Air France KLM Flying Blue Improves Expiration Policy and Reminder How Not to Get Shut Down

Air France KLM Flying Blue — a surprisingly valuable, strategic frequent flyer program — is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

The three major drawbacks of the program, in my view, are:

  • Fuel surcharges, although they’re fairly modest on economy awards and awards to North Asia and South America have almost non-existent surcharges generally plus if you fly Delta originating in the US there aren’t any surcharges.

  • Propensity to shut down new accounts, if you open a new account, transfer points in, and redeem right away there’s a non-zero chance that the airline cancels your award and audits the account for fraud or requests that you go to an airport ticket counter to finalize your booking (inconvenient as can be if you don’t live in a city Air France serves). This had seemingly stopped for awhile but I’ve had several recent reader reports that it’s picked back up.

  • Strict mileage expiration rules, points expire after 20 months of inactivity and only crediting a flight to your Air France KLM Flying Blue account averts expiration.

Flying Blue has gotten a bit more generous on the expiration front, now allowing 24 months — instead of 20 months — before points expire. Crediting a flight remains the only way to extend points.

Previously, your Award Miles would expire after 20 months of inactivity, but from 15 March 2017 they’ll be valid for 2 years. This means you’ll now have more time to extend the validity of your Award Miles!

Here’s how your Award Miles will never expire:

  • Take a qualifying flight with AIR FRANCE, KLM, Aircalin, HOP!, Kenya Airways, TAROM, Transavia, Air Corsica or one of our SkyTeam partners at least every 2 years, or

  • Make a payment with your Flying Blue branded credit card* at least every 2 years.
  • I still wish they’d allow you to extend points with any account activity. Still this appears to be a customer-friendly improvement without a simultaneously cutback. Any win is worth celebrating.

    In the meantime if you want to avoid trouble opening a new account and having it audited, I recommend.

    1. Open an account now, even if you don’t think you need it. That way it isn’t brand new when you go to immediately redeem the points you transfer in.

    2. Consider calling to redeem by phone, rather than online, after you’ve transferred your points. Online bookings seem to have a greater likelihood of running into problems where they want you to ticket your award in person.

    Flying Blue offers much better award availability on Air France than you can access with Delta or Alaska miles, so can be a useful tool especially for business class awards between the West Coast and Europe.

    About Gary Leff

    Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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    1. […] Air France KLM Flying Blue Improves Expiration Policy. Well it is about time. I hate, I mean really hate programs like SAS Eurobonus that expire your points after a few years even when you fly their jets over and over. It makes keeping their points literately pointless. Happy KLM finally got with the times (the 1990’s?)! […]

    Comments

    1. The expiration rule is a real deal killer to me. Even if I never had an issue with it personally it is still this lingering worry in the back of my mind.

      The second negative to AF/KLM is that they allow Priority Passes into lounges which can result in being less exclusive and more crowded than normal. It just hurts the overall premium passenger experience if you pay good money for a business or first class seat then arrive at the lounge only to find it half full of domestic passengers coming and going.

    2. Aren’t all airline companies that use this miles/points system have an expiration rule? Just curious though, would registering to other flight company’s frequent flyer program be more beneficial or should I just stay loyal to this company if I’m already a member?

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