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Everything you need to know about the Air France KLM Flying Blue Program

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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.

Earning Flying Blue Miles

With Credit Cards - Membership Rewards

The primary method of earning Flying Blue miles in Canada is through American Express Membership Rewards Cards. You can transfer your Membership Rewards into Flying Blue Miles at a ratio of 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 750 Flying Blue Miles.

programmes aériens partenaires american express fr

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

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
American Express Flying Bluecards

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
american express silver af american express gold af american express platinum af
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
Insurance Standard Optimal Maximum
Concierge service No No 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.

boa air france klm mastercard

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
air france klm World Elite mastercard
Bonus 25,000 to 50,000 miles
Annual fee $89
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
Insurance Optimal
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:

Status Earning
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:

Cabin Earning rate
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:

Cabin Earning rate
First 300 %
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.

With hotels

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 :

  • Booking.com
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Hilton Honors
  • Best Western Rewards
  • Radisson Hotel Group
  • Golden Tulip
  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards
  • Shangri-La
  • WorldHotels
  • YOTEL

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:

  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Enterprise
  • Europcar
  • Hertz
  • Sixt
  • Thrifty

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.

flying blue fr purchase portal
flying blue partners purchasing portal

For your first purchase on the portal, you can earn 500 Flying Blue Miles.

portal purchase flying blue first time en

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

For flights

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:

af flying blue yul cdg eco en

In Premium Economy from 44,500 miles and $224:

af flying blue yul cdg peco fr

And in business class from 53,000 miles and $348:

af flying blue yul cdg biz en

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.

Partner airlines

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
  • KLM
  • Aircalin
  • GOL
  • Japan Airlines
  • Kenya Airways
  • TAROM
  • WestJet
  • 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 Skyteam

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:

af flying blue yul yvr westjet en

For example, here is a cost for a one-way ticket from Montreal to Vancouver with WestJet for 14,500 miles and $42:

af flying blue yul yvr westjet en

For example, here is a cost for a one-way ticket from Montreal to Los Angeles with WestJet for 14,500 miles and $99:

af flying blue yul lax westjet en

For example, here is a cost for a one-way ticket from Montreal to Atlanta with Delta Airlines for 14,000 miles and $93:

af flying blue yul atl delta fr

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:

af flying blue yul hnl westjet fr
Westjet Rewards 787 1152x396 1

Promo Rewards

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.

Afa Yyz Cabines

Flying Blue Sweet Spots

Hawaii

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).

af flying blue yul hnl westjet fr

Mexico

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.

af flying blue yul cun westjet en

Israel

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:

af flying blue yul tlv air france fr

Polynesia

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:

af flying blue yul ppt air france fr

You might prefer this direct flight from Los Angeles to Papeete for only 25,500 miles and $87:

af flying blue lax ppt air france fr

Or that business class flight from Los Angeles to Papeete for only 64,000 miles and $279:

af flying blue lax ppt air france biz fr

South America

Or this flight between Montreal and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) which goes through Paris for 29,000 miles and $259:

af flying blue yul gig air france fr

Or this flight from Montreal to Buenos Aires (Argentina) via Amsterdam for 29,000 miles and $230:

af flying blue yul eze klm fr

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:

flying blue aep ush en

New Caledonia

Several other flights can be interesting, like the one between Tokyo and Noumea (New Caledonia) with Aircalin for 34,500 miles and $281:

af flying blue nrt nou air calin fr

Europe

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:

af flying blue cdg nce air france fr

Or between Paris and Athens (Greece) for 11,500 miles and $46:

af flying blue cdg ath air france

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.

flight connections aerolinas argentina

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:

flying blue aep ush en

For upgrades

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.

Afa Yyz Business
Air France - A350 - Classe Business

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:

Why not, for example, to try the Air France Lounge at Montreal-Trudeau (unless you already have a credit card giving you access to it like the Platinum Card®)!

Salon AF YUL R. Ultimate

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

Experience Points

To earn a Flying Blue Elite status, it is necessary to earn Experience Points (XP):

Status Experience Points
Explorer 0
Silver 100
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
Experience Points Domestic Medium
(less than 2,000 miles)
Long 1
(2,000 – 3,500 miles)
Long 2
(3,500 – 5,000 miles)
Long 3
(over 5,000 miles)
Economy 2 5 8 10 12
Premium Economy 4 10 16 20 24
Business 6 15 24 30 36
First 10 25 40 50 60

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.

flying blue cards status

The Benefits

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.

skyprioritypage alt x

Conclusion

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?

Cover photo: Thomas Arnoux

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