Flying Blue Removes Stopovers on Awards, Keeps Routing Rules Vague

Aug 17, 2017

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Flying Blue, the loyalty program of SkyTeam members Air France and KLM, offers significant potential value for your transferable points. On round-trip award itineraries, it’s been possible to add a stopover for no extra miles or taxes and fees. However, I began receiving Twitter messages and emails from readers saying during their recent attempts to book a stopover on a round-trip itinerary, phone agents told them stopovers were no longer allowed. I reached out to the very responsive KLM Twitter folks, who responded with the following message:

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 8.31.00 AM

In further exchanges on Twitter, @KLM said the announcement was made in the last quarterly miles statement to members and on the Flying Blue website. I reached out to a few dozen readers asking if anyone had their last mileage statement because I couldn’t find anything on mine that mentioned the change. As of this morning, I haven’t been able to find any mention of the change in any Flying Blue email or on the news section of the Flying Blue website, which catalogs all the articles from Flying Blue newsletters.

However, on the Flying Blue website, the text on classic award tickets now readsPossible to combine several flights and airline partners on the same ticket provided that the transfer time between the flights is shorter than 24 hours. In other words, you can no longer complete a stopover. Flying Blue also published a “new long haul classic award scheme” that’s a new graphic of a region-based award chart, but still only for itineraries departing from Europe.

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 8.49.30 AM

The prices in the new chart are exactly the same as in the old chart, so the good news is that redemption rates haven’t increased. I haven’t found any reason for Flying Blue to call it a new classic award scheme. The terms and conditions don’t define routing rules and are very obscure, stating in section 3.13: Awards tickets shall be issued in accordance with the schemes and conditions specified in FB Communication.

It’s very interesting to me that the program still doesn’t publicly display prices for award itineraries departing from other regions, nor does it define what countries are in which regions — but it curiously includes Hawaii, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Central America in the same region.

The last bit of concerning text on the updated page is the following:

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 8.49.49 AM

Flying Blue says special terms and conditions may apply, but there’s no link to any further rules, and I can’t find any further information on the website about what this may be alluding to.

Bottom Line

I think the program could have done a much better job of communicating this devaluation. In all likelihood, relatively few people leveraged the option to include a stopover when redeeming Flying Blue miles, so I’m not sure why it was necessary to remove the option. I hope to see Flying Blue publish an award chart for itineraries departing any region, clarify award routing rules and define which countries are in which region.

Did you see where Flying Blue made this announcement or any other changes the program has made?

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