Flying Blue, the loyalty scheme of Air France and KLM, is a popular programme for those who fly Skyteam regularly. Since the introduction of dynamic priced redemption, it is more difficult to get good value for Flying Blue miles nowadays. Today we are going to talk about a trick that can potentially maximise its value, if used correctly.
Many airlines used to offer cheap “boomerang” redemption options. For example, British Airways once allowed you to book Edinburgh-London-Glasgow as a one-way flight, with a stopover of X days, so you are basically paying half price for a return trip. Similar loopholes existed within Delta’s Skymiles and Cathay Pacific’s Asiamiles programmes, however it’s no surprise that they have all been “fixed” by now.
By accident, I found that the same trick applies to Flying Blue as well. Note that Flying Blue awards don’t allow any stopover, so any of the discussions we have below only permit a layover of max. 24 hours – this is a big restriction so this trick may not be useful to you at all.
[United States: Delta]
U.S. Domestic flights on Delta starts from 14,500 miles per way. You can break it into two journeys, for example:
Note how the second journey is priced at 0 miles, but you still need to pay the surcharge. This way you can enjoy a day trip in New York before going to Chicago!
Other destinations may work too, but it can’t be too close to your origin.
[United States via Mexico: Delta & AeroMexico]
And you can even go abroad via Mexico City, paying the same amount of miles:
Surcharge is higher since the two legs are actually international.
[China: China Eastern & China Southern]
The same trick applies to China’s domestic network too.
[China via Japan: Japan Airlines]
And you can go from a city in China to another via Japan… Despite being a member of Oneworld, Japan Airlines works closely with Air France/KLM so you can redeem your miles for JAL’s flights.
It’s interesting to see how the second leg has a negative cost. If you have Oneworld Sapphire or Emerald status (or book business class of course), the business or first lounge in Haneda may well be worth this little detour. Not sure if immigration will be funny with this weird itinerary though.
[South Korea: Korean Air]
Domestic flights in South Korean cost only 9,000 miles per way, and the tax is very low.
But most would say one day is too short for Jeju…
[Within Europe: Air France & KLM]
Flying Blue has a lot of airline partners and I am sure the same Boomerang trick works in many countries, and with many airlines. Let’s take a look at Air France and KLM themselves now.
Bad news is the multi-city function doesn’t seem to work anymore. Good news is there no longer seems to be any restriction on how far the destination must be from the origin.
I can still find such routes using one-way search. For example, Glasgow – Amsterdam – Edinburgh:
Edinburgh – Amsterdam – London
Geneva – Amsterdam – Zurich
Gothenburg – Amsterdam – Stockholm
Sofia – Paris – Bucharest
Since you can only use one-way search to find these flights, you have no control over how long the connection is, which is usually fewer than five hours. However, after you’ve made the booking, try contacting Flying Blue’s customer service to move your flight for a longer connection time (within 24h still), and if it works there’s no charge for this.