Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM’s Frequent Flyer Program
Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Earning Miles on Air France and KLM Flights
Earning miles with Air France and KLM is straightforward, especially when flying on either carrier. Both airlines use the Flying Blue program, so members earn miles for any Air France and KLM flights. The amount of miles depends on the ticket fare and cabin class.
Flying Blue has four elite tiers that offer mileage bonuses: Ivory, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Non-elite passengers earn 100% of miles flown in discount economy, 125% in full-fare economy (T,Q,G,N,S booking codes), 150% in premium economy and 300% in business class. Elites earn 25% more at Ivory status, 50% more at Silver, 75% more at Gold and 100% more at Platinum.
Besides earning more miles, elites also accrue XP points that count toward retaining or reaching a higher status level. XPs are based on cabin, fare class and distance flown. Air France and KLM flights earn the most XPs because of the premium for elite status.
It's fairly simple to rack up miles quickly just by flying frequently on Air France or KLM, especially in paid business class. A one-way Houston to Paris business ticket earns around 11,000 base miles, for example. Gold elites would earn 19,250 miles on that routing. Transatlantic flights in premium cabins are an easy way to fast track elite status.
But leisure travelers on discounted economy tickets can also benefit from Flying Blue promotions that offer extra award miles. Recently there was a "Summer Miles" promo for Europe travel that gave 25% more award miles for economy tickets. Business class tickets earned 75% more miles during that promo.
Flying Blue also regularly offers double miles promotions on routes to specific regions like North America, Africa, etc. These promos encourage members to keep taking Air France and KLM flights for leisure or business travel. It's an easy way to boost earning during trips you'd take anyway.
What else is in this post?
- Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Earning Miles on Air France and KLM Flights
- Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Maximizing Miles with Partners and Promotion
- Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Using Miles for Award Flights on Air France, KLM and Partners
- Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Booking Award Flights with Flying Blue
- Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Getting the Most from Flying Blue Elite Status
- Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Using Miles for Upgrades on Air France and KLM
- Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Flying Blue Deals and Sweet Spots
- Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Strategies to Earn Flying Blue Miles Quickly
Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Maximizing Miles with Partners and Promotion
Flying Blue doesn't just offer miles for Air France and KLM flights. The program has over 30 airline partners where you can both earn and redeem miles. And there are hundreds of non-airline partners ranging from hotels to rental cars to shopping portals. Leveraging these partners is key to maximizing your Flying Blue balance.
Earning miles from partners works similarly to flying Air France and KLM. You need to credit flights to Flying Blue by providing your frequent flyer number when booking. Miles earned on partners depends on the fare class and cabin. But virtually all partners earn a minimum of 100% of miles flown. Alaska Airlines flights credit based on a percentage of the ticket price, for example.
Having elite status with Flying Blue also helps as you'll earn bonus miles on most partner airlines. The exceptions are Delta and the other SkyTeam carriers where elites don't get a bonus. But for all other partners, Silver elites earn a 25% bonus on top of miles flown, Gold 50% more and Platinum 75% more miles.
The fastest way to rack up miles from partners is by taking advantage of promotions. There are regularly bonuses for flying specific routes with select partners. Flying Blue has an entire section of special offers on their website. Recent examples included double miles for flying Turkish Airlines between Europe and Istanbul, and a 25% bonus on American Airlines flights booked through Flying Blue.
Another easy way to earn bonus miles is by using partner hotels. Top co-branded hotel programs include Accor Live Limitless and World of Hyatt. There are also bonuses when booking through Rocketmiles. A recent promotion offered 1,000 bonus miles per night for Rocketmiles bookings, with bonuses ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 miles for 5+ night stays.
Shopping portals are yet another way to score easy Flying Blue miles without setting foot on an airplane. Online retailers like Samsonite, Lenovo, 1-800-Flowers and dozens more offer miles for purchases. The same goes for booking activities through Viator. Miles earned per dollar spent typically ranges between 1 and 5 miles.
For flights on Air France, KLM and partners to count toward elite status, you must credit them to Flying Blue in advance. When booking through online travel agencies, be sure to add your frequent flyer number. You can also contact the operating carrier after booking to have them retroactively add your number to the reservation.
Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Using Miles for Award Flights on Air France, KLM and Partners
One of the best uses of Flying Blue miles is booking award flights on Air France, KLM, and their partners. Award availability is quite good, especially compared to some U.S. frequent flyer programs. And Flying Blue miles can be redeemed for flights across the entire SkyTeam alliance.
Booking Air France or KLM flights with miles is straightforward through the Flying Blue website or app. Award prices are fixed and don't fluctuate with cash fares. Economy awards start at just 6,000 miles each way within Europe. Flying from North America to Europe in economy is 25,000 miles one-way and 50,000 miles roundtrip, an excellent value compared to other programs.
Business class award prices are very reasonable too at just 62,500 miles each way between the U.S. and Europe. Flying Blue even opens extra award space on select routes that isn't available to partner programs. Paris to Tahiti is just 30,000 miles each way in economy – an absolute bargain.
Another benefit is that Flying Blue allows one-way awards without fuel surcharges on Air France and KLM metal. This is perfect for complex itineraries where you want to mix and match one-way flights. And Flying Blue doesn't pass on carrier surcharges like many other programs do. The taxes and fees on awards are very reasonable.
When it comes to using miles on partners, Delta and the SkyTeam joint ventures have the best availability. But you can access all SkyTeam carriers including AeroMexico, China Airlines, and more. Partner awards are priced based on the region flown similar to Air France/KLM flights. Be aware that some partners like Korean Air do impose hefty surcharges.
One unique option is Flying Club miles can be used for any seat on select Air France codeshare flights operated by Delta. This opens up more award space when you have flexibility on routing. And Flying Blue miles can be redeemed for Delta One business class, something Delta SkyMiles can't even do.
A little known sweet spot is redeeming Flying Blue miles for Air Tahiti Nui business class from the U.S. to Tahiti. This costs just 80,000 miles and minimal taxes/fees roundtrip. Given published fares often top $5,000, you’re getting over 6 cents per mile in value.
When it comes to searching award availability, some key tips are to look segment-by-segment as Flying Blue doesn't display connections. Be flexible with nearby airports as you can include multiple options in your search. And check both nonstop and connecting flights as options can vary.
Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Booking Award Flights with Flying Blue
Booking award flights is one of the most rewarding ways to use your hard-earned Flying Blue miles. With a little planning and flexibility, you can fly in style for a fraction of the cash price. Flying Blue offers solid award availability, reasonable redemption rates, and even opens up some seats not bookable with miles in other programs.
Flying Blue's award chart is region-based with set prices for economy, premium economy, and business class tickets. This takes the guesswork out of how many miles are needed for a given route. Roundtrip economy awards to Europe cost just 50,000 miles, for example, an absolute bargain compared to U.S. carriers charging 60,000 miles or more. Flying Blue also recently reduced some short-haul economy awards within Europe to just 6,000 miles one-way.
Searching for award space can be done through the Flying Blue website or app. Experienced members recommend looking segment-by-segment rather than relying on what gets automatically displayed for connections. Be flexible with nearby departure and arrival airports as availably frequently varies. And remember to check both nonstop and connecting options.
One insider tip is that Flying Blue opens extra award seats on select routes not offered to their partner Delta. Flying Paris to Tahiti in business class for 62,500 miles each way is an amazing value only bookable through Flying Blue. Having status also helps as elites get access to more premium cabin award space.
When flying partners, Delta and other SkyTeam airlines have excellent award availability. But you can tap into the entire SkyTeam network including AeroMexico, China Airlines and more. Partner awards are priced similarly to Flying Blue operated flights based on the region traveled. Watch out for hefty carrier surcharges on some airlines like Korean Air, however.
Flying Blue allows booking one-way awards without the fuel surcharges imposed by many other carriers. This flexibility is perfect for complex itineraries mixing individual one-way flights. And Flying Blue doesn't pass on partner carrier fees making award taxes and fees reasonable compared to other programs.
One unique perk is Flying Blue miles can be redeemed for any seat on select Air France codeshare flights operated by Delta. This opens up more coach and business class award space when you have flexibility on routing. And Flying Blue miles can even be used for Delta One suites that Delta SkyMiles can't access.
Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Getting the Most from Flying Blue Elite Status
Elite status with Flying Blue opens up a world of benefits that can greatly enhance your experience traveling on Air France, KLM and partners. For frequent flyers, pursuing status should be a priority as the perks add up to a superior journey from start to finish.
