Big Changes to Flying Blue Effective June 1

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REMINDER: These changes kick in this Friday, June 1. If you had your eye on a Flying Blue award, check this post and/or the Flying Blue Calculator to see if you should book now or post-June 1. I have updated the pricing changes section since last publication to include more Flying Blue award chart sweetspots, and how those prices will fare come June 1. 

As of June 1, Flying Blue–loyalty program of Air France, KLM, Aircalin, Hop!, Joon, Kenya Airways, Tarom, and transavia–is changing the way awards are priced. They are doing away with award charts and instead pricing based on origin, destination, and travel date. To look up the price of an award, check this Flying Blue Calculator. Prices reflected in the  results are the new Saver level price for any award flights booked as of June 1, 2018, and later.

The way we can earn Flying Blue miles is also changing to reflect a shift towards an overall more revenue-based rewards program. Earning rates will be based not on the distance flown anymore but how much you spend. The way elite status is earned is changing as well.  These changes–mileage earning and elite status qualifications–are effective as of April 1, 2018.

Important Dates

  • APRIL 1: Mileage earning rates and the elite status qualifications change. Check out One Mile at a Time‘s post if you’re interested in that half of the equation. I’m not, so I’ll leave it to him.
  • JUNE 1: Redemption rates and award pricing structure change. You have until May 31, 2018, to book awards under the current pricing scheme for travel as far into the future as the search engine will allow you to book (11 months out).

I’ll outline what we know so far about the upcoming redemption changes so guys know whether to book before June 1 or after, because some awards are getting cheaper while some are increasing in price.

Pricing Changes

All prices mentioned below are minimum (Saver level) award prices. It’s important to realize that while Saver level prices are what we ideally book, that is not always the reality of what is available. We don’t know if Saver level seats at these lowest prices will be plentiful, and we don’t the extent to which the prices can increase–there are no max award prices given. Pricing will be dynamic (i.e. based on supply and demand, revenue based). In other words, the calculator will tell you the absolute least amount of miles you will pay for an award, but you’ll have to search for your travel dates to find out the reality of what the price is.

The positive side of this change is that every last seat will be bookable with miles on flights. The negative side is that there’s no cap as to how many miles that last seat might cost, as it will be determined by supply and demand.

Also, keep in mind that a minor amount of fuel surcharges are collected on Flying Blue awards flying any member airline in economy, and larger ones are collected when flying Business Class. This is not changing as far as I can tell.

Awards that will be cheaper as of June 1

  • Los Angeles to Morocco
    • One-way in Business changing from 62,500 to 58,000 Flying Blue miles
  • JFK to Morocco
    • One-way in economy changing from 25,000 to 21,500 Flying Blue miles
    • One-way in Business changing from 62,500 to 53,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Los Angeles and JFK to Tel Aviv
    • One-way in Business changing from 62,500 to 58,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Los Angeles to Copenhagen
    • One-way in economy changing from 25,000 to 21,500 Flying Blue miles
    • One-way in Business changing from 62,500 to 53,000 Flying Blue miles
  • New York to Paris
    • One-way in economy changing from 25,000 to 22,000 Flying Blue miles
    • One-way Business changing from 62,500 to 57,500 Flying Blue miles
  • Los Angeles to Frankfurt
    • One-way in economy changing from 25,000 to 22,500 Flying Blue miles
  • New York to Delhi
    • One-way in economy changing from 40,000 to 34,000 Flying Blue miles
  • New York to Delhi
    • One-way in economy changing from 40,000 to 34,000 Flying Blue miles
    • One-way in Business changing from 100,00 to 85,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Paris to Beijing
    • One-way in economy changing from 40,000 to 36,000 Flying Blue miles
    • One-way in Business changing from 100,000 to 90,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Within Europe
    • One-way in economy changing from 8,000 to 6,5000 Flying Blue miles

Awards that will be more expensive as of June 1

Book these awards by May 31 at the latest!

