The Air France-KLM Flying Blue program and Caribbean carrier Winair are expanding their partnership, as flagged by Frequent Miler. It’s cool to see Winair finally get an airline partner with reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities, but manage your expectations.
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What is Winair?
Winair is a small Caribbean airline owned by the Dutch government, which is based at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in Sint Maarten. The airline operates a fleet of just six turboprops, including two 48-seat ATR 42-500s, plus four 19-seat DHC-6-300 Twin Otters.
For avgeeks, this airline operates some ridiculously cool, short routes. For example, the airline flies to Saint-Barthélemy (SBH), known for its exciting airport, and to Saba (SAB), known for having the world’s shortest commercial runway. Many of the carrier’s routes are just minutes long.
Details of the Winair & Flying Blue partnership
It’s not surprising that Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Winair have a partnership, given both the French and Dutch connection to Winair’s hub. Until recently, this partnership has been limited to earning miles, but only when a single itinerary includes travel on both Air France-KLM and Winair.
Fortunately that’s finally changing. Effective immediately, it’s possible to redeem Flying Blue miles for all Winair flights.
The good news is that award availability is excellent. The bad news is that redemption rates are really steep. At least as of now, these awards all cost 19,000 Flying Blue miles one-way, plus taxes and fees. Most Winair tickets seem to cost somewhere around $100-200 one-way, so that’s hardly a great use of Flying Blue miles, especially after you factor in the taxes you still have to pay on award tickets.
Even if you combine Winair with Air France-KLM on a single ticket, the award pricing is additive, so there’s not even a deal to be had there.
Perhaps what’s more interesting is that as of November 2023, it’ll be possible to earn Flying Blue miles for travel on Winair, which is a positive development. I haven’t yet seen earnings rates published, though this is one case where I’m hoping the accrual rates are revenue based rather than distance based. After all, some of Winair’s flights are just 20 miles long, so that’s not terribly rewarding.
The partnership between Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Winair is being expanded. It’s now possible to redeem Flying Blue miles for travel on Winair, and availability is excellent. However, you’ll pay 19,000 miles per direction, which is pricey, given revenue costs. We can also expect reciprocal mileage earning to be introduced soon, though given the distance of Winair’s flights, that might not be worth a whole lot.
What do you make of the new Winair & Flying Blue partnership?