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How to upgrade Air France flights with miles

by on Mon May 15, 2017 • 1 Comment
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flyingblueseat

Air France Business Class isn’t the most luxurious in the world, but it is delivered with a style only Air France can offer, and with big Business Class cabins on its A380 and 777 aircraft, there are lots of opportunities to upgrade to a more comfortable seat if you have the right miles.

What miles you’ll need

You can upgrade Air France flights using Air France / KLM Flying Blue miles, and we’ll walk through that in this post.

You can also use Delta SkyMiles to upgrade Air France flights to and from the U.S.. You can only do it from Premium Economy fares, but it costs only 20,000 miles one way. 

If you don’t have any Flying Blue miles, you’re in luck because they are very easy to get.

Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Starwood Preferred Guest points can all be transferred to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers from American Express, Citi, and Chase are instant while transfers from Starwood will take a few days.

How much do upgrades cost?

Below we will go into detail about upgrade prices on a few popular regions, but Air France also has a calculator that shows all of the different upgrades available and their prices. If you already have specific flights in mind that you want to upgrade, look them up here. You’ll need to create a free Air France Flying Blue account to do the search and make sure you click ‘Show advanced options’ to select the booking class of your fare to get the right price.

flyingbluecalculator

If you don’t yet have specific flights in mind, check out the popular regions below to get an idea of how much your upgrade will cost. The highest prices are the upgrade price from the lowest fares Air France sells. 

Note that the price to upgrade is dependent on the fare class you booked. Prices will be shown as a range, but the exact price will depend on the fare class you have booked. You can look up the exact price for your upgrade using the calculator linked above.

Upgrade from Economy

Routes To Premium Economy To Business Class
North America – Europe 7,500 – 47,500 15,000 – 60,000
North America – Middle East 10,000 – 76,000 25,000 – 95,000
North America – India 10,000 – 78,000 25,000 – 96,000
North America – Southeast Asia 10,000 – 75,000 25,000 – 95,000
North America – South Africa 10,000 – 78,000 24,000 – 96,000
North America – North Africa 7,500 – 47,500 15,000 – 95,000
North America – Tahiti 7,500 – 56,000 15,000 – 72,000

Upgrade from Premium Economy

Routes To Business Class
North America – Europe 10,000 – 30,000
North America – Middle East 15,000 – 60,000
North America – India 15,000 – 50,000
North America – Southeast Asia 15,000 – 50,000
North America – South Africa 15,000 – 54,000
North America – North Africa 10,000 – 30,000
North America – Tahiti 10,000 – 40,000

Upgrade from Business Class

You can only upgrade from Business Class to First Class if you are a Flying Blue elite member.

Routes To First Class
North America – Paris 75,000
Middle East – Paris 60,000
North Africa – Paris 75,000
India – Paris 105,000
South Africa – Paris 90,000

The best deal tends to be upgrading the cheapest Premium Economy ‘A’ fare, which costs 30,000 miles each way for flights to and from Europe. When you book in advance these often cost about $1,500 roundtrip.

The price to upgrade the cheapest regular Economy fares isn’t a great deal because it often costs almost as many miles and as much cash as you’d pay for a straight up award ticket. For example, upgrading a cheap $600 ‘V’ fare from New York to Paris costs 120,000 miles roundtrip plus $300 in extra fees, which is about as much as an award ticket at 125,000 miles plus about $500 in fees.

Are fuel surcharges added to the upgrade price?

If you upgrade your Air France ticket you will be responsible for the difference in fuel surcharges.

On a flight from the U.S. to Europe, an upgrade from Economy to Business Class would result in a difference of about $150 in fuel surcharges each way.

What fares can you upgrade?

Air France doesn’t restrict you to only the highest fares in order to upgrade, but you will pay less miles for your upgrade if you booked a higher fare class initially. Here are the fare classes that are eligible for upgrades.

  • Economy – Y, B, M, U, K, H, L, Q, T, N, R, G, V, X, Q
  • Premium Economy – W, S, A
  • Business – J, C, D

If you are interested in upgrading from business to first class, you must also be a Flying Blue elite member.

What’s it like in Business Class?

Air France is really hit or miss depending on what business class product you get on the route you are flying. Their new business class seat has been pretty well received and is configured in reverse herringbone. Some aircrafts still have an angled flat business class seat which won’t be as desirable.

Other than the seat, you can expect a “comfort and well-being” kit that contains toiletries and Clarins skin care products, a duvet, and a hypoallergenic feather pillow. Each seat contains a power outlet so you can work on your flight and noise canceling headphones are provided for all business class passengers.

In terms of dining, you’ll be treated to dishes created by Michelin-starred chefs and a wine list that will have something for pairing with every dish. It’s also possible to reserve your meals in advance of your flight.

How to know upgrade space is available

The easiest way to see if upgrade space is available is by checking Expert Flyer. Expert Flyer is not free, so if you don’t want to spend the money to check on your own, you can also call Air France on 1-800-237-2747 and have an agent check the space for you for free.

Upgrade space comes from the same space used for the cheapest ‘Classic’ award tickets, so you can also do a search for an award ticket on the Air France site to get a sense of whether an upgrade will be available. But the most reliable thing is to give Air France a call on 1-800-237-2747.

If you are using Expert Flyer, in order to upgrade to Business Class, you will want to look for ‘O’ space. Upgrades to Premium Economy require ‘A’ space. Upgrades to First Class require ‘F’ space, but can only be booked if you are an elite member with Air France. Additionally, if you are an elite member and are interested in upgrading to Business Class, you can also upgrade if ‘Z’ space is available.

flyingblueexpertflyer

Can you waitlist if no upgrades are available?

If no upgrades are available, you can’t waitlist for one when it does become available. You’ll have to keep checking back or set an alert on Expert Flyer to see if an upgrade becomes available.

Do upgrades get lounge access?

If you upgrade your ticket to Business Class you will be granted lounge access.

How to book the upgrade

Upgrade awards can be requested until 24 hours before your flight. The easiest way to request your upgrade is by contacting Air France at 1-800-237-2747.

It is also possible to arrange an upgrade, providing that space is available, at the airport prior to your flight. Upgrading once onboard is also possible.

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