexible currency than Flying Blue miles. However, the Sapphire Preferred Card won’t help you earn elite status with Flying Blue.
Take Advantage of Transfer Partners
As was just mentioned, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio. However, this is far from the only rewards currency that can be converted into Flying Blue miles. In fact, Flying Blue is a transfer partner of all of the major transferable points programs, including:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1)
- Bilt Rewards (1:1)
- Brex (1:1)
- Capital One Rewards (1:1)
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1)
- Citi ThankYou Points (1:1)
- Marriott Bonvoy (3:1)
As you can see, all of these programs offer a 1:1 transfer ratio with the exception of Marriott Bonvoy. Thus, we recommend not transferring Bonvoy points to Flying Blue. For any of the other currencies listed above, transferring flexible points to Flying Blue could be a great option.
It’s worth noting that other rewards currencies also can be converted to Flying Blue miles (such as Best Western Rewards points and Hilton Honors points). However, these other currencies offer extremely poor transfer ratios and really aren’t worth paying attention to.
Shop Online with Flying Blue Shop for Miles
Like many other loyalty programs, Flying Blue has its own shopping portal that allows you to earn miles for making online shopping purchases from hundreds of merchants. To do so, you just need to log in to your Flying Blue account on the Flying Blue Shop for Miles page.
When you first sign up, you’ll be awarded 500 miles just for making your first purchase through the portal. After that, every vendor has its own earnings rate. For instance, Flying Blue is currently offering 27 miles per $10 spent at Macy’s, which converts to 2.7X miles per dollar.
If you do a lot of online shopping and Flying Blue is your rewards program of choice, you might as well make your purchases through Flying Blue Shop for Miles and earn some extra miles.
Book Events and Concert Tickets
Flying Blue gives members the option to earn miles for booking event and concert tickets through their website. To do so, you’ll need to log in to your Flying Blue account and then navigate to the “Events & Concert Tickets” site. Browse through the available tickets to various events and concerts, and you’ll earn 1X mile per €1 spent.
Book Accommodation with Hotels for Miles
Through the Flying Blue Hotels for Miles program, you can earn up to 10,000 miles per night on hotels booked through this portal. Simply go to the Hotels for Miles website, enter your destination, travel dates and number of guests. Then, you’ll see a list of available hotels where you can earn Flying Blue miles for your stay.
You’ll also see the cash rate for your stay and how many miles you’ll earn for booking.
Flying Blue members have the option to purchase miles through Points.com. However, this is rarely a good idea. Here’s how much you’ll spend on miles.
|Number of points||Cost|
As you can see, no matter how many miles you purchase at once, you’re always going to end up paying slightly over 3 cents per mile, which is a bad deal. In almost every case, you’d be better off purchasing your flight fare with cash than purchasing miles and redeeming them for an award flight.
The only time you may want to consider purchasing miles is if you need only a few thousand more miles to get an award flight that would be expensive if you purchased it with cash. There are also certain times when Flying Blue offers sales that allow you to purchase points at a discounted rate. But even then, purchasing points is usually a bad idea.
Flying Blue Explorer members can purchase, gift or receive up to 100,000 miles per year. Silver, Gold and Platinum members can purchase, gift or receive up to 300,000 miles per transaction, and there’s no limit to how many miles they can purchase, gift or receive per year.
Also, purchases made from Points.com don’t code as travel, so they won’t trigger any travel-related spending bonuses on a credit card.
Utilize Other Partnerships
Flying Blue has a number of other partnerships that allow you to earn miles for booking rental cars, hotel stays, travel experiences, sporting events, concerts and more.
Here are some of the partners with which you can earn Flying Blue miles:
- Accor Live Limitless (ALL): Earn 1X mile per €1 spent hotels participating in the Accor Live Limitless program.
- Aelia Duty Free: Earn 3X miles per €1 spent at Aelia Duty Free stores across France.
- Avis: Earn up to 500 miles for each car rental through Avis. You can also earn an additional 500 miles when you join Avis Preferred.
- Best Western: Earn 250 miles per stay at participating Best Western hotels and resorts.
- Booking.com: Earn 2X miles per €1 spent on hotel bookings made through Booking.com.
- Budget: Earn 400 miles for car rentals of one to two days, 500 miles for rentals of three to six days and 1,000 miles of rentals of seven or more days through Budget. Restrictions apply.
