I recently wrote about how I’m thinking of going for Air France-KLM Flying Blue elite status. The more I look at Flying Blue’s elite status program, the more tempted I am. In this post I wanted to take a look at Flying Blue’s rollover elite status feature, which is largely unadvertised, and might just be the best in the industry.
Rollover elite status is a great concept
Many people are probably familiar with Delta SkyMiles, and its rollover miles concept. The way this works, Delta will roll over any elite miles (known as Medallion Qualifying Miles, or MQMs) that you earn beyond what’s needed to qualify for the elite status you have.
For example, Delta Diamond Medallion requires earning 125,000 MQMs in a year, so if you earned 250,000 MQMs in a year, you’d earn Diamond status, and then you’d have 125,000 MQMs roll over to the next year, meaning you’ve already satisfied the MQM requirement for the following year.
To me this seems like a great reward for loyalty. Sometimes when people qualify for top tier status, they wonder if it makes sense to instead go for status with another program, since over qualifying is often not rewarded very well. Meanwhile when there are rollover miles, you’re already getting a head start on elite status for the following year.
There’s one major limitation with the Delta SkyMiles rollover miles feature — qualifying for status not only requires earning a certain number of MQMs, but also requires earning a certain number of Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs), meaning you have to spend a certain amount to earn status, or need a credit card waiver. MQDs don’t have a rollover feature.
If you ask me, this severely limits the usefulness of rollover miles. In the above example, earning 250,000 MQMs with Delta in a year wouldn’t get you Diamond status for two years. Each year you’d still need to either satisfy the MQD requirement, or get a credit card waiver.
How Flying Blue’s rollover elite status feature works
Flying Blue offers a true elite status rollover feature, with no strings attached, much better than what you’ll find at Delta. For context, Flying Blue uses “XPs” (which stands for “experience points”) as the metric for earning status. The system of qualifying for status works a bit differently than with other programs:
- 100 XPs gets you Flying Blue Silver status
- You then need 180 additional XPs to earn Flying Blue Gold status
- You then need 300 additional XPs to earn Flying Blue Platinum status
However, there’s a bit more nuance to this, which also makes it easier to earn status. For example, you don’t need 580 XPs in a year to earn Platinum status:
- Once you earn 100 XPs in a year, you’ll earn Silver status
- Your status will then be reset, and you’ll need to earn 180 XPs over the next 12 months to earn Gold status
- Your status will then be reset, and you’ll need to earn 300 XPs over the next 12 months to earn Platinum status
- Maintaining status on an ongoing basis simply requires 100 XPs for Silver, 180 XPs for Gold, and 300 XPs for Platinum
There’s a beauty to the simplicity of Flying Blue status requalification, as the program offers a true rollover elite status feature. Essentially the XPs you earn keep racking up, and then when your membership is up for renewal, the XPs required for status are simply deducted from your account.
For example, say you’ve earned Flying Blue Platinum status, and you have a really busy year of travel, and earn 900 XPs. That would essentially earn you Platinum status renewal for three years, with absolutely no flying or activity requirement:
- When your account is up for renewal, you’d have 300 XPs deducted from your account, requalifying you for Platinum and leaving you with 600 XPs
- Then 12 months later, you’d have another 300 XPs deducted from your account, requalifying you for Platinum and leaving you with 300 XPs
- Then 12 months later, you’d have another 300 XPs deducted from your account, requalifying you for Platinum and leaving you with no XPs
Also keep in mind that Flying Blue offers lifetime Platinum status after earning Platinum for 10 consecutive years. So in theory, you could earn lifetime Platinum status if you have Platinum status and then rack up 3,000 XPs, as the rollover XPs would get you there. I say “in theory,” because this assumes there aren’t any program changes over the next decade (and that seems unlikely).
Flying Blue also offers elite status soft landings
Not only does Flying Blue offer rollover elite status, but the program also formally offers status soft landings. That means you’ll never drop more than one status tier in a year, even without any activity:
- If you’re a Platinum member and don’t requalify, you’ll only drop down to Gold
- Even with no further activity, after a year you’ll only drop to Silver
- Then with no further activity, you’d finally lose your elite status after a further year
It’s always fun to dig a bit deeper into elite status with programs you hadn’t previously considered pursuing status with. While I wouldn’t say Flying Blue is the richest program in terms of elite perks (you primarily get standard SkyTeam elite perks, plus access to Air France first class awards), the program has some unique features.
In particular, Flying Blue has one of the best rollover elite status features I’ve seen at any airline. Double qualify for status? It’s now valid for two years. Triple qualify for status? It’s now valid for three years. On top of that, Flying Blue offers soft landings for elite status, so you’ll never drop more than a tier.
I think these two policies do a great job with helping to garner long term loyalty, as status feels much less transactional and temporary this way.
Anyone else appreciate Flying Blue offering a true elite status rollover and soft landing feature?