Big Changes Coming to Flying Blue Award Program

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Flying Blue is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs because it has a number of different sweet spots that you can utilize on SkyTeam partner airlines like Delta and its a transfer partner of the big three programs: Chase, Amex, and Citi. This makes racking up Flying Blue miles very easy and those sweet spots very obtainable.

Dynamic pricing on the way

Despite all of the positive for the Flying Blue program, there are some big changes coming to Flying Blue that could change everything I love about the program’s sweet spots. It appears that as of April 1, 2018, Flying Blue will be converting from a region-based award chart to a dynamic currency.  

New revenue-based program

This new changes comes with a number of other changes to the program as it undergoes a complete overhaul. The new program will be a revenue-based system where you earn miles per Euro spent. Passengers will earn €4 to €8 depending on their status. And the tier structure for climbing the status ladder will be re-done. Customers will receive XP (short for “experience points”) based on the type of flight (domestic, long-haul, etc.) and on the cabin being flown (Silver tier will require 100 XP, Gold 180 XP, and Platinum 300 XP).

Award travel affected

There are a few other changes happening to the program but I’m mostly concerned with how award travel is affected via redemptions. It looks like the new Flying Blue awards will have the amount needed for awards “based on origin, destination and flight date.” In other words, it looks like dynamic pricing will replace the current award charts. 

As much as I despise dynamic pricing and the lack of transparency that often comes with it, I honestly believe that the majority of frequent flyer programs are already in a slow march toward that direction. I think it’s only a matter of time before more and more programs offer some form of dynamic pricing and it’s one of the reasons I’ve aggressively sought out outsized value on business class and first class awards because five years from now, those awards might be much less obtainable.

But the big question here is how will this dynamic pricing work in the real world? Nobody seems to know any real details about it yet. It could be closer to the way Delta’s system operates or miles could be directly tied to a dollar value like Southwest and JetBlue. As of yet we have no idea what to expect when it comes to new award prices and that’s a bit unsettling.

This type of dynamic pricing will mean more awards available to the public since you’ll be able to book any available seat (on Flying Blue airlines like KLM, Air France, etc.). There will also be a new miles + cash option where you can pay for up to 25% of your award with cash. Also, it appears that the monthly promo awards will continue with the new program as well.

Final word

Overall, I see this new pricing system eventually paralleling what Delta has done. It’s a pain to deal with dynamic pricing because you never know what to expect with the pricing but occasionally you do come across a decent deal. Hopefully, Flying Blue will make a push for transparency with the new changes and we’ll see them keep prices in check but something tells me not to expect much.

Cover Photo by Can Pac Swire via Flickr.

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