The Naughty and Nice: Flying Blue Introduces New Award Pricing
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Via, One Mile at a Time, Flying Blue (the loyalty program of Air France & KLM) is changing the way it prices award flights.
On June, 1, 2018, Flying Blue will be eliminating their award chart and basing the prices of awards on the origin, destination, and date of your flight. You still have to time to book award flights at the old prices (even for flights after that date!). But in some cases, you may want to wait until after the changes go into effect before booking your award seats.
Even if you’ve never flown Air France or KLM, you may have points that transfer to Flying Blue. I’ll explain!
Here are the changes Flying Blue is making.
New Flying Blue Award Prices
Link: Flying Blue Award Flight Calculator (Effective June 1, 2018)
Flying Blue is eliminating its award chart. Under the new system, award seats will vary in price based on your flight route and date of travel.
The changes won’t go into effect until June 1, 2018. So you’ve still got time to book award seats at the old prices (even for flights after June 1, 2018).
But some award flights could be cheaper under the new pricing system. So you’ll want to check the Flying Blue award miles calculator to see whether or not the awards you want are increasing or decreasing in price.
1. The Good
Under the new award pricing system, all available seats can be booked with miles, on Air France, KLM, HOP, JOON, and Transavia. That’s an improvement! BUT, the prices will increase as seats become more scarce, and we don’t know how high those prices will go.
The prices for some award flights are going down. Here’s what to expect after June 1, 2018:
- One-way coach awards from New York to Paris – 22,000 Flying Blue miles (currently 25,000 Flying Blue miles)
- One-way Business Class awards from New York to Paris – 57,500 Flying Blue miles (currently 62,500 Flying Blue miles)
- One-way coach awards from Los Angeles to Frankfurt – 22,500 Flying Blue miles (currently 25,000 Flying Blue miles)
- One-way coach awards from New York to Delhi – 34,000 Flying Blue miles (currently 40,000 Flying Blue miles)
After June, the Flying Blue Promo Awards will still be offered, although we don’t know what the discounts will be. And prices for award flights within Europe will start at only 6,000 Flying Blue miles, instead of the current price of 8,500 Flying Blue miles.
They’re also introducing a Miles & Cash award redemption option, where you can pay up to 25% of the ticket with cash instead of miles. But again, we don’t know exactly what this option will look like.
2. The Bad
The Flying Blue miles calculator only shows the price of the lowest-level awards under the new structure. We don’t know how many award seats will be available at those prices. And we don’t know how high the prices may increase during peak travel seasons, or once the lowest-level awards are gone.
Also, because Flying Blue will no longer have an award chart (just like Delta), it will be easier for them to increase prices in the future. Here are some of the awards that will be increasing in price on June 1, 2018:
- One-way coach flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam – 27,000 Flying Blue miles (currently 25,000 Flying Blue miles)
- One-way Business Class awards from Los Angeles to Amsterdam – 67,500 Flying Blue miles (currently 62,500 Flying Blue miles)
- One-way Business Class awards from Los Angeles to Frankfurt – 72,000 Flying Blue miles (currently 62,500 Flying Blue miles)
One sweet spot of the Flying Blue program was booking flights from the East Coast to Hawaii for 30,000 miles round-trip on Delta. But after June 1, 2018, this great deal may no longer be available!
It also looks like award flights within North America will be increasing in price. I saw flights from New York to Los Angeles will increase from 12,500 Flying Blue miles one-way in coach to 14,500 Flying Blue miles for the same flight.
Want More Flying Blue Miles?
There are LOTS of ways to earn Flying Blue miles! The 4 major flexible points programs transfer to Flying Blue at a ratio of 1:1. You can transfer:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points – You’ll need either the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Ink Plus (no longer available), or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available)
- Citi ThankYou Points – You’ll need the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier Card
- AMEX Membership Rewards points – You’ll need cards like the The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, etc.
- Starwood points – If you transfer 20,000 Starwood points at a time, you’ll get a 5,000 mile bonus.
Flying Blue, the loyalty program of KLM & Air France, is making big changes!
Beginning June 1, 2018, they are getting rid of their award chart, and instead pricing awards based on route and travel dates. But you can still book the old award prices until that date (even for travel after June 1, 2018). So check out the new Flying Blue miles calculator to see if it makes sense to wait for the changes or to book your award now!
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