However I’m based in the Amsterdam region I personally almost never use the SkyTeam airlines for my travels. Instead I use flights of carriers in the OneWorld alliance like British Airways and American Airlines. For that reason the Flying Bluem the Air France-KLM frequent flyer program never got my attention in the past. In this blog I dive in to the process of becoming a frequent flyer within the Flying Blue program.
Before I dive directly into the subject let me explain why the OneWorld alliance airlines were my preferred airlines. The British Airways Executive Program is known for becoming elite flyer relatively easy. Beside that you have to oppertunitiy to earn miles based on the flown distance, something we see less and less nowadays. The big downside for an Amsterdam based flyer is thay for 95% for your flights you need to connect in another airport, e.g. London for British Airways.
Mainly because I’m getting older and the adventure of endless transits during my journey are getting less appealing I’ve started looking into other airlines which offer more direct flights from Amsterdam. Join me on my quest to find out how to become a frequent flyer with Flying Blue.
Firstly you need to have a Flying Blue account, you can enrol for that here. After enrolling you will enter the first status level of the program, called “Explorer”. From this moment on you can start earning miles on your flights with SkyTeam airlines. This is simply done by entering your Flying Blue account number on bookings in the frequent flyer number field in the “Manage my booking” screen. Ofcourse you can also hand over your frequent flyer number to the check-in agent down at the airport to be added to your booking.
Start earning points
Once you start flying you will be earning miles. For every flight you will collect two kinds of points. Firstly you will earn redeemable miles which you can use to book award flights. Besides that you will earn level miles, which are called eXperience Points (XP) within the program.
At the “Explorer” level you will not yet experience real frequent flyer benefits. The benefits are limited to getting discount on extra checked luggage and advance seat selection.
When you start flying more and more your miles will add up and eventually you will move up to the higher elite levels of the program. The status levels known within the program are Silver, Gold and Platinum. Lets have a look at these levels now.
How much XP will you earn on your flights
Lets have a look now at XP. Since those points are the main building blocks on your road to higher elite status its important to understand the way they are earned. To get a better understanding lets first have a look at the nearby past.
Until a few years ago you would earn level miles bases on a combination of your booking class (economy, business, first class) and the distance flown. A flight from Amsterdam to Hong Kong in business class would have earned more level miles than a flight from Amsterdam to Hong Kong in economy class.
As said a few years ago AIR France-KLM moved away from this system and adopted a system more like the one British Airways uses within their tier points system.
In the next table you will find how many XP you will earn on your flight. As you can see the booking class and distance are still relevant, only they are more categorized now. A flight with a distance of 2.001 miles will earn just as much XP as a flight of 3.499 miles, both 8 XP in economy.
Important to say is that you have a transit somewhere you need to calculate the distance of both flights. Let me explain by an example. A direct flight from Amsterdam to Madrid in economy will earn 5 XP as it qualifies as a medium distance flight according to the distance shown in the table. However if you fly from Amsterdam to Madrid via Paris you will earn 10 XP, 5 XP for the medium distance flight from Amsterdam to Paris and 5 XP for the medium distance flight from Paris to Madrid.
Moving up the status levels in Flying Blue
Ok, you now know how many XP you will earn on your flights. But how many do you actually need to move up the status levels within Flying Blue. The short answer is that you need 580 XP to get yourself from the explorer level to the top tier level called Platinum.
On the road to Platinum you will pass some other levels, after earning 100XP you will move up to the Silver level. Earning another 180 XP after hitting the Silver level will get you to Gold. Once you hit Gold you need to collect another 300 XP to hit Platinum, so cumulated that makes 580 XP to get from zero to hero.
How many flights you need to get from zero to hero? A few examples:
- 116 flights on medium distance flights in economy (so 58 return tickets);
- 38 flights on medium distance flights in business class (19 return tickets);
- 58 flights on long distance (long 2) in economy (29 return tickets);
- 19 flights on long distance (long 2) in business class (10 return tickets).
That sounds like a lot of flying, and it is! Lucky you can reduce the amount of trips needed by making transits.
A few weeks ago there were tickets on sale in business class from Dusseldorf to Valencia for just over 400 euro. The nice thing about those tickets was that you could route them through both Amsterdam and Paris on your way to Valencia. So for a return trip you would collect:
- DUS – AMS (medium distance, business class) -> 15 XP
- AMS – CDG (medium distance, business class) -> 15 XP
- CDG – VLC (medium distance, business class) -> 15 XP
- VLC – CDG (medium distance, business class) -> 15 XP
- CDG – AMS (medium distance, business class) -> 15 XP
- AMS – DUS (medium distance, business class) -> 15 XP
Of course you are curious what kind of benefits justify the investment needed to gain the XP. You will read more about that later this week in my next blog.