Air France-KLM Flying Blue Extends Elite Status

Filed Under: Air France/KLM

In the past several days we’ve seen most airlines in North America extend elite status by a year. Hopefully that trend is now catching on in Europe, with the announcement that has just been made by the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program.

Flying Blue extends elite status by 12 months

Flying Blue will be extending the expiration of all elite status by 12 months, assuming it was set to expire between March 2020 and February 2021.

Flying Blue uses a rolling qualification calendar, rather than just allowing members to qualify based on a calendar year. This can be confusing, since there’s the qualification end date and the tier end date.

To give an example:

  • Say you have a qualification end date of April 30, 2020
  • Your status would have then been valid through July 31, 2020 (assuming you didn’t requalify)
  • Now your status will be valid through July 31, 2021

Flying Blue does offer rollover XPs (this is their metric for elite status), so if you’ve already over-qualified for status, any XPs above the elite requirements will be rolled over to the next year.

However, if you’re benefiting from the extension, then your balance of XPs will be wiped out.

Flying Blue is extending elite status by 12 months

What about earning Flying Blue status?

Back in March, Flying Blue announced that they’d lower the XP requirements by 25% for Silver, Gold, and Platinum members looking to maintain their current tiers. However, this only applied to members with a qualification period ending in March, April, or May 2020.

No additional plans have been announced yet to reduce requirements for members who may be looking to earn higher status than they currently have.

It’s not easier to earn Flying Blue status from scratch

Flying Blue pausing mileage expiration

This was already announced several weeks ago, but to recap, Flying Blue miles won’t expire between March 2020 and the end of 2020. That means members don’t have to worry about maintaining any qualifying activity.

Ordinarily these miles expire after 24 months without mileage earning activity.

Expiration of Flying Blue miles is being paused

Free Flying Blue award ticket changes

A lot of airlines have flexible cancellation policies at the moment. In the case of Flying Blue, award tickets can be changed for free for travel before June 30, 2020.

Flying Blue award tickets can be changed for free

Bottom line

It’s nice to see Flying Blue extend all elite status by 12 months in light of the circumstances. Some other European programs haven’t been as generous, so hopefully this starts a trend in Europe.

Will anyone benefit from this Flying Blue status extension?

Comments
  1. What they are offering here is totally rubbish…shows how loyalty gets rewarded. Basically they are penalizing those that have flown a lot by just using the rollover XP’s to main the status while those that did not fly too much to have rollover XP’s – these just get extended without any need or used of rollover XP’s.

    Very very unfair. This is just a “fake” status extension in my opinion and not a true one like what DL, UA or AA (or heck any other major non-major airlines in the world). OTOH, typical Flying Blue….

  2. EK

    When did Russia become part of Europe, they are an Asian carrier to many and not part of Europe. The only commonality with Europe is the people, nothing else.

  3. @Lucky: When I try to access the special announcement there is a 404 error … it seems that the announcement has been taken down.

  4. @Mike you are not quite right there. A member such as myself who has 394 XP will have 300 removed at the qualification year end and keep 94 XP for the next qualification year. My partner, has a later year end than myself, though already has 274 XP as it stands. If my partner scores 0 XP between now and the end of their qualification year, 26 XP will be added to their total and 300 XP removed. We are both Platinum in Flying Blue. If flying resumes prior to the qualification year and my partner receives the 160 XP booked prior to the end of the qualification year, then by having 434 XP, 300 will be removed for the status and 134 XP rolled over to the next qualification year. No-one is made worse off due to this, and in fact someone with a February 2021 end of year with Flying Blue can work on using whomever is the best price and route wise to work with rather than necessarily flying AF/KL or Skyteam to receive XP and chase status. Whom this may hurt are those who were looking to increase their status from say Silver to Gold or from Gold to Platinum over the next 12 months, but overall I see this as a very positive move from Flying Blue.

  5. @Andy all the details are C&P from the page below.

    In challenging times like today, travelling has become more difficult due to reasons beyond your control. In these trying times, we want to remove any uncertainty you may have about your Flying Blue Elite level.

    We have put the following actions in place:

    We will maintain all Flying Blue Elite members with a qualification period ending between March 2020 and February 2021 for another 12 months.
    We will prevent all Miles from expiring between now and the end of 2020 for all our Explorer members.
    We will continue to monitor the situation closely as it evolves. We are committed to sharing details and updates with you as soon as they become available.