The four tiers in Flying Blue from lowest to highest are Ivory, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Qualification is based on elite qualifying miles or flights plus spending requirements for the top levels. While paid business class tickets accelerate elite status, even discount economy fares help toward boosting your tier.
- Mileage Bonuses: Elites earn 25% extra miles on Air France/KLM at Ivory, 50% more at Silver, 75% at Gold and a 100% bonus for Platinum members. This makes a big difference, especially when flying paid business class where miles earned are already multiplied based on the high fare class.
- Extra Award Availability: Elite members gain access to more premium cabin award space, meaning more chances to redeem miles for that aspirational first or business class redemption. Platinum and Gold members see the most expanded options.
- Additional Baggage Allowance: Depending on your tier, Flying Blue elites receive one or two extra free checked bags above the standard allowance. This perk alone can be worth hundreds of dollars, especially for a family traveling together.
- Lounge Access: Flying Blue elites get complimentary access to Air France and KLM lounges plus partner lounges. Gold members gain access for them and a guest. Platinums can bring in two guests to relax before the flight.
- Priority Services: Elite tiers confer various priority privileges including check-in, security, boarding, baggage handling and more. This saves precious time at the airport. Platinum members also get dedicated check-in desks and transfer counters.
- Upgrade Priority: Higher tiers get higher priority on waitlists and upgrades when flying Air France, KLM and some partners. Complimentary upgrades start at Silver level, while Gold and Platinums are near the top of upgrade lists.
To qualify for Flying Blue status, it's key to credit all eligible flights to your Flying Blue account. When booking through online travel agencies, be sure to add your frequent flyer number. You can also contact the operating carrier after ticketing to have your number added to existing reservations. Also keep an eye out for bonus elite qualifying mile promotions that make status easier to achieve.
Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Using Miles for Upgrades on Air France and KLM
One of the best perks of elite status with Flying Blue is the ability to use miles for upgrades on Air France and KLM flights. Upgrades provide the chance to stretch out in business class for long haul journeys, or move up on shorthaul hops to score extra legroom and amenities in premium economy.
Silver elites gain access to upgrades starting at 72 hours before departure when unsold premium seats become available to elite members. The higher your status, the sooner you can request upgrades. Gold members can be upgraded 5 days out and Platinums can get confirmed into the plush seats from the time of booking.
When it comes to long haul flights, upgrades clear first for Platinum and Gold elites followed by Silver and Ivory status holders. On shorthaul European routes, Platinum members are prioritized first, then Gold, followed by Silver and Ivory together. Having a higher tier gives you an advantage to score those coveted upgrades over other elite members competing for the same premium seats.
Upgrades on Air France and KLM can be requested with cash, miles or a combination of both. Using miles is often the best option since it puts your balance to good use without any additional outlay. Mileage costs vary based on your departure region and destination as well as the cabin class you are upgrading into.
On routes within Europe, upgrades to premium economy cost just 15,000 miles each way when departing from France. Longer flights from North America to Europe are 30,000 miles each way. Transatlantic upgrades to business class will set you back 90,000 miles one-way. Since paid business fares often run $5,000+, you are getting over 5 cents in value for your Flying Blue miles.
When upgrading long haul flights with miles, the best practice is to call Flying Blue directly rather than waiting for an online upgrade to clear. The agents can see all inventory and have the capability to process complex, multi-leg upgrades that the website sometimes struggles with.
Another smart tip popular with frequent Flying Blue travelers is to use miles to upgrade just one leg of a connecting journey. For example, you could upgrade your positioning flight from Amsterdam to Paris to depart in business class when continuing onward to New York in economy. This stretches your miles further and still gets you the premium experience for part of the trip.
Keep in mind that when upgrading with miles, you'll need the required miles in your account at the time of ticketing. Miles earned from the flight itself won't count, so be sure you have enough in your balance beforehand. There are no refunds of mileage costs for upgrades if you end up not getting cleared into the higher cabin.
For the best success upgrading international flights with miles, flexible travelers should consider routes and dates with the most open business class inventory. Leverage ExpertFlyer or other tools to check for open seats and less competition from other elites. Being open to switching to different departure cities or travel periods when business class is wide open can greatly boost your chances of getting that upgrade.
Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Flying Blue Deals and Sweet Spots
While Flying Blue has a straightforward award chart, there are still opportunities to extract maximum value from your miles. Being strategic with redemptions can help your balance go much further. With a little digging, flying in style for pennies on the dollar is within reach.
One of the best uses of Flying Blue miles is for Air Tahiti Nui business class between the U.S. and Tahiti. At just 80,000 miles roundtrip, this is an absolute steal considering paid fares often exceed $5,000. You're getting over 6 cents per mile in value given the obscenely high cash prices on this competitive route. Flying Blue opens up more award space on Air Tahiti Nui than its partner Delta makes available. This unique leverage is thanks to Flying Blue's close ties as the frequent flyer program of Air Tahiti Nui's parent Air France/KLM.
Another sweet spot exclusive to Flying Blue is access to Delta One business class seats on select Air France codeshare flights. Delta doesn't even make its own Delta One suites bookable with SkyMiles. Yet Flying Blue members can tap into this premium inventory on certain routes like Paris to Detroit. Since Delta doesn't publish these codeshare flights on its own site, it's insider knowledge leveraged by savvy Flying Blue elites.
Flying Blue's one-way awards without fuel surcharges also unlock desirable redemptions out of reach for other programs. You can mix and match one-way awards to construct complex itineraries impossible to book as roundtrips. Flying Dallas to Paris then returning Paris to Amsterdam is 62,500 miles in business class rather than the 125,000 miles most carriers would charge.
Elites praise Flying Blue's last seat availability for being more generous than competing programs. While Delta shuts out partners from its best cabins, Flying Blue opens up access to Delta One business class for its elites until right before departure. Being flexible with dates and routes is key, but flying a sought after route like New York to London in Delta One for only 80,000 Flying Blue miles is an absolute steal.
When Flying Blue elites have no luck finding the premium award space they want, they get crafty. A popular strategy is to redeem miles for the longest segment then pay cash for a discounted fare on a short connection. For example, use miles to book Paris to Singapore then buy a cheap ticket from London to Paris to position. This stretches your miles further by saving them for the long haul portion.
Take Off with Flying Blue: The Ultimate Guide to Earning and Redeeming with Air France-KLM's Frequent Flyer Program - Strategies to Earn Flying Blue Miles Quickly
Racking up Flying Blue miles swiftly takes a bit of strategy and planning. But the payoff for your effort is the chance to redeem those hard-earned miles for premium flights that would otherwise cost a fortune. Whether you're pursuing elite status or a dream vacation, accelerating your balance has real value. Savvy members don't rely on just Air France and KLM flights - they take advantage of partners and promotions to supercharge earning.
One of the simplest ways to earn miles quickly is by signing up for a co-branded Flying Blue credit card. Both Bank of America and American Express issue versions offering large sign-up bonuses worth tens of thousands of miles. The bonus combined with ongoing category bonuses make these cards essential for fast earning. Experienced members suggest getting both cards to double dip on the bonuses. Just be sure to space out the applications to avoid denial.
Transferrable points programs are yet another fast track to Flying Blue miles. Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Capital One all transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio. Transfer bonuses periodically boost earning up to 30% more. Points transfer instantly so this strategy is perfect when you need miles quickly for an award booking. Members recommend diversifying points earning across multiple transfer partners to maximize flexibility.
Shopping portals are an easy way to rake in miles for purchases you'd make anyway. Flying Blue has its own dedicated portal as well as partnerships with major portals like Ebates/Rakuten. Activate the shopping portal through your Flying Blue account before visiting retailer sites to earn miles. recent promotions have offered 4x or 6x miles per dollar at popular merchants. Compared to just 1 mile per dollar normally, promotions like this accelerate earning exponentially.
When Flying Blue runs bonus mile offers on Air France, KLM or partner flights, frequent flyers jump at the chance to boost their balance. Limited-time promotions like double miles to specific regions or 25% more miles on select routes are common. Savvy members use Google Flights to search out the cheapest fares that qualify, since discounted economy tickets earn the same promo miles as expensive last-minute fares. Stacking a flight deal with a promo bonus is the quickest way to earn tens of thousands of miles from a single booking.