- CarTrawler: Earn 1X mile per €1 spent on airport transfers from KLM Transfers (powered by CarTrawler).
- Clicalbum.com: Receive up to 300 miles for each photo album you order from Clicalbum.com.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car: Earn 4X miles per qualifying €1 spent on car rentals through Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
- e-Rewards: Earn 250 miles for completing your first survey with e-Rewards. You can also take as many surveys as you want after that to earn more miles.
- Europcar: Earn between 200 miles and 1,000 miles (depending on the duration) for qualifying car rentals through Europcar.
- GetYourGuide: Earn 1X mile per €1 spent on tours and other experiences booked through GetYourGuide.
- Golden Tulip Hotels: Earn up to 500 miles per stay at participating Golden Tulip hotels.
- Hertz: Earn 5X miles per qualifying €1 spent on car rentals through Hertz.
- Hyatt Hotels & Resorts: Earn 500 miles per stay at any Hyatt property worldwide.
- IHG Hotels & Resorts: Earn between 1X and 2X miles (depending on the brand) per €1 spent on qualifying charges at IHG properties.
- Marriott Bonvoy: Earn between 1X and 2X miles (depending on the brand) per $1 spent on qualifying charges at Marriott Bonvoy properties.
- Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts: Earn 500 miles per stay at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.
- Sixt rent a car: Earn up to 1,200 miles for every car rental you book through Sixt.
- The Bicester Collection: Earn Flying Blue miles while shopping at The Bicester Collection shopping villages by presenting your Flying Blue card to the cashier at checkout.
- Thrifty: Earn 4X miles per qualifying €1 spent on car rentals through Thrifty.
- Utu: Earn 4,686 miles for every $100 tax refunded through the Utu Tax Free Card.
- Voyageurs du Monde: Earn 1,000 miles per traveler for the first three travel packages you book through Voyageurs du Monde. Then, earn 10,000 miles per traveler for the fourth travel package you book and every subsequent travel package.
- Worldhotels: Earn 500 miles per stay at Worldhotels. Not all rates qualify.
When it comes to earning Flying Blue miles through hotel partners, you’ll most likely have to choose between earning Flying Blue miles or hotel points for your stay. In these cases, it’s almost always a better idea to elect to earn the hotel’s native currency. However, if you have absolutely no interest in earning hotel points, then the option to earn Flying Blue miles is nice to have.
How to Redeem Air France-KLM Flying Blue Miles
As you can see, there are quite a few ways that you can rack up Flying Blue miles. And when it comes time to redeem those miles, there are also quite a few options available to you. However, most of these redemption options don’t offer much bang for your buck.
In general, the best way to redeem your Flying Blue miles is for award flights. And, within that category, there are some award flights that offer more value per mile than others. Unfortunately, because Flying Blue uses a dynamic pricing model for all of its award flights, it’s hard to identify sweet spots. Still, there are some places within the program where you can consistently find outsized value.
Before we cover the sweet spots for redeeming Flying Blue miles for award flights, let’s discuss all of the other ways that you can redeem your miles as well.
While Flying Blue gives you the option to earn miles by making online purchases through the Flying Blue Shop for Miles portal, you can also spend your miles on online shopping purchases through the Flying Blue store. However, redeeming your miles this way provides little value per point.
The Flying Blue Store allows you to pay either entirely with miles or with a combination of miles and cash. At the checkout page for each product, you can adjust the slider to select how many miles and how much cash you want to use toward your purchase.
In the example above, you can either choose to purchase the item for 88,716 miles or with a combination of 71,629 miles and 62.79 euros (which is about $69 at the current conversion rate). This same item is available for purchase on Amazon for $299.
So, purchasing this item entirely with miles would give you a value of about 0.3 cent per mile, which is a terrible value. And purchasing merchandise through Flying Blue Store with a combination of cash and miles isn’t a much better value.
In general, you’d be much better off purchasing these items with cash and then saving your hard-earned miles for award flights.
Shop Duty Free
Flying Blue gives you the option to spend your miles when shopping at Aelia Duty Free locations. However, this is also a poor use of your miles. You can find Aelia Duty Free locations in airports all across France. Unfortunately, the redemption rate at Aelia Duty Free locations is 250 miles per €1, which comes out to about 0.4 cent per mile. So, you’ll probably want to avoid redeeming your miles this way.
You also have the option to book hotels using your Flying Blue miles through the Flying Blue Hotels for Miles portal. Unfortunately, redeeming your miles this way also provides little value per point.
