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Your complete guide to redeeming Virgin Flying Club points on Air France and KLM (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of your complete guide to redeeming Virgin Flying Club points on Air France and KLM.

You can now get booking at virginatlantic.com.

Part 1 of this article, which looks at redeeming Virgin Flying Club points for short-haul flights on Air France and KLM, is here.  Part 1 also includes the peak and off-peak dates.

IMPORTANT: This article is based on advanced information provided by Virgin Atlantic but they have not proof read it so errors may have crept in.  There were also still bugs on the Virgin Atlantic site yesterday but they were expected to be fixed by the time you read this …. let’s see.  If you see different numbers on the Virgin website to what I have written here, it is probably the Virgin website that is wrong!

on this page of the Virgin Atlantic website for Air France, and

on this page of the Virgin Atlantic website for KLM 

Before I jump into long-haul redemptions, let’s summarise the key information again:

The points needed for a KLM or Air France flight do NOT match what you need for a Virgin Atlantic flight to the same destination.  There is an entirely separate reward chart.

Short haul connections are FREE in terms of points.  Pricing is NOT segment based, unlike Avios.  You are NOT penalised for connecting in Paris or Amsterdam.  A redemption from Paris to Bangkok requires the same number of miles as Birmingham – Paris – Bangkok.

However, you will pay £173 Air Passenger Duty if you book a connecting flight from the UK to a long haul destination in Business Class.  There are substantial savings in taxes if you book your reward flight from Paris or Amsterdam and book a separate ticket to get there.

It appears that KLM will through-check baggage if your flights are on separate tickets.  If you booked a cash or redemption ticket on KLM from Manchester to Amsterdam and a separate long-haul KLM redemption ticket, it appears that KLM will check through your luggage at Manchester to your final destination.  British Airways no longer does this so it wil be a bit of novelty to some people!

Virgin Flying Club has split the world into 10 zones

Here is the zonal list.

Remember that short-haul flights under 1,750 miles do NOT price off this chart and instead use the short-haul pricing chart which we discussed in Part 1 of our ‘how to spend Virgin miles on Air France and KLM’ article.  This creates some inconsistencies due to the sharp jump in peak date pricing when using the long-haul chart.

Zone 1 (Western and Central Europe) includes:
UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Balearic Islands, Finland, Italy, Malta, Norway and Sweden.

Zone 2 (Eastern Europe and North Africa) includes:
Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Canary Islands, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Libya, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Madeira, Moldavia, Morocco, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, West Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

West Russia includes the following Federal Districts – Central Federal District, North-western Federal District, Volga Federal District, Southern Federal District and North Caucasian Federal District.

Zone 3 (Middle East and Russia) includes:
Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Central Russia, Egypt, UAE, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Djibouti.

Central Russia to include the following Federal Districts – Urais Federal District and Siberian Federal District.

Zone 4 (Central Africa) includes:
Benin, Burkina, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Republic of South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Chad, Zambia and Sierra Leone.

Zone 5 (Southern Africa, Indian Ocean and Indian Subcontinent) includes:
Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Reunion Island, Seychelles, Mayotte, Comoros, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Zone 6 (East Coast North America & Caribbean) includes:
East Coast USA, East Canada, Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Cuba, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Caiman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Martinique, Haiti, Porto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and Saint Marteen.

Includes the following US states – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida

Includes the following Canadian provinces – Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island

Zone 7 (West & Central North America and Central America) includes:
Central & West USA, Hawaii, Central & West Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua.

Includes the following US states – Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Hawaii and Alaska.

Includes the following Canadian provinces – Nunavut, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories, British Colombia and Yukon.

Zone 8 (South America) includes:
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Zone 9 (Far Eastern Asia and Eastern Russia) includes:
China, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, East Russia (& Siberia), Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.  (Eastern Russia to include the following Federal Districts – Far Eastern Federal District.)

Zone 10 (Oceania) includes:
Australia, Fiji, Guam, Marianas Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Palau Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

Over time, we will probably discover from sweet spot redemptions based on how certain countries have been categorised …..

Here is the Virgin Flying Club redemption chart for Air France and KLM

Economy:

This is OFF PEAK each-way pricing.  You must add 10,000 points each-way for peak dates.  Connecting flights are included.  Click to enlarge:

Virgin Flying Club reward miles pricing on Air France and KLM

Premium Economy (not available on KLM): 

This is OFF PEAK each-way pricing.  You must add 10,000 points each-way for peak dates.  Connecting flights are included.

Virgin Flying Club reward miles pricing on Air France and KLM

Business:

This is OFF PEAK each-way pricing.  You must add 10,000 points each-way for peak dates.  Connecting flights are included.

