The Essential Guide to

Air France KLM Flying Blue

Last updated: February 20, 2024
Best ways to earn:
Transfer from Amex Canada MR at a 1:0.75 ratio
Transfer from Amex US MR at a 1:1 ratio
Transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio
Transfer from Marriott Bonvoy at a 60,000:25,000 ratio
Earn through spending on the Air France KLM Flying Blue World Elite Mastercard
Best ways to redeem:
Stack with Promo Rewards for cheap flights from North America to Europe
Business class flights with Air France and KLM to Europe
Economy class flights with partner airlines

The Flying Blue loyalty program is most commonly associated with Air France/KLM, the company that owns KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Air France. However, Flying Blue is actually the frequent flyer loyalty program of a total of five airlines: Air France, KLM, TAROM, Transavia, and Aircalin.

Flying Blue has risen in popularity in recent years, especially among North American travellers, thanks to its initiatives that include co-branded credit cards and harmonized redemption pricing.

The program offers access to SkyTeam-member airlines and other affiliated airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic, through a number of transferable points currencies.

Furthermore, Air France KLM Flying Blue has intriguing monthly promotions called Promo Rewards, which can offer an outstanding deal on flights to Europe.

Earning Air France KLM Flying Blue Miles

There are a number of ways to earn Flying Blue miles, but the best way is by transferring points from a partner program.

Transferring from Other Programs

The easiest way to earn Flying Blue miles is to transfer points to your account from another loyalty program. Air France KLM Flying Blue is a transfer partner with American Express in Canada and the United States, as well as a number of other US banks.

You can transfer points from a number of loyalty programs into Air France KLM Flying Blue miles at the following ratios:

If you’re transferring from American Express Membership Rewards in Canada or Marriott Bonvoy, the stated transfer time is up to three days. Otherwise, points from all American bank partners will transfer instantly.

You can benefit from the welcome bonuses and earning multipliers on your daily spending from other loyalty programs and then convert the points to Air France KLM Flying Blue miles when you’re ready to redeem.

This strategy can now also be used with the Air France KLM Flying Blue World Elite Mastercard by Brim Financial, which launched in Canada in October 2022.

Originally, this credit card wasn’t offering a welcome bonus; however, between September and December 2023 the card offered up to 60,000 Flying Blue miles, which will hopefully become the norm.

As with any credit card, it’s recommended to wait for a strong welcome offer before signing up.

If you decide to add the Air France KLM Flying Blue World Elite Mastercard to your wallet, the earning rates are as follows:

  • Earn 5 Flying Blue miles per Euro spent on eligible Air France and KLM flights
  • Earn 2 Flying Blue miles per dollar spent (CAD) at eligible restaurants and bars
  • Earn 1 Flying Blue mile per dollar spent (CAD) on other eligible purchases

If you have access to US credit cards, the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard by Bank of America offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 Flying Blue miles after spending $2,000 (USD) in the first 90 days. The card has a low annual fee of just $89 (USD) and comes with no foreign transaction fees.

The US-issued card comes with a different earning structure as follows:

  • Earn 3 Flying Blue miles per dollar spent (USD) on eligible Air France and KLM flights
  • Earn 1.5 Flying Blue miles per dollar spent (USD) on other eligible purchases

Furthermore, with this card, you’ll earn 5,000 Flying Blue miles every year on your account anniversary if you’ve spent at least $50 (USD) that year.

Buying Miles

Air France/KLM also has frequent promotions to buy Flying Blue miles directly. The base rate is 3.35 cents (USD) per mile, but that rate can drop to as low as 1.39 cents (USD) per mile during one of the better promotions.

In general, buying miles outright should only be reserved for cases where you are short for your next redemption and need an immediate top-up, or for when you’re certain that buying miles is cheaper than paying cash for the same flight

Flying

Of course, you can also earn Flying Blue miles by flying on a paid ticket with Air France, KLM, or one of the many airline partners and crediting that flight to your Flying Blue account. The number of miles you’ll earn depends on the airline, the mileage flown, the class of service, the booking class, and your Flying Blue elite status.

