Air France-KLM Launches US Credit Card

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Over the past couple of years we’ve seen more non-US airlines launch credit cards in the US, and it looks like we’re now seeing yet another one.

The new Air France-KLM World Elite Mastercard, issued by Bank of America, has just been launched in the US.

Air France-KLM Credit Card details

Here are the basics of the card:

  • Welcome bonus: 25,000 bonus miles after making $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days, plus 60 XP upon your account approval
  • Annual fee: $89 (not waived the first year)
  • Return on spend: 3x miles per dollar spent directly with Air France, KLM, and SkyTeam member airlines, 1.5x miles per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Other benefits: 5,000 miles every year on your account anniversary after you spend $50 or more on purchases within the anniversary year, plus 20 XP on your account anniversary every year without any spend requirement, plus 40 additional XP on your account anniversary when you spend $15,000 in purchases within the cardmember year
  • Foreign transaction fees: None

My take on the Air France-KLM Credit Card

In general I don’t recommend using an airline credit card for a majority of your spend. That’s more general commentary than something specific to this card. That’s simply because cards that accrue transferable points give you a lot more flexibility, and often have better bonus categories and welcome bonuses.

Is this the most amazing airline credit card ever? No. But I do have to give them credit for offering some solid perks:

  • Earning 1.5x miles per dollar spent on all purchases is better than average for an airline credit card
  • While the card has an $89 annual fee, the 5,000 bonus miles when spending $50 on the card in a year (which is a reasonable threshold) should nearly cover the annual fee in terms of value
  • I’d say the only thing that really makes this card worthwhile is if you’re going for status with Flying Blue, since you can earn 60 XP per year with the card (when you apply you get that right away, and in subsequent years you’d have to spend $15,000 to achieve that); for context, Silver status requires 100 XP

So personally I’ll give this card a pass. Flying Blue is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou. I’d rather maximize my rewards with some of those credit cards, since many of them offer 1.5-2x points per dollar spent.

Earn FlyingBlue Miles

On top of that, we even sometimes see transfer bonuses to Flying Blue, which can improve your points earning ratio even more (for example, this year we’ve seen a 25% transfer bonus from Amex and 30% transfer bonus from Citi).

Bottom line

The new Air France-KLM Credit Card is useful if you’re going for status with Flying Blue, though otherwise I think there are much better options out there. The welcome bonus isn’t huge, the return on spend isn’t that amazing, and it doesn’t offer any remarkable perks.

What do you make of this new card?

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Comments

  1. So does this means that I could earn 3x points on Delta flights? If yes, then it’s fairly lucrative considering the 1.5x on non-bonus and the bonus points and XP

    Also, unrelared, but does AF still partner with JAL, bc that will make it even more useful imo considering that skyteam lacks a japanese partner

  2. @ chub

    3x on delta spend *if true* is shellacked by the main Amex cards, and at least matched by the CSR (the net comparison is pay $70 for a priority pass, travel coverage and global entry credit)

    It’s still summed by “not bad for an airline card, but not Great overall”

  3. @Richard
    Ik, I currently use amex gold (also 3x) for airline purchases

    But I find this card to be slightly better than the competiting delta gold amex or alaska bank of america visa.

  4. Nvm I’ll take back what I said about the alaska visa. I still prefer it over the AF-KLM card since mileageplan points are harder to earn from cc spend.

  5. @Kalboz XP are FlyingBlue’s equivalent of British Airways Tier Points. They switched to this model for status qualification last year. Silver status is 100XP, Gold status 180XP, and Platinum status 300XP with any extra XP earned rolling over to the next year. The card is a nice boost for anyone who is pursuing status with Air France/KLM, especially since with $15,000 annual spend on the card you’re getting that 60XP boost every year–yes, you’d have to put $15,000 in spend on 1.5x earning, but this isn’t very different from the spend requirements on cards like the Delta Reserve and Aaviator Silver to earn MQMs/EQMs which plenty of people do.

