Air France FlyingBlue Added As Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner

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.

FlyingBlue-Chase-Ultimate-Rewards-1

Points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, in increments of 1,000 points.

FlyingBlue

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.

Air-France-Chase-Ultimate-Rewards

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's new business class cabin

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.

Air-France-First-Class-Lounge-Paris - 80

Air-France-First-Class-Lounge-Paris - 59

Bottom line

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)

Comments

  1. “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.”

    Which is why almost all my spend these days is with Citi Premier/Prestige or Amex Everyday Preferred … CSP went from #1 to #3 pretty quickly…

  2. So this raises the question I wanted to ask about the Star Alliance quandary of this week. Where does one credit miles flown on SkyTeam carriers if he isn’t looking for DL status?

    Is there an Aegean style plan run by any ST carrier? Or maybe there’s a program like Avianca Life Miles with mileage sales and good redemptions.

    You could always try to fly enough for AF status and spend three hundred thousand miles for one segment in AF’s new Premier class.

  3. setting aside the issue of first-class redemptions, why do you think skypass is better? it seems that flying blue has a much better skyteam inventory with no issues with one-way partner bookings, and a much better award search engine.

  4. Lucky,

    Can you give us a write up at some point about some of the benefits and sweet spots to using Flying Blue, their partner redemptions, and the basic rules and nuances to using these guys? Would be greatly appreciated!

  5. I believe US to Hawaii for 30k round trip might be the best redemption. For those on the west coast you can do 25k using Avios.

  6. @TravelinWilly

    You need FB silver to redeem for AF F.

    LX requires senator status (100K) to redeem for F.

  7. @ DB

    Good Flying Blue posts from my archives:

    http://travelisfree.com/2014/10/27/unveiling-flying-blue-air-france-klm-miles-101-and-best-uses/

    http://milecards.com/1588427655/air-france-flying-blue-miles/

    Now, some best uses:
    US to Tel Aviv for 50,000 miles roundtrip
    US to Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Mexico for 25,000 miles roundtrip.
    US to Hawaii for 30,000 miles roundtrip.
    US to North Africa for 50,000 miles roundtrip.
    US to Peru for 35,000 miles roundtrip.
    US to Tahiti for 60,000 miles roundtrip.
    US to Sydney for 30k miles oneway.
    Hawaii to the Caribbean for 30,000 miles roundtrip.
    Promo Awards for 50% off. Like US to Europe for 25,000 miles roundtrip, or Madrid to Canary Islands for 15,000 miles roundtrip.

  8. I’ll echo DB and say that a look at where you see current value in Flying Blue’s program would be great.

  9. While it’s cool that flying blue is now a partner, chase and ultimate rewards are still falling way behind in the points game. What used to be the best points program is probably the third best, tops, right now. I never thought I would get rid of my csp card but with the annual fee coming up soon, I see no reason to keep it when there are so many better cards out there.

  10. “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.”

    It WAS always about the number of points one could earn per dollar spent, which is why the fawning over the out-of-this-world high “value” of starpoints never made any sense considering how hard they are to earn! I am not even sure that concept of “quality of points” means anything at all…

  11. @Mike S.

    If true* that silver will allow for the f redemptions, then thank you for clarifying. The price (in points, and in money) is still too high, but it’s good to know that it’s more attainable(?) for lower status holders.

    Personally, I’ve never been impressed by AF f (other than the lounge in CDG), but Ben and others are, clearly.

    *I don’t doubt you, I just didn’t know this.

  12. I checked out travel is free’s really great award chart (thanks for the work!). It looks to me like the bottom li b e is that FB is really only good for econony. Prices (in both miles and fuel surcharges) and availability in biz are awful.
    So, FB and Chase, ymtganks, but no thanks.

  13. Is there still an issue with Flying Blue auditing you after transferring miles in from other programs?

  14. Hi Lucky,

    Thanks for this post. I have a concern on the points transfer to FlyingBlue, and since I’ve never transferred any of my miles to their program I just want to make sure I’m not missing anything. I read that when you open a new flying blue account and then try to transfer miles to your new account, it will be flagged for fraud, and then you will have to go to an airport location to book the actual ticket. I also read that sometimes FB posts phantom awards space, so I’m worried that once I transfer my miles, I won’t actually be able to book the flights I want. I tried to put an award on hold, but it won’t let me do that either. Would you advise I call a European call center to confirm my account won’t be flagged for fraud, transfer my points while on the phone with them, and book through them directly?

  15. I transferred UR to AF on a weekday during working hours (east coast time). The transfer took less than three hours.

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