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FLYING BLUE: Program changes from 28 March – save if you wait, pay if you plan ahead

FLYING BLUE: Program changes from 28 March – save if you wait, pay if you plan ahead

The Frequent Flyer program of Air France and KLM (and Translava, Air Calin, Kenya Airways & Tarom) has announced some change for its members. The changes depend on your status with the program. The changes are at the margins but are worth noting.

Like many Frequent Flyer programs, you earn two kinds of points – one is loosely based on your spend being converted to miles (earn rate varies according to tier status), and the other are called Experience Points (XP). You can only earn XP’s by flying and the number you earn depends on the flight type and the cabin you are in. There’s a chart to help you calculate.

a group of people boarding an airplane

Changes by Tier

Explorer Members – the base level joining status, earning 4 Miles per Euro spent, now get a 10% discount on their first additional bag, instead of a flat €10 discount. Currently, you get a 10% discount on the first additional bag

Silver Members – the next membership tier now get a 25% discount on lounge access if they pre-book it up to the day before departure. Also paid seats – I presume they mean seats that cost extra to select, like non-middle seats, or more legroom – become free if selected on the day before departure. Mind you by then presumably they have mostly been snapped up. Previously, at this tier, members got a 25% on seat options, and some other benefits

Gold Members – Paid seats are free 3 days from departure (formerly there was a discount of 50% on seat options with no time restriction), and Economy Comfort are free when requested 3 days before departure, again instead of a discount.

Platinum Members – nothing new here. Still get free access to seat options with no time limit and extra checked baggage

Now, it is not clear from the email/release that each tier will retain its other benefits like lounge entry and priority check-in etc. We’ll have to wait until the end of March.

a man sitting in a chair with headphones on
Air France Business Class Boeing 777-300 [Air France]

Current Benefits

If you want to check on currently available benefits, then this is the link. The page will be updated with the new benefits when they start on 28 March 2023.

And to make the changes clearer . . .

For Gold and Silver members, your seat selection will be free if you wait until 72h/24h before departure time. However, if you want the guarantee your favourite seat – you will still need to pay before that 3 day deadline, and even then – there is no absolute guarantee

You will also find a complete list of FAQ’s covering seats, lounge access and luggage towards the bottom of this page.

a plane flying in the sky
Air Calin A320neo

2PAXfly Takeout

Yes, overall, I think this is a downgrade of benefits for Flying Blue members. However, there are some benefits for some passengers here. Most of the new benefits seem a little chimaerical – hoped for but illusory – especially the ‘free’ seat selection options. There is also some ambiguity about whether other previously available benefits not listed in the release will be retained or disappear.

Although nearly all the airlines in the Flying Blue Frequent Flyer program don’t fly to Australia, these changes may be important when commencing travel to and from or within Europe. Also, Air Calin does fly to Australia, mainly servicing former or current colonies of France like New Caledonia. Most Flying Blue airlines are also members of SkyTeam, so if membership in that alliance is important to you, so are these changes.

Oh, yes, and I am a member of the Flying Blue program at Explorer level.

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