The Ultimate Guide To Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Flying Blue is the loyalty program for several different airlines, including Air France and KLM primarily, but also some of their smaller sister airlines, like HOP! and Joon. While none of these airlines widely serve the United States, US travelers and frequent flyers can still earn valuable Flying Blue miles via and for use with SkyTeam members, making Flying Blue a useful program to have in your back pocket. 

If you want to get a brief overview of how to make the Air France-KLM Flying Blue loyalty program work best for you, keep reading Simple Flying’s overview of all things Flying Blue. 

The Flying Blue Elite Status Program

Flying Blue’s elite status program allows you to earn more miles and receive more perks when you travel with any of the Flying Blue associated airlines. There are several different tiers: Explorer, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. You’re automatically enrolled in Explorer status when you first sign up for Flying Blue miles, but you can move your way up through the various tiers when you collect XP (or, Experience Points). You can gain XP on all eligible flights with Air France, KLM, Joon, HOP! and SkyTeam partners. 

Fly with Air France to earn Flying Blue Miles.
Fly with Air France to earn Flying Blue Miles. Photo: Air France

Moving up through the elite status tiers differs according to your current status:

  • As an Explorer, to earn Silver status, you must gain 100 XP. Then, you enjoy your new status for 15 months. 
  • As a Silver member, you have 12 months to gain enough XP to maintain or increase your status level. Gain 100 XP to maintain your status. Gain 180 XP to move up to Gold. You’ll maintain that status for 15 months. If you fail to do either, you’ll move back to Explorer. 
  • Gold members have 12 months to maintain or increase their level. Gain 180 XP to maintain Gold status. Gain 300 XP to move up to Platinum. If you fail to do either, you’ll revert to Silver status. 
  • Platinum members have 12 months to gain 300 XP to retain their Platinum status. If you fail to do so, you become a Gold member again. 

Explorer Status

With Explorer status, you automatically enjoy: 

  • An up to 10-Euro discount on your first paid checked baggage on Air France, KLM, and HOP! flights
  • Access to some Air France, KLM, and Delta Air Lines lounges for a fee, on international flights operated by a SkyTeam partner
  • 10 percent discount on Seat Plus, Duo Seat and front-of-cabin seat options
  • Free seat selection during check-in
  • 10 percent discount on Economy comfort, extra legroom, and preferred seating options
  • Option to use miles to book seats
  • Ability to upgrade your seat using miles
  • Option to upgrade last minute using miles
  • Ability to upgrade while onboard using miles
  • Special partner offers
  • Exclusive Flying Blue offers

Silver Status

With Silver status, you enjoy the above, plus: 

  • 1 extra checked baggage item on flights operated by Air France, KLM, Aircalin, Air Corsica, China Southern, HOP! and SkyTeam partners
  • SkyTeam Elite status
  • Priority check-in, baggage drop off, and boarding
  • 25 percent discount on Seat Plus, Duo Seat and front-of-cabin seat options
  • Free seat selection
  • 25 percent discount on Economy comfort, extra legroom, and preferred seating options
  • Free Delta Comfort+ seats on Delta Air Lines flights
  • Ability to upgrade to La Premiere class on Air France flights using miles
  • Exclusive booking service
  • Preferred waitlist and standby status
  • Earn 6 miles per Euro spent, a 50 percent elite bonus
  • Keep your miles for life
  • Keep surplus XP
  • Maintain Silver, Gold or Platinum status during a maternity leave

Gold Status

With Gold status, you receive the same, plus: 

  • Free lounge access for you +1 guest on international flights operated by Air France, KLM, China Southern Airlines and SkyTeam partners, additional guests for a fee
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus status
  • Priority immigration, security, ticket office, transfer desk, and baggage delivery service
  • Free transfers between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly
  • 50 percent discounts on Seat Plus, Duo Seat and front-of-cabin seat options
  • Free preferred seats
  • 50 percent discount on Economy comfort and extra legroom
  • Guaranteed seat in economy
  • Earn 7  miles per Euro spent, a 75 percent elite bonus

Platinum Status

With Platinum Status, you receive the above, plus:

  • Free Seat Plus, Duo Seat, front of cabin seat options
  • Pre-seating in Economy Comfort
  • Free Economy comfort and extra legroom options
  • Platinum service line
  • Earn 8 miles per Euro spent, a 100 percent elite bonus
  • Platinum for life after 10 years of maintaining status

Earning Flying Blue Miles

Earn Flying Blue miles with KLM
Earn Flying Blue miles with KLM. Photo KLM

There are many different ways that you can go about earning Flying Blue miles, such as:

Miles earned from flying

Flying Blue miles are earned depending on the amount you pay for your flight, excluding government taxes and fees. Miles earned per Euro spent depends on your Flying Blue status.

