Air France KLM Flying Blue Allowing Free Award Changes and Cancellation Within 24 Hours

I’ve never said “your mileage may vary” as much as I have about working with Air France KLM’s Flying Blue phone agents. You get different stories, different levels of understanding, and inconsistently-applied requirements.

In the past I have had to fax written authorization to book a domestic connection in coach on a business class award (they would have gladly booked the award without the coach connection, but if I wanted that coach flight included for free I had to fax my written permission for the downgrade). And I’ve been told that Africa awards had to be ticketed in person at the airport. Of course different agents, different requirements. (Hang up, call back.)

But there’s something new — a minor improvement worth noting — that’s come up in recent days dealing with them through my award booking service.

In recent days we’ve been told that you can modify or cancel an award within 24 hours without charge.

Here’s why this is worth knowing.

  • Air France won’t hold awards under most circumstances, but they are an instant transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards sometimes even with transfer bonuses).
  • They do add fuel surcharges to (most) awards where a paid ticket would include such a fee, but they also offer a substantially greater amount of award inventory on Air France flights than Delta has access to.
  • They regularly offer 50% off ‘promo’ awards where you can fly to and from a given city in the US (or elsewhere in the world) and anywhere in Europe.
  • One-way awards are available at half the cost of roundtrip.

The Flying Blue program isn’t one of my favorites, but their online booking system is reasonably good and they’ve at least reduced fuel surcharges compared to 18 months ago (though they’ve also increased point requirements). And anything they can do to improve the booking process is certainly welcome!

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, 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. I have booked a KLM FF ticket from AMS to NBO. I will be using a Delta FF ticket from USA to AMS. Are you saying I will be ticketed at AMS airport for KLM leg? Any concerns having 2 separate FF award tickets? Thks!

  2. Any idea which rewards program would be my best shot at redeeming for hotel stay in Jerusalem?

  3. I booked and used Skymiles for an AF business award round trip through CDG…everything was great until the pilot’s union decided to threaten a strike May 2014….that made for 5 days of uncertainty as my departure date came closer it got settled…then local French civil servants went on a one day strike 3 days before my departure, air traffic controllers did not show up and CDG was chaos…
    It was easy to book through Delta but the worries over the labor practices Air France / French workers will not be worth it to me in the future.

  4. Gary, I agree the fuel surcharges and inability to hold devalue the worth of AF tickets especially when traveling as a couple with limited miles. I finally went with United -paid one and used miles from Chase UR to go from SFO to CDG and back. I did have brief moment of insanity considering trying to use the Dallas or Houston promo flying blue to get there one way….

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