Air France’s Flying Blue miles are easier to extend than I thought

26

Air France

This morning I published details about a 25% Transfer Bonus from Citi ThankYou Rewards to Air France Flying Blue.  In the original version of the post, I wrote “Flying Blue miles expire after 24 months and can only be renewed with crediting paid flights to Flying Blue or putting spend on an Air France credit card.”  Well, thanks to reader input, I learned that I was wrong.  It appears that you can extend the life of miles that were transferred in to Flying Blue simply by transferring in some more miles.  But the full story is not that simple: it appears that Flying Blue tracks two kinds of miles: miles earned from flights (including partner flights), and miles earned from other partners.  The options for keeping your miles from expiring differ depending upon which type of miles you have.  Confused yet?

Here’s what’s written in the Flying Blue FAQ:

How long are my Miles valid?

All your Miles are valid for life as long as you take an eligible flight on Air France, KLM, Aircalin, Kenya Airways, TAROM or other airline partners at least once every 2 years, or if you’re an Elite or Elite Plus member, or if you make a purchase with an eligible co-branded credit card at least once every 2 years. These “Overall extending activities” extend the validity of all Miles 2 years from the date of the activity.

You can also extend the validity of Miles earned with all other partners (car rental partners, hotel partners, and experience partners) for 2 years by earning Miles with any of these other partners. These “Partial extending activities” with other partners will extend the validity of Miles earned with any of these other partners by 2 years from the date of the activity. Please note, “Partial extending activities” do not extend the validity of Miles earned from “Overall extending activities”.

So, if I understand this right, here’s how it works…

Miles earned from flights are relatively hard to extend

Flying Blue miles earned from actual flying can only be extended beyond 24 months by taking an eligible flight (and crediting it to Flying Blue), or by being an elite member, or making a purchase with your Air France / KLM Flying Blue credit card.

Miles earned from partner activity (including point transfers) are easy to extend

Beyond the list of ways to extend miles from flights, partner activity miles can also be extended by earning more miles from partners.  So, if you have miles from a point transfer which are about to expire, simply transfer another 1,000 points or so to Flying Blue and the older miles should then be extended by 24 months.

Note: If you credit flight activity to your account, all older miles become like flight miles and can only be extended in the ways described above (flights, elite status, credit card spend).

Conclusion

I used to dismiss transfer bonuses to Flying Blue due to my understanding of how hard it was to keep the miles alive if you didn’t use them within 24 months.  Now, I know that that’s not an issue after all.

I can’t imagine why those in charge of the Flying Blue program want to make this so complicated, though!  Why not just do what most other programs do and extend the life of all miles with any qualifying activity?

3.8 4 votes
Post Rating

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

26 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jen

Thanks for the info. This was great! Confirming that transferring miles from American Express extended my miles in Flying Blue account for another 2 years. Current miles in the account were originally transferred from Amex pre-Covid, used points to book a flight and then cancelled flight due to Covid.

Howard

Hi, I have a few hundred thousand FB miles and have been told that they will expire before the end of December 2022. I have been waiting for a knee replacement (hopefully before the end of this year), as a result I cannot book a flight. I don’t have anything that I can transfer into my FB miles to gain extension. Could I pay for a flight to gain to extension to my FB miles for a further 2 years even though there may be a possibility that I would not be able to travel.

Pete

I’ve got exactly the same problem and been trying to figure out how to get them all extended. It seems the easiest would be to get a Flying Blue Credit Card, but it seems you need to be a Dutch resident to get this (I live in the UK)… so that doesn’t seem to be an option.
In the UK I can get an AmEx card which gets Membership Rewards, which can then be transferred to Flying Blue, but I suspect that this will not extend the 350k air-miles I have with them for another 2 years. Reading the comments below thought it seems that some other cards seem to work – someone mentioned Citi worked, but not sure if that was a UK credit card….
Help anyone?

IsaBoBisa

Looks like the Flying Blue mastercard is through Bank of America.

vbscript2

If you have a stay at a Fairmont or other such Accor property, if you link your Accor account to your Flying Blue account, they have an arrangement similar to what Delta and SPG used to have where, in addition to the normal hotel points, hotel stays will earn Flying Blue miles. These will also extend the validity of transferred miles in my experience (though I assume it would not extend miles earned by flying.)

TomLV

Just got an email saying all Flying Blue miles extended to 12/31/22.

Dan

Just transferred 1000 miles from Citi into my 31k FB miles which were set to expire 12/31/21. I then logged back into my FB account and it now shows all miles to expire 11/30/2023. Thanks everyone!

