Earn Flying Blue Elite Status By Donating To Charity

Earn Flying Blue Elite Status By Donating To Charity

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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
Earn Flying Blue XPs by donating to charity

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
Flying Blue elite status unlocks Air France first class awards

Bottom line

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)

Conversations (13)
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  1. WilSZ Guest

    This is great news! My wife and I already have Flying Blue status, but with our trips this year and KLM +50% XP bonuses in the first half of the year landed my 3 year old daughter at 99 XP, just one shy of silver! Now I can buy her silver status for €10 and save hundreds of € in long haul checked baggage fees. Thanks, Ben!

  2. Christopher Guest

    I haven't looked at the terms of this promotion, but I wonder what happens to the XP purchased if you cancel the ticket, or if they don't take the donation and deposit the XP unless you fly.

    1. Alex Guest

      Just tried it out 1 week ago with a booking at the end of the year but still no XP credited.
      I believe you’re right, they will only be credited after the flight, if you fly…

  3. Reno Joe Guest

    Ben, perhaps I'm wrong but it seems to me that -- starting from scratch -- Gold requires 180 XP . . . as opposed to 280 XP (100 XP to Silver then another 180 XP to Gold). Thus, if someone took full advantage of the BofA Flying Blue credit card and received 100 XP, one would only need 80 XP to achieve Gold . . . and that would cost 800 Euros. That's not too...

    Ben, perhaps I'm wrong but it seems to me that -- starting from scratch -- Gold requires 180 XP . . . as opposed to 280 XP (100 XP to Silver then another 180 XP to Gold). Thus, if someone took full advantage of the BofA Flying Blue credit card and received 100 XP, one would only need 80 XP to achieve Gold . . . and that would cost 800 Euros. That's not too bad. But . . .

    Aside from accessing La Premiere award seats, what does that status give a person? If one is flying in *premium cabins* internationally, one already receives lounge access and most of the benefits tier status offers. But, importantly, status in Sky Team *itself* does NOT afford lounge access unless one is traveling internationally -- different from One World and Star Alliance. (Delta flyers know this.) So, in the end, aside from accessing La Premiere award seats, tier such status only affords higher point-earning rates on *paid* flights.

    Irrespective of this offer, for most individuals, Flying Blue tier status seems to offer way too little juice for the squeeze.

    In spite of this, keep these articles coming. They get people to thinking.

    1. tipsyinmadras Gold

      The wording on the Flying Blue site is incredibly not clear about this but my understanding is that Ben is correct - it's 100 XP to Silver, then *another* 180 to Gold - not just 80.

      The average transatlantic AF business fare will usually net you around 80xp so I'd be very surprised if 3x TATL flights would net Flying Blue Gold.

    2. Christopher Guest

      I have AF Platinum status and Ben is correct. The program works a bit like Aegean where the mileage (or in the case of AF, the XP) resets once you reach a new status level.

    3. tipsyinmadras Gold

      Just hit FB Silver through the AF/KLM card offer - the XP counter resets, and worse, it appears *another* 100XP is required to maintain FB Silver before the Gold threshold.

  4. Crazy Q Man Guest

    How much would I have to donate to get lifetime platinum? Iirc, the XP roll over every year so it would be 3,000 XP and then waiting ten years.

    1. Levi Member

      And hoping that there aren't program changes. While I think some type of XP rollover is likely to be here for a while (as it provides an incentive to book with AFKL if you qualify and have little hope of qualifying for the next level), there's nothing stopping them from introducing a 500 XP tier (Diamond?) if there are too many young members with thousands of XP whose flying has dropped off.

  5. Endre Guest

    Question for the accountants:
    As per my understanding, miles are property of the airline, even though they often reflect a liability. If the airline offers status for miles, it does lowers their liabilities. But in this case, they donate to charity, can the airline claim tax deductions for the donations?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      YES!!!!!!

      Will always be an answer from a good accountant.

  6. Guillaume Guest

    For once, I think this is a smart move from FlyingBlue to give 1XP per 10 Euros spent in CO2 compensation schemes, as you can do that only if you already have an AF/KL booking, preventing "buying" status if you don't have any intentions to fly with the airline but just want SkyTeam status. While I am personally already above the platinum thresholds for this year thanks to the 50% XP bonus promotion, I am...

    For once, I think this is a smart move from FlyingBlue to give 1XP per 10 Euros spent in CO2 compensation schemes, as you can do that only if you already have an AF/KL booking, preventing "buying" status if you don't have any intentions to fly with the airline but just want SkyTeam status. While I am personally already above the platinum thresholds for this year thanks to the 50% XP bonus promotion, I am considering using this option for my girlfriend, who has gold status and aims to get platinum by the end of the year, but might be short of 20 XP or so. Spending 200 euros-ish directly to have her qualify for Plat instead of spending some time in finding and doing a European mileage run is a better option IMO, and at the end it provides a good incentive to fund and develop SAF.

  7. Eskimo Guest

    This is just a subtle way to sell XP.
    Donating their own miles (and reducing their liabilities), Carbon offset, LOL.
    So if you save someone's life, you earn the right to take a life?

    But if you donate millions, you can steal millions?
    Wait political contribution does work that way.

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Christopher Guest

I have AF Platinum status and Ben is correct. The program works a bit like Aegean where the mileage (or in the case of AF, the XP) resets once you reach a new status level.

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WilSZ Guest

This is great news! My wife and I already have Flying Blue status, but with our trips this year and KLM +50% XP bonuses in the first half of the year landed my 3 year old daughter at 99 XP, just one shy of silver! Now I can buy her silver status for €10 and save hundreds of € in long haul checked baggage fees. Thanks, Ben!

2
Eskimo Guest

YES!!!!!! Will always be an answer from a good accountant.

1
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