Air France-KLM Flying Blue Award Chart Changes: Reduced Fuel Surcharges + 25% to 33% Rise In Miles Required For Premium Economy, Business And First Class Awards

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Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue is reducing fuel surcharges it charges for economy awards and charges only the long haul fuel surcharge for premium economy, business and first class awards that include connections. You can read more about this on Flying Blue’s website here.

Edit Apr 25: The current and the new award charts are available on my post here.

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There is no change in number of miles required for base level economy awards. There is, however, rise of 25% to 33% in number of miles required for premium economy, business and first class awards.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue Promo Awards (50% Discount) Are Out For May – June 2013

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Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue program releases a list of promotional destinations every couple of months that are redeemable for half the usual number of miles. They just announced the latest list of destinations that are bookable from April 29 (earlier for Flying Blue elites) for travel between May 1 and June 30, 2013, that you can access here.

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Thing to note is that you can book these also as one-way.  These are not only for originating from Europe as all the destinations are valid for both directions.  Awards allow the origin/destination in Europe to be in zones 1, 2, and 3, basically meaning that these awards are valid from/to anywhere in Europe.

Flying Blue Avis Accumulator Is Back For 2013 – Earn Up To 50K Bonus Miles

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Flying Blue Avis Accumulator is back for 2013. You can earn total of 50K bonus miles for 6 rentals of 3 days or longer between April 1 and December 31, 2013.

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You have to follow the rules of this promotion very carefully in order to get the miles and make absolute sure that you save all the receipts. You may have to contact Avis or Flying Blue (or very likely both) after the promotion period is over to get the miles posted.

Get Your 6 to 12 Months Regus Businessworld Gold Membership For Free

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Just last week, I visited one of the Regus locations in Bangkok and wrote a piece about it that you can access here. Regus offers temporarily office space in 95 countries and has more than 1500 locations. I have received Regus Businessworld Gold offer few times for being an elite member with airline frequent flier program, but that is not a requirement to get this access for free, however.

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I just used Google and searched the airlines that offer complimentary Businessworld Gold membership for their frequent fliers. You can get 6 months free membership via Enrich (not even required to join the program) and 12 months free via Lufthansa’s Miles & More (need membership number).

Air France-KLM Flying Blue Gold Nordic Country Status Matches Processed?

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Seems that Flying Blue took its time (7 weeks) to process the status match from SAS Eurobonus Gold to their Gold. Some of these matches were processed already a while ago, but my online status just changed yesterday.

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When you have a look at your account statement, it shows that you are an “invited” Gold. I have never credited anything to my Flying Blue account, so all the counters are at zero.

Taxes & Fees (Fuel Surcharges Really) On Flying Blue Awards

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Taxes & fees can be really high on awards that are issued using miles from frequent flier programs that charge the fuel surcharges as part of the taxes & fees on award tickets. You can read my take why airlines love fuel surcharges here.

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LoyaltyLobby reader sent me the following email few days ago:

Air France-KLM Flying Blue Promo Awards (50% Discount) Are Out For March – April 2013

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Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue program releases a list of promotional destinations every couple of months that are redeemable for half the usual number of miles. They just announced the latest list of destinations that are bookable from February 27 (earlier for Flying Blue elites) that you can access here.

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Thing to note is that you can book these also as one way.  These are not only for originating from Europe as all the destinations are valid for both directions.  Awards allow the origin/destination in Europe to be in zones 1, 2, and 3, basically meaning that these awards are valid from/to anywhere in Europe.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue Gold Nordic Country Status Matches Slowly Being Processed

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Air France-KLM made a very good status match offer for residents (and other countries as well by a mistake) of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, for an instant Gold status on their Flying Blue program. This offer was launched on January 22, 2013.

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They shortly after releasing the offer changed the terms and conditions to only offer this match to residents of the four countries mentioned above. A week later, the entire offer was withdrawn that was supposed to be valid until late spring.

KLM Reduces (Partially Eliminates) Free Checked Bag From European Routes

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The ancillary revenue streams are becoming more important for the airlines. Most of the network carriers in the United States now charge for checked bag (no charge for elites) and this seems to spreading now to Europe as well. You can read more about these changes on KLM’s web site here.

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KLM is part of the Air France-KLM Group. Air France just announced their new shorthaul carrier Hop! that also charges for checked bag.

Air France-KLM Discontinues Flying Blue Gold Nordic Status Match Campaign

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Seems that Air France-KLM were overwhelmed about the success of the status match campaign that they were offering in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. I wrote about this status match offer on January 22, 2013.

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This promotion was originally supposed to be valid until end of May, but was later changed to end of February. Now, it has been entirely discontinued.

