Flying Blue Removes Stopovers on Awards, Keeps Routing Rules Vague
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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:
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 reads: Possible 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.
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:
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.
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?
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.