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Amex Is Offering A 25% Transfer Bonus to Flying Blue. Here’s What Not to Do

Amex Is Offering A 25% Transfer Bonus to Flying Blue. Here’s What Not to Do
Joe Cortez

Once again, European-bound flyers can get a bonus when transferring their American Express Membership Rewards points to the Air France-KLM loyalty program, Flying Blue. Through November 30, 2019, flyers can pick up more miles for points transfers – but is it worth it?

For the second time this year, American Express cardholders can earn extra Membership Rewards points when they transfer their miles to the combined loyalty program of Air France-KLM, Flying Blue, through November 30, 2019. As noted on the FlyerTalk forums, 1,000 Membership Rewards points will yield 1,250 Flying Blue award miles. However, you can only transfer a limited number of miles. According to the terms and conditions: “Membership Rewards point transfers that result in more than 999,999 Flying Blue® Award Miles will not be accepted.”

Is Transferring to Flying Blue a Good Deal?

Anyone who frequently uses Delta Air Lines and its partners to cross the Atlantic will find value in using Air France-KLM Flying Blue instead of SkyMiles or other SkyTeam partners. Because of the deep relationship between the three airlines, it can be easier (or cheaper) to get award space through Flying Blue – resulting in better flights. But some flyers have been burned by this bonus deal, like one FlyerTalker who says that when they transferred over 250,000 American Express Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue, they were flagged for “fraudulent” use of the program.

Here’s what happened: they created a new Flying Blue account to transfer the miles into. That account was immediately flagged as fraudulent (because it was a new account with 0 miles that received a major transfer all at once. And, even after they confirmed their identity at the Air France ticket counter at Washington Dulles Airport, they still couldn’t use the miles for any flights. This created a “Catch 22:” they couldn’t transfer the miles back because they are all one-way transfers from American Express and Flying Blue wouldn’t honor the miles.

And they weren’t the only ones who’ve had a bumpy experience. “To give you some context it happened to me in 2015,” said another FlyerTalker. “Mine was quickly resolved with a visit to [Washington Dulles International Airport]…I’d opened my [Flying Blue] account some months before, but it had a zero balance, and I transferred a low 6 figure balance in. Tickets booked and then ‘locked’ for ‘fraud.’”

“We have had many such reports over the years,” notes forum members irishguy28. “it’s [Flying Blue] policy (apparently) not to allow tickets to be booked from accounts which have never earned miles from flying.”

Should I Transfer Membership Rewards Points to Flying Blue?

Luckily, the first flagged account case was appealed and American Express had the mileage transfer reversed, but it took days of work with both Air France-KLM and American Express to resolve the situation.

For flyers who don’t have an established Flying Blue account with nothing credited to it, this promotion may not end well in your favor. Before transferring miles, consider crediting a flight or two to the loyalty program, either on Delta or another SkyTeam partner. With an account in good standing, the promotion could offer a lot of value for trans-Atlantic flying.

View Comments (7)

7 Comments

  1. Marathon Man

    October 25, 2019 at 4:20 am

    Total proof that these airline programs just want to rip you off!!

    Look, you and amex invented the promo. Either honor it and have already done all your homework and also have published all rules and terms and conditions or dont set up the promo!! Simple. Stop being stupid scammy marketers!

  2. beechbum58

    October 25, 2019 at 4:20 am

    Is this US only?

  3. mia

    October 25, 2019 at 5:21 am

    >> you can only transfer a limited number of miles.

    I think (but have not verified) that the 999,999 mile cap is a technical limitation for a single transfer. You can see the same language in the Jet Blue transfer offer.

  4. Haolemon

    October 25, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Is it enough to simply fly on Delta, or do I have to somehow direct the miles earned to my flying blue account?

    Thanks

  5. edgewood49

    October 25, 2019 at 6:31 am

    Most likely looking to slow hackers down. Over the years I have transferred large amounts of Amex to AF ( we prefer AF to cross the pond) but have had an account for 15 years. AF has some great redemption rates if you are patience in booking.

  6. tromboneboss

    October 25, 2019 at 9:22 am

    I had an account at Flying Blue that I had never used. Last spring I transferred 100000 Amex points to 125000 flying blue points. I then booked six tickets. That was the first activity ever on the account. I had zero issues.

  7. edgewood49

    October 25, 2019 at 11:44 am

    but you had an existing account for a long time mine only handled paid Schengen flights now I use my Flying Blue number on Delta in the US, I transfer like many Amex points over and sometime Chase points

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