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).
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?