When hoarding points, I recommend collecting one of the four major transferable points currencies: Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest. I value points from Amex, Chase, and Citi roughly the same, though everyone has different valuations, which is highly dependent on your redemption patterns.
The programs’ transfer partners are largely different, though there’s also some overlap. Up until now there have only been two mileage programs which have partnered with all four currencies: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Well, it looks like we can now add a third airline to that list.
Air France/KLM FlyingBlue has been added as a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. The program already partnered with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest.
Points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, in increments of 1,000 points.
This makes FlyingBlue the seventh airline transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. Otherwise I consider British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SkyPass, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, to be the most valuable airline transfer partners. Hyatt Gold Passport is also a valuable hotel transfer partner.
I don’t consider FlyingBlue miles to be quite as valuable as some of the other currencies, but there are still plenty of circumstances under which it’s a great program.
Air France makes much of their business class award space available exclusively to members of their FlyingBlue program, and not to members of partner programs, like Delta SkyMiles and Alaska Mileage Plan. Air France has a fantastic new business class product consisting of reverse herringbone seats, so FlyingBlue miles are a great way to snag those seats on an award. I recently shared my experience with Air France’s new business class between Paris and Toronto.
Air France also offers the world’s best first class ground experience in Paris, which can be purchased for 300EUR in conjunction with a business class ticket. That might sound like a lot (and it is), but it’s truly a spectacular experience, and well worth it for a special occasion, if you can swing it.
While I still think Korean Air SkyPass and Singapore KrisFlyer are better programs on the whole, there are great niche redemptions available through Air France FlyingBlue. This is a very nice enhancement to the Ultimate Rewards program.
It’s interesting to see the trend where transferable points currencies are getting similar over time, rather than differentiating themselves. With so many common transfer partners between programs it’s starting to be a lot more about the number of points you can earn per dollar spent through a program, rather than the quality of the points.
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)