  • Los Angeles to Morocco
    • One-way in economy changing from 25,000 to 29,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, Israel
    • One-way in economy changing from 25,000 to 29,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Atlanta to Mexico City
    • One-way in economy changing from 12,500 to 14,500 Flying Blue miles
  • Los Angeles to Frankfurt
    • One-way in Business changing from 62,500 to 72,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Atlanta, Los Angeles to Honolulu
    • One-way in economy changing from 15,000 to 17,500 Flying Blue miles
  • Los Angeles to Amsterdam*
    • One-way in economy changing from 25,000 to 27,000 Flying Blue miles
    • One-way in Business changing from 62,500 miles to 67,500 Flying Blue miles

*Inside Flyer outlined all the pricing changes flying between Amsterdam and various cities around the world in economy and Business.

What’s happening to Promo Awards?

Some of the best uses of Flying Blue miles are on their rotating Promo Awards. Every month, Flying Blue releases a new list of Promo Awards, which allow travel from places around the globe to anywhere in Europe for typically 25% off the normal miles price. Flying Blue’s definition of Europe includes Israel and Morocco, so if you want to fly there and live in a Promo Award city, you’ve got a good deal on your hands.

The discounted Business Class price is normally 46,875 miles off the standard 62,500 miles price. The discounted economy class price is normally 18,750 miles off the standard 25,000 miles price.

We do not yet know what’s going to happen with Promo Awards in the wake of these changes. Promo awards will continue to exist in some capacity post-May 31, we’re just not sure how they will work yet. More on that to come.

Miles & Cash

The other major change coming June 1 which is has yet to be clarified is a new option to pay for awards with a combination of miles and cash. All we know is that up to 25% of the mileage cost will be coverable with cash. We don’t know how much they will charge for that portion, which will define how good of a deal it is.

Personal Thoughts on the Changes

I am not a fan of any loyalty program removing fixed prices. I prefer transparency. Without award charts, programs can make changes to award pricing without warning customers first. You could save up your miles just to find out that the price of the award you were building up your balance for had suddenly jumped in price. The same thing can happen in programs with award charts, but those programs almost aways give warning.

Flying Blue is dubbing these changes “Book it Your Way”. I think “Book it Our Way” would be a better way of putting it.

Is any of this news surprising? No. We’ve seen all three major legacy carriers in the United States make moves towards more revenue-based programs.

All that being said, the proof is in the pudding…the pudding being the award prices. And so far, more prices look to be dropping than rising. But again, those are the minimum Saver level prices. We won’t really know whats up until we can see a picture of award space availability and pricing post-May 31.

Also, some new Saver level award prices haven’t been defined yet that cannot currently be priced with the calculator. I hope this means Flying Blue just hasn’t updated the software and not that we won’t be able to redeem Flying Blue miles on awards that return a result like the following…

Bottom Line

Flying Blue is changing the way you earn miles flying, as well as elite status qualifications, as of April 1, 2018.

Flying Blue is also changing the way they will price awards as of June 1, 2018. Instead of fixed award prices, the pricing will be dynamic… based on origin, destination, and travel date. You can see the new Saver level award price between specific airports as of June 1 by inputting your origin and destination in their miles calculator.

Depending on where you want to travel between, so far it looks like many awards may be worth waiting until post-May 31 to book, as their Saver level price will drop. However there have been a few city pairs identified so far, listed above, that would be cheaper to book pre-pricing changes (by May 31).

Notice any other changes when you play around with the new miles calculator? Let us know in the comments so your fellow readers know whether to book pre- or post-May 31.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. 5K Cheaper ORD>CPT but now there’s like 8 good flts a day in April .But I’m sure that will change could be a slow route for them.
    CHEERs

  2. Now the ability to flexible search for award flights by month, is gone. Now you can only search one day at a time… this really blows.

    • Looks like you’re right. That does suck. I hope the ability will come back once the new award prices are loaded into their system June 1, maybe it is a temporary thing… will keep an eye on it.

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