Upcoming changes to Flying Blue in 2018

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Old Nov 5, 17, 8:52 pm   -   Wikipost
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Introduction

As you have been following the past thread, the Flying Blue programme will change as of 1 April 2018. In order to split the discussion from the earlier thread, we have created a new thread.

On 6 November Flying Blue has organised a press conference to inform the public about the changes to the programme. In addition, a mailing will be sent out to all members on the 6th and 7th of November and more information can be found on the designated website (link: https://explorefurther.flyingblue.com).

As an introduction, please find a summary of the changes below.

Please note that at the current time there is no difference expected to the benefits of the current tier.

Change 1: no more level miles, no more segments, but Experience Points

As of 1 April 2018 you will no longer earn level miles and segments per flight, but you will earn Experience Points (XP). The number of XP earned per flight depends on your cabin (multiplier times 2 for Premium Economy, 3 for business, 5 for La Premiere) and the type of flight (distinction between domestic, medium haul, long-haul 1/2/3).

For flights between 1 January – 31 March 2018 all earned level miles and segments will be converted into XP (1 segment = 7 XP; 1,000 level miles = 5 XP for members outside France). Please note that the highest conversion applies (it is not cumulative).

The number of XP required per tiers is:
- 100 for Silver;
- 180 for Gold;
- 300 for Platinum;
- 1,800 for Platinum Ultimate (in 2 years).

Please note that for current flyers who qualify on segments based on only intra-EU flights this could see an increase in the number of flights required. However, if you fly a mix if intra-EU and intercontinental (but qualify on segments), this will most likely see a reduction in the number of flights required to qualify.
For elite members, there is a roll-over of all XP above your tier threshold.

The rules for soft-landing have been extended. It is now no longer required to make at least 1 qualifying flight and in case you do not meet your threshold you will only drop one tier.

Change 2: number of miles earned dependent on fare paid (including fuel surcharge)

The number of award miles (for AF/KL/A5) earned is now depending on the fare paid (including fuel surcharge). Ivory members earn 4 miles per Euro, Silver 6, Gold 7 and Platinum 8.

Also earn award miles on AF/KL purchases (relating to seats, baggage and meals) according to the above schedule.

Earnings on partners remains as-is (based on fare class and distance flown).

Change 3: dynamic pricing of award tickets (on AF/KL/HV)

Another change will be that award tickets will have dynamic pricing, e.g. an award AMS-JFK could be more expensive than an award DUS-AMS-JFK. This is also in line with change 2, as flights from AMS are also more expensive than flights from DUS (you also earn more miles).

This also implies that we will see a difference in the number of miles required per flight. For example, an award from continental Europe to continental USA will currently set you back 25,000 miles for a one-way in economy. It does not matter if you fly to LAX or NYC, the number of miles is currently fixed. Under the new proposition, this will change. The cheaper flight (in this example: NYC) will see a slight reduction in the number of miles required, whilst LAX will see a slight increase in the number of miles required.

Furthermore, there will be a standard base level for the number of miles required per destination. As the standard revenue price increases, so does the number of award miles.

Change 4: status valid for 12 months (+ 3 months), personal membership year

FB will be moving away from membership year = calendar year (in case of upgrade of tier). Instead, FB will have an individual membership year. This means that after obtaining the higher tier, you will have 12 months to requalify. Benefit of this is that members are not bound by the calendar year (e.g. members who earn 20,000 level miles in a December of a given year and 20,000 level miles in January of the next year, do not have any benefit of their flights in case limited flights before/after).

I know some will feel that this is a significant downgrade compared to the current – at maximum – 27 months. Please note that based on FB information the majority of members (re)qualify in the last quarter of the year.

In addition, please note that for an Ivory member would like to go obtain Platinum in one year, as it will become more difficult, as (s)he will have to earn each threshold (so not 300 XP in the first year, but (100 + 180 + 300 = 580 XP). This is only applicable in the first year.

Change 5: changes to the co-branded American Express credit cards (FR/NL)

Currently you earn segments and level miles (on AF/KL purchases for Gold and Platinum card holders). This will change that you will receive additional XP when reaching your membership anniversary each year.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:10 am
  #76  
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
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Originally Posted by aviationbuff View Post
Flying Blue members in Russia will feel cheated - a one way from Moscow to Vladivostok in economy will earn you just 2 XP? On an 8-hour flight? Same as on a 45-minute hop from Paris to Bordeaux?
I think what they meant as domestic are the short hops only (something like within 500 miles or so).
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:11 am
  #77  
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Originally Posted by IngmarAMS View Post
Do not fully agree.

