Last week Air France announced changes to their Flying Blue program that, if you’re a half-full kinda person, are fantastic or, if you’re a half-empty kinda person, represent a devaluation. Here’s the deal:
– Coach tickets from the US to Europe will see their currently-ridiculous fuel surcharges slashed to 50 Euro each way (roughly $65) from about $200 each way.
– Business class tickets from the US to Europe increase in cost from 100,000 miles to 125,000 miles. Fuel surcharges (obnoxious) stay the same on the trans-Atlantic portion of the trip, but they’ll throw in the fuel surcharges on any connection for free (in other words, flights to Paris will have the same surcharge while flights to, say, Oslo will be slightly lower).
– Increase cost of premium economy ticket to Europe from 75,000 to 100,000, with a reduction in surcharges from $240 each way to about $145 each way.
Yes that stinks about business class (and premium economy) tickets increasing the number of points required, but let’s be honest — why were you redeeming Flying Blue miles for tickets on Air France? The surcharges are completely ridiculous – you have plenty of better options if you want to transfer Starwood or Amex points into a program to get to Europe.
However, the reduction in surcharges on coach tickets to Europe is a pretty big deal, because it opens Air France up as a redemption partner (I considered a $400+ surcharge to be ridiculous for a coach ticket). With the lower surcharge, you’re looking at 40,000 Starwood points for a roundtrip coach ticket to Europe (I know, I know, bloggers act as if coach doesn’t exist.) For those interested in visiting Israel, Air France considers Israel to be part of Europe, so that’s a bargain there, too.
Plus, several times a year Air France offers 50% off deals for award tickets to Europe, meaning there will (likely) be opportunities to grab a roundtrip coach ticket to Europe for 25,000 miles plus only $130. That’s a great deal.