Different airline loyalty programs give members different pathways to earning elite status. The Air France-KLM Flying Blue has an interesting opportunity to earn elite status by donating miles to charity or by carbon offsetting flights with cash. Let’s take a look at the details of that.
Earn Flying Blue XPs with charity & carbon offsets
Flying Blue uses XPs (“experience points”) as its elite qualification metric, and has three elite tiers — Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Elite status requirements differ based on whether you’re qualifying or requalifying for status:
- If you’re starting from scratch, you’d need 100 XPs for Silver status
- Gold status then requires 180 XPs; if you’re starting from scratch that means you’d need a total of 280 XPs, while if you’re already Silver or Gold, that means you’d need 180 XPs
- Platinum status then requires 300 XPs; if you’re starting from scratch that means you’d need a total of 580 XPs, while if you’re already Gold or Platinum, that means you’d need 300 XPs
Anyway, Flying Blue has a few options for earning XPs for doing good. For one, for every 2,000 Flying Blue miles you donate to charity, you’ll receive one XP.
Meanwhile if you have a flight booking, you can contribute toward reforestation or sustainable aviation fuel, and be rewarded at an even better rate. An example is given of a KLM segment from Amsterdam to Edmonton:
- You could pay €10 or 2,000 Miles to gain one XP
- You could pay €19 to gain two XPs
- You could pay €33 to gain four XPs
- You could pay €469 to gain 47 XPs
Could this program be worth it?
The above are the basics of earning Flying Blue XPs by donating miles or cash, but is there any world in which this could be worth it purely from an elite status perspective?
One of the valuable things about having Flying Blue Gold elite status (or above) is that you get access to La Premiere first class awards on Air France. While you’ll still pay a lot of miles for these tickets, first class awards are off bounds for those who don’t have at least Gold status. So that’s a noteworthy element to this.
A few general thoughts:
- To go from no status to Gold status, you’d need to donate 560,000 miles, while on an ongoing basis you’d need to donate 360,000 miles to maintain Gold status; that’s almost certainly not worth it
- While this is only an option in conjunction with a booked flight, personally I’d rather spend €10 than 2,000 miles per XP, since I value Flying Blue miles at way more than 0.5 cents each
- At the margins I think this is a potentially worthwhile opportunity; in other words, if you’re just short of qualifying for a certain elite tier, this is probably an easier and more economical option than going on a mileage run
- The Air France-KLM Card in the United States is offering up to 100 XPs as part of its welcome bonus, so if you combine that with crediting some flights to Flying Blue, this could be a way to supplement that
The Air France-KLM Flying Blue program gives members the opportunity to earn elite status by donating to charity or contributing to carbon offset programs. You can earn an unlimited number of XPs by donating to charity, at the rate of 2,000 miles per XP. Meanwhile in conjunction with a flight, you can donate to offset programs at the rate of ~€10 per XP, which I’d consider to be the better value.
This won’t be something with mass appeal or that represents a great value for most, but it’s worth being aware of, especially at the margins.
Anyone see value in earning Flying Blue XPs with this program?
(Tip of the hat to Levi)