There are quite a few changes at Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue loyalty program, and they’re both good and bad news. For example, we’ve seen stopovers introduced on awards, though we’ve also seen further restrictions on first class awards. Here’s the latest program change, which is intended to make the program easier to understand.
Flying Blue introduces new rewards map page
The Flying Blue frequent flyer program has introduced a new dedicated rewards map page. As it’s described, this is intended to help members instantly discover where their mileage balance can take them.
Members have a couple of options for using this tool:
- They can enter the number of miles they have, and then see all the places they could go with those miles
- They can enter their origin, destination, and class of service, and see what starting award pricing looks like in a particular market
On the surface this seems like a pretty cool new feature, which provides a good visualization of where your miles can take you. The catch is that this map only shows the lowest possible pricing, and Flying Blue has dynamic award pricing, meaning that award redemption rates may often be higher.
So this won’t actually show you what’s available on a particular day, but rather just the lowest cost you can expect to pay for a certain type of award.
Flying Blue adjusts some award pricing
While the way these changes are communicated is potentially a bit confusing, let me note upfront that award pricing isn’t actually changing right now. Flying Blue made some minor adjustments to award pricing earlier this year, and is essentially acknowledging that in conjunction with the new rewards map.
Since 2018, Flying Blue has had dynamic award pricing, meaning that the number of miles required for an award ticket varied based on a variety of factors.
Flying Blue claims that to help members benefit from the program, entry level mileage prices have been “adjusted to more accurately reflect the actual value of the ticket and to accommodate a more transparent setup.”
Here’s how Flying Blue explains why this change is being made:
Because of the need for a more transparent pricing setup for our members, we decided to restructure our entire entry (starting from) Miles pricing. With the previous entry pricing setup, there was no link between the Miles price and the actual value of the ticket. As a result, the value of Miles also differed heavily per itinerary. With our new entry Miles pricing the value of the ticket is better reflected in the Miles price, with a clear pricing range per geographical area and per cabin.
Flying Blue specifically mentions that we’re seeing more attractive entry level pricing for premium economy awards overall, and for business class on intra-Europe flights. Meanwhile business class on long haul flights is experiencing varying pricing changes (for example, Los Angeles is increasing in price, while Dubai is decreasing in price).
Flying Blue has essentially reintroduced the concept of an award chart that shows the minimum number of miles required (these prices are one-way).
But then there’s a supplementary award chart that shows that in many cases the lowest price between certain city pairs is above that minimum.
So while I theoretically appreciate the transparency of having an award chart, that’s of limited use when you have dynamic award pricing, plus varying pricing even within the same region.
Meanwhile Flying Blue has adjusted its award zones, which has involved some places being moved to different regions.
The pricing changes we saw earlier this year were fairly minor, and didn’t materially change the value of the program, in my opinion. Ultimately Flying Blue remains the most useful SkyTeam frequent flyer program, thanks to the access it gives you to transatlantic award seats.
Flying Blue has rolled out a new rewards map feature, whereby Flying Blue members can easily see the starting award prices for all kinds of awards. You can either search by city pair, or just enter how many miles you have, and see where they can take you.
At the same time, Flying Blue has also confirmed that it has adjusted some award pricing. These changes actually went live some time back, but the program is now acknowledging those changes.
What do you make of these Flying Blue changes?