New Air France-KLM & Qantas Frequent Flyer Partnership

Filed Under: Air France/KLM, Qantas

Air France-KLM and Qantas launched a codeshare agreement as of mid-2018, allowing customers to travel between Australia and Europe via Hong Kong and Singapore.

Now the companies have taken cooperation to the next level, which is pretty exciting.

New Air France & Qantas Frequent Flyer Partnership

Up until now it has only been possible to earn points on codeshare flights, while the airlines are now introducing a comprehensive partnership.

With this new partnership, Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Qantas Frequent Flyer will offer mileage earning and redemption opportunities across all flights.

To me the most interesting aspect of this is the ability to redeem points between the two programs, given the ways you can earn these points through transferable points currencies. Here in the US:

My initial instinct is that there might be some mild arbitrage opportunities here, but for the most part I don’t think this is a game changer for someone with transferrable points.

Redeeming Qantas Points On Air France-KLM

As mentioned above, Qantas Frequent Flyer is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou. Their partner award chart looks as follows:

Those prices are not attractive at all. Not only that, but:

  • Qantas adds carrier imposed surcharges to award tickets
  • Air France-KLM only makes a subset of their award seats available to partners, so you’ll always find the most availability directly through Flying Blue; nowadays partner availability is really bad

Regardless, 75,000 Flying Blue miles for a US East Coast to Paris ticket with carrier imposed surcharges on top of that is hardly a reason to book through Qantas compared to booking directly through Air France-KLM.

Redeem for Air France A350 business class 

Redeeming Air France-KLM Miles On Qantas

Air France-KLM Flying Blue is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou, so there are lots of ways to earn those miles.

Flying Blue doesn’t have an award chart, but rather has dynamic pricing. On the plus side, they are at least pretty consistent with partner pricing.

Prices look very high, though. For example, a one-way business class ticket from Melbourne to Sydney runs 34,000 Flying Blue miles.

Meanwhile a one-way business class ticket from Brisbane to Los Angeles costs 144,000 miles. Ouch!

Redeem for Qantas 787 business class 

Bottom Line

Ultimately it’s nice to see airlines add more partner redemption opportunities. I’d say this could be valuable for those collecting points in either program, but there aren’t many opportunities beyond that.

If you want to redeem on Air France-KLM you’re much better off booking through Flying Blue, given how much more award space they make available to their own members. If you want to redeem on Qantas you’re much better off booking through Alaska Mileage Plan or American AAdvantage.

Does anyone see any good opportunities through this partnership that I’m missing?

  1. Ben thanks for that. What about the Codeshare agreement for TK and Garuda to Sydney (Istanbul to Jakarta on TK, Jakarta Sydney on Garuda). I’m United Gold. How will take work with Miles and lounge access? Tia!

  2. @Ben: This is just another example of codeshare/partnership between alliances. SkyTeam does not have a partner in Australia/New Zealand so it is okay for Air France, just wonder what British Airways and their IAG group feel about this?

  3. I’m surprised AF-KLM did not partner with Virgin Australia. Delta has a joint venture with Virgin Australia on the LAX-SYD routes. Delta is, as we know, an owner of AF-KLM. I would imagine Virgin Austrilia, like Virgin Atlantic, would become like unofficially SkyTeam-aligned carrier.

    As Ex-United 1k mentioned, wouldn’t the OneWorld carriers want their share of this business? I’m surprised BA (IAG) and Cathay would allow this.

  4. Actually, this is a resumed partnership rather than a new one. QF used to be FB partners for decade until it was ditched in 2013/2014 (?). Given unstable Garuda condition und only minor capacity of VN/CI network to Australia, they don’t have any more choice.

  5. From an Australian perspective using Qantas points for say, SYD-CDG is not so awful, as for us QF points are relatively east to build up, due to various partnerships with a leading supermarket etc.
    The dealbreaker for many contemplating such awards are surcharges. The alleged carrier imposed surcharges on looking at the breakdown, reveal that any partner airline who’s metal you may fly actual surcharge is fairly moderate. The killer is Qantas’ slice of the ‘ carrier-imposed surcharge’, which can be 4 times that of the actual carrier!
    Qantas is not known as the Queen of Mean for nothing! They would make the late Leona Helmsley blush.

  6. To the person asking what BA and CX might think of this arrangement, I don’t think QF would lose any sleep – BA/CX are not close friends with QF and vice versa. I’d be curious to know if one had Platinum, Platinum 1, Chairman’s Lounge with QF if you would be allowed to use first class check-in at AF.

  7. Oddly the KLM/Air France award estimator seems to indicate that flights to/from PER are not eligible for redemptions. Oh well.

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