Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published.
At the beginning of October a mistakenly published mileage calculator combined with an eagle-eyed traveler alerted us to the fact that the Flying Blue rewards program (the program for Air France/KLM) would almost certainly be moving to a revenue-based system. Today that is exactly what Flying Blue has announced.
The first thing to mention is that nothing is changing before 1 April 2018 so, if you don’t like what you see, you have a few months to make alternate plans…although this probably won’t be any comfort to those who have flights already booked past that date.
I’m not going to provide any commentary on these changes as this post is primarily for information only – as the details sink in I’ll probably write a follow-up post with my thoughts.
Summary of Today’s Announcement
- Miles from flights on Flying Blue airlines will be awarded based on Flying Blue status and the cost of the fare booked (excluding taxes and fees)
- Miles from flights on partner airlines will continue to be awarded on fare class booked and the distance traveled
- Miles will be valid for two years unless you are an Elite member, have taken a flight with select airlines or have made a miles-earning transaction on most Flying Blue credit cards
- The validity of miles earned from flights cannot be extended by miles earned from other corporate partners (like car rental partners, hotels etc…)
- Elite status will be based on a new format called Experience Points (XPs)
- XPs will be earned based on the distance of the flight and the cabin booked
- New status thresholds have been introduced
- Level Miles and/or Qualifying Flights will be converted to XP as of 31 March 2018
- The elite qualification period will be a rolling 12 month period
- No changes to status benefits
- From June 2018 you will be able to book any available seat on AF/KLM/Transavia with miles but Dynamic pricing will be in effect. No examples of redemption rates have been provided.
- Mileage redemptions on partner airlines have not changed
- A Miles + Cash option is being introduced from June 2018.
As of 1 April 2018…..
You’ll earn Miles for every €1 spent (excluding government-imposed taxes and fees) on flights that are marketed as:
- Air France
The number of Miles you’ll get depends on your level within the Flying Blue programme:
- Ivory = 4 Miles per €1
- Silver = 6 Miles per €1
- Gold = 7 Miles per €1
- Platinum = 8 Miles per €1
Note: these are the exact earning levels as were spotted in the leak back in early October.
For flights on partner airlines miles will continue to be awarded based on the fare booked and the distance traveled. I’ve checked a number of the various award charts and I haven’t spotted any differences to the status quo yet – I’ll update this post if that changes.
This isn’t so much a change as a confirmation/clarification of what happened anyway – Flying Blue will have one policy for the expiration of miles earned from flying with select airlines and another for miles earned through “other Flying Blue airline partners” or earned through other commercial partners (car hire, hotels etc…)
Here’s what Flying Blue has published:
All your Miles will be valid for life as long as:
- You take an eligible flight at least once every 2 years with AIR FRANCE, KLM, JOON, HOP!, Aircalin, Kenya Airways, TAROM or other SkyTeam partners, or
- You are an Elite or Elite Plus member, or
- You make a purchase with your Flying Blue co-branded credit card at least once every 2 years (except for JCB and Mitsui Sumitomo)
In addition, if you take a flight with any of the other Flying Blue airline partners, or stay with, rent a car with, or make use of any service from our commercial partners, you’ll extend the validity of Miles earned with our other airline and commercial partners to 2 years.
Please note that only the validity date for Miles earned with commercial and other partners is extended, and not the validity date for other Miles.
Miles earned though select airline partners, hotels, car rental agencies etc… will only extend the expiration date of similarly earned miles and not the expiration date of any miles earned from flying Air France, KLM, SkyTeam etc…
From 1 April 2018….
Flying Blue membership levels will be determined by what Flying Blue is calling “Experience Points” (XP).
XP will be earned on all paid flights taken with:
- Air France
- Kenya Airways
- SkyTeam Partner airlines
The number of XP a traveler can earn will be based on the flight type and the cabin booked.
The thresholds for the three Flying Blue status tiers are as follows:
- Silver – 100 XP
- Gold – 180 XP
- Platinum – 300 XP
It’s interesting to note that there doesn’t appear to be a distinction between discounted and full fare Economy/Premium Economy/Business Class/First Class so those booking the more expensive fares won’t have any advantage over those booking great premium cabin deals.
Flying Blue will now have a moving 12 month qualification period.
Per Flying Blue:
The qualification period covers 12 months. Of course, if you gain enough XP to move up to the next level before the end of the 12-month period, you’ll be instantly upgraded.
The moment you reach the next level, the XP needed to qualify for that level will be deducted from your XP counter and the 12-month qualification period will restart. Any XP you gained above the required threshold will be yours to keep.
What this means is that, in reality, you need 280XP to earn Gold Status (100 XP for Silver and a further 180 XP to hit Gold) and 580XP to earn Platinum Status (100 XP + 180 XP + 300 XP) but you actually get 2 and 3 years respectively to earn that status.
Converting Level Miles and/or Qualifying Flights
If you have any Level Miles and/or qualifying flights as of 31 March 2018 these will all be converted to XP at the following rate:
- 1,000 Level Miles = 5 XP
- 1 qualifying flight = 7 XP
You will not have both miles and flights converted – Flying Blue will calculate the higher outcome and that will be what’s added to your new XP counter.
Here’s an example that’s been provided:
If you have 3,000 Level Miles & 5 qualifying flights….
3,000 Level Miles = 15 XP and 5 qualifying flights = 35 XP so you will have 35 XP added to your new status counter.
Booking Award Flights
From June 2018 (note that this is different to the date for the other changes)….
Flying Blue members will be able to book any available seat on flights with Air France, KLM, HOP!, JOON & transavia.
The number of miles needed for each seat will be based on the following:
- Date of flights
Award pricing will be dynamic for Air France/KLM/Transavia bookings but we haven’t been given any examples of what to expect – presumably more information will be forthcoming soon.
The way miles are redeemed on airline partners does not appear to have changed.
Miles & Cash option being introduced
From June 2018 Flying Blue members will be able to use cash to pay for up to 25% of an award flight but, as we don’t yet know how many miles will be needed for travel, this doesn’t really mean much.
That’s all that has been announced so far (at least as far as I can see) – If any more information comes to light I’ll up date this post and highlight the updates clearly so you can see what I’ve added.