Should I join Flying Blue?

Old Aug 22, 19, 3:39 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: South Yorkshire, UK
Programs: A3*G, LH FTL, VS Red, Avis Preferred, Hertz President's Circle, (RIP Diamond Club)
Posts: 1,787
Should I join Flying Blue?

I am in a bit of a conundrum about whether or not to split my flying loyalty between two programs. I live in the UK and MAN is my usual home airport. I fly for work, mainly in Europe about once every 2 weeks with LH connecting in FRA or MUC, and typically with a long haul trip every 6-8 weeks that could be anywhere in the world. Default class of travel is economy although I can take E+/PE if it's economical.

I am currently A3*G and easily requalify every year even though I have never taken a A3 flight. Currently have *G until January 2021. I am noticing that *A is usually more expensive than SkyTeam, and while the *A network is pretty comprehensive there are some destinations (e.g. India) that are poorly served. I would probably look to join a Flying Blue program but want some advice on which one, or whether I should do it at all...

Pros:
  1. I would be flying mainly through AMS or CDG like the majority of my colleagues. Would be easier to sync up joint trips.
  2. More options (*A and FB combined) for worldwide travel. Should be able to save a significant amount of money.

Cons:
  1. I would need to do a good chunk of bum-in-seat miles without benefits to get priority access and lounge access, both of which make flying much less stressful for me.
  2. There's the possibility that I would not qualify for either *G or FB gold if I split travel.
  3. I currently have all my miles in a single program. Splitting could make it harder to spend them on family trips.

Questions:
  1. Are MAN-AMS-XXX and MAN-CDG-XXX connections better, worse or the same and FRA/MUC?
  2. Is MAN T3 better, worse or the same as T1? E.g. for general check-in, security, departures lounge, FB exec lounge, arrivals?
  3. Has anyone got both A3*G and FB gold already? How hard is it to get FB gold compared to A3*G?
  4. And the biggie - should I sign up for KL or AF? Or doesn't it make any difference?
roberino is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 4:26 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: WAW and KBP
Programs: Gold: Flying blue / Silver: Club Accor
Posts: 848
Exclamation

Originally Posted by roberino View Post
I am in a bit of a conundrum about whether or not to split my flying loyalty between two programs. I live in the UK and MAN is my usual home airport.
Check your flights plans , and do the maths for the same destinations with skyteam from MAN , then you will have an idea

In my case i am doing a forecast of my private trips for the current and next year (bizness is another story cause i dont pay so dont care) . Then i know more or less how much it will cost me to reach silver or gold

Originally Posted by roberino View Post
II am currently A3*G and easily requalify every year even though I have never taken a A3 flight. Currently have *G until January 2021. I am noticing that *A is usually more expensive than SkyTeam, and while the *A network is pretty comprehensive there are some destinations (e.g. India) that are poorly served. I would probably look to join a Flying Blue program but want some advice on which one, or whether I should do it at all...
As i said , it depends on your destinations and your base airport . If AF/KL consider that MAN is a significant market , you will have more flights and frequent sales from your city/country

Originally Posted by roberino View Post
Pros and Cons
Every person is different so its up to you

Originally Posted by roberino View Post
Questions:
  1. Are MAN-AMS-XXX and MAN-CDG-XXX connections better, worse or the same and FRA/MUC?
  2. Is MAN T3 better, worse or the same as T1? E.g. for general check-in, security, departures lounge, FB exec lounge, arrivals?
  3. Has anyone got both A3*G and FB gold already? How hard is it to get FB gold compared to A3*G?
  4. And the biggie - should I sign up for KL or AF? Or doesn't it make any difference?
1 = cant answer , its up to your needs . For instance , If your destinations are outside schengen area then you dont have to worry about customs therefore your life is easier
2 = havent been yet in MAN so i cant answer
3 = A3*G is easy to get (compare to miles and more gold) if you fly long haul flights with highest fares . You said you have A3 gold without A3 flights , therefore you collected 48k miles which is quite a lot . FB gold can be easy to reach too , but again it depends on your flights pattern , and your budget
4 = its the same , flying blue is the FFP of AF , KL , KQ , RO and few other airlines

Originally Posted by roberino View Post
I fly for work, mainly in Europe about once every 2 weeks with LH connecting in FRA or MUC, and typically with a long haul trip every 6-8 weeks that could be anywhere in the world. Default class of travel is economy although I can take E+/PE if it's economical.
Now flying blue is revenue based (if you fly AF or KL) , but with other partners it is still distance/class based

I would say that these 4 factors will help you to reach gold easier

1 = fly from another country than france or netherlands
2 = fly cheap long haul flights
3 = add as much layovers as you can
4 = your home airport is a significant market for airlines

Check the flying blue website and the charts

FB XP charts

You can clearly see that with intercontinental flights over 3500 miles (even in economy) can give you lot of xp .
And if you combine them with layovers then 4 trips to asia or south america are enough to reach gold
vinnyc, roberino and Goldorak like this.

