Chase Ultimate Rewards Adds Flying Blue As New Transfer Partner

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Chase Ultimate Rewards® has announced Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM as its seventh airline transfer partner, bringing the total number of partners up to eleven. Flying Blue is the rewards program for Air France, based out of Paris, and KLM, out of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Both airlines are members of the SkyTeam Alliance so points will be redeemable across all SkyTeam partner airlines, and points will transfer to Flying Blue at a ratio of 1:1 from Ultimate Rewards in 1,000-point increments.

Flying Blue joins Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club as one of only three transfer partners with whom you can transfer points from all four big transferable currencies — Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Redeeming Flying Blue Awards

Flying Blue has four different classes of award tickets.

  • Promo Awards – Rotating special awards that change month to month.
  • Classic Awards – Regular awards available to all destinations on all partners.
  • Flex Awards – Available on select partners and allow for modification.
  • Round-the-World Awards – Bookable across multiple SkyTeam alliance airlines.
Award TypeClassic AwardPromo AwardFlex AwardRound-the-World Awards
Available To:All Flying Blue membersAll Flying Blue membersAll Flying Blue membersAll Flying Blue members
Number of Miles Required:depends on booking class and destinationup to 50% discountdepends on booking class and destinationdepends on booking class (Economy or Business Class)
Airlines Offering the Award:AIR FRANCE, KLM, and all partner airlinesAIR FRANCE, KLM, and some partner airlinesAIR FRANCE, KLM, Kenya Airways, and TAROMAIR FRANCE, KLM, and other SkyTeam airlines
Available Destinations:all destinationsregularly changing selection of destinationsall destinationsall SkyTeam airlines destinations
Changes/Fees:possible for a fee of €45not possible possible; no chargepossible for a fee of €45

You do not need to have points in your account to price awards. However, you will need to register for a Flying Blue account. Flying Blue, like Delta, doesn't have an award chart for the U.S. (they do have one for Europe), but they do have an award calculator; the downside is that the calculator doesn't show taxes and fees associated with the ticket. Around 50% of Flying Blue and its partner awards can be booked via the Air France or KLM websites including Delta, China, China Southern and Aeroméxico. For the other half, including Alaska and Japan Airlines, you will need to call the Flying Blue Service Centre to book award flights.

The Flying Blue award calculator will show miles required but not fees and taxes.
The Flying Blue award calculator will show miles required but not fees and taxes.

Does Flying Blue Charge A Fuel Surcharge On Award Flights?

Flying Blue does add fuel surcharges on some awards; they vary depending on the partner, origin, and destination. For example, surcharges are not added to awards for travel on Delta originating in North America. However, those surcharges can get expensive, regardless of carrier, depending on where your award originates and the class of service you travel.

Take a look at the difference in cash component required for a flight from New York/JFK to Paris/CDG and vice-versa. The number of miles required may or may not change (based on availability), but an increase in taxes/fees happens across the board for the flights originating in Paris compared to those originating in New York.

Flying Blue One-way Economy Class Award New York to Paris
Flying Blue One-way Economy Class Award New York to Paris
Flying Blue One-way Economy Class Award Paris To New York
Flying Blue One-way Economy Class Award Paris To New York

What Are The Advantages Of Flying Blue?

  1. Now that Flying Blue is a Chase Ultimate Rewards partner, you can use Ultimate Rewards points to top up an award if you don't quite have the points with another transfer partner, such as Citi ThankYou Rewards. If you collect points across a combination of transferable partners, Flying Blue is now another place to use the cumulative points.
  2. I love the Promo Awards. Award travel should not always be about getting to the place you want to go for the best possible value. Playing to the strengths of miles is also being in a position to act fast on a flight to somewhere new. Flying Blue has Promo Awards that offer up to 50% off Classic Awards; they rotate on a monthly basis to different cities and with limited award capacity is an excellent way to discover a new destination at an incredible value.
  3. Flying Blue has a few sweet spots due to the way they define regions. Hawaii to Mainland U.S. for 30,000 miles round-trip in economy class on Delta is up there as well as the U.S. to Israel for 50,000 in economy class with under $150 in taxes/fees depending on the airline and exact flight routing.
The Promo Award showing business class Boston - Europe at 25% off for 93,750 miles round-trip
The Promo Award showing business class Boston – Europe at 25% off for 93,750 miles round-trip

The Best Ways To Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards

The best way to maximize the earning power of Ultimate Rewards is a combination of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card where you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. Paired with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® that earns 1.5% cash back on everyday spend. You can then combine the points earned on both of these cards through your Chase.com account ensuring you won't have any orphaned points.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card currently has an offer where you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, and the Freedom Unlimited can land you 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent (after, earn 1.5% on all purchases).

Final Thoughts

The Chase Ultimate Rewards® program was already one of the best value programs out there, and the addition of Flying Blue is just another reason to invest in the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® as one of the backbone pairings in your rewards portfolio.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Adds Flying Blue As New Transfer Partner
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