Here's everything you need to know about the Air France KLM Flying Blue frequent flyer program: earning and burning miles, Elite status, sweet spots.
Flying Blue is the Air France KLM frequent flyer program. Since August 19, 2021, this program has partnered with American Express Membership Rewards in Canada, which allows it to reach many more Canadians and gain interest.
So, in this ultimate guide to the Flying Blue program in Canada, you’ll discover all the options for earning and redeeming Flying Blue miles, how Flying Blue Elite status works, and some of the program’s sweet spots.
Registration to the Flying Blue program
Joining the Flying Blue program is free and easy. You can do this directly on this page by creating a Flying Blue account.
You can also enroll your children in the Flying Blue program.
Earning Flying Blue Miles
With Credit Cards - Membership Rewards
Here are the American Express Membership Rewards Cards available in Canada:
The best Membership Rewards Card in Canada for earning Flying Blue Miles is the American Express Cobalt® Card, as it offers :
- 5 points per dollar for grocery, restaurant, bar, food delivery or convenience store purchases
- 3 points per dollar for streaming services
- 2 points per dollar for travel, local transportation and gas stations
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
If we translate this into Flying Blue Miles, we get:
- 3.75 Flying Blue Miles per dollar for grocery, restaurant, bar, food delivery or convenience store purchases
- 2.25 Flying Blue Miles per dollar for streaming services
- 1.5 Flying Blue Miles per dollar for travel, local transportation and gas stations
- 0.75 Flying Blue Miles per dollar for other purchases
With Credit Cards - Marriott Bonvoy
The second method of earning Flying Blue miles in Canada is through the American Express Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards. You can transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points into airline miles including Flying Blue at the ratio of 3 Marriott Bonvoy points = 1 mile.
And if you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll earn 5,000 bonus miles. Thus, 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 Flying Blue Miles.
The two Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards available in Canada are:
With Flying Blue co-branded Credit Cards
In France, there are 3 American Express Flying Blue credit cards. Their welcome bonus is nothing like what we see in North America:
- 6,000 miles for the Air France KLM – American Express Silver Card
- 10,000 miles for the Air France KLM – American Express Gold Card
- 30,000 miles for the Air France KLM – American Express Platinum Card
Rather, their value lies in the benefits provided, including:
- Earning Flying Blue miles on every purchase (which is rare in France and Europe)
- Extending the validity of your Flying Blue Miles with each purchase
- Earning between 15 XP and 60 XP per year to get or renew a Flying Blue Elite status more easily
|Advantages||AF KLM Amex Silver Card||AF KLM Amex Gold Card||AF KLM Amex Platinum Card|
|Bonus||6,000 miles||10,000 miles and first-year free||30,000 miles|
|Annual fee||0 €||165 €||570 €|
|XP per year||15||30||60|
|Earning rate||10 € = 10 Miles||10 € = 15 Miles||10 € = 20 Miles|
|Extending the validity of miles||Yes||Yes||Yes|
In the United States
In the United States, in partnership with Bank of America, Air France has launched the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard, which usually offers a welcome bonus of 25,000 to 50,000 Flying Blue miles.
With this card, you get :
- 3x Flying Blue miles for Air France KLM and Skyteam airlines like Delta Airlines
- 1.5X miles everywhere else
- 5,000 Flying Blue miles each year upon renewal
- 60 XP the first year (20 XP the following years)
- 40 additional XP if you spend US $15,000 with the card
- No FX fee
|Advantages||AF KLM World Elite Card|
|Bonus||25,000 to 50,000 miles|
|Renewal bonus||5,000 miles per year|
|XP per year||60 XP the first year
(20 XP after)
|XP after US$15,000 in purchases||40 XP|
|Earning rate||1.5 miles per dollar|
|Skyteam Earning rate||3 miles per dollar|
|Extending the validity of miles||Yes|
|Advantages||No foreign transaction fee|
With your flights
You can earn Flying Blue Miles with your flights on Air France KLM and the Skyteam alliance airlines.
The number of Flying Blue Miles earned depends on two factors:
- the price of the ticket in €
- the status you hold in the Flying Blue program
The Flying Blue program is subdivided into 4 membership categories:
|Explorer||4 miles per €|
|Silver||6 miles per €|
|Gold||7 miles per €|
|Platinum||8 miles per €|
The expense taken into account is the ticket cost (excluding taxes and fuel surcharge known as YQ). All ancillary expenses will also allow you to earn miles such as:
- Selecting a seat
- Purchase of an additional baggage allowance
- Selecting an à la carte menu
- Buying an upgrade
This method of earning tends to favour travellers paying full fare tickets, especially those travelling in the premium cabins (business, first).
This calculation is only taken into account for flights on Air France KLM.
For other Skyteam and Westjet member airlines, the number of miles earned for flights depends on a percentage based on booking class and distance travelled. You can calculate this on the dedicated Flying Blue page.
