A new pricing scheme kicked in for Air France/KLM Flying Blue award redemptions on June 1st. Figuring it out has been like trying to figure out the writing of Faulkner. But I’ve been able to make a few general observations.
Cheaper Awards in Some Cases
The most popular redemption I make for Award Expert clients using Flying Blue points is between the USA and Europe. In some cases, prices have dropped. Previously, saver rates were a flat 62,500 miles each way. Now, “saver” business class seats seem to range from 51K to 68K. That makes award redemptions to Europe even more valuable than before.
Remember, “Europe” includes Morocco and Israel for Flying Blue, a great way to get all the way to the Middle East or Northern Africa for cheap.
Odd Married Segment Logic
Flying Blue is doing exactly what I recently observed with Delta SkyMiles redemptions: what seems to be an odd use of married segment fare logic. Take for example the example above. What if you just wanted to travel as far as Paris?
Same day, same flight, 2K more. That’s just odd. There are other more draconian examples, but we see that on many routes around the world, including on partner flights.
The potential for hidden city or throw-away ticketing is excellent in the new program. Remember, however, that once you skip a segment all remaining segments are cancelled. You’ll never book a round-trip if you intend to skip part of the outbound journey. Checking luggage is also difficult.
Odd Married Segment Logic
This odd married segment logic is also a huge hindrance in some cases, like if you want to go to Paris and check bags in the example above. Check out these other examples:
JFK to Paris is 91,500 miles for a one-way in economy (ouch):
New York to Singapore via Paris? 8K miles less, same flight/same day from New York to Paris.
What about New York to London? That will set you back 150K, so almost double the price for the CDG-LHR segment:
How about from the West Coast?
San Francisco to Amsterdam is only 26K miles one-way on October 3rd:
But if you connect to London, the fare drops to 21,500 miles. Same flight to Amsterdam…
There’s just no sense to it from a redemption perspective (where married segment logic has traditionally been limited and unlike revenue tickets, the point is to limit liability, not entice passengers to take extra flights).
Perhaps you’ve heard about the great deal: Chicago to Paris for 22K r/t and even less with the current 25% transfer bonus from American Express to Flying Blue.
That’s great…if you want to go Paris. Traditionally, Flying Blue Promo Awards included a connecting flight to wherever you wished to go in Europe, subject of course to award availability. That’s gone now — the Promo awards will get you only to Pairs on Air France or Amsterdam on KLM. That’s a shame, though if the deal is good enough it still may make sense.
I’m still “learning” the ins and outs of the new Flying Blue program. As I unearth more tricks, I will certainly bring them to your attention.