Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program of KLM and partner Air France and may be a good option for regular travellers based in the Netherlands.
The following article is an overview of the Flying Blue program – we will look at partners, earning and redeeming miles, status privileges and credit cards.
KLM is the Dutch national airline, now part of the Air France-KLM group. It is based at Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) airport and has excellent connections to UK and Europe and a wide international network which includes North and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Some destinations may require a connection through Paris with Air France.
Air France-KLM and Skyteam partners
Air France-KLM is part of the SkyTeam alliance with the following members:
Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Air Europa, Air France, China Airlines, China Eastern, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, ITA Airways, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, MEA, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Xiamen Air.
* Aeroflot is temporarily suspended from Skyteam
KLM also codeshare partners Air Astana, Air Baltic, Air Malta, Air Serbia, Bangkok Airways, Belavia, Bulgaria Air, China Southern, Copa Airlines, Etihad Airways, Georgian Airways, GOL, Malaysia Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Transavia, Westjet and Widerøe Airlines.
Flying Blue also has partners JAL and Qantas which are actually in the Oneworld alliance.
Flying Blue is also the frequent flyer program of Transavia, Aircalin, Kenya Airways and TAROM. Flying Blue has more than 20 million members in its program.
It’s free to join the Flying Blue program
Earning Flying Blue Miles
Flying Blue is a revenue based program. This means you will earn Miles corresponding to the amount you spend on Air France-KLM. The number of miles earned depends upon your status level (see below) in the program.
- Explorer (basic level members) earn 4 miles for each euro spent
- Silver members earn 6 miles for each euro spent
- Gold members earn 7 miles for each euro spent
- Platinum members earn 8 miles for each euro spent
Note, that only base fares and carrier charges earn miles, taxes do not.
For flying on other Skyteam partners, the amount of miles earned still depends on distance flown and the booking class of the ticket.
For those at the Explorer level, Flying Blue Miles will expire after 2 years if there is no activity on your account. To preserve your miles you should take a flight on Air France-KLM or one of its Skyteam partners or use one of the co-branded Flying Blue credit cards.
This ‘Overall Extending Activity’ will extend the validity of all your miles by another 2 years.
It is also possible to earn miles from other partners (hotels, car rental etc) – this is regarded as a ‘Partial Extending Activity’. This means only new miles earned after the last ‘Overall Extending Activity’ shall be extended, the rest will expire.
Hotel booking partners which earn Flying Blue Miles per stay include: Accor, booking.com, Marriott Bonvoy, Best Western, Hyatt, IHG, Shangri-La and Worldhotels. It is also possible to transfer hotel loyalty points into Flying Blue Miles.
The Flying Blue shop for Miles online store allows you to earn miles from online retailers such as bol.com, Coolblue, H&M and Media Markt.
It is also possible to purchase Flying Blue miles directly.
Redeeming Miles for Flights
To book flights using miles on Air France, KLM and Transavia you now need to check the Flying Blue reward price calculator. The number of miles required for an award flight is variable and linked to the actual cost of the ticket. There is no longer a published Flying Blue award chart.
Examples of one-way award flight starting costs (in miles) are as follows:
You would have to pay the taxes and surcharges on top, typically from €200 for long-haul.
For those without enough miles there is a Miles & Cash option where you can pay up to 25% of the miles using cash.
Changes or cancellation to booked Flying Blue award flights are permitted for a €50 fee.
Watch for occasional Promo Awards to selected destinations which offer 20-50% mileage discounts on reward flights.
Flying Blue award flights open up 360 days in advance.
Flying Blue Status (XP)
Flying Blue also has status levels (as mentioned) which are based on XP (Experience Points) gained. You will earn XP each time you fly on Air France-KLM or Skyteam partners. The number of XP depends on cabin and distance flown. This is the XP earning chart published by Flying Blue:
You can see that premium economy earns 2x more XP than an economy flight; business class earns 3x XP and first class earns 5x XP.
An Amsterdam-London flight would earn 5 XP in economy and 15 XP in business. An Amsterdam-New York flight earns 10 XP in economy and 30 XP in business.
When you join Flying Blue you start at Explorer level.
To reach Flying Blue Silver level you require 100 XP within 12 months. On reaching Silver your XP total is reset and you have a new 12 month period to either maintain the level (100 XP) or reach Flying Blue Gold (180 XP) – otherwise you will be downgraded back to Explorer.