Earn Flying Blue miles when you fly with KLM

Other Ways to Earn Flying Blue Miles

Lastly, there are many other ways of earning Flying Blue miles, including with car rentals, shopping through the Flying Blue online shopping portal, and staying at almost any hotel. The complete list of all 65+ partners and ways to earn can be found on the KLM website.

Once you’ve added some Flying Blue miles to your account, they’ll expire if there hasn’t been any activity for 18 months; however, as long as you have some sort of earning or redeeming every year and a half, your miles won’t expire.

Redeeming Air France KLM Flying Blue Miles

Air France KLM Flying Blue miles can be redeemed for a number of goods and services, including hotel stays and purchases through the online Flying Blue shopping portal.

However, as with most every airline loyalty program, the most valuable use of the miles is booking flights, especially in premium cabins.

Business Class Flights Between Europe and North America

There are certainly a number great flight redemption possibilities with Flying Blue as Air France and KLM fly to many North American cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and throughout the United States.

Flying Blue uses a dynamic pricing model, which means that there may be different price points for each route and date. While mileage rates fluctuate in unpredictable ways, the benefit to this model is that every seat on a flight can be booked with Flying Blue miles.

Flying Blue has a chart that shows the lowest possible fares based on the route and the class of service. It’s important to note that these prices should be used as a starting point or a goal rather than pricing that’s set in stone.

In October 2023, Flying Blue harmonized all award pricing between Europe and North America.

This means that a longer flight from Vancouver to Prague costs the same as the much shorter flight from Toronto to Paris.

You can use Flying Blue’s rewards map to play around with routes, but generally speaking, flights can be found for as low as 50,000 Flying Blue miles between any North American and any European airport.

While you’ll be able to find pricing at the lower end of the dynamic spectrum, you’ll also find award prices that are substantially higher, depending on the date of travel.

Your best bet is to book far in advance and to have some flexibility in your dates. Flying Blue’s schedule opens up 360 days prior to departure, so you can plan almost a year in advance and be able to book flights.

As we’ll go over later, you should also pay attention to Promo Rewards that come out, as you may score a discount of up to 50% for your flights.

If you find a flight that you like, you have the option to put the award flight on hold by calling the Flying Blue contact centre. By doing this, you’ll have up to 72 hours to transfer in enough miles and confirm the booking without having to worry about the seat disappearing.

Economy Class Flights

While flying in business class will help you squeeze the most value out of your miles, perhaps one of the best uses of Flying Blue miles is for economy class flights. This is especially the case from North America to Europe, but the same can be true when flying from North America to other continents.

For example, a one-way flight from Montreal to Paris in economy class can be found for as little as 20,000 miles, plus around $150 (CAD) in taxes and fees.

If you don’t mind flying over the Atlantic in economy, this is an incredible deal, as similar direct flights using, say, Aeroplan, might require over double the number of points.

Similarly, using Flying Blue miles to book an economy class seat from Toronto to Nairobi costs as few as 35,000 miles and $236 (CAD) in taxes and fees. If we were to once again compare the cost to using Aeroplan points, you’d need at least 20,000 more points for a similar itinerary.

Of course, depending on which points currency you’re using to transfer into Air France KLM Flying Blue, you’ll need to consider the transfer ratio when you’re comparing programs.

Despite the dynamic pricing model, some of these outstanding deals can be found even if you are searching a couple of days out, so if you tend to book travel at the last minute, be sure to consider Flying Blue as you may be able to score a deal.

Business Class Flights with Partner Airlines

Flying Blue miles can also be used to book partner airline flights. While there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of availability across all partner airlines, it may still be worth your time to check for your desired route.

For example, if you’d like to give Virgin Atlantic Upper Class a try, and maybe even check out the airline’s flagship Clubhouse Lounge in London, you can look for flights using Flying Blue.

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class A330neo – Seat

Keep in mind that any flights departing from the UK are subject to the dreaded Air Passenger Duty (APD), so your best bet would be to originate in another European city and connect through London if you plan on redeeming Flying Blue miles this way.

Other unique premium experiences you can book with Flying Blue miles include China Airlines business class out of Taipei, or Aircalin business class out of New Caledonia.

There are also better ways to book with some partner airlines, so be sure to search around for the best sweet spot for each airline.

First Class Flights with Partner Airlines

Flying Blue points can also be used to book First Class flights on select partner airlines. This has only been a possibility since the fall of 2023, when First Class award space began to appear with China Eastern, Garuda Indonesia, and Xiamen Air.

It’s certainly possible that more First Class partners will become available to be booked with Flying Blue miles in the future.

To search for First Class partner award flights, you’ll need to select “La Première” with Air France/KLM when searching for a flight online.

La Première is Air France’s First Class product, and we’ll cover this more below.

Upgrade Using Flying Blue Miles

Lastly, you can also use Flying Blue miles to upgrade an economy class seat to a business class seat on Aeromexico, China Airlines, Aircalin, Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Kenya Airways, Korean Air, and TAROM.

Use Flying Blue miles for business class upgrades with China Airlines

There’s no published chart for how much an upgrade costs, but you can upgrade before your flight by calling in, at the gate, or even after boarding on certain Air France and KLM flights by speaking with a flight attendant.

Air France KLM Flying Blue Sweet Spots

Flying Blue has a few great sweet spots to keep in mind if you’re planning a trip to Europe or even within North America.

Air France La Première

Air France’s First Class product, La Première, is one of the most difficult to book using points. The airline only allows Platinum members to redeem Flying Blue miles for La Première, and even then, only one award seat is released on any given flight.

Then, a one-way redemption in La Première will cost 220,000 Flying Blue miles between Paris and New York JFK, which is equivalent to a whopping 293,333 Amex MR points.

You can only book Air France La Première through Flying Blue

For the shortest and cheapest La Première route between Paris and Dubai, it’ll still be 175,000 Flying Blue miles, equivalent to 233,333 Amex MR points in Canada.

That’s a lot of effort to go through for a single one-way flight, but if you want to experience one of the world’s most coveted First Class cabins for yourself, it’s the most sure-fire method to book outside of hunting for low fares or chancing it with an upgrade.

Promo Rewards

The best way to use Flying Blue miles is to redeem them in conjunction with Promo Rewards.

Promo Rewards are monthly specials that Air France KLM Flying Blue offers to its members that reduce the cost for redemptions by up to 50%.

For example, the lowest cost for a flight between Europe and Montreal is 50,000 Flying Blue miles in business class. If there happens to be a Promo Reward that’s offering a 50% discount for flights between Europe and Montreal, you’ll only pay 25,000 miles for that same flight.

25% discounts seem to be much more common than 50% discounts, but the latter still do appear from time to time.

Keep in mind that Promo Rewards aren’t always valid for travel in business class and that the best deals are usually found in the shoulder seasons. However, if you want to score a great deal on an economy class or business class flight to or from Europe, Promo Rewards are your best bet.

Flights with Partner Airlines

Flying Blue miles can also be useful for economy class flights with Delta, either within North America, to Europe, and to South America.

You may have noticed that Air France and KLM reward tickets come with moderate surcharges on award bookings. If you’re okay with flying in economy, then be sure to look out for Delta flights, which don’t come with the same burden of taxes and fees.

Use Flying Blue miles to book Delta flights

For example, let’s look at the difference between two direct flights from Boston to London Heathrow. The first flight is with Delta, and the second is with Virgin Atlantic. (The taxes and fees on flights with Virgin Atlantic and Air France/KLM flights are nearly identical.)

The flights cost nearly the same in Air France KLM Flying Blue miles, but the Delta flight only has $13.70 (CAD) taxes and fees, while the Virgin Atlantic flight is a bit pricier at $86 (CAD).

The differences are even more stark when flying in business class, since Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic flights all come with carrier-imposed surcharges, while flights with Delta don’t.

You can also get some good deals on flights within North America; although, you’ll want to check the cost with other programs, such as Delta SkyMiles, to make sure it’s the best deal.

A one-way economy class flight from North America to South America should cost as few as 15,000 Flying Blue miles, at least according to the chart. In practice, it’s quite difficult to come across award space at this value.

Still, since you have access to Delta, Aeromexico, and Copa Airlines, you can likely find great deals on flights that don’t have astronomical surcharges.

