Of all the major airlines in the world, Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue program was the only one that took such an active role in running and events (which I wrote about a while ago). In fact, they had a website devoted to their Flying Blue Running program as well as offering many opportunities using miles for races. However, as of the 1st of this year, Flying Blue has closed down that website. So, what has changed and what can you still do with Flying Blue miles for running?
Flying Blue Running Website Closed
While it was nice that they had a website devoted to things running, it is not a huge surprise to me that they closed this site down. They announced it and said that the content will be available under the “Passions” portion of their main site at Flying Blue. It does not come as a huge surprise to me because it did not show as being a hugely popular site. While there are a lot of websites that are not hugely popular and they are kept up, for a major program like Flying Blue, it was likely just not in their best interest to keep it going. I did appreciate some of the articles and tips they have had their over time and hope they port all of that over to their main site at some point.
You Can Still Use Miles For Races
To me, the most interesting part of the Flying Blue Running program was that they let you use Flying Blue miles (miles in the Air France and KLM programs) to pay for races and running experiences! While not exactly on the same level as redeeming for a toaster, it is not the best redemption value but still nice to have as an option. Imagine if you have some stray Membership Reward points (Amex) and you are planning on closing out the card. You could transfer them over to Flying Blue and use them for a race! Or you can use points that you credit from Delta/other Skyteam partners to Flying Blue and use those. With race fees climbing, it can be a nice way to cut down a bit on cost and truly make a marathon trip be totally on miles and points.
Using Miles For Race Packages And Closed Events
So, I am happy that they have kept this part of the program still going. The list of events that you can use miles for changes but there have been some pretty good packages as well. For instance, this time around you can use 15,000 miles for entry into the world-renowned Paris Marathon or you can use 30,000 miles for the VIP package. That package comes with massage and access to the VIP area with snacks and drinks. Is that worth an extra 15,000 miles? Not to me but it is nice to see packages built up! As an alternative, if you already have entry, you can pay the 15,000 miles just for the VIP access with Air France’s lounge at the race.
Here is where the above race options have value – the Paris Marathon is already closed for registration! That means your only way in is with a tour group or some charity program – or by using 15,000 miles. If you had your heart set on running Paris, using 15,000 miles may not be that bad of an option.
Of course, there are some others that do not quite make as much sense. One of the other races is the Milan Marathon. Race entry had been available for as low as €49 and even last minute entry costs €79. If you wanted to go the miles route, you would need to spend 15,000 miles for that entry. Totally not worth it, in my opinion. So, if you decide to use miles for races, check the list for races that have extras you cannot buy elsewhere or for races that are already sold out.
Getting Flying Blue Miles
As I mentioned, Flying Blue is a transfer partner of American Express and their Membership Rewards program. While they have had transfer bonuses in the past, the normal rate is 1:1 for transfer. You could also transfer from SPG Starpoints at a 1:1 with a 5,000 mile bonus when transferring 20,000 points. Also, you could credit flights on Skyteam airlines to Flying Blue.
Is this a good value for mile redemptions? For most situations, I would say “no” but it would have its uses. As I mentioned above, being able to use miles to access sold out marathons can be a huge help. If you wanted to run such a race, that would be a nice, unique way to get in and could save you money in the long run by not having to pay for a tour just to gain access.
Either way, it is always nice to have options! While the Flying Blue Running website is now gone, it is nice to know that the ability to use miles for marathons will remain.