You Can Earn Flying Blue Miles When Paying With Miles, But Don't Do It You Can Earn Flying Blue Miles When Paying With Miles, But Don't Do It

You Can Earn Flying Blue Miles When Paying With Miles, But Don't Do It

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You can earn Flying Blue miles even when paying with miles on a ticket. Sounds awesome, right?! This new, permanent feature applies to Miles + Cash bookings and allows you to earn miles on the full ticket—even the part you paid for in miles. Here's a closer look at whether it's actually a good value proposition.

Earn Flying Blue Miles When Paying…with Miles!

I received an email from Flying Blue that sounded too good to be true. It also lacked details.

Email from Flying Blue about new Miles + Cash option

A few things were lacking in this email, such as whether it's temporary and whether this applies to award bookings (AKA, paying for the whole flight in miles).

After some back and forth with the Air France Twitter team, these are the details:

  • It's permanent. This isn't a promotion that will end.
  • You need to be logged into your Flying Blue account to see Miles + Cash booking options.
  • For a booking with more than one passenger, all passengers must use the same option (same % of points payment, etc.).
  • The following payment combinations are possible:
    • 5% miles and 95% cash
    • 10% miles and 90% cash
    • 15% miles and 85% cash
    • 20% miles and 80% cash
    • 25% miles and 75% cash

No other ratios are possible, unfortunately. You cannot do a 50-50 split. You also cannot pay with any higher percentage of miles than 25% on a Miles + Cash booking, which is disappointing. There are times when I have 90% of the miles needed for an award and would gladly do a 90-10 split to speed through checkout. But, the above options are all that Flying Blue offers.

The positive side is that you can reduce the cost of your booking using miles while still earning Flying Blue miles when paying for part of your ticket with miles. But what value do you get from your Flying Blue miles here?

Flying Blue Miles + Cash example

Flying Blue Miles + Cash example

In both sample itineraries, the value of miles used to reduce the price of the ticket is 0.5-0.51 cents per mile. That's not very good. AwardWallet users average around 2.28 cents per Flying Blue mile redeemed. Even for short-haul economy awards, AwardWallet users average 1.43 cents each. So, redeeming miles for just half a cent is a particularly bad redemption.

There's another factor to consider: earning miles. This will be treated as a cash booking, eligible to earn Flying Blue miles on the full fare—even the part you paid for in miles. Check out Flying Blue's guide to how many miles you will earn to see earning potential for your flights.

Flying Blue mileage earning rates for various status levels in 2022

The above chart shows the mileage earning rates for Flying Blue members in 2022. Remember that these values are calculated in euros and only apply to the base fare and carrier surcharges—not the taxes in the final price of your ticket.

If you book a fare that costs 1,000 euros but had 200 euros of taxes, calculate your mileage earnings from just 800 euros (remove the taxes). For Silver members, you would earn 4,800 Flying Blue miles. That's worth around $68.64. But if you used miles to pay for 25% of your flight (0.5¢ redemption rate), the math isn't worth it.

You could reduce your ticket price by 250 euros by coughing up 56,600 Flying Blue miles. You should hang onto those miles for award redemptions, where typical values can be 3 times better.

See also: Air France / KLM Flying Blue Rewards Sweet Spots

Our Take

At face value, the ability to earn miles when spending Flying Blue miles sounds great. The math, though, eliminates much of the excitement. Mileage redemptions at around half a cent per mile in value are not even close to typical redemption values for Flying Blue miles.

Where this new feature can come in handy is if you have some stranded miles in your account that aren't enough for a full redemption but you want to use them up somehow. Otherwise, you're likely better off saving your miles.

5 / 5 - (5 votes)
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  • Just booked an award ticket (international one way flight) and was offered to pay 14,000 less miles for paying an additional $149.81 in total for the tickets. Worked out to just over $.01 per mile which I think is an excellent value and less than they ever sell miles for even on the best sales.

    So the cash + miles may have some windows where the value is definitely there.

  • Agreed to your points, except XP calculation; flights booked with 100% miles do not give you XP (if I am not wrong?) while cash + miles do.

  • I still feel like a lot of people will take advantage of this. I think they’ll just want to use their miles and focus on that they are not having to pay the full amount of the ticket. I know that I will seriously consider before I would use this option. At least it’s another option to use AF miles.

    • I agree that it will draw people in based on the concept, but the math just doesn’t check out. If you have stranded miles, that’s when it seems worthwhile.

  • Interesting 🤨 planning my bed booking