    In case you have any questions about the implications regarding your situation, please see the frequently asked questions about this topic below:

    QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

    1. Will I keep my current level in my next qualification period?

    In case your qualification period ends between March 2020 and February 2021, you will keep your current level even if you don’t reach the XP objective. Some examples:

    A Silver member with a qualification period ending in April 2020:

    If you have gained 120 XP, your counter will be offset by 100 XP to maintain Silver and you keep a surplus of 20 XP.
    If you have gained 65 XP, we will credit the missing 35 XP and then offset your counter with 100 XP to reset your XP counter to 0 and maintain your Silver level.
    A Gold member with a qualification period ending in April 2020:

    If you have gained 220 XP, your counter will be offset by 180 XP to maintain Gold and you keep a surplus of 40 XP.
    If you have gained 120 XP, we will credit the missing 60 XP and then offset your counter with 180 XP to reset your XP counter to 0 and maintain your Gold level.
    A Platinum member with a qualification period ending in April 2020:

    If you have gained 450 XP, your counter will be offset by 300 XP to maintain Platinum and you keep a surplus of 150 XP.
    If you have gained 250 XP, we will credit the missing 50 XP and then offset your counter with 300 XP to reset your XP counter to 0 and maintain your Platinum level.
    2. When will I see this XP measure in my online account?

    Not until the first day in your new qualification period will you see in your online account that your current level is maintained. In your activity overview, you’ll find either ‘XP offered by Flying Blue’ with the number of XP that are credited to reach the XP objective, or ‘Counter offset’ with the XP objective deducted from your counter. A new card will be sent to you before your current card expires. The validity date of your digital card will be updated at the end of your current qualification period.

    3. I want to upgrade to a higher level. Will I also be compensated?

    Our measures enable Elite members to maintain their current level. It is not applicable for members who wish to upgrade to a higher level.

    4. Will I keep my current XP balance in my next qualification period?

    We will automatically offset the number of XP needed to maintain or upgrade a level. Any surplus XP will remain on your account. Some examples:

    A Silver member with a qualification period ending in April 2020:

    If you have gained 120 XP, your counter will be offset by 100 XP to maintain Silver and you keep a surplus of 20 XP.
    If you have gained 65 XP, we will credit the missing 35 XP and then offset your counter with 100 XP to reset your XP counter to 0 and maintain your Silver level.
    A Gold member with a qualification period ending in April 2020:

    If you have gained 220 XP, your counter will be offset by 180 XP to maintain Gold and you keep a surplus of 40 XP.
    If you have gained 120 XP, we will credit the missing 60 XP and then offset your counter with 180 XP to reset your XP counter to 0 and maintain your Gold level.
    A Platinum member with a qualification period ending in April 2020:

    If you have gained 450 XP, your counter will be offset by 300 XP to maintain Platinum and you keep a surplus of 150 XP.
    If you have gained 250 XP, we will credit the missing 50 XP and then offset your counter with 300 XP to reset your XP counter to 0 and maintain your Platinum level.
    5. What will happen to my years counting towards Platinum for life?

    If you keep your current level during your next qualification period based on our special measures that membership year will count towards the 10 consecutive years needed to qualify for Platinum for life. For example:

    You have been a Platinum member for 9 consecutive years, and your current qualification period will end on 31 December 2020. Because of our measures, you will be maintained and reach 10 consecutive years of Platinum. On 1 January 2021, your new qualification period starts and on 1 April 2021, …
    … we will change your level to Platinum for life.
    You have been a Platinum member for 7 consecutive years, and your current qualification period will end on 31 December 2020. Because of our measures, you will be maintained. On 1 January 2021, your 8th consecutive year of Platinum will start.
    6. How are my Miles affected by the COVID-19 measures?

    As an immediate measure, we will prevent all Miles of our Explorer members from expiring between now and the end of 2020. Since the situation is still evolving, we will continue monitoring it closely. We are committed to sharing details when available.

    7. Where can I see that the validity of my Miles has been extended to the end of 2020?

    As an Explorer member, you can find the updated validity date online in your Flying Blue account.

    8. Will the validity of my Miles also be extended until the end of 2020?

    As always, Miles are valid for life as long as you are a Silver, Gold or Platinum member. Are you an Explorer, and do you have Miles with an expiry date between March and December 2020? Then we ensure that these Miles do not expire. Miles with a validity date of January 2021 and beyond are not impacted by this measure.

