SkyTeam Members Air France and KLM Extend Flying Blue Award Calendar
The mileage program of Air France and KLM — known as Flying Blue — can offer great value if you know how to use it. The program offers discounted Promo Awards each month on its own selected routes, and as a part of SkyTeam it has access to flights on partners like Delta and Korean Air, along with a few non-alliance partners such as Japan Airlines.
However, one quirk of the program has long been that it only opened its award calendar approximately 10 months out, meaning you couldn't book a Flying Blue award flight any earlier than 10 months before departure.
Not only is this unusual compared to most other frequent flyer programs — which generally open their award calendars closer to one year out — but Air France and KLM were in fact releasing their award seats to partners before the 10-month timeframe. So you could book Air France and KLM award flights 11 or 12 months ahead of time, but not with Flying Blue miles. Instead, you'd have to use Delta SkyMiles or another SkyTeam currency.
While this never affected Promo Awards since those specials are usually for flights that are only a few months out, it could easily affect how much award space a Flying Blue member would have access to, since early award seats could be snapped up via redemptions in other award programs before they even reached Flying Blue members.
But it appears Flying Blue has finally changed this policy, as its award calendar is now allowing award seats to be searched for and booked up to 360 days in advance.
This is great news for Flying Blue members, though not such great news for customers of other SkyTeam partners since they'll no longer have advance access to Air France and KLM space. But Flying Blue is a transfer partner of all four major flexible loyalty programs — Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and SPG — so it's extremely easy to turn points into Flying Blue miles. You can also credit flights from any SkyTeam partner to Flying Blue and pick up miles that way.
A word of warning: You'll want to keep a sharp eye out for fuel surcharges when redeeming Flying Blue miles, though they're usually not quite as egregious as fuel surcharges in other programs. Check out our post "The Top Uses of Flying Blue Miles" for more details and a great list of possible redemptions.
H/T: Live and Let's Fly