FlyingBlue Expected To Announce Revenue Based Program Changes On Monday

Filed Under: Flying Blue

In early October there were signs pointing towards FlyingBlue, the frequent flyer program of Air France & KLM, becoming revenue based. Specifically for a brief moment the FlyingBlue online mileage calculator showed the following mileage earning rates for travel as of May 1, 2018:

  • Ivory: 4 miles per EUR spent
  • Silver: 6 miles per EUR spent
  • Gold: 7 miles per EUR spent
  • Platinum: 8 miles per EUR spent

However, they quickly removed the above from their website, though I took that to mean that they simply released the information prematurely, rather than this being an error.

As reported by View from the Wing, it looks like on Monday FlyingBlue will announce a revamp of the frequent flyer program, which will go into effect as of April 1, 2018. Apparently they have a press briefing on Monday, so we can expect all the details then.

I assume that the changes will be exactly as expected, and that the program will go fully revenue based, which is the first time we’re seeing this from one of the major global European airlines. I still don’t really get their motivation here. The current FlyingBlue program already addresses many of the “problems” that US airlines had that caused them to introduce a revenue based earning structure. Specifically, FlyingBlue only awards 25% miles for discounted economy tickets, which has the same effect as a revenue based program does.

Unfortunately FlyingBlue’s revenue based program will be even less generous than in the US, as they’re awarding four miles per EUR, rather than five miles per USD.

I suspect this is being done because of Delta’s influence over Air France & KLM. They have deep connections, and I imagine they just want the programs to be aligned as much as possible. I’d also be willing to be that this is only the first step, and that revenue based redemptions are on the horizon as well.

The big question is what other changes will be made to the program. Here’s to hoping there are at least some positives (though I’m skeptical).

  1. did you really mean to say the program is going fully revenue based? i’m sure you revenue based on the earn side and award chart of the burn side.

  2. What about redeeming their miles? Don’t really care about earning, their economy flights earn little to nothing, but they are Citi transfer partner.

  3. Argh. I’m flying China Eastern, round trip Vancouver to Bangkok on Friday
    Was thinking of crediting to Flying Blue given their better redemptions than Delta.

    Now the calculation gets tougher. 4 miles per euro is dismal

  4. Sorry, I know this takes effect April 1. But FB miles expire, thus you must keep crediting to them over time.


  5. Annoying timing. I’ve worked hard to retain Platinum (FB don’t have Daimond) for the past 6 years in anticipation of Lifetime Platinum after 10. That will make it somewhat more difficult.

    I was rereading the posts and comments about when Delta went revenue based and the consensus back then was that it would be benefiting corporate flyers. From a location perspective, AF KLM corporate flyers are maybe different than Delta corporate flyers as in most European companies do not allow you to book Business Class if the flight is shorter than 6 hours. So all European travel basically have to be in Economy … The only people who will benefit from this are intercontinental travelers who can will be allowed to fly premium cabins according to their company policies.

    But, this brings me to my question. I was discussing the benefits of frequent flyer status with a fellow flyer the other day. In essence, if you fly premium cabins, you already have the benefits that status gives you. As a KLM flyer, if I fly Business Class to Johannesburg, I’ll have ample luggage allowance, Sky Priority and Lounge Access. So why do I need to work hard to earn Platinum status on KLM? I can rather just shop around for the cheapest premium cabin ticket on any airline.

    I really think this change could alienate flyers or shall I rather say discourage loyalty

  6. Well, this just stinks. I don’t care so much about the accumulation of miles by flying. I do care about the redemption of them. For some of us building a mile balance takes a lot of creativity and scraping. So when something like this or a devaluation or an air berlin (RIP) or an Alitalia (mamma mia!) happens it really does bite.

  7. This is likely a very positive development. I fly KLM (and Skyteam) BC quite a few times a year. As Platinum I would get at least 8 miles/EUR plus another 2 via FB/Amex. My first take is I will end up with more miles.

  8. You would think they could get with the times and stop calling their top tier ‘Ivory’ .. programme update would be perfect time to do it.

  9. Maybe as long as they don’t require the spending requirement for EU non-residents, just like that with US carriers…

  10. Hopefully FB and other programs take away qualifying by segments, as flying an airline a lot doesn’t mean that you’re contributing much to their bottom line except in fringe cases(like flying pricy, short last minute flights in low fare classes).
    I’m an FB Plat based in SIN and mainly fly nested EU-SIN flights in J; and in order for the changes to make sense, I would have to pay >4500 Euros after tax for each roundtrip which is very rarely the case.

  11. I wonder how they keep the incentive for intra-EU business class? Right now, this is earns 1875 miles per segment, which is quite a lot. This mainly used by AFKL to incentivize connections through their hubs, instead of flying directly on *A or *O. Are they abandoning this incentive entriely? If so, I suspect not too many will bother flying them unless you are based in Paris or Amsterdam …

  12. As it looks like, they are NOT going revenue based for elite (plus) status qualification. Instead, they are introducing experience points (XP), which are similar to tier points (e.g. used on many *O carriers).

    So back to the first posting: BCN-CDG-JFK and back, in F on the TATL, will get 130 XP, which is just 50 XP short of Gold/Elite Plus.

    As far as my own question is concerned: J in EU still gets 15 XP one way. This is even better than the 1875 level miles before …

    Also: Miles will no longer expire for Elite/Elite Plus and fir those flying at least one segment in 2 (instead of 1) year.

    So all in all, I’m very pleased. AFKL made my day 🙂

    Given the almost monopoly of LH Group intra EU, I’ll shift my former AB business (about 100k EUR a year including my employees) to AFKL 🙂

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