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Flying Blue, the joint loyalty program of Air France and KLM, added a free stopover benefit on award tickets in late 2022, and that benefit has been extended to include partner award flights. Originally, you could only add stopovers to flights operated by Air France and KLM, but this perk now applies to partner airlines. Here are the positives and some quirks about this expanded benefit.
Here's what we know so far about this exciting development.
What is a Stopover?
If you're not familiar with stopovers, you may want to brush up on the topic after this news. A stopover means you can add a stop at a city between your origin and destination. That stop is typically in the hub city of the airline you book with.
The stop can be for any length of time you choose. We're talking days or even weeks — not hours. And adding this second destination to your itinerary comes at little to no extra mileage charge.
Few programs offer stopovers anymore. Alaska Airlines offers free stopovers, and Air Canada offers stopovers starting at 5,000 Aeroplan points. Both are fantastic deals and are available on their own metal as well as on partner airlines.
Check out this article to learn more: Beginners Guide: What is a Stopover & What is an Open-Jaw?
How Do Flying Blue Stopovers Work?
Flying Blue stopovers were originally announced in this recorded webinar, and using the stopover perk doesn't cost any extra miles. This allowed passengers to add a free stopover at the home hubs of Air France (Paris) and KLM (Amsterdam) before continuing on to another destination. This lets you break up long travel days or add a free visit to a second destination during your vacation.
For example, you could book an Air France flight from Chicago to Paris, stop there for a few days, and then continue on to Johannesburg, South Africa. But now you could book your stopover on partner airlines, potentially routing through London with Virgin Atlantic instead.
There are some restrictions to Flying Blue stopovers, however, and they continue to apply even when booking partner awards:
- Maximum of one stopover per award.
- Stopovers are permitted on one-way and round-trip travel.
- Stopovers can only be booked over the phone, not online.
- Reservation agents aren't always aware of this benefit, and you may need to hang up/call again to get someone who's able to book the award correctly.
- Stopover length can be from 24 hours to one year (when ticket validity ends).
- Stopovers can be at any destination and on any combination of carriers, so long as the ticket route is valid within the Flying Blue award terms & conditions.
To find award pricing, start with the Flying Blue calculator. Once you know how much your award flights should cost, use the Flying Blue open date calendar to find each flight individually, looking for pricing that matches the cheapest award pricing (saver awards). Once you know the flights you want, call Flying Blue (800-375-8723 in the U.S.) to book over the phone.
As always, we don't recommend transferring points to Flying Blue until you've confirmed availability and are ready to book flights with the phone agent.
Earning KLM–Air France Flying Blue Miles
Flying Blue miles are some of the easiest to earn. The program partners with numerous transfer partners, which you can track using AwardWallet's Transfer Tool.
Make your miles go even further by transferring points during a transfer bonus promotion. American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Citi have all offered transfer bonuses ranging from 20%–30% on transfers to Flying Blue.
Those in the U.S. also can earn Flying Blue miles from welcome bonuses and daily spending with the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard®, issued by Bank of America.
Adding stopovers to Flying Blue awards could be incredibly advantageous when trying to maximize the value of our travel. And the fact you can now book stopovers when traveling on partner awards makes this benefit even more valuable. The expanded use of Flying Blue stopovers helps the program match offerings from Alaska Airlines and Air Canada Aeroplan, though Flying Blue needs to make it possible to book stopovers online.
Are you excited about this expanded offering on Flying Blue stopovers? What's the first award you plan to book with this perk?
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