Virgin Flying Club reward miles pricing on Air France and KLM

First Class:

KLM does not have First Class.  Air France does not allow partner airline customers to redeem points for First Class.

How are the taxes on Air France and KLM redemptions?

If you want to know how this pricing compares to Avios, there is no overall answer.  In general:

you will require the same or more Virgin points than Avios but it will vary by destination

peak and off-peak calendar differences between Avios and Flying Club will also make a difference

taxes and charges will be SUBSTANTIALLY lower if you do not book a through-ticket from the UK

taxes and charges will be roughly similar if you do book a through-ticket from the UK

Here is an example for Dubai (Zone 3) where you can see Virgin Flying Club offers very similar value to using Avios:

100,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 100,000 Avios off-peak

120,000 Virgin poits peak vs 120,000 Avios miles peak

€292 (£251) return taxes and charges with KLM if booked AMS-DXB, buying a connection separately

€377 (£325) return taxes and charges with Air France if booked PAR-DXB, buying a connection separately

£478 return taxes and charges with KLM if you book from London to Dubai, on one ticket (this is an estimate from Expedia as the Virgin website had not been loaded with this routing last night)

£548 return taxes and charges with British Airways on an Avios redemption

Here are some other examples where I haven’t run all the taxes:

Mauritius (Zone 5) – substantially better with Virgin vs using Avios:

122,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 150,000 Avios off-peak

142,000 Virgin points peak vs 180,000 Avios miles peak

Jamaica (Zone 6) – substantially better with Virgin vs using Avios:

97,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 125,000 Avios off-peak

117,000 Virgin points peak vs 150,000 Avios miles peak

Johannesburg (Zone 5) – better with Virgin vs using Avios:

122,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 125,000 Avios off-peak

142,000 Virgin points peak vs 150,000 Avios miles peak

New York (Zone 6) – better with Virgin vs using Avios:

97,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 100,000 Avios off-peak

117,000 Virgin points peak vs 120,000 Avios miles peak

Buenos Aires (Zone 8) – equal or better with Virgin vs using Avios:

175,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 175,000 Avios off-peak

195,000 Virgin points peak vs 210,000 Avios miles peak

San Francisco (Zone 7) – worse with Virgin vs using Avios:

155,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 125,000 Avios off-peak

175,000 Virgin points peak vs 150,000 Avios miles peak

Rio (Zone 8) – worse with Virgin vs using Avios:

175,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 150,000 Avios off-peak

195,000 Virgin points peak vs 180,000 Avios miles peak

Singapore (Zone 9) – worse with Virgin vs using Avios:

224,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 175,000 Avios off-peak

244,000 Virgin points peak vs 210,000 Avios miles peak

Tokyo (Zone 9) – substantially worse with Virgin vs using Avios:

224,000 Virgin points off-peak vs 150,000 Avios off-peak

244,000 Virgin points peak vs 180,000 Avios miles peak

You can check Avios pricing for ALL British Airways routes in this article.

There are clearly variations by route.  Some are cheaper than Avios, some are virtually the same, some are noticeably more expensive.  Over time we will learn where the sweet spots are.

Taxes are a different story.  There are ALWAYS savings to be made if you go via Amsterdam and book your connection separately.  (KLM should check your baggage through if both legs are with them.)  The savings are smaller from London BUT KLM has a better business class product than BA Club World.

To add to the confusion, Air France still has sloping business class seats on many aircraft which are WORSE than BA Club World.  Air France also has higher taxes than KLM.  BA Club Suite is better than BA Club World but you can question whether the overall food and seat package is better than Air France (on the right plane) or KLM ……

In general – and I stress this is a generalisation – it seems that KLM has more to offer than Air France:

  • more UK departure airports than Air France
  • lower taxes than Air France
  • a better Business Class product overall (given that Air France is not 100% lie flat)

Today is Day 1, and obviously there will be lots to learn.  The Virgin Atlantic website is also very buggy, especially with flights involving connections, although the call centre should be able to deal with it.

I am certain that we will be returning to this topic in the next day or so.  For today, however, I think there is enough here to get your teeth into!

For more information, look at:

the Virgin Atlantic website here for Air France, and

the Virgin Atlantic website here for KLM 

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (132)

  • Kevin C says:

    Thank you for the report. I think you mean to say ‘some’ sweet spot redemptions rather than ‘from’.

  • Russ says:

    OOH! AMS-DXB is interesting. More points than Singapore airline’s Krisflyer scheme but it’s a direct flight. Can we buy one way tickets or is it return only?

    • New Card says:

      One ways seem possible. But why more interesting than flying direct with BA for the same number of points?

      • New Card says:

        I guess the taxes …

      • Rob says:

        Availability during UK school holidays. The only reason I use the Miles & More card is to generate enough miles to get 4 x Business to the Middle East during October half term, because I won’t be getting those seats via BA ….

