The Illogical New Flying Blue Program, Explained in Screenshots
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.
Like many frequent flyers, I was hesitant about the new program, especially given the rather minimalist pricing calculator which gave prices “starting from” a certain amount with no further details. Routes not flown by Air France or KLM are not available for pricing in the new calculator. After a couple of days of utilizing the search engine and observing the award pricing, I’m confident in the following: I have no idea what an award ticket will cost.
Thanks to the confusing award search results, a lack of award charts, a sub-par pricing calculator, no routing rules written anywhere I can find and more, a standard explanation of the new program is rather impossible and, at this moment, pointless. Instead, I’ll show you a series of screenshots to try and impart upon you the new Flying Blue logic.
Separate But Equal
A business and economy-class ticket cost the same amount of miles from Hong Kong to Atlanta:
Just kidding; this is what it costs to fly the same route the following day:
First is Worst
Delta One Luau
How Much Is Business to Europe?
San Francisco to Amsterdam is 168,500 miles nonstop in business:
But it’s only 151,000 if you take the same flight and continue to Hong Kong:
But if you want to go to Hong Kong, you should go through Paris because it’s only 93,500 miles:
But if you just want to go to Paris, it’s 102,500 miles:
But you should fly Delta to Paris and save 30,500 miles and $210:
Europe is Africa, and Africa is Europe
Tokyo to Paris is 36,000 miles nonstop in economy. That’s pretty good:
But you should fly to Reunion off the coast of Madagascar for $70 more and no extra miles:
Fly Further to Reduce Your Cost
Indicative of most of the above examples, you should fly further with Flying Blue to reduce your cost. More than half of international destinations from the US cost significantly less using one mystery location. Los Angeles to Tokyo via Europe:
Fly Los Angeles to Tokyo with the mystery Flying Blue location as the destination to save 11,500 miles in economy or 40,000 miles in business:
Delta operated domestic flights can still be a good deal; but Flying Blue make’s you choose your routing carefully:
Region Defined: Hawaii, Central America and (Parts of) the Caribbean
Honolulu to Atlanta to San Juan for an outstanding price of 14,500 miles:
San Juan is in the same region as Hawaii because it costs 3,000 more miles to just take the first leg and stop at Atlanta:
I pride myself on studying loyalty programs to understand even the most complex rules and how to extract value from these rules. With the new Flying Blue, that currently is not possible. This is the most confusing and illogical program I’ve observed:
- Award prices do not correlate to revenue prices.
- Premium cabins can be less expensive than economy.
- I’m fairly confident some Delta routes in their entirety have been excluded from booking via Flying Blue (Los Angeles – Sydney, for example).
- No defined regions or zones of any logical manner have revealed themselves, even after I completed a few hundred award searches.
I hope the program becomes more transparent over the coming months and at some point I can give a full, useful breakdown of the logic of the new Flying Blue. Until then, enjoy the Wild West of airline loyalty programs over on Air France or KLM’s websites.
Featured photo by Shutterstock.com
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees