Air France KLM Flying Blue is the most useful frequent flyer program in SkyTeam, though it’s not nearly as valuable as it once was. The alliance is generally dreadful, but since Korean Air is devaluing in April, Aeromexico’s program is generally dreadful and Delta SkyMiles is a dumpster fire, Air France KLM is all we’ve got. Plus pretty much every currency transfers to Flying Blue.
So when they announced that the program is changing I was nervous. Nonetheless there’s not much to worry about for most members, though there are things some will value and others will cringe a bit over.
- I previously reported that first class awards are now only available to Flying Blue Platinum members (no longer open to Golds) and limited to one seat per flight, no companion.
- Flying Blue has added free stopovers on one way awards. These are only possible for travel exclusively on Air France and KLM, and can only be booked over the phone.
- They’ve adjusted their regions. Overall I’m not concerned. The first thing I looked for was that the Mideast (East of Turkey) including Israel is in Asia, whereas it was once a great value from the U.S. when it was in Europe.
- The program has updated award pricing, though it’s not as bad as you’d expect. In general they promote lower premium economy pricing and lower intra-European business class pricing. Some long haul business goes up (e.g. Los Angeles – Europe) while others go down (Europe – Mideast).
Oddly, having previously eliminated their award chart, they’ve brought one back but also introduced an exceptions chart with examples of city pairs whose lowest award prices are higher than what’s listed in the chart.
Here’s the award chart showing minimum pricing:
And here’s the business class exceptions ‘examples’ chart:
Overall I still see Flying Blue as the most useful SkyTeam program, with better award availability on Air France and KLM for their own members than is offered to partners and mostly reasonable pricing when saver inventory is available. The addition of free stopovers on one way awards is great, and modest pricing and region adjustments are things most will be able to live with.
[…] Free stopovers are permitted on one way awards when traveling exclusively on Air France and KLM (must book by phone) […]