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KLM finally spots the big loophole in its baggage charging plan

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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.

KLM baggage

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

How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards (September 2023)

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 cards earn Membership Rewards points:

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.

Comments (11)

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  • Britbronco22 says:

    The value you get using miles for baggage is still probably better than their short haul redemptions though

  • Euan says:

    A shame about the change… I’ve made use of it several times recently.

  • Phillip says:

    What would be interesting to know is how many new members signed up to Flying Blue over the space of the year! I would say more than a loophole, it was an intentional plan to bulk up the FFP and improve statistics!

  • Leon says:

    They added about 200.000 new FB members in the last year, strictly related to their (at that time) new bagage rules.

  • Aeronaut says:

    How come the exception to baggage charges for KLM flights to Italy?

  • Lady London says:

    Apparently you can’t switch their emails off if you are a member of FlyingBlue. Silly really, as any serious frequent flyer is perfectly able to keep themselves aware of anything they need to know about KL/AF without receiving huge emails with magazines that take ages to load and are fiddly to flip through (I’m looking at you, KL!!) each month. I’m likely to start flying again on several routes quite soon that I would seriously consider KL/AF in particular to have strength in. But trying to unsubscribe from their emails and being told it’s not possible to be a Flying Blue member and not have any emails from them at all, has put me right off.

    So I’ll just have to cobble together flights from Qatar, SAA, and other Middle East Airlines instead which is actually much less convenient that regularly using KL/AF would have been.

    • grex9101 says:

      What’s the big deal? Give them a fake email address of just mark their emails as spam. Hardly a deal breaker.

  • Callum says:

    I’d hardly call it a loophole. They’ve announced you could do this from the very start of the new baggage policy.

    I’d imagine it was just a transition period before this latest change kicked in (and maybe the half price will be eventually removed as well).

  • Kris Schimmel says:

    If this doesn’t take effect until October, I can still sign up at the moment to Flying Blue to get free hold luggage if I book befor October 1st? I’m thinking of running Amsterdam marathon in October, so do I have 3+ months to decide if wanna take hold luggage?

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