Air France KLM Flying Blue Tips and Tricks

There are a few tips and tricks with Flying Blue that will help you reach your flying goals sooner, as well as potentially unlocking one of the most sought after First Class products in the game.

Free Stopovers

If you make a reward booking through Air France KLM Flying Blue, you can add a stopover of up to a year for free! This feature was released recently, and it has added further value to a program that’s growing in popularity.

Palais du Luxembourg
Add a stopover in Paris with Flying Blue

You’ll need to call in to the contact centre to add the stopover, which is a bit of an inconvenience. However, since it won’t cost you any more in cash or miles, it’s well worth your effort if you want to stretch your miles a bit further.

“Secret” Calendar Search

In search results, you’ll usually see a week’s worth of availability at a time. The lowest price for each day is displayed on each date.

If you’re flexible with your dates and aren’t happy with the prices you see, you can bring up a calendar that shows the lowest prices over the course of a whole month.

To do this, search for a round-trip flight on the same day. This tends to only work between destinations where it’s impossible to fly there and back in the same day.

After you click “Search flights,” the regular search results screen will pop up, but it it will then change to a calendar. A quick glance over the month will show you the lowest price for each day.

By using this trick, it doesn’t take long to look at a year’s worth of availability, which can be particularly great if there are Promo Rewards that you’re trying to find.

Flying Blue Family

Flying Blue allows members to pool points between different accounts, allowing up to two adults and six children to form a family pool together.

In the pool, one adult will be designated as the “Flying Blue Family Leader.” This person will be responsible for maintaining the account and is the only one who can transfer miles in between accounts.

Setting up a family pool can be especially useful if you don’t fly very often and otherwise wouldn’t earn enough Flying Blue miles for a redemption as individuals.

Setting up a Flying Blue Family account is easy – simply sign in to your Flying Blue account, go to your profile, and look for the “Flying Blue Family” tab on the side. You’ll just need to send out an invitation to each family member, and once they accept, you’ll be able to move Flying Blue miles from their accounts into yours.

Air France KLM Flying Blue Elite Status

Like many airline loyalty programs, Flying Blue has elite status tiers that can be earned by flying with Flying Blue partner airlines.

Qualifying for Flying Blue Elite Status

You can gain Flying Blue elite status by earning Experience Points (XP), which is mostly accomplished by flying on paid flights.

The number of XP you’ll earn for any given flight depends on the class of service you’re in and the distance of the flight you’re on, which is summarized in the following chart:

Based on the chart, you’ll earn more XP for higher classes of service and on longer flights.

For example, if you flew Montreal to Paris in economy, you would earn 8 XP since the distance between the two cities is 3,442 miles and you flew in economy class.

You can also earn XP by holding and spending on co-branded credit card.

For example, the welcome bonus on the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard may offer 100 XP upon being approved, and 30 XP on each cardholder anniversary.

Lastly, if you connect your Flying Blue account with an Accor Live Limitless account, you’ll earn 10 XP after you complete your first stay at an Accor Live Limitless hotel or your flight eligible flight.

Conclusion

Air France KLM Flying Blue is becoming more and more attractive to North American travellers due to having many transfer partners, good coverage throughout the continent, and attractive monthly Promo Rewards.

While one of the best uses for Flying Blue miles is business class flights to Europe, there is also great value to be found for flying in economy in some cases. If you’re okay with taking a bit of a gamble, you might even be able to score a seat in Air France La Première at a steep discount.

If you’re heading to Europe, or to anywhere else that Air France/KLM flies, be sure to consider Flying Blue as your program of choice for most SkyTeam airlines.

2 Comments
  1. Alan Nichols

    When Northwest Airlines folded my KLM points went to Delta where they have withered away to x,000 (almost meaningless)’
    Can they be switched to Flying Blue? I seem to see from this blog that Flying Blue has more value than Sky Miles?
    Booking short J hop SIN DPS in the next day or so. Would you recommend taking out a new account with Flying Blue or crediting to Sky Pesos?
    Thanks

    1. T.J. YQQ

      There won’t be a way to move your points from Delta to Air France KLM Flying Blue, unfortunately. Of the SkyTeam airlines, Flying Blue tends to provide the best value, especially for transatlantic flights.

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