  • eli says:

    with BA domestic connection redemptions I have in the past done for instance the MAN-LHR in Club Europe and the LHR-… (long-haul) in Economy, this way I got the business luggage allowance for the entire (one way) journey.

    would be curious if this is a possibility with AF & KLM

  • BJ says:

    The sweet spots:
    Are generally miles-earning cash tickets on AF/KLM, not redemptions.

    Availability of award seats not the cost of the redemption is likely to be the most significant factor determining peoples experience and satisfaction with this partnership. My guess is that this will generally be even worse than on BA. Still, not to be totally negative, this will always provides a possible alternative for those who have Virgin miles but cannot find availability via BA and partners.

    A great result for those in Inverness, or willing to travel from there, provided they are not headed to the Far East. APD-free redemptions with a free stopover in AMS on way out and feasibly CDG on the way back if multi-sector routings are allowed is the obvious redemption sweet spot.

    Overall I guess the two year long deluded pipe dreams of many are now over, what a surprise.

    • Russ says:

      BJ, the day is young….

    • Rob says:

      You haven’t even begun to look at the chart properly. New York to San Francisco, for example, is 60,000 miles one-way in Business Class. Via Paris or Amsterdam. Where you can have an unlimited stopover. I could go on ….

      The rest of your comment is confusing because it is based on your guess, with no actual evidence, that reward seats will not actually be available – although you accept the fact that seats will be far cheaper than Avios (in terms of taxes) as long as you hub via AMS/PAR on separate tickets.

      • Russ says:

        CDG/AMS-TUN if you want to grab a cheap RAM flight to Middle East/US before joining One world.

      • pauldb says:

        That’s the kind of thing that caught my eye. South Africa to Singapore for 64k J? They can’t really intend that, but if so why put a number down?

        • BJ says:

          They usually take care of such with backtracking rules for alliance or partner-wide award charts. However, given this is for AF/KLM only where routings are only available via CDG/AMS it’s clear sonebody has screwed up royally or there is something we don’t yet know. If the former then they can and probably will fix it easily and quickly.

        • Callum says:

          That’s not how it prices on the website – it charges for each leg separately.

      • BJ says:

        On the first point, I had thought about that but isn’t there rules about backtracking? If not then I’m sure it will not be long before there is. Similarly with stopover rules, if they get abused they will het changed just as other schemes have done.

        On the second point, I acknowledged it is a guess but it is an educated one based on FB availability and pricing so not confused at all.

  • Steven says:

    It looks like not all KLM routes are bookable via Virgin Atlantic. I have just tried searching for a flight from the UK to Japan and it doesn’t come up with any results. Upon chatting with their customer service team, they are advising that this route is not available under the Joint Venture. I thought all KLM routes were bookable via Virgin Atlantic? I have been advised that there are no routes available whatsoever from UK to Japan. I thought the whole point was to open up Virgin Atlantic to the rest of the World? If this is correct, then for me it is very much a damp squib.

    • Rob says:

      Connecting flight bookings are down. AMS-TYO should work.

      • Steven says:

        Thanks but that’s not working either. Comes up with zero results.

        From the way the Customer Services answered, it sounds like there will never be an option of booking from UK to Japan via Virgin Atlantic? When you actually look at the list of destinations that you can fly to with KLM via the Virgin Atlantic website, it only shows some new domestic UK airports having been added along with Amsterdam. Surely this can’t be the extent of the partnership?

  • Rick says:

    Connecting flights don’t seem to be working as yet. Trying to book MAN-DXB on KLM, I can get MAN-AMS and AMS-DXB, but not MAN-DXB.

    Anyway, time to apply for the VS Premium Card… Another 25k points will come in handy.

  • Charlieface says:

    Israel, most of the Maghreb and some of Central Asia is in Zone 2, that’s amazing.

  • James says:

    I’m having a beast. Even logged in, I can zero results for anything on the KLM network (BRS to AMS, AMS to DXB, LHR to DXB).
    I’ll give up and try again next week

    • James says:

      …although seems to work (in a limited capacity) via the VS app, rather than website

    • Rob says:

      I pulled up AMS-DXB yesterday and today but the pricing was wrong so they may have pulled it.

      • eli Gold says:

        I just called in to check about a 1 way cash booking from Nice via CDG which is available on Air France’s webize for £86-£221 for the different Economy options, and was quoted a price of £1,114!!!.
        something is clearly screwed with their system’s
        I asked if I can make the booking through AF and use my Flying club Number, he had NO IDEA!
        looks like this is gonna take a good while to iron out.
        Ideally, I wanna book a particular AF flight, earn FC points and book it via AMEX travel to get £50 off £100