HOP! Air France’s New Regional/Mid-Haul Airline

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Air France is consolidating its three regional carriers starting in March under the “HOP!” brand. Air France will continue to operate its own short and mediumhaul network feeding the long haul operations at the Charles de Gaulle hub, routes that have high portion of business travelers, and flights from regional bases in Marseille, Toulouse, and Nice.

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HOP! Route structure

Air France-KLM Flying Blue Gold Status Match Campaign

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These status match offers from number of airlines come and go yearly. Last year, I took advantage of status match offers from Alaska, Etihad and SAS. They can come handy for extra miles, lounge access, and for matching with other airlines.

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Now, Air France-KLM has a status match campaign for Flying Blue Gold status from any alliance. Airlines don’t normally match within an alliance, but this would indicate matching from other SkyTeam airlines as well.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue Promo Awards (50% Discount) Are Out For January – March 2013

Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue program releases a list of promotional destinations every couple of months that are redeemable for half the usual number of miles. They just announced the latest list of destinations that are bookable from December 30, 2012 (earlier for Flying Blue elites) that you can access here.

Thing to note is that you can book these also as one way.  These are not only for originating from Europe as all the destinations are valid for both directions.  Awards allow the origin/destination in Europe to be in zones 1, 2, and 3, basically meaning that these awards are valid from/to anywhere in Europe.

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Note that zone 3 includes countries in North Africa + Israel:

Europe 1
Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg

Europe 2
Austria, Balearic Islands ,Finland, Denmark, Italy, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain , Sweden

Europe 3
Albania, Algeria, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Canary Islands, Croatia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Libya, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, Poland, Romania, West Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine.

Thing to remember is that Flying Blue charges rather hefty taxes and fees for award tickets. The fees are mainly fuel surcharges (YQ) that they collect. As a result, it rarely makes sense to redeem for an economy class ticket. Also, there are no changes or cancelations of any kind allowed on promo tickets. You either use it or lose it.

You can sign up for the Flying Blue account and have a look at the availability. I would suggest first trying to find availability for the long haul flights and work the connecting fights, if needed, separately.

Conclusion

These promo awards can make lot of sense if you have Flying Blue miles in your account and are looking for one way or business class award. The fuel surcharges are rather high on the long-haul awards.

Here are the terms and conditions of these promo awards:

  • Reservations must be made exclusively on www.airfrance.com or www.klm.com (except for bookings for children, infants and minors, who are not authorised to book an award on the website).

  • In the event that a technical problem occurs when reserving the promotional fare or if the reservation cannot be finalised, the Flying Blue member must log on to the site and repeat the procedure.

  • This award ticket may be used on connecting flights within Europe and on connecting flights from Europe to long-haul flights and vice-versa.

  • These promotional Promo Award@ may not be modified, cancelled or refunded.

  • Promo Award@ are available for one-way tickets and round trips.

  • Discounts (SkyTeam scale applicable) apply to the award ticket price only (SkyTeam scale is valid). Applicable taxes and fees are paid by the Flying Blue member.

  • Flex Award are not included in the Promo Award@ offer.

  • Business Elite and Economy Elite bookings are available exclusively to Flying Blue Elite members (Platinum, Gold and Silver). These Elite travel classes provide extra award seats on routes to the United States, the Carribean and Indian Ocean, Africa and Asia.

Delta Buys Singapore Airlines’ Share of Virgin Atlantic

There have been rumors around for some time that Delta was in discussion with Singapore Airlines to buy its share of Virgin Atlantic. Today, the deal was announced. Delta is buying the 49% share of Virgin Atlantic for $360 million. Singapore Airlines paid $968 million for its share of Virgin Atlantic back in 1998.

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The deal is expected to close at the end of 2013 after US and European Union competition regulators have reviewed the deal.  The airlines are planning to form a transatlantic joint venture for flights between the United Kingdom. Most likely nothing is going to happen interim to the frequent flyer programs of both airlines.

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There has also been speculation on the UK press that Air France-KLM would buy part of the 51% share that Sir Richard Branson owns/controls.

Sir Richard has also been very vocal lately that the airline is likely to join an alliance soon. If this purchase by Delta goes through and Air France-KLM buys part of the share owned by Sir Richard, it is very unlikely that the alliance of choice would be anything else than SkyTeam.

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Currently, Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club doesn’t have a single SkyTeam airline on its partner folio. It has seven Star Alliance carriers (Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, SAS, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways & US Airways) and one Oneworld carrier Malaysia Airlines (joining Oneworld in February of 2013).

Conclusion

From my personal perspective, I would rather see Virgin Atlantic joining Star Alliance than SkyTeam that I consider being a tertiary alliance compared to Star and Oneworld.

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