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Flying Blue Stops Blocking Award Searches From Empty Mileage Accounts

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Air France and KLM team up with one big frequent flyer program, called FlyingBlue. And for a few days, it had an even bigger problem: You couldn't search for flights using miles unless you actually had miles in your account.

Starting earlier this week, Richard Kerr from Award Travel 101 first noticed Air France/KLM would grey out award searches for users with empty accounts. It just wasn't possible to search for flights using miles unless you had plenty in your account. It was unclear if it was a glitch or a major change from the two airlines, though there were some reports the app still worked.

But the issue was temporary. Starting this morning, it's again possible to search even if you don't have FlyingBlue miles in your account.


air france klm award search

Breathe a sigh of relief, people.


Our Analysis 

Blocking award searches unless users have miles in their account would have been a major blow to Air France/KLM.

FlyingBlue can be a very worthwhile program for frequent flyers. That's due in large part to the fact that they're so easy to earn, as you can get those miles via transfers from Chase, American Express, Citi, and Capital One. The airlines put on monthly sales called FlyingBlue Promos, offering huge discounts on specific routes for a limited time. Think 28,000 miles to fly almost anywhere in Europe and back, or just 13,500 miles to fly one way in business class.

But FlyingBlue is unpredictable – it works a lot like Delta SkyMiles. Instead of an award chart, Air France and KLM use highly variable pricing when you use your miles. And that's a recipe for disaster if you can't zero in on pricing before transferring your miles.

These transfers from credit card points are a one-way street: Once you've transferred miles to Air France, you can't get them back to your bank account. So the thought of transferring points to Air France only to find sky-high pricing was troubling.

There were some data points suggesting just a small amount of miles would enable an award search. But the site is fully functional again, so it's no longer an issue … at least for now.


Bottom Line

Who knows if this was a glitch or a change that Air France/KLM reversed? Regardless, we're glad to see it's back to normal.


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Lead photo courtesy of Bruno Geiger via Flickr

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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