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In November 2017, Air France-KLM announced that its Flying Blue loyalty program was switching to a revenue-based model. As of Monday, we know that Flying Blue will be making further changes. But this time, it’s not to how you can earn miles, but how you can spend them.
For bookings made as of June 1, 2018, Flying Blue is shifting away from a traditional award chart with fixed redemptions at the saver level. Instead, Flying Blue now offers a pricing calculator, which will let you know the minimum number of miles needed for an award. The actual number of miles needed for the award will be more closely related to the price of the ticket. So, the mileage calculator is a good baseline to get an idea of the cost of an award, but you must manually search an award in order to see exactly how many miles it’ll cost. This new calculator model is valid for flights on Flying Blue’s own carriers — Air France, KLM, Hop, Joon and Transavia.
After conducting a few searches, it appears that the base price for an award ticket on many routes is lower than was previously offered with the program’s fixed award chart. For example, a one-way ticket from New York (JFK) to Paris (CDG) used to cost 25,000 miles in economy or 62,500 miles in business. Now, with the mileage calculator, Flying Blue is showing the minimum number of miles needed on that same route to be 22,000 miles in economy or 57,500 miles in business.
This reduction in miles required isn’t applicable to every route. Some routes have gotten more expensive than their previous levels. For example, Los Angeles to Amsterdam increased from 25,000 to a minimum of 27,000 miles one-way in economy (from 62,500 to 67,500 in business).
InsideFlyer compiled data from both the old award chart and the new calculator function to compare rates:
|Destination from Amsterdam||Current Economy price||New economy price||Current business price||New business price|
|Rio de Janeiro||40,000||36,000||100,000||90,000|
With this change comes the possibility that Flying Blue could devalue its redemptions without any notice, as it no longer publishes an award chart — just like Delta. The specific number of miles you’ll pay for an award ticket can vary based on a number of factors, including the date of travel, origin and destination. In addition, as of June 2018, Flying Blue is introducing a Miles & Cash option, so you can pay for up to 25% of your award ticket with cash.
These changes don’t go into effect until June 1. So, you have plenty of time to book at the old rates if it’s fewer miles than could be the case with the new Flying Blue redemption options. Keep in mind that this is just the latest change to be announced for the new Flying Blue program, which officially begins on April 1.
Featured image by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.
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