June 2018 Flying Blue Promo Awards and Devaluation

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This promotion has ended.

Flying Blue has announced its monthly Promo Awards for June 2018; however, unlike previous versions of the promo this time around it is subject to the changes in the Flying Blue Program that came into effect as of June 1, 2018.

Promo Awards Overview

  • Flights need to be booked by June 30, 2018
  • Travel period on most routes is August 1, through September 30, 2018
  • Bookings only valid if made via KLM.com or AirFrance.com; phone bookings are not possible
  • Tickets cannot be canceled, changed, or refunded
  • Tickets are sold as one-way or roundtrip

Key Changes To Flying Blue

The following changes came into force on June 1, 2018:

  • Flying Blue has eliminated award charts
  • The cost of awards will depend on “various factors” although Flying Blue has not said what the factors are
  • They have created a calculator page to work out award pricing for routes
  • Prices on the calculator page are starting rates, and there is no indication on how availability affects them

North America Route Options

This month there are two US destinations participating in the promo awards. Awards from Chicago O’Hare International and San Francisco International Airport to Europe are discounted by 50% and 25% respectively. The discount only applies to Economy award flights.

How The Changes Affect The Promo Awards

According to the Flying Blue calculator, a flight from Chicago O’Hare International to Amsterdam, Schiphol will normally set you back 27,500 miles one way in Economy.

Chicago to Amsterdam award pricing
Chicago to Amsterdam award pricing

With the promo awards, this should price at 13,750 miles which is a great value.

Chicago to Amsterdam Promo Award
Chicago to Amsterdam Promo Award

Things start to get strange when you try and book a promo award to a European destination other than Paris or Amsterdam. Trying to book Chicago to Rome via Amsterdam yields a price of 53,000 miles plus taxes and fees. This is huge and effectively means that you are being charged 39,250 miles to fly from Amsterdam to Rome one way.

Chicago to Rome Promo Award
Chicago to Rome Promo Award

Things get even stranger if you decide to break up the route and book two separate awards, the first from Chicago to Amsterdam for 13,750 miles and then a separate award from Amsterdam to Rome. The second segment will set you back 25,500 miles one way which is significantly lower than the 39,250 miles it would cost to book a single award.

Amsterdam to Rome standard award
Amsterdam to Rome standard award

The situation is the same if you select a European destination participating in the promo awards like Gothenburg GOT, Sweden, which comes in at 9,600 miles one way in Economy.

Amsterdam to Gothenburg
Amsterdam to Gothenburg Promo Award

Booking Chicago to Gothenburg direct you end up with a price of 27,000 miles, which is greater than the cost of booking both segments separately at 23,350 miles (13,750 + 9,600).

Chicago to Gothenburg Promo Award
Chicago to Gothenburg Promo Award

Astonishingly if you book a promo award from Chicago to Amsterdam (13,750 miles), and then book a standard award with no discount from Amsterdam to Gothenburg which costs 12,000 miles, you will still be paying less (25,750 miles) than trying to book the whole journey on one award ticket.

Amsterdam to Gothenburg standard award
Amsterdam to Gothenburg standard award

These changes eliminate much of the value of promo awards, unless you are interested in flying to/from Paris or Amsterdam. You can no longer:

  • Make connections
  • Combine two promo awards and benefit from cumulative pricing

Our Take

This change to the Promo Awards is disappointing, and while the program has been uninteresting in recent months, with few options for North America, the new program is just as bad with too many restrictions, that ultimately make it very poor value.

Source: Flying Blue

June 2018 Flying Blue Promo Awards and Devaluation
5 (100%) 3 votes
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Comments

  • Excellent analysis. Thanks.

    Stopping over in Paris for a couple of days shouldn’t be all that painful though should it! 🙂

  • Of course, once I begin to collect FB miles, they change the program to be severely revenue based, drop great perk awards like this, and just make everything more restrictive. I wonder if any airlines would ever back track on some of these changes. Especially in Europe, they are going to really lose loyal members for these changes.

  • The loss of the promo discount really hurts, as noted making this effectively a two-city opportunity. I definitely wouldn’t want to try to split the ticket like the Gothenburg example shown, leaving only an hour in AMS to collect luggage, re-clear security, etc.

  • The_Bouncer says:

    Is it even worth continuing with FB?

  • Thank you for your excellent step-by-step explanation of the oddities of their new award chart. I have been struggling to understand the previous one for years, but anyway the program is officially dead for me!

  • This is silly and just poor IT.

  • Great analysis. I wish Flying Blue just wasn’t so volatile. Should have put in some speculative redemptions before they ruined it 🙁

  • Just as I was starting to buid my flying blue account. Looks like we’ll keep flying low cost airlines instead.

  • It may be an overall poor value, but man when you hit the sweet spot is it really cheap!

  • Normally as indicated in the article there is a big devaluation for the Flying Blue promo if not starting from Paris and Amsterdam.
    The other changes are bad but not so bad as expected (at least for economy awards). Lately the airlines are above all increasing the award price for business and first.

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