With 5XP per flight (assuming most segments are international ones within Europe). one would need 36 segments. That is definitely achievable with some planning and use of smart routings.
I don't fully agree either!

You're starting out on the assumption that the person in question already has Gold status.

Of course it's achievable; however, that equates to a 20% increase in the number of segments required.

Whether another 3 return trips for an absolute minimum of €300, or one of the FB Amex cards, on top of what was previously required is worth it, is down to personal preference. But it certainly adds a considerable amount of extra flying.


For Ivories, they would first have to do 20 of those sectors to get to Silver, and then do 36 of those sectors on top of that.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:12 am
  #78  
 
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
I don't fully agree either!

You're starting out on the assumption that the person in question already has Gold status.

Of course it's achievable; however, that equates to a 20% increase in the number of segments required.

Whether another 3 return trips for an absolute minimum of €300, or one of the FB Amex cards, on top of what was previously required is worth it, is down to personal preference. But it certainly adds a considerable amount of extra flying.


For Ivories, they would first have to do 20 of those sectors to get to Silver, and then do 36 of those sectors on top of that.
Agree with that :-)
Not fair for the starters. Hard to get status indeed.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:14 am
  #79  
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Originally Posted by jms_uk View Post
For those who currently have status expiring in March 2019, do we know if they would still 'honour' that, or reset it on 1st April 2018?
They will surely honour it; the date was chosen to reflect the fact that some people already will have status earned to April 2019.

That is exactly one-year from the launch date of the "new" programme.

So anyone having status ending on 1 April 2019 (which is actually 31 March 2019) will have a full year to earn from the launch date of the new programme.



Originally Posted by jms_uk View Post
And going back to my question about the status earned during the first three months of 2018, under the current rules - what happens to that?
Nothing happens to it. No-one will lose status as a result of the changeover. It's just that the mechanism for re-earning is changing.

You will also see the "currency" of your requalification change on that date. (Level Miles and Segments converted to XPs).

Your anniversary date won't change; your status won't change.

EDIT: Maybe you have hit a corner-point

If you earned higher status in the first 3 months of 2018, you should, in the old scheme, have had that status up until 31 March 2020. In the "new" scheme, the scope only seems to be to give you 12 months' status [i.e. in the new scheme, no-one could earn status past April 2019 at the date of kick-off, i.e. one year from the date of attainment]. Maybe, for the few who reaqualify so soon in the new year, they make some kind of exception. I don't know.

Otherwise, you stand to lose almost a year of your status period...

Last edited by irishguy28; Nov 6, 17 at 5:20 am
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:17 am
  #80  
 
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Originally Posted by Sjondorn View Post
I think what they meant as domestic are the short hops only (something like within 500 miles or so).
I hope they clarify that soon. If so I would qualify for gold applying the new rules to the current year. Due to a number of US & Chinese domestic flights, I would would be 12 XPs short (I ended up gold after 32 segments this year) if they count as domestic under the new rules (even though five of them were over 1,000 miles).
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:21 am
  #81  
 
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Originally Posted by Weean View Post
I hope they clarify that soon. If so I would qualify for gold applying the new rules to the current year. Due to a number of US & Chinese domestic flights, I would would be 12 XPs short (I ended up gold after 32 segments this year) if they count as domestic under the new rules (even though five of them were over 1,000 miles).
Yeah, so do I. I have a bunch of 2500+ miles US domestic flights (west coast -> Hawaii, transcons).
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:23 am
  #82  
 
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
If you earned higher status in the first 3 months of 2018, you should, in the old scheme, have had that status up until 31 March 2020. In the "new" scheme, the scope only seems to be to give you 12 months' status [i.e. in the new scheme, no-one could earn status past April 2019 at the date of kick-off, i.e. one year from the date of attainment]. Maybe, for the few who reaqualify so soon in the new year, they make some kind of exception. I don't know.

