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The best frequent flyer program in the SkyTeam alliance is Air France/KLM Flying Blue. SkyTeam is generally the worst alliance in terms of just about everything – ranging from quality of airlines to frequent flyer benefits to aspirational flying experiences, etc., not a lot of people like SkyTeam. While Delta has the world’s worst loyalty program, Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue is actually a useful program for redeeming on both SkyTeam airlines as well as non-alliance partners.

Some things to keep in mind about Flying Blue:

  • there is no award chart published, so a flight could cost any amount of miles
  • fuel surcharges are imposed on most redemptions, but are usually not that bad
  • website can be super glitchy, so be sure to double check award availability elsewhere before transferring in points
  • you can have a free stopover in Amsterdam or Paris, but this can only be booked over the phone
  • changes and cancelations of award tickets aren’t super expensive
  • it is a SkyTeam frequent flyer program, so don’t expect too much from it

Transfer in Points to Flying Blue

Flying Blue miles can be acquired fairly easily, you can transfer them in from:

  • American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 ratio)
  • Capital One Rewards (1:1 ratio)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1 ratio)
  • Citi ThankYou Points (1:1 ratio)
  • Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 ratio)

There are frequently transfer bonuses to Flying Blue – from the major bank programs. For example, right now there is a promotion whereby if you transfer Chase points to Flying Blue, you will get a 25% bonus.

SkyTeam Alliance Airlines

As Air France and KLM are both in SkyTeam, you can earn and redeem your Flying Blue miles on all SkyTeam airlines:

  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • CSA Czech Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Garuda Indoensia
  • ITA Airways
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • MEA Middle East Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Xiamen Air

SkyTeam doesn’t have that many aspirational carriers and I’d say that Air France, KLM, and ITA Airways are the most premium airlines in the alliance.

Non-Alliance Flying Blue Partner Airlines

Air France/KLM Flying Blue has a bunch of cool non-alliance partner airlines on which you can earn and redeem miles:

  • Air Corsica
  • Air Mauritius
  • airBaltic
  • Aircalin
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Chalair Aviation
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • GOL
  • Japan Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Transavia
  • Twin Jet
  • WestJet
  • Winair

Note that because these partner airlines do not belong to SkyTeam, in some cases it may not be possible to redeem or earn miles on all routes operated by these non-alliance partners.

Redeem Flying Blue Miles on Non-Alliance Partners

We want to highlight Flying Blue redemptions on some cool non-alliance partner airlines like Air Mauritius, Bangkok Airways, Japan Airlines, etc. – so we won’t cover Flying Blue redemptions on all non-alliance partner airlines in this post.

Below we have listed sample routes and their cost when redeeming Flying Blue miles. In some cases, you can find great redemption rates while in other cases, they are terrible. It is interesting that Flying Blue partners with airlines like Japan Airlines and Qantas when those are strong oneworld members. I would argue that being able to redeem Flying Blue miles on Etihad Airways is probably the best opportunity you could have as far as non-alliance partners go.

Redeem Miles on Air Mauritius

sample routes:

  • Mauritius to London
    • Economy Class: 83,500 miles + ~$98
    • Business Class: 209,000 miles + ~$242
  • Mauritius to Johannesburg
    • Economy Class: 26,000 miles + ~$112
    • Business Class: 65,500 miles + ~$137

Redeem Miles on Bangkok Airways

sample routes:

  • Bangkok to Koh Samui
    • Economy Class: 15,000 miles + ~$3
  • Koh Samui to Singapore
    • Economy Class: 17,000 miles + ~$22

Redeem Miles on Japan Airlines

sample routes:

  • Tokyo to Osaka
    • Economy Class: 11,500 miles + ~$9
    • Business Class: 15,000 miles + ~$20
  • Tokyo to Singapore
    • Economy Class: 76,000 miles + ~$150
    • Business Class: 135,500 miles + ~$150

Redeem Miles on Malaysia Airlines

sample routes:

  • Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
    • Economy Class: 5,000 miles + ~$16
    • Business Class: 10,000 miles + ~$27
  • Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo
    • Economy Class: 36,000 miles + ~$126
    • Business Class: 90,500 miles + ~$154

Redeem Miles on WestJet

sample routes:

  • Calgary to Toronto
    • Economy Class: 20,000 miles + ~$32

All in All

While SkyTeam isn’t the world’s most useful alliance, Air France/KLM’s frequent flyer program sort of brings everything together and allows some unique mileage opportunities. I would say that being able to redeem these miles on airlines like Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and others, in addition to being able to redeem on SkyTeam airlines, is what makes this frequent flyer program the best one in the entire alliance. However, remember to keep in mind that some award redemption rates are insanely high and when combined with fuel surcharges, sometimes it may be best to book an award through another program – always research your redemption carefully before booking.

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