Last edited by fifty_two; Aug 22, 19 at 5:59 am
fifty_two is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 4:49 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: BRU
Programs: A3*G, FB Platinum, HH Diamond, IHG Spire Amb
Posts: 241
My experience as a A3*G and FB Platinum:

- Flying Blue Gold/Platinum is easy to attain and retain as long as you fly business class, don't bother with eco flights. PE is doable. The big advantage here is that XP over 180 or 300 will be transfered to next year(s). Segments are important in Flying Blue and the miles flown to classify the flight as "Medium" to "Long 3".
- A3*G is super easy to retain with economy flights. Not the case with Flying Blue.
- I value A3 miles much more over FB, as award ticket cost in FB miles depend on the ticket price. However, they have their nice promo awards every month with good deals.
- I generally prefer *A lounges over ST lounges, but I assume that's totally route-dependent.
- Star Alliance is bigger than Skyteam, so more "options" for rewards and earning.
- I'm surprised to hear that India is an issue with *A, as they have Air India in their alliance.
unusualtravelblog is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 6:09 am
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: South Yorkshire, UK
Programs: A3*G, LH FTL, VS Red, Avis Preferred, Hertz President's Circle, (RIP Diamond Club)
Posts: 1,787
Originally Posted by unusualtravelblog View Post
I'm surprised to hear that India is an issue with *A, as they have Air India in their alliance.
Ah yes. Forgot to mention my hatred for connecting international/domestic within India. Tried it on four trips, return, and either missed or narrowly made all eight connections.
roberino is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 8:38 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: MAN
Programs: FB Platinum
Posts: 223
Hi Roberino. I am from the same part of the UK as you, and fly mainly from MAN. When I started my international role, my colleagues advised using AFKLM (and therefore joining FB) to avoid having to connect through LHR on a regular basis. Most of my travel is long-haul. I find AMS and CDG to be quite good for connections, with the CDG lounges in 2E usually very pleasant to use. I have no problem with T3 at MAN now that I can use the 1903 lounge. It is very quiet most of the time but elsewhere can be a drunken melee at 6am. Things may be different in a few years time when T2 is finished.

The downsides of Skyteam are:
Skyteam is also not great in India, especially with Jet Airways' demise. I am quite fortunate in usually being able arrive the day before needing to make the internal flight, so can refresh in an airport hotel (usually BLR).
MAN often means using FlyBe (the two earliest morning flights) to connect at CDG. FlyBe are awful, but may improve soon under new ownership.
FB mileage earning (and spending) are pretty poor. I find it hard to accumulate sufficient miles for anything meaningful (mix of Y, W and J travel).
There are no useful credit cards linked to FB in the UK (AFAIK).
Giantlonglegs likes this.
PeteM01 is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 12:59 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Montreux CH
Programs: FB Platinum, M&M FTL, BA Blue
Posts: 7,813
I thought you had to complete at least a couple flights on A3 to be Star Alliance gold. Haven't tackled the Aegean program yet, but it's time to get into it, given how awful M&M has become.
Concerto is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 1:04 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: Gold: A3, KL Silver: AZ, BA
Posts: 23,956
Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
I thought you had to complete at least a couple flights on A3 to be Star Alliance gold.
No; but the amount of tier miles required to obtain status is significantly lower if a certain number of A3/OA sectors are flown in the relevant qualification period.

BA is an example of an airline operating an FFP that requires a certain number of flights on its metal (actually: booked under its flight codes) to obtain status.
irishguy28 is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 1:13 pm
  #8  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 83,718
It's hard to see a downside of simply joining FB since that would allow you to get credit for any AF/KLM, SkyTeam, and other partner flights you take.

However, have you investigated the possibility of a status match or status challenge? Can your employer perhaps arrange for this, or can they designate you for comped status the first year since you seem to travel for business?