Otherwise, you stand to lose almost a year of your status period...
That is exactly what I was wondering about.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:25 am
  #83  
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Originally Posted by Sjondorn View Post
I think what they meant as domestic are the short hops only (something like within 500 miles or so).
No, that is not what domestic means. It means any internal flight (such as DL flights in the US; AF/Hop flights in France; UX flights in Spain, AZ flights in Italy, etc etc etc)
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:28 am
  #84  
 
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Harder to get status in short term, but on the other hand, after you qualify Silver, you have another year to qualify Gold, which is good if you reliably do say 25 segments yearly.

As with regards to level miles earned in Q1 18

- you need to have 20K to get 100XP so as to get silver, instead of 25K

- you need to have 36K to get 180XP to get gold, instead of 40K, if your silver is accepted

- you need to have 60K to get 300XP to get platinum, instead of 70K, if your gold is accepted

That is if your average per segment is at least 1400 status miles, otherwise segments are worth more.

Looks like it might be good idea to stock up on level miles in Q1.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:31 am
  #85  
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So, my assessment is that not much changes for those who already hold status in FB; and they won't notice much change for as long as they can hold on to that status.

But for those on lower status rungs - climbing the status ladder has become far more difficult.

For me, though, looking for potential replacements for Alitalia's Millemiglia programme (it is undergoing changes too, and the airline will possibly exit Skyteam next year dependent on who buys it or if it fails), I was hoping that FB may be the "replacement". Unless they offer status matches, that won't become my Skyteam programme.

I also don't hold much prospect of the forthcoming changes to the Award scheme as being much to get excited about. Great that miles can be used as part-payment, but I doubt it's going to be much of a good deal.

The Promo Awards are being kept, though under a new name, and they still refer to the "up to 50% off". I haven't been able to spend miles on a decent Promo Award in ages - I would love to think that may change soon.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:35 am
  #86  
 
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
No, that is not what domestic means. It means any internal flight (such as DL flights in the US; AF/Hop flights in France; UX flights in Spain, AZ flights in Italy, etc etc etc)
I know what domestic means, I just don’t think that when it comes to US (or Russia, China etc.), where domestic flights can range for thousands of miles, will see such long flights to be treated just like 40 minutes hops.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:35 am
  #87  
 
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Any word on mileage redemption?
Any word on ULTI, qualification requirements, benefits?

Interesting to see that all the wisecracks - including myself! - who were certain that status earning will have a minimum spend got it wrong; we also thought that they’ll increase re/qualification thresholds - they did for people starting from scratch, but remained the same for requalification, which is still possible with segments (without calling it that way). And, we were completely off by thinking that segment would no longer be a relevant measure - it is, as XPs are awarded (amongst other things) on a segment basis. Except that now the value of every segment can be increased by booking a higher class, which actually could be attractive for some.

I can see their logic for still giving some sort of status to the lower yielding frequent travelers, but for thinning out the top. Which makes a lot of sense.

I must say, not Armageddon at all, contrary to our expectations. Which leaves me to wonder whether the bitter pill is hidden elsewhere. In redemption levels for instance, or in making some status benefits optional (« choice benefits » is something that DL uses, isn’t it?).
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:38 am
  #88  
 
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Actually that leads me to a question.

Given that XP are being deducted at point of status achievement, does this apply also to accepted status miles for Q1 2018?

Because it seems that if I get just over 25K miles to get silver, I would get 125XP to count towards gold?

It would suck to get just under 25K then though, possibly instant silver but only ~20XP to go for gold qualification...
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:38 am
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Sjondorn View Post
I know what domestic means, I just don’t think that when it comes to US (or Russia, China etc.), where domestic flights can range for thousands of miles, will see such long flights to be treated just like 40 minutes hops.
I agree that it is unfair to treat flights this way, and possibly they weren't thinking about DL flights when they made up this table - I suspect they were really only thinking about AFKL.

However, until they clarify that point, you have to assume that "Domestic" means Domestic, and even a transcontinental US flight on Delta falls within that category.
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Old Nov 6, 17, 5:39 am
  #90  
 
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Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
Really? The fastest way to Platinum is now ~twice as much as it was under the old scheme.

Those already holding Platinum are unaffected, but for those aiming for higher status, they must do far more flying than was required for canny frequent flyers under the old scheme.
ok. first time qualification is getting pretty expensive, but maintaining the status seems to be cheaper than before. - however mileage output will be poor on AF/KL - which makes me fly other airlines on longhaul.

number of (international) segments to requalify is also unchanged ... 60 segments a 5 XP
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