Milecards

Advertiser Disclosure

Air France Flying Blue cheat sheet for using your miles

by on Mon April 11, 2016 • 8 Comments
Google+TwitterFacebookEmailLinkedIn
aifrance

If you’re new to Air France Flying Blue, or considering transferring your points to Flying Blue miles, here’s a rundown of all the options to use your miles for flights on Air France and dozens of partner airlines.

Airlines you can book and where to find award space

Air France Flying Blue lets you use your miles to book flights on Air France, KLM, and all SkyTeam partners, like Delta Air Lines and Alitalia. Flying Blue also has several non-SkyTeam partners like Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Copa, although ticketing on non-SkyTeam carriers requires a telephone call.

Below is a list of airlines you can book with Flying Blue miles and where you can check for award space. Those that aren’t available on AirFrance.us can be booked by calling Flying Blue on (800) 375 8723.

Check out Air France’s partner airlines in the chart or on the Flying Blue Website.

RegionAirlineWhere to check award space
AfricaAir MauritiusAir France Service Center
AfricaComairBritishairways.com
AfricaKenya AirwaysAirFrance.us
AsiaBangkok AirwaysAir France Service Center
AsiaChina AirlinesAirFrance.us
AsiaChina EasternAirFrance.us
AsiaChina SouthernAirFrance.us
AsiaGaruda IndonesiaAirFrance.us
AsiaJapan AirlinesBritishairways.com
AsiaKorean AirlinesAirFrance.us
AsiaMalaysia AirlinesBritishairways.com
AsiaVietnam AirlinesAirFrance.us
AsiaXiamen AirlinesAirFrance.us
EuropeAeroflotAirFrance.us
EuropeAir CorsicaAir France Service Center
EuropeAir EuropaAirFrance.us
EuropeAir FranceAirFrance.us
EuropeAlitaliaAirFrance.us
EuropeCzech AirlinesAirFrance.us
EuropeKLMAirFrance.us
EuropeTAROMAirFrance.us
EuropeUkraine International AirlinesAir France Service Center
EuropeTwin JetAir France Service Center
Middle EastMiddle East AirlinesAirFrance.us
Middle EastSaudia AirlinesAirFrance.us
North AmericaAeromexicoAirFrance.us
North AmericaAlaska AirlinesAA.com
North AmericaDelta AirlinesAirFrance.us
PacificAir CailinAirFrance.us
South AmericaAerolíneas ArgentinasAirfrance.us
South AmericaCopaUnited.com (displays Copa flights)
South AmericaGOL AirlinesDelta.com (displays Gol flights)
South AsiaJet AirwaysAir France Service Center

How much do awards cost?

Air France uses a four-tier system for its award flight pricing structure. These tiers are “Promo,” “Classic,” and “Flex” in addition to an “Around the World” offering. Prices are the same whether you choose an Air France flight or a partner flight, and you can use this calculator to check the price of an award.

One way awards are available for half the price of a roundtrip.

Classic awards book into X class for Economy (Voyageur) and O class for Business (Affaires) class.

You can see a chart of the Classic award prices by destination here.

Air France Classic Award prices from North America

(prices are one-way, a roundtrip is double)

DestinationEconomyBusiness
Europe 125,00062,500
Europe 225,00062,500
Europe 3 + North Africa25,00062,500
Middle East + Central Asia + Central Russia40,000100,000
North America, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Suriname12,50031,250
Central America, Caribbean, Hawaii, Bermuda15,00030,000
Africa 140,000100,000
Africa 2 (Southern + Indian Ocean)40,000100,000
India40,000100,000
Latin America 117,50043,750
Latin America 225,00062,500
Asia 1 (East Russia)40,000100,000
Asia 240,000100,000
Pacific 130,00075,000
Pacific 250,000125,000

Promo awards are offered at a discount of up to 50% of “Classic” pricing.

Promo offerings are limited to select destination pairs on certain dates, and can save you a lot of miles offer the lowest ‘Classic’ award prices. Examples include a 25% discount on Premium Economy awards between Europe and Osaka, Japan (originating either direction) or 25% off World Business Class award flights between Montreal, Canada and Europe.

You can see all of the current Promo Award options here.