To use the Hotels for Miles portal, simply enter your desired destination, dates and number of guests. Then, you’ll be shown any available hotels that can be booked using Flying Blue miles and the rate for your entire stay.
You also can choose to pay for your stay entirely with miles or with a combination of miles and cash. For instance, this two-night stay at the Hilton Newark Airport Hotel can be booked for 99,700 miles or a combination of 77,400 miles and 92 euros (about $100 at the current conversion rate) as well as several other combinations of cash and points.
As you can see, this same room at the Hilton Newark Airport Hotel on the same dates would cost you 257 euros (about $281 at the current conversion rate). So, if you were to book this hotel stay for 99,700 miles through Hotels for Miles, you’d be getting a value of less than 0.3 cent per point, which is pretty abysmal.
As you can see, redeeming your Flying Blue miles for hotel stays is a pretty bad deal. You’re much better off purchasing your hotel stays with cash and then saving your miles for award flight redemptions.
You also can redeem your Flying Blue miles for hotel stays by converting them to Accor Live Limitless (ALL) Reward points. This option is part of the Miles+Points program, which is a partnership between Accor Live Limitless and Flying Blue. However, you’ll receive 1,000 ALL Reward points for every 4,000 Flying Blue miles that you transfer, so this is a bad redemption as well.
Redeem for Experiences
Flying Blue gives you the option to spend your miles on experiences, such as tours, wine tastings and more. These experiences are all located in either France or the Netherlands. So, if you’re planning on traveling to one of these two countries in the near-future, you may want to look into booking these experiences.
Unfortunately, redeeming your points this way also doesn’t provide good value. For instance, Flying Blue offers an electric bike tour through Paris operated by Paris Charms & Secrets for 15,000 miles.
If you visit the Paris Charms & Secrets website, you’ll see that this same tour can be booked for €59 (about $64 at the current conversion rate) per person.
So, the value of this redemption would be about 0.4 cent per mile, which is poor. While this is just one example, you’ll get around the same value whenever redeeming your miles for experiences through Flying Blue.
Book Award Flights
If you want to get good value out of your Flying Blue miles, the only way to do so is by redeeming them for award flights. All of the redemption methods that have been mentioned up to this point offer poor value and should be avoided in almost every case.
Flying Blue uses a dynamic pricing model to price its own flights as well as partner flights, meaning the redemption rates fluctuate based on demand and seasonality. Still, even with dynamic pricing, Flying Blue often has the best prices for SkyTeam awards (even better than Delta, Korean Air and other major airlines).
You should also be aware that Air France and KLM levy fuel surcharges on certain tickets. These fuel surcharges can be as high as $200 to $350 on a one-way flight across the Atlantic. Although these surcharges are lower than those levied by airlines like Emirates or British Airways, you’ll still want to be aware of them before booking an award flight through Flying Blue.
With that being said, you can still find good value on award flights through Flying Blue if you’re willing to do some research and be flexible. To get you started, here are some of the best ways to redeem Flying Blue miles.
Fly Air France or KLM Between the U.S. and Europe with a Stopover
One of the best ways to use your Flying Blue miles is to take advantage of the free stopover feature. This perk allows you to add a stopover of up to 12 months on Air France- and KLM-operated flight itineraries. To be clear, all segments of your flight itinerary must be operated by either Air France or KLM for you to be eligible for the free stopover.
For instance, here’s a one-way KLM flight in economy class from New York (JFK) to Dublin (DUB) for just 21,000 miles and $105 in taxes and fees, which is already a good deal. However, this itinerary has a layover in Amsterdam (AMS). By calling Flying Blue at 1-800-375-8723 and requesting your free stopover, you could extend your time in Amsterdam for up to 12 months.
So, for just 21,000 miles and $105 in taxes and fees, you could fly from New York to Amsterdam, stay in Amsterdam for up to 12 months and then fly from Amsterdam to Dublin.
If you’d rather fly in business class, here’s a one-way KLM-operated award flight from New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG) in business class for 137,500 miles and $247 in taxes and fees.
This flight also has a layover in Amsterdam. So, if you’re interested in exploring Amsterdam, you can call Flying Blue and extend that layover into a stopover. Then, when you’re done with your time in Amsterdam, you can take a business class flight to Paris.
Flying Blue’s free stopover feature is on par with other loyalty programs that offer the perk.