[…] The existing articles about what resets the expiration of miles in AirFrance/KLM’s FlyingBlue mileage program are all over the board, and they conflict with one another at the surface level. There’s only one thing that’s been certain to this point: crediting an actual SkyTeam revenue flight to your FlyingBlue account will reset expiration and kick the can down the road for another two years. […]

Jeff

I guess I didn’t read the text well enough. a few years back I transferred in 20,000 Ultimate rewards points to use to fly from Hanoi to Hong Kong on Vietnam Air only to find out that I couldn’t use Flying Blue miles to book Vietnam Air. The original 24 months were close to expiring so I credited a short DL flight to FB. this extended the miles for another 24 months. Then, the miles were extended to 12/31/21 due to Covid. I just transferred 1,000 MR points to FB and got, with bonus, 1,250 FB miles added to my account. I just checked my FB account and the 1,250 miles expire in 24 months. The original 20,125 miles that I had in my account still expire on 12/31/21 so no I am stuck with trying to book a short no need flight on DL to extend the original miles or apply for an Air France credit card which wrecks my overall credit card strategy. Flying Blue totally sucks IMHO.

Mark

I feel you, I would have made the same mistake were it not for this article. I was under the false impression for years that I had to post a SkyTeam flight credit or get a FB credit card to extend my miles. This is the first and only article that has been clear about this rule (on accounts that ONLY have transfer activity) – and the comments really support it as well – super helpful and what a relief. The other stuff I’ve read in the past only worked to confuse and bring me down.

Traveling

OMG, thank you so much for posting this! We had 200,000 flying blue miles expiring by the end of the 2021 and could not fit a flight in on a partner airline to reset the expiration date. We literally just transferred 1,000 points via Amex and it reset our status for two more years. Whew! It’s been on our mind ever since our original points flight was cancelled in March 2020. If only I had read your article sooner 🙂

TheKabillionare

Thank you! I had 142k Flying Blue miles expiring in December 2021 which I had transferred from Chase last year to book a flight before cancelling it due to the pandemic. Just tried transferring an additional 1k miles from Chase and it says I now have 143k miles expiring on September 30 2023

tassojunior

same people who designed the Paris traffic circles.

Frank

I transferred a small number of points from Brex to see how it worked and these are showing a separate 2-year expiry date despite my having the credit card.

Frank

Perhaps not if you have the credit card … I just got my Air France credit card miles posted to the Flying Blue account and it seems it has now included the Brex miles for the new expiry date – all miles now expire on 7/31/2023. The Brex miles were “Regular” miles while the credit card miles are called “Retail” miles..

I didn’t check just before my credit card statement so I am not sure when it changed in the last 11 days, maybe only after a new credit card posting or maybe it just took some time.

John

Just tried transferring miles to extend my previously transferred miles – the newly transferred miles have a different expiration date than the previous ones, ha. I’m flying delta on christmas eve and crediting flying blue with the miles – here’s hoping I don’t lose them all.

Noel Symonds

I lost 55,000+ Flying Blue miles all these schemes have to many strings. If only all airlines had one scheme. Its all a con unless you fly lots.

kukuki

Greg, to your question “I can’t imagine why those in charge of the Flying Blue program want to make this so complicated, though! Why not just do what most other programs do and extend the life of all miles with any qualifying activity?” the answer is that Flying Blue management team employees must have been previously employed and got inspired by Citi and their absurd way of tracking separately thank you points from different sponsors (credit cards) and their expiration policies. On top Citi hides the points separation, which we cannot really see, only they can.

Jim

What’s the big deal just get the cc.It’s a solid deal and even beyond first year they give you 5000 miles to cover the annual fee.

NK3

Reasons not to sign up for it would include it uses up a 5/24 slot, B of A has their own 3/12 rule if you don’t have an account with them (so I would either have to wait or start a checking/savings acct), etc.

I think the Flying Blue card is a decent card, but not great. The 50K SUB is good, but with the current transfer bonus, that’s really only 40K Citi TYP. I could sign up for the Citi Premier and get 60K TYP, which could become 75K Flying Blue miles. The 5k miles per year is nice, but I don’t know if that really makes it a keeper card. Its basically in the same price range as the United Explorer, AA Platinum, and Delta Gold. Those are all popular cards because they give free bags. If a couple flies one domestic flight per year on any of those airlines and each checks a bag each way, that airline’s card would be worth it. You would have to value flying blue miles at nearly 1.8 cents each to warrant keeping the card just for the miles, and there really are not that many other benefits to the card. That said, I will probably sign up for it to keep my miles active, but if there was another way to do it (like by transferring points), I totally would.

Larry K

I’ve seen this question debated on flyertalk and the consensus up until now has always been that the language is poor and that “partial extending activities” only create a 2 year period for the miles that were actually transferred not for miles transferred in the past. This has always been my experience (which eventually caused me to get the AF credit card in order to extend them) but there are apparently some new data points. I think it’s still vague.

Anthony

It is pretty clear in terms of how it appears in your Flying Blue account. Sign in – you have xxx miles expiring on xxx date. Transfer in miles, immediately, it changes to say you have xxy miles (xxx plus whatever you transferred in) expiring on the last day of the month, plus two years.

NK3

Major lesson I learned–if you start transferring miles to Flying Blue, never credit a flight to them. Now I am stuck on the credit a flight or open the credit card pathway. I could have saved myself a major hassle!