Air France’ Flying Blue makes changes to its award chart

I have never booked an award with Air France Flying Blue so far but I did become a Gold Elite due to the status match campaign. Flying Blue is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and therefore easily accessible for most US AMEX members.

Traditionally the program was known for:

– a good online award booking engine with many SkyTeam partners integrated
– one-ways can be booked online
– an ok award chart with mileage requirements neither very low nor very high
– very high fuel surcharges especially for Economy tickets as the fuel surcharges could be 80% of a regular (discounted) ticket

It seems Flying Blue has now recognized the flaws and is tweaking the system.

Changes in Economy Class

On AIR FRANCE and KLM

– Significantly lower carrier imposed international surcharge amount to pay
– Carrier imposed international surcharge now includes connecting European flights
– Lowest number of Miles needed for a Classic Award unchanged
– More Classic award availability, with varying number of Miles required

Changes in Premium Economy Class

On AIR FRANCE only

– Decrease in carrier imposed international surcharge amounts
– Carrier imposed international surcharge now includes connecting European flights
– Increase in Miles needed for an award
– More Miles upgrade possibilities to Premium Economy Class

Changes in Business Class and La Première

On AIR FRANCE and KLM

– No decreases in carrier imposed international surcharge amount
– Carrier imposed international surcharge now includes connecting European flights
– Increase in Miles needed for an award
– More Classic award availability with varying number of Miles required
– More Miles upgrade possibilities to Business Class

A few changes to other types of award tickets

– The Miles required for Flex awards will increase. Compared to Classic awards, Flex awards can be changed without a fee.
– From June 2013, Elite Awards on Air France flights will no longer exist.
– From end June 2013, Promo Awards@ will be available with the new intercontinental award scheme, so you will be able to save 25-50% off the Award Miles usually needed for an award ticket.

I think Flying Blue goes the right way by reducing the fuel surcharges required at least on Air France/KLM. Consumers will recognize that miles will be essentially worthless if mileage tickets costs the same as discounted economy ticket. This in turn will diminish loyalty. I wish fuel surcharges would have been reduced for business class redemptions as well.

Flying Blue does run frequent promotions where certain routes see the miles required reduced by half. If that's a route you consider flying it's certainly worth to look into Flying Blue.

HT LoyaltyLobby