Flying Blue is the loyalty program that was created by several airlines. The largest members are Air France and KLM. As common within most frequent flyer programs, loyal customers will be rewarded.
The rewards a Flying Blue member will receive depends on the status level he or she holds within the program. To progress between those status levels you need to earn eXperience Points (we will just call it XP throughout the post).
In this blog post we will try to explain everything you ever wanted to know about XP.
What does XP mean in Flying Blue
As explained in the post introduction, XP stands for eXperience Points. Its the metric Flying Blue uses to determine loyalty to the airline group Flying Blue consists off.
During your membership year you will earn Flying Blue XP with (almost) every flight you take on a SkyTeam member airline. When you pass a certain amount of XP during your membership your membership level (tier) will be upgraded.
When you didn’t fly enough during your membership to retain your current membership level, you will be downgraded to the membership level directly below your current level (soft landing).
On which airlines can I earn Flying Blue Experience Points
To determine whether you will earn XP points on your flights the flight number is super important.
General rule of thumb is that when the flight number starts with the letters “KL” or “AF”, you will earn XP points on your flights.
- The flight number starts with “AF” or “KL” and the flight is operated by Air France or KLM.
- The flight number start with “AF” or “KL” and the flight is operated by one of the SkyTeam airlines (e.g. AeroFlot).
- The flight number is marketed by a SkyTeam airline and operated by that of another SkyTeam member airline, e.g. : DL 504 on AeroFlot airplane, the flight is sold by Delta and you fly in an AeroFlot airplane.
How many Experience Points will my flights get me?
The amount of XP you will earn for (a series of) flight(s) is based on two criteria. Firstly the booking class of your ticket is important. A seat booked in business class will earn more XP than a seat booked in economy class.
The second criteria is the distance of your flight. A flight from South America to Europe will earn more XP than a flight within Europe. Flying Blue has created four distance XP earning buckets for this.
There is one exception on the distance based XP. When you fly domestic (e.g. in the USA or France) the distance flown is not relevant. You will earn a set amount of XP. A transcontinental flight from New York to Los Angeles in economy will earn you 2 XP. So does the relatively short flight between Boston and New York.
In the matrix below you can find the amount of XP you will earn for a flight. First check your cabin class on the left part of the matrix. Then follow the line to the applicable column for your flight distance.
E.G. : The distance flown on a direct KLM flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles is 5.578 miles. This qualifies as a Long 3 segment. Therefore your flight will earn you 36 XP in business class.
How do you calculate Flying Blue XP earned on your itinerary?
On the Flying Blue website you will find a XP calculator. This calculated will help you determine the distance bucket for your flight. If you transit during your itinerary, you will have to repeat this process for each flight segment.
We created our own XP Calculator. You can input your complete itinerary in this calculator. The output will show the amount of XP earned in each cabin class.
How do you optimize the amount of XP earned on your itinerary
We already explained that you will earn XP for every flight you are on. When we book a direct flight from Amsterdam to Madrid we will earn 15 XP each way, so 30 XP for the return trip. We can however double the amount of XP earned with this itinerary by implementing a layover in our itinerary.
Paris is the hub airport in France for Air France. Therefore its convenient to add a transit in Paris, both on the outbound as the inbound flight. Because of the inconvenience caused by a longer travel time, due to a transit, airlines will often offer you a discount for not taking the direct flight.
In a lot of cases you will save some money and double your earned XP by choosing the indirect flight.
Every now and then there are opportunities to add a great amount of transits to your itinerary. A few years ago there was an option (error fare), which gave you the opportunity to fly from Norway to Tel Aviv. The error on this fare was that it was possible to route through many European cities. It was even possible to transit in the eastern part of Russia.
Frequent Asked Questions on eXperience Points
Finally we will try to answer some questions asked frequently.
Do Flying Blue XP expire?
Each Flying Blue member has a membership year. During this membership year you can earn XP points to reach the next membership level. If you pass the threshold for the next membership level, the amount of XP for the next membership level will be substracted from your XP balance.
If you are on the Explorer level and were unable to reach the amount needed for the Silver level, your XP balance will be reset to zero at the end of your membership year.
Final thoughts on Flying Blue Experience Points
For travellers which are used to earn level miles which are directly related to the distance flown, XP might be strange of first sight.
When you get used to the method used to determine the amount of XP earned on a flight, it will become easy very quickly.