For example, Air Canada Aeroplan allows you to add stopovers on Air Canada- and partner-operated flights as well, but it charges an extra 5,000 points per stopover. Alaska Airlines also allows you to add stopovers on partner award tickets, but only in the airline’s hub. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer allows you to add stopovers only on Singapore-operated itineraries.
Although you can’t add free stopovers on partner award flights with Flying Blue, you can add free stopovers on most award flights operated by Air France and/or KLM, which gives you a solid degree of flexibility.
Fly Copa Airlines or Delta from the U.S. to Latin America
Through the Flying Blue program, you can find some excellent redemptions for flights from the United States to Latin America (particularly Central America and northern South America) on either Copa Airlines or Delta.
For instance, here’s a one-way Delta-operated award flight in economy class from New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG), for just 20,500 miles and $46.20 in taxes and fees.
Alternatively, here’s a one-way Copa-operated award flight in economy class from Denver (DEN) to Panama City, Panama (PTY), for just 18,000 miles and $50.45 in taxes and fees.
These economy flights are great if you want to take a trip and have only a small sum of points. However, if you want to get the moist value out of your Flying Blue miles, you’re better off going with business- and first-class flights.
For instance, here’s a one-way Delta-operated award flight in first class from New York (JFK) to Bogota for 66,000 miles plus $50.70 in taxes and fees through the Flying Blue program.
When we searched for the exact same flight on Delta’s website, we found that the cash rate in first class would have been $1,776.
That means that you’d be getting a value of about 2.7 cents per mile on this redemption ($1,776 x 100 cents / 66,000 miles = 2.7 cents per mile), which is good.
It’s also worth mentioning that this same flight would cost you at least 80,000 Delta SkyMiles. If you’re interested in booking award flights on Delta, it’s typically cheaper to do so through Flying Blue than through Delta SkyMiles.
Both Copa and Delta also offer flights from the U.S. to many other major cities in Latin America, such as Lima, Peru; Guatemala City; Quito, Ecuador; and Mexico City.
Watch Out for Promo Rewards
One of the best features of the Flying Blue program is Promo Rewards in which certain routes are offered at large discounts. These discounted rates are offered on routes within Europe as well as on long-haul transatlantic routes.
Here are just a few of the Promo Rewards being offered right now:
As you can see, all of these routes are within Europe and are offered at a 25% mileage discount. However, Flying Blue is also currently offering discounts on flights across the Atlantic:
All of these Promo Rewards are a great way to make sure that you get more value out of your Flying Blue miles. So, if you’re interested in going to Europe or flying cheaply between Amsterdam or Paris and somewhere in the Caribbean or elsewhere, make sure you keep an eye on the Promo Rewards that Flying Blue offers.
The Bottom Line
For U.S.-based travelers, there are probably other frequent flyer programs that are more worth the time investment. However, if you frequently travel to Europe, then the Flying Blue program may be of great use to you. This is the joint frequent-flyer program of Air France and KLM (as well as several other smaller airlines), meaning that Flying Blue miles are more flexible than most other airline rewards currencies.
Every major credit card rewards currency can be converted to Flying Blue miles (including American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Miles and more).
Flying Blue also allows you to earn and redeem miles with its long list of partner airlines, which includes Aeroméxico, Copa, Delta, Japan Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. This means that it’s extremely easy to earn Flying Blue miles through credit card spending and then redeem those miles where they’re going to benefit you the most.
You could also earn Flying Blue miles directly by signing up for the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard, which also offers the opportunity to earn XP (the metric used to determine Flying Blue elite status). However, unless you live in Europe and fly with Air France and/or KLM frequently, we recommend going with a different airline credit card.
When it comes to redeeming your Flying Blue miles, make sure to keep an eye on Promo Rewards, which are limited-time offers on award flights allowing you to save between 25% and 50% on redemption rates.
You should also consider taking advantage of the free stopover feature offered by Flying Blue. This feature allows you to add a stopover of up to 12 months to your flight itinerary for no additional charge on Air France- or KLM-operated flights. For instance, you could take a KLM flight from New York to Dublin and add a stopover in Amsterdam.
Overall, even if you live in the United States, it’s probably still worth being familiar with the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program. The program has definitely seen some devaluations over the last few years (particular because it shifted to a dynamic award pricing model). However, this program is extremely flexible and there’s still a lot of value in it.
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.