On reaching Gold your XP total is reset by 180 and you have 12 months to maintain status (180 XP) or reach Flying Blue Platinum (300 XP) – otherwise you will be downgraded back to Silver.
Any surplus XP to a maximum of 300XP above the 300XP Platinum qualifying level can be rolled over to the next period.
Status offers the following benefits:
Explorer (non-elite) members only get a €10 discount on additional baggage and 10% off extra legroom seats.
Silver level benefits include priority check-in and boarding, an extra item of checked baggage, free standard seat assignment and 25% off extra legroom seats. Silver is SkyTeam Elite.
Gold level members get priority check-in and boarding, an extra item of checked baggage, free lounge access, free standard seat assignment and 50% off extra legroom seats. Can redeem first class tickets. Gold is SkyTeam Elite Plus.
Platinum members get priority check-in and boarding, an extra item of checked baggage, free lounge access (with guest) and free preferred seating assignment. Can redeem first class tickets. Platinum is SkyTeam Elite Plus.
Lifetime Platinum status is granted after 10 consecutive years of Platinum membership.
Lounge Access at Amsterdam Schiphol
KLM has 2 Crown Lounges at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Whilst Flying Blue Gold and Platinum get free access it is also possible for any Air France-KLM passengers to purchase lounge access. This costs €65 for Intercontinental Lounge 52 and €50 for Lounge 25. Explorer members get a 10% discount, Silver members get a 25% discount.
For a detailed overview see Airline Lounges at Amsterdam Schiphol airport
Flying Blue Credit Cards in the Netherlands
To maximise Flying Blue mileage earnings Dutch residents could consider applying for one of the Flying Blue American Express Cards below:
|American Express Flying Blue Platinum Card
|American Express Flying Blue Gold Card
|American Express Flying Blue Silver Card
|€660 per year
|€198 per year
|€75 per year
|FREE first year
|10,000 bonus Miles
|5,000 bonus Miles
|2,500 bonus Miles
|1.5 Miles per €1
|1 Mile per €1
|0.8 Mile per €1
Flying Blue is also a partner for American Express Membership Rewards. This means Membership Rewards card holders in the Netherlands can transfer their points into Flying Blue miles to book flights, particularly effective if promos awards are available. The transfer rate is 5 membership reward points to 4 Flying Blue miles.
For a comprehensive review please see American Express Cards in the Netherlands – A Complete Guide
Transfers to Flying Blue Miles with Other Cards (UK/US)
American Express card holders with UK-issued Membership Rewards cards can transfer points into Flying Blue. Transfers are at a 1:1 ratio and take about 4 days with 500 points as the minimum transfer.
American Express card holders with US-issued Membership Rewards cards can transfer points into Flying Blue at a 1:1 rate. Transfers take 48 hours with 1,000 points as the minimum transfer.
Flying Blue is also a transfer partner in the US to various cards from Chase Sapphire (Chase Ultimate Rewards Points), Capital One (Capital One Points), Citi (Citi ThankYou Rewards Points) and Wells Fargo (Bilt Rewards).
Alternative Frequent Flyer options for Netherlands-based individuals
British Airways Executive Club – BA has an excellent global network via the Oneworld alliance although you would generally need to travel via London. BA members collect ‘Avios’ points. Avios fares are calculated based on the price of the ticket and your level in the program (6-9 Avios per £GBP spent).
Redemption rates start at 9,250 Avios for a one-way economy flight under 650 miles – which includes London-Amsterdam flights. This Avios rate can be lowered by paying a higher cash component.
Other Oneworld carriers at Amsterdam are American Airlines, Iberia, Finnair, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc and Royal Jordanian.
Miles & More from the Lufthansa group (which also includes Austrian and Swiss) is part of the extensive Star Alliance. You would need to fly via one of the hubs such as Frankfurt, Munich or Vienna.
Like Flying Blue, earning miles on the lowest fares is difficult and fuel surcharges can be high on redemptions. If you are after easier status in Star Alliance then consider Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles or Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus.
Emirates Skywards is is the frequent flyer program of Gulf heavyweight Emirates which flies up to twice daily from Amsterdam to its Dubai hub – which includes a daily service by Airbus A380.
Emirates has a significant international route network including the Middle-East, Asia, Africa and Australia/NZ. Emirates is not part of a major alliance but partners include Qantas, Easyjet and Alaska Airlines.
This article was originally published in 2010. Last updated 7 December 2023. Note, information is subject to change.
Links on AmsterdamTips.com may pay us an affiliate commission.