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

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This is Part 2 of your complete guide to redeeming Virgin Flying Club miles 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 miles 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 miles 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 miles.  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 miles 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 miles 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 miles 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 miles 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 miles 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 miles off-peak vs 100,000 Avios off-peak

120,000 Virgin miles 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 miles off-peak vs 150,000 Avios off-peak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

244,000 Virgin miles 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 

Your complete guide to redeeming Virgin Flying Club miles on Air France and KLM (Part 1)
Come back at 11am for full details of Air France and KLM redemptions using Virgin Atlantic miles!

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Comments

  1. It has Hawaii on the chart, but does either KLM or Air France fly there?
    I was looking at Norwich- Amsterdam, then probably Amsterdam to LA, then LA to Hawaii.

    But the search came back with… this route is not available with miles.

  2. i guess availability will be interesting – always been the issue for me with Avios. Certain flights are much harder to purchase – apologies if i’ve missed it, but was there any indication of how many tickets would be made available through miles?

  3. Martin Solomon says:

    Hi There
    I have tried to check availability to Malé Maldives and there is no way of selecting Malé from any location even though Air France fly there from CDG.
    Can anyone explain how or why not.

  4. Hi
    Will I be able to transfer my Flying Blue miles to Virgin Flying club? In other words can I pool all my miles between the two programmes.

  5. Hi all,

    Can I use Virgin miles to upgrade say from premium economy to business on Air France. I couldn’t see an answer to this. I suspect not but worth asking.

    Thanks

  6. Strange – Lebanon is zone 3 ‘Musdle East’, Israel slightly further away is zone 2, Eastern Europe.
    Sure there are more quercks to come out…

  7. Germany is not on the chart – a mistake I presume? I’ve tried searching for routes from Berlin TXL but just getting an error message.

  8. koroleon says:

    I’m surprised connections are not working. I couldn’t get XXX-AMS-LON to come up no matter what (and availability for the individual legs was there) – but at the same time the site would offer XXX-LON with a connection on DL!

    • koroleon says:

      I take that back – I managed to make it work with a different destination. Still no clue why it wouldn’t come up for my original search – same search was working with skymiles.

  9. If you are booking from Paris or Amsterdam through london and onwards on a virgin flight, would you be able to use you virgin voucher from the credit card and avoid APD?

  10. Masked Marauder '09 says:

    This is really helpful, thanks!

  11. Looks like Virgin Atlantic’s website is not liking Osaka, Japan (KIX) as a destination even though KLM/Air France fly there as keeps coming back with no results. However, when the same search is done via Delta it comes back with availability. Hopefully this bug will be picked up by the Head of FC as well and gets resolved in early course.

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