For example, here is the chart used for WestJet flights:
|Business||J, C: 175 %; D: 150 %.|
|Premium Economy||W, O, R : 100|
|Economy||Y, B, M: 100%; H, Q: 75%; N, S, X: 50%; T, K, L: 20%.|
For example, here is the chart used for international flights on Delta Airlines:
|Business (Delta One)||J, C: 200%; D: 175%; I: 150%; Z: 100%.|
|Premium Economy (Delta Premium Select)||P: 125%; A: 100%; G: 75%.|
|Economy||(Comfort +) W: 100% %, S: 75% ;
(Main Cabin ) Y, B : 100 % ; M, H : 75 % ; Q, K, L : 50 % ; U, T, X, V : 25 % ;
(Basic Economy) E: 20
With Flying Blue partners
In addition to airlines, Flying Blue partners with hotels and car rental agencies.
Flying Blue’s preferred partner is Accor Live Limitless through Miles+Points.
You can earn points for your stays in the group’s hotels and also Flying Blue Miles. Which is a pretty unique combination.
Apart from Accor, Flying Blue is partnered with :
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Hilton Honors
- Best Western Rewards
- Radisson Hotel Group
- Golden Tulip
- World of Hyatt
- IHG Rewards
However, for these hotels, you will have to choose between earning points (for free hotel nights) or Flying Blue Miles.
With car rental agencies
You can also earn Flying Blue Miles when you rent a car from one of these agencies:
With your purchases
There is a shopping portal offering Flying Blue miles for your online shopping with partners such as Apple, Indigo, Nike, Sephora, etc.
For your first purchase on the portal, you can earn 500 Flying Blue Miles.
The way it works is similar to other online shopping portals: you need to log in to the portal, choose the merchant you are interested in and click on the corresponding link.
Make sure your shopping cart is empty before you do this!
Redeeming Flying Blue Miles
The best way to use Flying Blue miles is by booking airline tickets called flight rewards. You’ll get the best value from your Flying Blue miles this way, including travelling in premium cabins (premium economy, business, first-class).
Flying Blue members have access to all available seats on any flight. This means that the fare in miles for seats varies according to the number of seats remaining.
So there is no fixed reward chart like in other programs. However, for flights between Canada and Europe, fares start at 21,500 Flying Blue miles in economy and 53,000 Flying Blue miles in business class.
To book a flight, you must log in with your Flying Blue account on the Air France or KLM website. You book a reward flight like a paid one.
For example, here is the cost of a one-way flight between Montreal and Paris in Economy from 21,500 miles and $135:
In Premium Economy from 44,500 miles and $224:
And in business class from 53,000 miles and $348:
You will notice that the cost changes greatly from one day to the next: this is the principle of a flexible chart.
Also, you’ll notice that the premium the cabin you travel in (premium economy, business, first), the higher the cost in cash: these are the fare surcharge .
It is also possible to pay in miles + cash (maximum of 25% of the ticket price can be paid in cash).
You can calculate the number of miles needed on this page.
With your Flying Blue Miles, you can travel on Air France KLM, all Skyteam alliance airlines and their airline partners such as WestJet.
Reservations can be made online on the Air France KLM website for flights with:
- Air France
- Japan Airlines
- Kenya Airways
- Skyteam Partners: Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, Vietnam Airlines, Xiamen Airlines
You can book Transavia flights with your Flying Blue Miles directly on the Transavia website.
In North America
In North America, you can use Flying Blue Miles for travel on partner airlines: WestJet and Delta Airlines.
For example, here is a cost for a one-way ticket from Montreal to Toronto with WestJet for 11,500 miles and $42:
For example, here is a cost for a one-way ticket from Montreal to Vancouver with WestJet for 14,500 miles and $42:
For example, here is a cost for a one-way ticket from Montreal to Los Angeles with WestJet for 14,500 miles and $99:
For example, here is a cost for a one-way ticket from Montreal to Atlanta with Delta Airlines for 14,000 miles and $93:
And probably one of the cheapest options to travel to Hawaii with Flying Blue miles!
Here is a cost for a one-way ticket from Montreal to Honolulu with WestJet for 17,500 miles and $112:
Every month, the Air France KLM Flying Blue frequent flyer program runs a promotional offer called Promo Rewards.
You can book flight rewards at a discounted rate during the month: from 25% to 50% off depending on the itinerary and travel cabin.
For example, I was able to book a Promo Reward for travel on the Air France A350 between Toronto and Paris for only 32,000 Flying Blue miles in Business Class.
Flying Blue Sweet Spots
As we’ve seen above, Hawaii is one of the sweet spots for Canadians with the Flying Blue program: 17,500 miles and $112 is a good deal (especially from Eastern Canada).
Mexico is also a good option for Canadians with the Flying Blue program: 14,500 miles and $104 for this one-way flight from Montreal to Cancun with WestJet.
