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WebFlyer Home > Programs > Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & Reviews

(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)


Air France/KLM Flying Blue


3.93
(240 ratings)

7.29

This program was reviewed and rated by our editors in December 2010. Changes in the program past this date are possible, especially program partner information. We recommend you subscribe to the #1 source of frequent flyer information, Inside Flyer Magazine, to get the most current information possible.

Blue Skies

It’s been over five years since Air France Freqence Plus and KLM Flying Dutchman combined to form the Flying Blue program in June 2005. The program has since grown to 17 million members and is a member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance.

On April 1, 2009, Flying Blue made some unpopular changes to the program, including reducing the number of miles members earned for discounted fares and increasing the number of miles required for some awards. When the changes were made, Flying Blue announced that there would be a better correlation “between the fare paid, the ticket conditions and the number of miles earned” and that “the redemption scheme now also better reflects fares and the flexibility of the ticket.” Members, however, viewed the “April Fool’s” changes as a gutting of the program.


EARNING ABILITY:

3.71
Our
Rating:

6.50
Earning miles on Air France is complicated and you will need to pay attention to your booking class because you could earn anywhere between 25 percent and 100 percent of miles flown in economy (200 percent in premium economy). First class fares earn 300 percent, business class fares offer between 125 percent and 250 percent and Premium Voyageur classes offer between 100 percent and 200 percent of miles flown. Members earn miles based on distance flown, ticket fare and class of travel.

KLM’s earning structure is simpler with only business and coach fare classes, but there is a range of earning categories. Travelers in coach earn between 25 percent and 100 percent of miles flown and business class offers between 125 percent and 200 percent. KLM also offers a minimum of 500 miles on domestic flights and 750 miles on international flights with most tickets.

Flying Blue members can also earn miles through airline partner flights, car rentals, credit card purchases, leisure activities, hotel stays and completing other partner activity.

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AWARD CHOICES:

4.40
Our
Rating:

8.00
Spending miles for flights is significantly less complicated than earning miles with flights. Flying Blue uses the same award chart across Air France, KLM and SkyTeam carriers. Domestic flights within France and many European countries including Germany and Belgium are 20,000 miles in economy and 40,000 miles in business class. Intra-European flights run from 25,000 to 30,000 in economy, and 50,000 to 60,000 in business class.

Rates for longer international flights run from 50,000 to 115,000 miles from Europe to North America, or 80,000 to 160,000 from Europe to Asia, depending on your class of service.

Upgrades are available from full-fare economy to business class and one-way awards are available for half the cost of a roundtrip on Air France, KLM or participating carriers Aircalin, Air Europa, Kenya Airways, Tarom and SkyTeam airlines.

One of the best value awards Flying Blue offers are Promo Awards that are limited-time discounted routes at 50 percent off the normal mileage requirements. For example, a recent offer was a roundtrip ticket from Europe to Chicago for 25,000 miles in economy (normally 50,000 miles) or 50,000 miles in World Business Class (normally 100,000 miles). Promo Awards can only be booked online and can be found on many routes.

Extra baggage can be covered with miles and one additional bag on Air France or KLM is 10,000 miles and two additional bags require 40,000 miles.

Members can spend miles for hotel stays at three partner brands: Golden Tulip Bucuti Beach Resort Aruba, Louvre Hotels and NH Hoteles. Depending on your destination, free nights can run for as little as 27,000 miles (NH Jolly Milanofiori, NH Linate or NH Fiera Milan) to a six-night vacation for two at the Golden Tulip Bucuti Beach Resort Aruba for 300,000 miles.

Car rental awards with Avis, Hertz or Sixt start at 30,000 miles for a category B three-day weekend rental.

Leisure awards offer everything from admission to Disneyland Paris to cinema tickets to driving a Ferrari on a Paris racecourse.

Philanthropic members can donate miles to a charity, including Aviation Sans Frontieres, Croix-Rouge Francaise, Enfants de la Terre, La Chaine de L’Espoir, L’Envol or Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiaque. The minimum donation is 3,000 miles, which you can increase in units of 1,000 miles (provided that you have at least 10,000 miles in your Flying Blue account).

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PARTNERSHIPS:

5.43
Our
Rating:

8.50
Air France and KLM partner with 31 airlines. In addition to SkyTeam carriers, Flying Blue partners include Air Europa, Copa Airlines, Kenya Airways, Martinair, VLM, Aircalin, Airlinair, Alaska Airlines, Avianca, CCM Airlines, Chalair, Comair, Flybaboo, GOL, JAL, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Middle East Airlines, TAAG, Twin Jet and Ukraine International.

The list of hotel partners is also quite lengthy. You’ll earn miles at 47 hotel brands, including those operated by Accor, Best Western, Golden Tulip, Hilton, Hyatt, Louvre, Marriott, NH, Oberoi, Preferred Hotel Group, InterContinental Hotels, Radisson, Starwood and Worldhotels. Earning varies; in general members earn from 250 to 1,000 miles per stay depending on the property.

