Reader Question: Air France-KLM Flying Blue Changes Earning Changes Very Negative – Where To Move Business?

A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email about Air France-KLM Flying Blue earnings and elite qualification changes that will come to effect on April 1, 2018, and how they will affect his ability to earn miles.

Reader Question Flying Blue Changes

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Here’s the email from the reader:

As we approach the switchover date for FB I took a look at some of my future bookings to judge the return I would get. Because I book well in advance to make sure I have my trips organised and diarised I feel I am going to be badly hit by the changes.

I attach a copy of a booking confirmation for an 8 May flight to Beijing (AF Premium Economy).

You will see when originally booked I was to receive over 23k award miles (not bothered by Level Miles as I am Platinum for Life); and looking today at the booking under the new system gives me a pitiful 6580 miles – just 28% of the original amount offered.

I am in a quandary as access to Sky Priority and the lounges is a great bonus for me when travelling such a lot and I don’t really want to start afresh but I feel I will have to do so based on such meager returns. I believe that other Skyteam members are currently remaining with the distance based return so travelling with CZ/MU/CI/KE/GA might be an option in the short term, but in the longer term a switch to LH or BA and their respective programmes might be the best option, despite the initial status hit.

Here’s the earning change part of the docs that he forwarded:

Reader Question Flying Blue Changes Calculation

Flying Blue made an announcement about earning changes to its program that will also affect how status is earned. There are no longer status miles but something called “Experience Points” but this change will not affect the reader as he has lifetime Platinum status with the program.

As the screen crab above illustrates, you will earn a lot less award miles likely on most itineraries compared to previous system when these were based on the fare class and miles flown. The only winners are those flying on very expensive short/medium-haul or long-haul flights.

Even members flying on premium economy or discount business class long-haul flights will likely earn a lot less.

As the reader correctly points out, this change will only affect flights that are on Air France and KLM metal because airlines don’t have easy access to dare information when on partner flights and/or tickets.

Lufthansa has already moved to awarding award miles based on miles flown and thus it is not an option for the reader if he would like to continue gets the award miles based on the distance. BA is rumored to be moving something else but nothing is confirmed at this point. Maybe they move or perhaps not. We should learn something soon.

Reader could continue fly on other SkyTeam airlines and to credit their flights to Flying Blue and perhaps credit Air France and KLM flights to an alternate program such as SkyMiles?

Reader can always use his SkyTeam Elite Plus benefits based on the Air France – KLM status regardless where the miles are going.


Most members will earn a lot less under these revenue based systems compared to miles flown. As I said above, only fliers on expensive tickets will earn move. Even business class tickets especially on long-haul will earn a lot less.

There are unintended consequences such as flying on partner codeshares and/or credit these flights to other programs to get around these limitations while taking advantage of the possible elite benefits.

I have lifetime status with both Oneworld and Star Alliance but not with SkyTeam.