Last May, Dutch airline KLM brought in baggage charges for its short-haul flights. This was quite a risky move since it put the aircraft into low cost carrier territory without necessarily having the prices to match.
KLM’s plan had a big loophole as I explained in April 2013. You didn’t pay the baggage fee if you were a member of its Flying Blue loyalty scheme. It didn’t matter what level you were! It didn’t matter if you only signed up five minutes ago. If you had a Flying Blue account then you were exempt.
Things are now changing. I’m only surprised that it took them so long to do it.
For tickets booked after October 1st, base level members of Flying Blue will receive a 50% discount on the first piece of luggage. This means you pay €7.50 if you prebook before arriving at the airport or €15 on the day. They will no longer get a suitcase for free.
You can pay this charge with Flying Blue miles if you want but the value is laughably poor. 1,500 miles waives the €7.50 fee and 3,000 miles waives the €15 fee. I don’t recommend this.
There are still some people who don’t pay:
Passengers with fully flexible economy tickets
Short-haul tickets booked on miles (either Flying Blue or a partner)
Flights to Italy, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia or Belarus, or passengers travelling on and/or transferring to intercontinental KLM flights
Flying Blue elite members
How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards (November 2020)
Air France and KLM do not have a UK Flying Blue credit card. However, you can earn Flying Blue miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards. These are:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 20,000 Flying Blue miles. This card is FREE for your first year and also comes with two airport lounge passes.
- The Platinum Card from American Express (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 30,000 Flying Blue miles
- American Express Rewards credit card (review here, apply here) – sign-up bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points converts into 5,000 Flying Blue miles. This card is FREE for life.
Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Flying Blue miles which is an attractive rate. The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Flying Blue mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.