Changes To The Flying Blue Frequent Flyer Program (Air France / KLM)

flying blue reinvented april 2018

At the beginning of this month the Flying Blue Frequent Flyer Program, the Air France / KLM loyalty scheme relaunched moving from distance-based mileage earning to a revenue-based program. Changes to how many miles you earn is already in effect, and has been since 1st April 2018, while changes to spending Flying Blue miles applies from 1st June 2018. So far, luckily, there appear to be no changes to Flying Blue Promo Awards (April Flying Blue Promo Awards are live, and have been for a few days).

Earning Flying Blue Miles

From 1st April 2018 you earn miles when flying with Air France, KLM, JOON and HOP! The number of miles you earn depends on the amount of money you spend, as well as your Flying Blue status level.

  • Explorers earn 4 miles per euro spent
  • Silver members earn 6 miles per euro spent
  • Gold members earn 7 miles per euro spent
  • Platinum members earn 8 miles per euro spent

flying blue status levels

You will not earn miles on taxes, but you earn miles on carrier charges and any extra options you’ve purchased such as seat options or extra luggage.

As an example if you have Explorer status and buy a ticket with the following price breakdown:

  • Ticket, excluding taxes: 500€
  • Taxes: 300€
  • Carrier charges: 200€

You will earn 4 miles for each euro spent, not including taxes (4 x 700€) so a total of 2,800 Flying Blue miles.

flying blue miles earning exampleIf you buy your ticket in a currency other than the Euro, the amount is converted to Euros at the time of purchase to calculate the number of Miles you’ve earned.

Spending Flying Blue Miles

A few days ago Flying Blue announced their latest pricing chart for redemption tickets. Their mileage calculator gives you an estimate of the minimum number of miles to each destination for tickets bought from 1st June 2018 onwards.

From 1st June 2018, Flying Blue miles that you’ve earned can be used toward booking award tickets with Air France, KLM, Joon, Hop! or Transavia. The number of miles required will be calculated based on the origin, destination, and date of your flight so will be closely correlated to the cost of a ticket.

Flying Blue also says that you’ll be able to book any available seat using miles, so there will no longer be a limited amount of award seats per flight. That means that even the very last available seat on the flight could be booked with Flying Blue miles.

Also, Flying Blue will introduce a “Miles & Cash” option allowing you to be able to pay for up to 25% of your award ticket with cash.

Flying Blue Status Levels

Currently, your Flying Blue status is based on how many “Level Miles” you have earned from qualifying flights. Level Miles are now are thing of the past as Flying Blue have introduced “Experience Points”, also know as “XP”, as your status level will be based on the balance of these points. The more you fly, the more Experience Points (XP) you gain. These allow you to reach higher levels and enjoy the perks that go along with them. Status level are based on the following Experience Points totals.

  • Silver: 100 Experience Points (XP)
  • Gold: 180 Experience Points (XP)
  • Platinum: 300 Experience Points (XP)

XP are gained on all eligible flights with AIR FRANCE, KLM, JOON and HOP! and SkyTeam partners. The number of XP you gain depends on your travel class and flight type.

You have 12 months to gain enough XP to increase your level. These 12 months begin as soon as you earn your first miles or gain your first XP after joining the Flying Blue scheme. Once you gain enough XP to move up a level, you’ll be upgraded instantly.

Each Flying Blue status level comes with more benefits, each of which can be viewed on the Flying Blue site.

Here’s a few examples of how Experience Points work.

As a new Flying Blue member

Join the programme today, take a flight on 5th May and gain your first XP. Take several more flights and gain more XP. By February of the following year, you are already up to 80 XP, just 20 XP shy of upgrading to Silver. Fly from Paris or Amsterdam to Los Angeles on 15th March in Business and gain 36 XP, bumping your XP counter up to 116 XP. Hi ho, Silver, you just got upgraded! We deduct 100 XP from your counter, and the 16 surplus XP are yours to keep. This gives you a head start on keeping your Silver status or levelling up to Gold in the new qualification period, which starts on 15th March and ends on 30th March of the following year. Your Silver membership lasts until 30th June of the following year.

Maintaining Gold status

Let’s say you are Gold. You just need to gain 180 XP before the end of your personal qualification period to remain Gold for 12 more months. No problem, you reach 220 XP, so you’re still golden! At the end of your personal qualification period, your XP counter is offset by 180 XP. With 40 surplus XP to kick off your new qualification period, you get a running start on staying Gold or levelling up to Platinum.

Soft landing from Platinum to Gold status

Let’s say you are Platinum. You need to gain 300 XP by the end of your personal qualification period to remain Platinum. If you only get up to 240 XP by the end of your qualification period, your XP counter is offset by 180 XP and your status changes to Gold. You have 60 surplus XP to begin your new qualification period, a nice head start on staying Gold or levelling back up to Platinum.