Flex awards are typically require triple the miles of a Classic award.

Tip: First Class “La Premiere” and Flex Business Class redemptions are only available to Flying Blue elites.

Fuel surcharges by carrier. Some are quite modest at around $20 each way, while some are significantly higher at $200+ each way.

  • Delta itineraries originating from the US avoid a fuel surcharge, even when flying to Europe.
  • A one-way Air France flight New York – Paris incurs a fuel surcharge of $56 in Economy and $202 in Business. From New York to Johannesburg, South Africa, an Economy award would incur a fuel surcharge of $112 in Economy and $370 in Business.
  • On SkyTeam partner China Southern, the fuel surcharge New York to New Delhi, India via Guangzhou, China would incur $123 in fuel surcharges in either Economy or Business.
  • Intra-Europe surcharges are quite low. For example, Paris to Rome on Air France or Alitalia only incurs $13 in surcharges.

What are award change and booking fees?

  • Close-in booking fee: None
  • Change date: $70 Classic, $0 Flex
  • Change airlines: $70 Classic, $0 Flex
  • Change origin / destination cities: $70 Classic, $0 Flex
  • Cancel and redeposit miles: $70 Classic, $0 Flex
  • Phone booking fee: $0

Tip: Promo awards cannot be changed or refunded at all. Bookings are final.

When are award seats made available?

Air France allows awards to be booked at a maximum of 10 months in advance. Long haul tickets must also be purchased at least 24 hours before the flight departs.

Waitlists and options when you can’t find Classic awards

A waitlist on an award is not available, though availability is often generous closer to the date of departure.

What stopovers are allowed?

A single stopover is allowed on roundtrip tickets, and must be booked over the phone. This will thus incur the $22 phone booking fee, though some agents will waive it as stopovers can’t be booked online.

Only round-the-world itineraries are permitted additional stopovers – up to six.

An open jaw is permitted in the same region.

Can you hold an award seat?

Flying Blue does not permit award seats to be held.

What are the best award values?

Air France’s program has a few award value sweet spots.

  • North America to Europe. The option to go to Europe (generously defined) for 50,000 miles in Economy or 125,000 in Business. Air France’s definition of Europe includes Israel, Turkey, and North Africa. Combined with the lack of fuel surcharges on Delta flights, and some tempting redemption options are on the table. Overall award ability on Air France and its partners is typically quite generous, as well.
  • U.S. to Hawaii. As with a number of non-US programs, Hawaii is in an attractively priced geographical zone, which means that Air France is an option for a cheap redemption between Hawaii and the Mainland on partners Delta or Alaska Airlines.
  • Tahiti. It’s priced at only 60,000 miles roundtrip in Economy from North America, with Air France flying direct to Papeete from Los Angeles.

Can you upgrade with miles?

Air France’s allows Flying Blue members to upgrade Air France, KLM, Air Cailin, Kenya Airways, Delta, Aeroflot, Aeromexico, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Korean Air, Czech Airlines, and TAROM flights with miles.

Air France and KLM allow the following long haul Economy fare buckets to upgrade into Business (least miles to most): Y, B, M, U, K, H, L, and Q.

What does an upgrade cost?

Upgrading a hypothetical New York – Paris Y ticket to Business costs only 15,000 miles. Upgrading a Q class ticket requires 45,000 miles.

You can check actual upgrade rates using this calculator, or looking at this (not easy to read) PDF.

Tip: A typical Q fare, the cheapest available for upgrades, will cost $1,500 – $2,000 roundtrip for New York – Paris, compared to $1,000 – $1,500 roundtrip for the cheapest coach fares that don’t allow upgrades, so you’re essentially paying an extra $250 each way for the privilege of an upgrade.

New York to Johannesburg, South Africa would require 25,000 to upgrade a Y ticket to Business requires 25,000 miles, and a Q ticket 62,500 miles.

Premium Economy bookings offer dubious value. W and S fare buckets are eligible for upgrade, while the discount A bucket does not. When searching New York –Paris return in July, the upgrade-eligible S class was $200 more expensive each way than the discount Business class fare bucket.

Tip: First class upgrades are only available to program elites.