    9. What is the rebook and cancellation policy for reward tickets?

    You may rebook or cancel your reward ticket or Promo reward ticket free of charge under the following circumstances by contacting customer service:

    If the travel date of your reward ticket or Promo reward ticket is before 30 June 2020.
    If your request for change or cancellation is made before 30 September 2020.
    If your booking was made before 16 April 2020.
    For trip cancellations with reward tickets or Promo reward tickets:

    Penalty fees for trip cancellations are waived.
    Whether you have a reward ticket or Promo reward ticket, your Miles will be credited to your Flying Blue account and airport taxes to the credit card used for payment.
    Ticketing fees are non-refundable.
    For change of travel dates with reward tickets or Promo reward tickets:

    For flights booked with Air France and KLM only, you will be rebooked on the same route, airline and cabin for travel until 30 November 2020. For travel as of 1 December 2020 you can rebook in the same booking class.
    For flights booked with other airline partners or in combination with Air France-KLM flights, you will be reissued a reward ticket with the same route, airline and booking class. If we are unable to do so, we will issue a new ticket upon your request. The number of Miles and airport taxes …
    … required may be different for this new reward ticket.
    A change of destination is also possible free of charge. You may use the full value of your original tickets for new tickets with Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines or Virgin Atlantic.
    To request a refund or change, please contact customer service or make your request via the Air France or KLM website.

    For bookings with travel from 1 June 2020, original ticket conditions apply.

    10. Does Flying Blue still offer Promo rewards?

    We have temporarily suspended our Promo rewards. All regular reward ticket options, Miles upgrades and extra options in Miles will continue to be available. As for other measures, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and take similar or further actions accordingly.

    11. Will Flying Blue consider additional support to help members to upgrade or maintain next year?

    Since the situation is still evolving, we will keep on monitoring it closely to see if additional support is required in the future. We are committed to sharing details when available.

  6. @David D: many thanks!

    unfortunate not so good news for me, since I already requalified … the 90 XP I was planning to fly in Q2 and which are now not going to happen, would have gone to next year (my qualification period ends June). So I will start in July bare bones …

  7. From a consumer point of view: cool. I’ll keep my plat. But concerning incentive to spend? In my case, I have 130 xp and December to reach 300, with about 8 cancelled or postponed trips. So, I’m better off deferring travel, burning miles and taking the deals on competitors.

  8. I’m benefiting from the extension of my Gold status and was happy (but not surprised) to be notified by Flying Blue via email today.

    On March 22nd I was aboard Air France’s last flight from Paris to Toronto. Kudos to the terrific cabin crew, which was comprised entirely of volunteers who were ferrying the empty aircraft back to Paris immediately after our arrival at Pearson.

  9. Is there any information about what Lufthansa Miles & More will do? My status was due to expire next February and I haven’t had a chance to fly internationally this year. Two upcoming trips in March/April were cancelled due to coronavirus.

    I’m assuming there will be no international flying this year and will be pleasantly surprised if I’m wrong.

  10. @David D, @Mike is 100% right. This is hopeless, one of the worst Elite solutions I have seen. Flying Blue is rewarding those who have flied less. If less than 300XP the last thing I would do now is fly Air France as they would just gift me as many XP as I need when it comes to year end… Much more sensible to get status with someone else as well or use all your award miles for free flights with no XP earned… Good luck to all of you who were no where near qualification.

    As for people like me and @Mike that have got loads of XP already (I qualified for 2021 in 2019) well we get nothing. Despite having to cancel two trips losing 150XP I will still have the same 300XP discounted as if nothing happened. Air France/KLM obviously take their best clients for granted, screw them they’ll fly with us anyway…

    Its really a bad faith approach to this situation, only 3 years since I jumped ship from American, on reflection thats beginning to look like a big mistake.

  11. @David D, @Mike is totally right. Lets say i got gold last year and only have 30 XP as of March or April this year; basically if i don’t do any flying the rest of the year and my qualification period is in December then flying blue will credit my account with 150XP to keep my current status where as if person B qualified for gold last year and had gained 150XP by march or April this year and doesn’t do any flying the rest of the year then it means flying blue will credit his/her account with 30XP by the end of the year. How is that fair? Person B has flown way more than me but gets rewarded less. This makes no sense IMO. What they should have done is just credit everyone’s account with the threshold required to keep their current status and then debit it after their qualification period so that people keep what they had earned so far pre covid. Basically if i am silver and have 20 XP pre covid; credit my account with 100XP and then debit the 100XP after my qualification period. Same for Gold….if i have 50 XP pre covid; credit my account with 180XP and then debit the 180XP after my qualification period. Same for platinum…..if i have 100 XP pre covid; credit my account with 300XP and then debit the 300XP after my qualification period.

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