A Beginner’s Guide to Flying Blue Miles

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Flying Blue is a joint operational Frequent Traveler Program mainly by Air France and Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), Both of them belong to SkyTeam. From the perspective of the author, this is a very nice miles system, you can redeem very nice free air ticket no matter departing from US or making Europe as the base. Same with the previous introduction of the miles usage,first we give a brief introduction of the Frequent Traveler Program and the source of the points, and then focus on the introduction of how to redeem the award tickets by using Flying Blue miles, you can directly click to the last part of the miles redemption section if you are only interested in tickets redemption.

1. Brief introduction to Flying Blue Frequent Traveler Program

The two main Airlines of Flying Blue are Air France and Royal Dutch Airlines. Actually there are totally eight Airlines in this Frequent Traveler Program.

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Both Air France and Royal Dutch Airlines are the members of SkyTeam Alliance, so Flying Blue program are definitely deeply closed with SkyTeam Alliance. Besides the members of the SkyTeam Alliance, Flying Blue also keeps a partner relationship with Alaska Airlines、Japan Airlines、Copa Airlines, etc.

The overdue time of the Flying Blue Points are 20 months, if only you earn to Level Miles by taking flights within this period, then all the miles in the account will not get expired.

The members of Flying Blue are divided into four levels: Ivory, Silver, Gold, Platinum. The requirements of Elite membership level are as below:

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2. How to earn Flying Blue Miles

For us who are in the US, the main source for Flying Blue is transferring points from point systems:

If you want to earn by taking flights (AF,KL and partner flights), the detailed flights earning details could be searched on Flying Blue official website, or calculate how much miles could be earned in a specific Segment by using Miles Calculator.

3. How to redeem Flying Blue Miles

This part is divided into the following several sections, the beginning part looks very dull and actually also useless…generally, Flying Blue Points are suit to redeem economy class, the required miles of the two class are basically two times or more that of the economy class, very expensive. The public concerned Sino-US line, Flying Blue Points one-way need 40k, not highly recommend. Friends who have the interest please directly click the Forth Section -The recommended redemption airlines.

  1. Award Chart of Flying Blue
  2. Promo Awards
  3. Fuel surcharges (YQ) issues
  4. The recommended redemption routes

3.1. Flying Blue Award Chart

They don’t have a full Award Chart on Flying Blue website, but they do have a miles calculator, For most friends, you can easily acquire the required miles of your desired redemption airlines by this miles calculator. I also write a Award Chart with this calculator by myself for your reference. There are all required miles of one way redemption in this chart, units are all k, In the same table, above is economy、below is business:

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Because Flying Blue don’t have a public Award Chart in his official website, so this Chart was searched and made by our own efforts, maybe there are bugs inside, just treat it as a reference. For example: although the searched and result miles are only 12.5k from Hawaii to the Island of Saint Martin, but if you really search on Air France website, actually you will not get any tickets… Very frequent of this kind of phenomenon,but we really don’t have the energy to verify one by one…

About the asterisks:

  • Los Angeles(LAX)-French Polynesia(PPT): correspondingly to the North America-French Polynesia in the chart, when you are using the miles calculator, if the chosen airline is Delta Airlines, then the search engine results will be economy 30k. If you choose Air France( Air France do have flights in this route), and the searching result is one way 15k! But if you really search the redemption, the searching result is still one-way 30k… So maybe the bug showing are just temporarily.Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 5.28.25 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-23 at 5.28.48 PM
  • Asia 1 internal flight: China, South Korean and Japan belong to Asia 1 area in this award chart. If you choose Delta Airlines when you are searching, the system will back to the result of one-way 15k. But if you choose China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, XIAMENAIR in China, then the system will back to one-way 12.5k. In Japan, if you choose Japan Airlines,the searching result is also 12.5k, so we deliberately mark it here.Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 5.33.13 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-23 at 5.33.52 PM

3.2. Promo Awards

This probably equals to Airline version PointBreaks. Flying Blue will offer some discounted award tickets at the beginning of each month! Which will save you up 25%-50% , generally most are the Europe-centralized discount airlines. If you just got the desired redemption airline, that will be so cool~

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For example, there are 50% discount Awards departing from Chinese cities to Europe in recent two months! In normal condition, the China-Europe one-way economy class need 40k points, after the discount, only need 20k, much cheaper than many miles system, although there are $100 or so final auxiliary expenses(tax+fee+YQ), but still cheap! If you were to Europe, read Promo Awards carefully!

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3.3. Fuel surcharges (YQ) issues

It will be very bothering if Miles encounter with fuel surcharges issue, because the high fuel surcharges will greatly devalued the Miles, Flying Blue Program is also no exception. Flying Blue redemption have this troubling YQ problem for a long time, but the following airline flights are basically without YQ issues:

  • Delta Air Lines
  • Mexico Air
  • Korean Air
  • Domestic flights of China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Air

When you reward the Air France and Royal Dutch Airlines, even though there still exist YQ issue, but it is not that hard to accept. Especially when there are discounted miles, some YQ are still moderately cheap.

3.4. The recommended redemption routes

As per our Award chart,it is not hard to see, there are following nice redemption choice of Flying Blue:

  • North America-Hawaii: you can choose Delta flight, even without fuel surcharges, one-way 15k is also a very nice choice. In contrast, if you award these kind of flights with miles of Three Major Airlines of US, both DL&UA need 22.5k for one way, AA also need 17.5k even in off-peak season.Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 5.55.13 PM
  • US-Mexico: one way 12.5k miles. In contrast, both UA&DL need 17.5k, AA will be 12.5k only in low season.Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 6.29.55 PM
  • North America-Israel: because in the regional division of Flying Blue, Israel was listed in Europe 3, so the redemption from North America to Israel is cheaper compared with other points, and the YQ are unnecessarily high.
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  • The choice of Promo Awards: no need to talk details of this, quite a lot of discounted award tickets from Europe and the world at large. Below is the KLM Chengdu(CTU)-Amsterdam(AMS)flight in Promo Awards, one-way 20k+$87Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 5.44.16 PM
  • Chinese domestic flights: redeem domestic flights by Flying Blue are probably less competitive than redeem China International Airlines or China Eastern Airlines by Asia Miles,but better than using Delta and UA miles(both of them need 15k at least), Flying Blue redemption need 12.5k+$8 or so one-way Fee. For example, chart below are both CZ3000 flights of China Southern Airlines from Beijing to Guangzhou on 29th September, just look at the Points value which have reached to 1.8 cents, very nice redemption ratio.Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 8.58.44 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-23 at 8.57.59 PMWhat? You are saying that there are China Eastern Airlines above and why not redeem China Eastern Airlines. China Southern Airlines are big aircraft A380 ,much better than China Eastern Airlines A330~ actually the China Eastern Airlines tickets of this flight only cost 750rmb, but you need to get up really early
  • Sometimes there will be some bug routes. For instant, departing from US to New Caledonia Island (a small Pacific Island), as from the Award Chart, only need 30k, but for this route, we can only transfer in Australia, so it becomes 30k from US to Australia…

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