Alternative miles to book Air France flights

If you don’t have Flying Blue miles, best bets to book Air France flights are Alaska MileagePlan and Delta SkyMiles. Both programs allow for booking Air France inventory online, and neither dds fuel surcharges for Air France trips that start in the U.S.

Tip: Neither Alaska Mileage Plan nor Delta SkyMiles members have access to First Class/La Premiere inventory.

What hotel points can you transfer from?

  • Starwood Preferred Guest permits point transfers to Flying Blue at a ratio of 1:1. There is a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.
  • IHG Rewards transfers points at a rate of 10,000 points to 2,000 miles.
  • Hyatt’s Gold Passport rate is 1,250 points to 500 miles. If 50,000 points are converted in 20,000 miles, you’ll get a bonus of 5,000 additional miles.
  • Hilton’s HHonors program exchanges points to miles at a 10:1, with a minimum exchange of 20,000 points. Increased quantities can be exchanged in 10,000 point increments.
  • Marriott Rewards allows a conversion at various rates, with more favorable rates at higher exchange levels. 10,000 points can be converted for 1,500 miles (1:0.15) while 140,000 points will garner 35,000 miles (1:0.25).

What credit cards earn Flying Blue miles?

While Air France does not offer an Air France credit card in the United States, Citi Thank You points (if you hold a Citi ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card), American Express Membership Rewards points, which can be earned via many American Express cards, and most recently, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be exchanged 1:1 for Flying Blue miles.

Can you book awards for others?

Flying Blue members can book award flights for anyone, but beware that if you book flights for someone who is not flying with you, there may be additional fraud prevention steps, such as requiring you to appear at an airport ticket office to verify the purchase.

Can you transfer miles?

You can transfer up to 50,000 miles per transfer and a maximum of 250,000 miles per year. An account may receive a maximum of 250,000 transferred miles per year.

Transfers cost 3 Euros per 250 miles transferred.

Alternatively, you can gift up to 75,000 miles per year at a cost of 55 Euros per 2,000 miles gifted.

Tip: You can cancel and refund a gift or transfer purchase within 14 working days of the purchase if you change your mind, or for example, can’t find award seast.

Do Flying Blue miles expire?

Miles will expire after 20 months unless you take a qualifying flight (any Air France / KLM or partner flight that earns Flying Blue Miles), which then resets the clock on all your miles another 20 months.

Tip: Unlike many U.S. programs, simply earning or redeeming miles via a non-flight action won’t reset the clock. You must earn flight credit in your account to extend the expiration of your miles.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee, then $95

Annual Fee

$0

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

8 thoughts on Air France Flying Blue cheat sheet for using your miles

  1. Timothy Andrews

    Our Flying Blue miles expire on Nov 30, 2016. Can we book a flight before that date (ie on Nov 15) that actually flies after that date (ie Dec 10)?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @timothy – Unfortunately that won’t help with expiration. You need to complete a flight segment before the expiration.

      Reply
  2. Eyad kalaji

    I am a flying blue member , my level now is ivory , i need only one qualifying flight to become silver , i have 14/15 flights between us and europ .
    Does a delta flight from los angeles to new york count as a qualifying flight and passes me to silver ?

    Thanks

    Reply
  3. Scott

    I created a Flying Blue account several months ago and have never used it until today. I transfered 25,000 Citi Thank You points and within moments the points showed up in my Flying Blue account.

    I verified a 12.5k Delta award that had 2 seats available, and then started the process of purchasing it on the Flying Blue website.

    I can select my flight and it indicates 25,000 miles needed (2 passengers) and I have exactly 25,000 miles, but when I go to enter passenger info it comes back with “You do not have enough Miles to book an award ticket for this trip. Please change your request. You may also buy more Miles.”

    What gives?

    I can get to the Enter Passenger Info if I select 1 passenger (12,500 miles) but not 2 passengers (25,000).

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Scott – Very strange – best to get on the phone for that one. The site also has a habit of inflating some award prices.

      Reply
  4. JamaicanReefer

    Great summary. This is a tricky program. The reward flight first must be found (and maybe confirmed on a different search or with an agent it is not a ghost space), next miles transferred, next the flight booked. For miles flights in EU, I usually use BA and Iberia Avios but here are many regional airlines.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *