There is big news from Flying Blue, Air France and KLM’s loyalty program. Flying Blue will add free stops to Air France and KLM metal award tickets in the coming days, as first reported by One Mile at a Time.
The news was announced at a webinar Monday by Ben Lipsey, senior vice president of customer loyalty at Flying Blue. “You can now take a break for up to a year at no additional cost.”
Let’s say you currently book an itinerary from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Rome Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport (FCO) through Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS). In this case, Flying Blue’s accommodation rules allow you to stay in Amsterdam for a maximum of 23 hours and 59 minutes. If you want to stay longer in Amsterdam, you need to book two one-way tickets: LAX to AMS and then AMS to FCO.
The free break will allow you to stay in Amsterdam for up to 12 months at no additional cost. According to the webinar, Flying Blue’s free stopover will apply to flights connecting Air France to Air France, KLM to KLM, Air France to KLM and KLM to Air France metal.
For example, if you are traveling with Air France from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), passengers will be able to stop in Singapore for up to 12 months before continuing on KLM’s fifth freedom flight. Singapore to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). Theoretically, this route would cost the same number of miles as traveling directly from Paris to Bali.
Likewise, you can fly with KLM from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, stay for a few days, and then continue to Prague Vaclav Havel Airport (PRG) for the same price as a New York to Prague ticket.
Lipsey also said that from now on, the free stop offer will only apply to Air France and KLM metal flights, so customers connecting to KLM from Delta, for example, will not be able to take advantage of the free transfer.
TPG’s favorite programs that currently allow transit are Air Canada Aeroplan, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. Each of these programs has a different break. Aeroplan charges 5,000 miles per stop, but you can add stops to partner tickets. Meanwhile, Alaska allows you to add a stopover to partner tickets, but you can’t mix partners and stop only at the airline’s center. Singapore only allows stops with their own tickets.
Related: The complete guide to maximizing pauses and jaw-dropping on award tickets
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What free Flying Blue stops could mean for travelers
In the webinar, Lipsey confirmed that the free Flying Blue breaks will allow customers to stay on a break for up to 12 months before continuing to their final destination.
Paris and Amsterdam will likely be the two cities that will see the most transfers, as almost all Air France and KLM’s flights depart or terminate at their hubs. Free breaks will allow tourists to visit another city without additional miles, or allow you to book two long flights more than 24 hours apart.
Traveling to South Africa from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) earlier this year, a few days in Amsterdam or Paris would have been ideal to break two 10-hour red eyes and get used to the time. area.
With transit times of up to 12 months, passengers can be strategic about how they want to book their connecting flights. For example, students studying abroad in Europe can book Amsterdam or Paris as their stopover city for a few weeks and another European city as their final destination. This is the perfect situation for a weekend trip.
Of course, many questions remained. Will free stops be valid on one-way tickets? How about short-haul flights within Europe? While we haven’t been given details yet, rest assured we’ll let you know when we learn more.
Related: Doors, wireless charging and 4K video: First look at Air France’s new Boeing 777 business class
But website improvements need to be made first
We like the idea of Flying Blue adding a break, but there will be hurdles that Flying Blue will have to overcome with regard to its website.
Currently both Air France and KLM have websites that are difficult to use, especially when it comes to researching whether there are prizes.
To check if the rewards are available, you must go to both airlines’ websites and log in to your Flying Blue account. After selecting “Book with miles”, you can enter your departure point, destination, travel dates, number of passengers and the cabin you want. You will see a preview of the one-week dates and corresponding mileage prices. In our tests, preview prices don’t always match actual prices when you click on a specific date.
But most frustratingly, after that initial call, Air France and KLM both have a technical malfunction that does not allow you to make another call in that session. If you want to check another pair of cities or adjust the number of passengers, you’ll need to close your tab, clear your cookies, and sign in again before entering all your call details for another call.
These issues make Flying Blue rewards time-consuming and difficult to search for. Frankly, if these issues persist, it’s hard to imagine adding an online break would be a pleasant experience, so we’d love to see Flying Blue dedicate its resources to a stable booking tool first.
Related: The ultimate guide to earning and redeeming with Air France/KLM Flying Blue
As a result
All in all, we’re very excited to see Flying Blue launching free breaks and we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on ways to maximize them. While the program uses a variable dynamic pricing model, we are optimistic that the free pauses will increase Flying Blue’s customer value proposition.
We would like to remind you that Flying Blue miles can be transferred from American Express Membership Awards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou and Chase Ultimate Rewards at a ratio of 1:1.