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Flying Blue — the shared loyalty program of Air France and KLM — has launched a promotion for buying miles through December 21, 2023. During this time, members can purchase miles with up to a 100% bonus. If maximized, Flying Blue members can grab miles for as little as 1.53¢ per mile.
A Note on Buying Miles
Before we look into some of the possible value, it's important to first recognize that buying miles should typically be a last resort. Loyalty programs tend to sell miles at a price point far higher than the redeemable value they can deliver. When there isn't a bonus or discount, you're better off saving your money and building your balance using other (cheaper) methods.
However, there are a few unique scenarios when buying points and miles can make sense. If you're just on the cusp of having enough miles for a sweet redemption, buying the remaining miles can be quick and easy. Moreover, if you have your heart set on a fancy premium cabin, buying enough miles for an award redemption is likely cheaper than paying the cash rate — as long as there's award availability.
Lastly, if you're struggling to meet a minimum spending requirement, buying miles can be a nice way to reach the target by investing in future travel.
Key Terms for Buying Flying Blue Miles
- The promotional 100% bonus offer is available for mileage purchases until 11:59 p.m. CET on December 21, 2023.
- The minimum purchase amount is 2,000 miles.
- Members must purchase at least 4,000 miles in one transaction to receive any bonus (50%).
- Buy at least 24,000 Flying Blue miles to get the maximum 100% bonus.
- Flying Blue elite members may receive a maximum of 300,000 bonus miles. Explorer (non-elite) members may receive up to 100,000 bonus miles.
- Flying Blue elite members can purchase an unlimited amount of miles throughout the calendar year. Explorer members can purchase up to a maximum of 100,000 miles per calendar year.
- Miles will be deposited within 72 hours of purchase.
- You may withdraw your full mileage purchase (no partial withdrawals) for any reason within 14 days of purchase.
- The full terms and conditions are available here.
Flying Blue sells miles in units of 2,000 at the cost of $63.40 — up to 10,000 miles. After that, each block of 2,000 miles costs $61.00.
Members targeted for this offer will get bonus miles on top of this base rate, with the cost depending on how many miles you buy. Here's how the tiers break down:
- 2,000 miles: No bonus (3.17¢ per mile)
- 4,000–10,000 miles: 50% bonus (2.03¢ per mile)
- 12,000–22,000 miles: 70% bonus (1.79¢ per mile)
- 24,000–100,000 miles: 100% bonus (1.53¢ per mile)
The terms say miles will be deposited within 72 hours of purchase. However, data points from AwardWallet users show that mileage purchases are processed immediately.
Opportunities When You Buy Flying Blue Miles
There are some excellent Flying Blue sweet spots. In addition to utilizing some unique geographical interpretations to determine award rates, the program also offers monthly award discounts called Flying Blue Promo Rewards for spontaneous getaways.
Let's look at a few examples where buying Flying Blue miles can save you money compared to paying a cash rate.
Detroit — Marrakech in Air France economy
- Mileage rate: 20,000 miles + $89.90 one-way
- Typical cash price: $647 one-way
- Redemption rate: 2.8¢ per mile
- Cost to purchase miles (at 1.53¢ per mile): $306 one-way or $612 round-trip
Los Angeles — Athens in Air France business class
- Mileage rate: 55,000 miles + $225 one-way
- Typical cash price: $3,349 one-way
- Redemption rate: 5.7¢ per mile
- Cost to purchase miles (at 1.53¢ per mile): $841.50 one-way or $1,683 round-trip
New York — London in Virgin Atlantic business class
- Mileage rate: 74,000 miles + $201.90 one-way
- Typical cash price: $3,332 one-way
- Redemption rate: 4.23¢ per mile
- Cost to purchase miles (at 1.53¢ per mile): $1,132.20 one-way
Los Angeles — Tel Aviv in Air France business class
- Mileage rate: 190,000 miles + $499.07 round-trip
- Typical cash price: $4,846 round-trip
- Redemption rate: 2.3¢ per mile
- Cost to purchase miles (at 1.53¢ per mile): $1,453.50 each way or $2,907 roundtrip
Los Angeles — Paris in Air France ‘La Premiere' first class
- Mileage rate: 137,000 miles + $201.90 one-way
- Typical cash price: $10,550 one-way
- Redemption rate: 7.55¢ per mile
- Cost to purchase miles (at 1.53¢ per mile): $2,096 one-way
To be fair, this example is more of a proof of concept than a viable option. Since Air France's “La Premiere” is said to be one of the world's best first-class experiences, we felt it was worth mentioning anyway.
To buy more than 100,000 Flying Blue miles in a year, you have to have Flying Blue elite status. Likewise, to book Air France's chic first-class product with miles, you need to have at least Flying Blue Platinum status.
Flying Blue elites can receive up to 300,000 bonus miles through this promotion. That means you can end up with a total of 600,000 miles, which is more than enough to book La Premiere first-class awards. Even with the 100% bonus, you'll still be required to pay a hefty sum for the award. Regardless, you'd still save thousands of dollars compared to paying the astronomical cash rate for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Notes on price comparisons
- We've based all of these examples on the minimum mileage required between these destinations. You can find this using the Flying Blue open date calculator.
- In some cases, we opted to compare one-way award prices to half the rate of a round-trip cash fare. This is because one-way cash fares are often much more expensive than round trips. Since we wanted to avoid using misleading cent-per-point values, the calculations are based on the more conservative price.
- Prices that are stated in euros have been converted to USD at the current time of the conversion level.
Buy Flying Blue Miles With the Right Card
Like many other loyalty programs, Flying Blue partners with Points.com to sell miles. As Points.com is a third party, the purchase won't code as ‘travel.' So instead of using one of the best cards for travel purchases, consider using:
- A credit card where you're working on a sign-up bonus. These are the best welcome offers available right now.
- A credit card with perks you can unlock from spending, such as hotel free night awards, hotel elite status, or airline elite status.
- Your best credit card for everyday spending, such as the Citi Double Cash® Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Other Ways to Earn Flying Blue Miles
Flying Blue is one of the few loyalty programs that partner with every major transferable currency. Consequently, Flying Blue miles are some of the easiest to accrue via credit card sign-up bonuses and spending in these programs:
Additionally, Flying Blue partners with Bank of America to offer a co-branded credit card. The Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard® currently offers a respectable 50,000-mile sign-up bonus after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening, as well as 1.5 miles per $1 spent on all other purchases.
While not a terrible offer, you may be better off sticking to cards that earn transferable bank currency. This would offer more flexible redemption options while also providing similar earning abilities.
Historically, the 100% bonus from Flying Blue is the best promotion the program has offered. But in June 2022, Flying Blue offered an excellent 120% bonus that dropped the price to just 1.39¢ per mile. Since then, Flying Blue has also increased the base mileage purchase rate. That means a 100% bonus isn't quite as good as it used to be.
Before buying miles, consider transferring points to Flying Blue first. Thankfully, Flying Blue miles are among the easiest to acquire without paying for them, thanks to abundant transfer partners. If you do want to buy Flying Blue miles to top off your balance right away, just keep in mind that this promotion will end on December 21, 2023, so make sure to have your flight plans figured out before then.
Are you buying Flying Blue miles for 1.53¢ each?
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