Air France First Class Awards No Longer Available to Silver Elites Starting October 15

Swiss only lets Miles & More elite members book first class awards (usually). Air France has had a similar policy for its first class seats. For several years you’ve needed to be a Flying Blue elite member to be able to spend miles to redeem for first class.

Air France also only makes first class awards available at rulebuster-style prices. There are no saver awards. (There have been a few exceptions to this, back in 2013 they even included first class in their discounted promo awards briefly.)

They’re reportedly tightening things even further: effective October 15, first class redemptions will only be available to Flying Blue Gold members and above and the price of these awards will go up (upgrade prices will not change).

I don’t see Air France first as worth the points premium in most cases. The seat isn’t impressive. The food and wine can be quite good, though I prefer the meals on board better Asian carriers. The real treat is the La Premiere lounge in Paris. It’s the forbidden nature of the product that gives it such allure for many. At higher prices it will be worth still less.

Some have sought to take advantage of past status match offers just for these awards. We haven’t seen broad-based Flying Blue status matches in some time. I admit a certain jealousy for those who took advantage of lifetime status matches offered by KLM 17 years ago.

(HT: @FlyingDutchBlog)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. But anyone can purchase a La Premiere upgrade at the check-in counter from paid Affaires. Rarely available at CDG admittedly, but often from overseas to CDG. Since La Premiere is so many miles, cash was not a bad alternative, if you really want to be in F. It is nice, but I would not do it often.

  2. I think this is a bit much. I’m biased as a FlyingBlue Silver of course. I guess it makes sense since Silver can be easy to earn for people living in Europe that take short-haul flights on AF or KLM. It’s much harder for those of us in North America I think.

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