  • Explorer members receive 4 miles per Euro spent
  • Silver members receive 6 miles per Euro spent
  • Gold members receive 7 miles per Euro spent
  • Platinum members receive 8 miles per Euro spent

Miles earned via partner brands

Flying Blue miles earned via partner brands depends on distance, booking class, and your status. 

Partner airlines include:

AeroflotAerolineas ArgentinasAeromexicoAir CorsicaAir EuropaAir Mauritius
AlitaliaBangkok AirwaysChalair AviationChina AirlinesChina Southern airlinesCzech Airlines
Copa AirlinesChina EasternDelta Air LinesGaruda IndonesiaJet AirwaysGOL
Japan AirlinesKorean AirMalaysia AirlinesMiddle East AirlinesTAAGSaudi Arabian Airlines
Twin JetUkraine International AirlinesWestJetXiamen AirlinesVietnam AirlinesWijet

Flying Blue has fewer hotel partners. These include:

Le Club AccorHotelsHilton HonorsGolden Tulip Hotels
IHGRadissonTaj Hotels
YOTELMarriott BonvoyBest Western
HyattMy Boutique HotelShangri-la Hotels and Resorts
Worldhotels

You can also use booking.com to earn Flying Blue miles. 

Miles earned via credit cards

Flying Blue credit card

Flying Blue launched a new co-branded credit card late last year. The Air France-KLM World Elite Mastercard comes with a 25,000-bonus mile welcome offer when you make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months. There’s an $89 annual fee, but you earn 3 miles per $1 spent on Air France, KLM and SkyTeam flights, plus 1.5 miles for every $1 spent elsewhere.

You also receive 5,000 miles every year on your account anniversary (if you spend $50 on purchases that year). For those looking to make their way up the Flying Blue elite status ladder, you’ll receive 20 XP every year on account anniversary, and then an additional 40 XP if you spent $15,000 on the card that year. There are no foreign transaction fees. 

You can additionally transfer other credit card points and miles to your Flying Blue miles account. Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points, and American Express membership rewards points all transfer at a 1:1 ratio. 

Other co-branded American Express Flying Blue credit cards are available if you live in Europe. 

Redeeming your Flying Blue Miles

Flying Blue offers four different types of award flights. Promo awards are available each month to rotating destinations, and they offer savings up to 50 percent off regular award mile prices. FlexAwards are flexible flights, that allow for first-class bookings, and which can be changed at no cost to you. Classic award flights are more affordable than Flex Awards but not as affordable as Promo Awards. Round the World Awards allow you to plan an around-the-world itinerary, with both Flying Blue and SkyTeam airlines, for a maximum of six stopovers, three in the same continent. 

Delta Skyteam
Fly with Skyteam members, including Delta. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr

In addition to booking award flights, you can also use your Flying Blue miles for upgrades, hotel stays, online shopping, lounge access and more. 

You can redeem your miles with these partner airlines: 

AeroflotAerolineas ArgentinasAeromexicoAir CorsicaAir EuropaAir Mauritius
AlitaliaBangkok AirwaysChalair AviationChina AirlinesChina Southern airlinesCzech Airlines
Copa AirlinesChina EasternDelta Air LinesGaruda IndonesiaJet AirwaysGOL
Japan AirlinesKorean AirMalaysia AirlinesMiddle East AirlinesTAAGSaudi Arabian Airlines
Twin JetUkraine International AirlinesWestJetXiamen AirlinesVietnam AirlinesWijet

Final thoughts

Flying Blue can be a useful loyalty program for those who want to earn via a large number of global airline partners, and then potentially use miles with those same partners. Additionally, there are good transfer ratios in case you earn the majority of your points via Chase or Citi cards. With additional perks like the Round the World award tickets, Flying Blue is worth consideration. 

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