Avis, Europcar, Hertz, National Citer, Sixt and Verstraaten make up the car partner list and you can spend miles with Hertz, Avis and Sixt. Leisure partners include Avenir Consult Competition, Branche Restaurant, Disneyland Paris, Flying Blue Golf and UGC.

Flying Blue also offers a co-branded American Express card that offers up to two miles per euro spent, depending on the amount spent annually. There is also a co-branded Flying Blue Gold card with which members can earn elite-qualifying miles (available only to members with a French bank account).

Flying Blue members may also transfer or earn miles from American Express, Regus, Renault, Diners Club and Travelex.

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ELITE-LEVEL PROGRAM:

4.07
Our
Rating:

6.50
Flying Blue makes a distinction between “Award miles” and “Level miles” (elite-qualifying miles). Miles earned by flying Air France, KLM, SkyTeam airlines or Air Europa, Kenya Airways and Tarom count as both Award and Level miles. Miles earned on other airline partners, or through non-flight activities, are Award miles only, which do not count toward elite status.

Members who earn 25,000 Level miles (30,000 for residents of France) or 15 segments flown in a year are given Silver status. Silver members receive a 50-percent elite earning bonus, exclusive reservation service, priority reservation waitlist, priority check-in and transfers, priority airport standby, an extra baggage allowance of up to 23kg and priority boarding. Silver members also have access to additional award inventory for more miles (15 percent more for greater availability Special Elite Awards and 100 percent more for any available seat Flex Awards) and more legroom with priority seating in Seat Plus on Air France and Economy Comfort on KLM when flying in the economy cabin. Silver members are recognized as having Elite status on SkyTeam airlines flights.

At 40,000 Level miles (60,000 for residents of France) or 30 segments in a year, Flying Blue members earn Gold status. Gold-level members are recognized as Elite Plus members across the SkyTeam alliance (Flying Blue members residing in the U.S. and Mexico are SkyTeam Elite). Gold members are entitled to all the benefits of Silver status, plus a 75-percent earning bonus, complimentary access to lounges for member and a guest and priority baggage handling.

For 70,000 Level miles (90,000 for residents of France) or 60 segments, members achieve Platinum status. Platinum members are also recognized as Elite Plus on SkyTeam partners. In addition to a 100-percent earning bonus and increased lounge access, Platinum members have roughly the same benefits as Gold, but their status trumps all others when it comes to priority.

Platinum members can carry over any miles earned above 115,000 (150,000 Level miles or 105 one-way segments for residents of France) into the next elite-qualifying year.

Flying Blue members who maintain Platinum status for 10 consecutive years receive Platinum for life status.

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RULES AND CONDITIONS:

3.25
Our
Rating:

7.00
Award miles never expire as long as you fly on Air France, KLM, SkyTeam or other participating carriers (Air Europa, Kenya Airways, Tarom and Aircalin) once every 20 months. Earning miles through other partners or redeeming miles will not qualify to extend your mileage expiration date.

Awards can be offered to everyone. Only elite members can purchase or gift miles in increments of 2,000 miles, up to 60,000 miles per year.

Missing mileage claims can be made within six months of accrual. Missing miles earned on Air France or KLM may be claimed online; miles with partners must be claimed via a mail-in form or directly with the partner.

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SERVICE SUPPORT:

3.14
Our
Rating:

7.50
Members can fill out an online form to contact the service center or call the Flying Blue service center, which is open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 8pm CET (Central European Time). One member describes Flying Blue as having, “Hit and miss customer service—some people are most helpful but others are not.”

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ONLINE SERVICES:

3.52
Our
Rating:

7.00
Members can search for award tickets a month at a time and book online, although the booking engine is reportedly glitchy and awards that may appear to be available are actually nonexistent.

Members can also manage their accounts, claim missing miles and update their personal information online. Non-flight awards must be requested by fax or post by sending an award voucher request form at least 14 days prior to when you plan on using the award.

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PLUS FEATURES:
Flying Blue has an extensive partner list that offers many opportunities for earning and burning miles. Award availability is reportedly decent compared to some other airlines. Promo awards change every two months and offer award flights at a 50 percent discount. Flying Blue offers lifetime Platinum status to members who earn Platinum status for 10 years in a row.

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MINUS FEATURES:
Discounted fares only earn 25 percent of miles so you won’t make much progress toward an award ticket if you only fly on the cheapest fares, but members will receive full segment credit toward elite status on discounted fares. Elite members do not receive complimentary upgrades.

Flying Blue charges fuel surcharges on award tickets, which is not unusual for an international program, but can tack on a few hundred euros to a “free” ticket. Platinum elite level is almost identical to Gold except for the 100 percent earning bonus.

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INFORMATION:
Flying Blue
F-94 852 Ivry sur Seine Cedex France
In France: 0 825 864 864
In the Netherlands: +31 09 00 040 02 52
In the U.S.: 1 800 375 8723

  Earning Ability Award Choices Partnerships Elite-Level Rules & Conditions Service Support Online Services Overall Rating
Our
Rating:
6.50 8.00 8.50 6.50 7.00 7.50 7.00 7.29
Member
Rating:
3.71 4.40 5.43 4.07 3.25 3.14 3.52 3.93

(240 ratings)

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