Israel is one of the most interesting sweetspots in the Flying Blue program for Canadians. For example with this one-way flight from Montreal to Tel Aviv for 34,000 miles and $171:
There are also aberrations in the program, such as the flight from Montreal to Papeete (Polynesia), which will take you first to Paris and then to Los Angeles for 34,500 miles and $254:
You might prefer this direct flight from Los Angeles to Papeete for only 25,500 miles and $87:
Or that business class flight from Los Angeles to Papeete for only 64,000 miles and $279:
Or this flight between Montreal and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) which goes through Paris for 29,000 miles and $259:
Or this flight from Montreal to Buenos Aires (Argentina) via Amsterdam for 29,000 miles and $230:
On a more serious note, you should aim for domestic flights like this one from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia for only 17,500 miles and $8:
Several other flights can be interesting, like the one between Tokyo and Noumea (New Caledonia) with Aircalin for 34,500 miles and $281:
Having Flying Blue Miles can be a good opportunity to save money in Europe on certain flights. For example, think about your luggage (it is included with Flying Blue tickets, unlike low-cost airlines like Easyjet).
For example between Paris and Nice for 6,000 miles and $49:
Or between Paris and Athens (Greece) for 11,500 miles and $46:
Search for flights
The Air France KLM website sometimes has surprises in store, displaying flights and then no longer displaying availability. It is not possible to make a reservation otherwise (or you can do it by phone).
Before searching for availability, learn your “Skyteam and partners” geography by browsing a site like Flight Connections. You will be able to discover airlines and flights in the destinations you plan to visit.
For example, in Argentina with Aerolinas Argentinas.
You can then search for the flight you are interested in directly on the Air France KLM website.
Check out these flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia for only 17,500 miles and $8:
You can use your Flying Blue Miles to upgrade your flight.
This can be done in advance (up to 24 hours before the flight), subject to availability in the award booking class. The ticket must have been booked in an eligible booking class, excluding award tickets (all classes are detailed here for partner airlines).
It is possible to request a last-minute upgrade just before boarding. Or even once on board! This time, even award tickets are eligible for upgrades.
For Air France First Class - La Premiere
Air France’s First Class, called La Première, is one of the best First Classes around the world.
To enjoy this luxury with Flying Blue Miles, you must be an Elite member of the program: Gold or Platinum.
For in-flight options
You can use Flying Blue Miles for various options:
- Additional luggage (details)
- Seat selection (between 2,000 and 6,000 miles)
- Premium meals on board (from 2,700 miles)
- Air France KLM or Skyteam lounges(from 6,000 miles)
Expiry of Flying Blue Miles
Flying Blue Miles remain valid for life provided that one of the following conditions is met:
- you travel on an eligible flight at least once every 2 years with Air France, KLM or one of its partner airlines
- you are a Silver, Gold or Platinum member
- you make a purchase with an eligible partner credit card at least once every 2 years.
For eligible credit cards, only cards bearing the Flying Blue logo are eligible. This excludes transfers of American Express Membership Rewards points.
So remember to book at least one flight every 2 years with Air France KLM or a partner airline (Delta Airlines, WestJet, etc.), indicating your Flying Blue number.
Flying Blue status
To earn a Flying Blue Elite status, it is necessary to earn Experience Points (XP):
|Gold||100 + 180|
|Platinum||100 + 180 + 300|
|Elite||1,800 (over 2 years)|
Thus, to reach Gold status, an Explorer member must earn:
- 100 XP to become Silver
- Then 180 XP to become Gold
Once a status is reached, the XP counter is reset to 0 and the member has one year to earn the necessary Experience Points.
This makes it very difficult to access the higher statuses for casual travellers.
Experience Points are calculated based on:
- flight type: domestic/medium-haul/long-haul (subdivided into 3 categories)
- the cabin
(less than 2,000 miles)
(2,000 – 3,500 miles)
(3,500 – 5,000 miles)
(over 5,000 miles)
These rates apply to all flights on Skyteam member airlines.
In France, American Express cards earn Experience Points:
- Air France KLM American Express Silver Card: 15 XP
- Air France KLM American Express Gold Card: 30 XP
- Air France KLM American Express Platinum Card: 60 XP
Many benefits are reserved for members who have achieved status with Flying Blue. A table is available here.
Apart from the Platinum level, which is mainly aimed at very frequent business travellers, the status that will offer the best benefits is the Gold level. This Elite status is matched by SkyTeam Elite Plus status with other SkyTeam airlines.
With this status, you have :
- free access for you and one guest to all Air France KLM and Skyteam lounges worldwide
- access to SkyPriority lines (priority check-in, priority baggage drop-off, priority boarding, priority immigration and security checks, priority baggage delivery)
- discounts on Air France KLM seat options (and free standard seat selection)
- access to the possibility of booking a ticket for La Première
To maximize your chances of earning Experience Points (XP), you’ll need to be strategic and be prepared to make connections. That’s because every flight gives you XP… and international flights give you more.
For example, you could prioritize flights with WestJet or Delta Airlines to the United States. Or choose to transit via Amsterdam to go to France.
The Air France KLM Flying Blue frequent flyer program is worth knowing, especially since it is now easier to earn Flying Blue Miles thanks to the partnership with Membership Rewards. And who knows? Perhaps with this attention to Canada, a Flying Blue credit card will soon arrive in Canada?