Think carefully about how you want to time this.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 4:49 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Programs: Flying Blue Platinum, Oman Air Sindbad Gold, BAEC Silver, Hilton Honors Diamond, IHG Spire
Posts: 197
Originally Posted by roberino View Post
  1. Are MAN-AMS-XXX and MAN-CDG-XXX connections better, worse or the same and FRA/MUC?
  2. Is MAN T3 better, worse or the same as T1? E.g. for general check-in, security, departures lounge, FB exec lounge, arrivals?
1. AMS and CDG connections are usually painless. Non-Schengen to non-Schengen at AMS is seamless, and CDG is usually fine too, especially for AF to AF connections (although it still has an undeserved bad reputation in some quarters based on experiences years ago). As noted above (and in the AF forum), best to avoid the Flybe codeshares if possible.

2. MAN T3 is (to put not too fine a point on it) a disgrace and not fit for purpose. It was the domestic terminal in a previous life, of course. Security is possibly the worst I've ever experienced (there is a thread somewhere here on FT dedicated to it). The small departures lounge is sometimes an over-crowded zoo. You really need status to make it bearable, especially for fast-track security, although they have a bad habit of merging the fast-track with the slowest-track (small children and pushchairs etc). The best thing by far is the 1903 lounge. Arrivals can look chaotic, but the automatic barriers seem to deal with the queues relatively quickly. All this may change in the not-so-distant future with the MAN redevelopment, of course.

Perhaps you could try to get status-matched to another Skyteam programme. For example, there are a few reports on statusmatcher that Garuda has been matching recently, and I think Alitalia were matching last year. But if you're flying to various destinations in India from MAN and don't want domestic connections, then forget Skyteam and take Emirates as the obvious option. They now fly to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram.
Andrew_G is offline  
Old Aug 25, 19, 7:13 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: LYS
Programs: FB Plat
Posts: 406
Originally Posted by unusualtravelblog View Post
My experience as a A3*G and FB Platinum:

- Flying Blue Gold/Platinum is easy to attain and retain as long as you fly business class, don't bother with eco flights. PE is doable. The big advantage here is that XP over 180 or 300 will be transfered to next year(s). Segments are important in Flying Blue and the miles flown to classify the flight as "Medium" to "Long 3".
- A3*G is super easy to retain with economy flights. Not the case with Flying Blue.
How is that easier than on FB? I get my qualifications using Eco flights only. Granted, I avoid French Domestic flights at all costs, so I travel often through AMS.
Zarmakuizz is offline  
Old Aug 25, 19, 9:09 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: WAW and KBP
Programs: Gold: Flying blue / Silver: Club Accor
Posts: 848
Originally Posted by Zarmakuizz View Post
How is that easier than on FB?
he never said its easier . He mentionned both programs separately for two different cases

FB to reach gold/platinium with J or C flights and retain status in A3 M&B

FB is good is you fly long distance flights (long 2 or 3) in J

to retain your status in A3 you need to fly less than to earn it the first time , so its more convenient

Originally Posted by Zarmakuizz View Post
I get my qualifications using Eco flights only. Granted, I avoid French Domestic flights at all costs, so I travel often through AMS.
Compare how fast you would reach gold or platinium if you've done these flights in business class rather than flying economy

Also in which distance's category are most of your flights done with skyteam ?
fifty_two is offline  
Old Aug 25, 19, 1:06 pm
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: South Yorkshire, UK
Programs: A3*G, LH FTL, VS Red, Avis Preferred, Hertz President's Circle, (RIP Diamond Club)
Posts: 1,787
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
It's hard to see a downside of simply joining FB since that would allow you to get credit for any AF/KLM, SkyTeam, and other partner flights you take.
True, but the goal is to achieve status in FB and not just credit miles. I need to get a feeling for if it is worth putting my backside into a Y seat multiple times without benefits before i start diverting from *A airlines where I do get the perks.
roberino is offline  
Old Aug 25, 19, 1:15 pm
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: South Yorkshire, UK
Programs: A3*G, LH FTL, VS Red, Avis Preferred, Hertz President's Circle, (RIP Diamond Club)
Posts: 1,787
Originally Posted by fifty_two View Post
he never said its easier . He mentionned both programs separately for two different cases

