Flying Blue to Give Frequent Flyers Another Free Status Extension

Air France and KLM’s frequent flyer programme Flying Blue has again decided to give its members another free status extension in 2021 if they don’t manage to requalify this year.

Pandemic

Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, many frequent flyers are literally being grounded as lockdowns, closed borders and a collapse of both international business and leisure travel brought global aviation to a halt.

Last year, almost all major airlines in the world helped out their frequent flyers by giving them free status extensions.

This was also the case with Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue programme, which granted members a one-year status extension if they did not manage to gather the required number of points (XP) necessary to requalify on their own strength.

klm non-schengen crown lounge review
The KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Airport. ©Paliparan

Another extension

Flying Blue has now announced that they will take the same support measure this year by again giving its members another year of status irrespective whether or not they manage to reach the requalification threshold.

To be precise, elite members with a qualification period ending between March 2021 and December 2021 will continue to maintain their level for a further period and have their surplus XP protected.

The Flying Blue communication reads: “We hope that this year will bring new opportunities to travel with us again. To at least give you peace of mind about your Flying Blue status, we are renewing our promise to maintain your current level for a further period, so you can enjoy your benefits whenever the time is right.

“Additionally, we are extending our previous surplus XP support measure, to give you the same head start as you had before.”

A full overview of Air France/KLM’s loyalty measures can be seen here.

flying blue extension
I’m at 274 XP of the 300 XP required up to 31st August, so it seems I can easily requalify for Flying Blue platinum status on my own strength and therefore don’t require the free extension. ©Paliparan

Loyalty

The measure is of course great news for frequent flyers who for whatever reasons still cannot travel this year. In the end, it’s a win-win situation for both the loyal customers of Air France and KLM, as well as for the airlines in question.

After all, you do want to keep your most loyal customers who bring in most money.

If you do not take such measures as an airline and if these travellers were to lose their status, they could very well decide it’s not worth it anymore to fly Air France/KLM after the corona pandemic.

These valuable costumers could then use the situation to change loyalty to one of the main competitors of the French-Dutch airline group.

air france klm flying blue platinum corona
A Flying Blue platinum card and luggage tag. ©Paliparan

Lufthansa

It will now be interesting to see what other European airlines will do. The Lufthansa group previously announced that the members of their Miles&More frequent flyer programme would earn double status miles during the entire year of 2021 in a gesture to help them requalify.

Such a double miles promotion does make sense from Lufthansa’s perspective, as the airline does give something for free, but also expects something in return, namely its loyal customers to buy some tickets.

On a short-term basis, this makes sense as it means extra business for Lufthansa and some much needed cashflow.

But while it will definitely help some members out, such a double miles promotions will be useless for people living in countries with a full lockdown or those working for companies which haven’t resumed business travel yet.

I’m therefore curious whether or not Lufthansa will in the end come with a similar extension measure as the one announced right now by Air France/KLM as it seems like a better choice on a long-term basis.

In the same way, I’m also curious if Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue programme might still come with a double XP/miles promotion as well, as in the last half of 2020 they did run such a promo campaign as well next to the promise of protecting all frequent flyer statuses.

lufthansa free drinks
Lufthansa has so far decided on taking a completely different approach to customer loyalty. ©Paliparan

British Airways

Currently, British Airways has granted a 12 months membership extension to its Executive Club members who have a Tier Point collection end date of July 2020 through to June 2021.

I wouldn’t be surprised if BA would extend this further beyond June 2021 given the UK’s stringent travel restrictions.

air france a380 flying blue extension
It will be interesting to see what Air France/KLM’s main rivals will do when it comes to customer loyalty and membership extensions. ©Paliparan

In short

Air France/KLM’s loyalty programme Flying Blue will again give a full one year status extension to all members who will not manage to requalify this year.

This is a sensible move as it will be much appreciated by the customers, who in turn will hopefully remain loyal to Air France/KLM when the corona virus pandemic has finally ended.

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Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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