    I can’t see using this card for Skyteam flights, though, as Amex Plat, Amex Gold, and Sapphire Reserve all have 3x return on flights or better with more valuable currency. I think the 1.5x miles could have some value internationally where many bonus categories for earning don’t really work (Amex Gold is only for US supermarkets, for example). In those cases you could earn 1.5 miles where you’d otherwise only be able to earn 1 UR or MR point.

  6. The only major advantage here is status. What makes this card DoA for most NA clients is the way Flying Blue calculates status. Domestic flights, no matter the length, count very little. So you can fly JFK-LAX in domestic first and get a whooping 6 points. Take AMS-BRU, a 25-min hop, in economy for 5 points.
    In other words, this card will appeal to the North American resident who makes three RT flights to Europe a year in economy, maybe four.
    For everyone else, there’s a better card.

  7. @Rob P

    The value overseas is exactly why this card interests me. Currently earning 1UR/$ on non-bonus spend in Australia, so without foreign transaction fees, this card is compelling.

  8. What about being available to non-US countries? I’m a Flying Blue member (Platinum status) in the UK and there’s no AF/KL branded CC that I can get (the AMEX CC is for FR/NL only).

    Why make a CC for an FFP program +3000mi away on the other side of the ocean, when surely most flyers in the US interested in SkyTeam would be DL card holders.

    #Kalboz. Do you know that XP is the elite status points in FB? 300XP annually needed for Platinum status etc..

  9. This card is great for those who casually travel to Europe a 1-2 times a year and want to redeem flights on AF La Premiere. A round trip flight in economy from JFK to Berlin (via AMS or CDG) is 30XP. Do that twice in a year and spend $15k on the card and you can earn silver status.
    Or do that once a year and fly Delta economy 3x round trip domestic (or 1 round trip domestic in F) plus the spend requirement and you’d qualify for silver too.

  10. Does this card include all the insurances that typically come with a “World Elite Mastercard” – including trip cancellation, extended warranty, price protection, …? I don’t see that info on the BA site or in your review, which surprises me, since these are quite valuable features.

    The XP is the real benefit of this card – getting that much farther toward status is a huge bonus, particularly in the first year where there’s no spend requirement.

  11. Bubba is exactly right. If Flying Blue had a more reasonable way to calculate status points for domestic Delta flights, many Delta flyers would get this card and start crediting their Delta flights to Flying Blue.

  12. I’m seriously considering this card. I’m based in Europe, but not F or NL so can’t sign up for the AF Amex card offered here.

    I have other cards for my daily spend, though the 1,5 pts is nice on this card. But getting 60 XP upon sign-up means I’d have enough for Silver on Flying Blue (already 40XP this year). And while I don’t fly a ton, when I do, it’s usually with AF. So the perks of status would be nice.

    And it would be my first MC credit card- rest are VISAs or Amex. Nice to diversify.

  13. shrewd move by AF/KLM for those of us who shell out for 2-3 business fares a year (and grab deals way in advance, if you are like me). great way to keep hold of FB gold status — by spending rather than flying. Not even my Chase United card enables that!

  14. I trying to find everywhere on BofA site, but couldnt find anything. It is my understanding that this cobranded card doesnt have other perks like priority boarding, trip interruption/delay, baggage protection/etc…? That makes it hard to purchase the whole fare on this credit card.
    Also will this force Airfrance/KLM cut ties with Chase and Citi as transfer partners?

  15. Two big points that aren’t mentioned in the disclosures on BoA’s website that might make this worth getting:

    @Sam’s point – if qualifying for Silver using XPs earned through the card qualify you to book La Premiere seats. Based on Lucky’s July 19, 2018 post it appears that it would as long as the seats are at the “flex” award level

    @Erin’s point – if having activity on the card prevents your miles from expiring 24 months after your last flight on AF/KLM

  16. Delta miles never expire. If I were to start getting FB miles instead of Delta miles, would they expire? If so, when? If they do expire, then there’s an advantage to keeping Delta miles.

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