FB to reach gold/platinium with J or C flights and retain status in A3 M&B

FB is good is you fly long distance flights (long 2 or 3) in J

to retain your status in A3 you need to fly less than to earn it the first time , so its more convenient
It’s better than that! I retained A3*G by flying once to MEL with SQ and once to BZN (google it!) with UA. All in Y. What is want is to use my ridiculously long remaining *G time to qualify for a “better” program.
roberino is offline  
Old Aug 26, 19, 1:11 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: WAW and KBP
Programs: Gold: Flying blue / Silver: Club Accor
Posts: 848
Originally Posted by roberino View Post
True, but the goal is to achieve status in FB and not just credit miles.....I need to get a feeling for if it is worth putting my backside into a Y seat multiple times without benefits before i start diverting from *A airlines where I do get the perks.
It is as worthy as A3 Gold . especially when you travel long haul

Originally Posted by roberino View Post
What is want is to use my ridiculously long remaining *G time to qualify for a “better” program.
so in such case you are welcome , and if you dont see any fare which is good with skyteam you can come back to star alliance

Originally Posted by roberino View Post
once to BZN (google it!) with UA. A
middle of nowhere
fifty_two is offline  
Old Aug 26, 19, 6:09 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: OTP, CHQ, EIN and beyond
Programs: AF/KL platinum, Turkish gold, Aegean silver
Posts: 1,060
Originally Posted by unusualtravelblog View Post
My experience as a A3*G and FB Platinum:

- Flying Blue Gold/Platinum is easy to attain and retain as long as you fly business class, don't bother with eco flights. PE is doable. The big advantage here is that XP over 180 or 300 will be transfered to next year(s). Segments are important in Flying Blue and the miles flown to classify the flight as "Medium" to "Long 3".
- A3*G is super easy to retain with economy flights. Not the case with Flying Blue.
- I value A3 miles much more over FB, as award ticket cost in FB miles depend on the ticket price. However, they have their nice promo awards every month with good deals.
- I generally prefer *A lounges over ST lounges, but I assume that's totally route-dependent.
- Star Alliance is bigger than Skyteam, so more "options" for rewards and earning.
- I'm surprised to hear that India is an issue with *A, as they have Air India in their alliance.
This sums it all up extremely well - and it's the same thoughts I have on the issue, having status with both SkyTeam and Star Alliance (previously A3 - but nowadays TK).

As said before, retaining A3 *G is super easy - even with economy class flights. It will however not be the same with Flying Blue! Just to give an example from my own travels: my work trips (which constitute about 50 percent of my travels) are all economy and most of them inside Europe. If I look back at how I qualified first for Flying Blue gold, then platinum, and this month retained platinum for another year, it are not those journeys in Y which have got me there. Without the odd intra-European flight in business class for private purposes (it is easy to get 6 segments on 1 ticket for 400 EUR, raking in 90XP in one go) or the odd "flash sale/error fare" or similar tickets (eg. dirt cheap Saudia business class flights to Asia) I would surely not be able to retain platinum and might even struggle with gold. It does require a bit of planning! If you are a bit flexible with time/destination in your private travels it makes it much easier already as you can offset the low earnings for flights in Y with one or two holidays/mileage runs giving you proper XP earnings to catapult yourself. For me, it does mean that for Flying Blue I still need to plan my travels accordingly over the year, while retaining *G on the contrary always seems to come natural and does not require much effort.

As OP said that much of his travel would be on AF/KL with colleagues through the hubs in AMS/CDG, there is one more thing to note. Earning miles on AF/KL is dependent on spending - so unless you are flying more expensive (business class) tickets mileage earning is absolutely worthless compared to A3 and other *A programmes. Luckily earnings on other SkyTeam airlines are still mileage-based, but if your travels are mostly focused on AF/KL you will find yourself not racking up many miles. As written above by unusualtravelblog, redeeming miles is also generally more easy with A3 as I think the programme has more sweet spots to begin with (for example intra-Asian flights in business class). A3's Miles+Bonus is also fixed in mileage costs, unlike Flying Blue where it depends on demand meaning that a simple business class ticket one-way from Europe to the US might cost you anything between 90,000 and 300,000 miles, which is just perverse. Don't join Flying Blue if earning and spending miles is a priority as there might be better programmes.

I would suggest the OP doing a few calculations to estimate how much XP his work travels would earn in a year and how far it would get him. If already work travel gets you close to gold, it would be extremely doable to maintain both statuses.
Romanianflyer is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread