The new Flying Blue Ultimate benefits

As you know, the Flying Blue big bang will take place onApril 1, 2018. I won’t go back over the impacts of this big bang, described in many posts on TravelGuys, and very well documented on the program website.

However, as we explained in our article, in 2017, Flying Blue launched the Platinum Ultimate status, reserved for its best customers, and which has so far proved to be quite disappointing: benefits not delivered, priority not really assured, and above all, the big weakness of Air France, a great inconsistency in the treatment, sometimes exceptional, often mediocre.
However, the program management wanted to react and make the Ultimate program more attractive. Exclusively on TravelGuys, the new benefits are revealed.

Pre-boarding and escort to the plane

Already in test for several months, it will be implemented differently depending on the ports of call.
At Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and at Amsterdam,it’s only about show up at the gate a few minutes before boarding time and ask the ground staff to pre-board: efficient on paper, complicated in reality, especially if boarding does not start on time… Because you wait in front of the boarding gate, without enjoying the lounge. A little digital toolwarning of the possibility of pre-boarding by notification would therefore be welcome…
Showing up at the gate 5 minutes before the start of boarding. Photo credit AF
In theother ports of call, it is anescort service from the check-in counters to the boarding gate, with security, police and boarding queue cuts. Let’s see the reality of the implementationof this service, which I saw working perfectly in test in Dubai with one of my Ultimate friends.
Personalized airport escort, photo credit AF

Upgrades

Here is a news that was expected: Platinum Ultimate will benefit from two upgrade certificates per year (yes, only two, it’s Air France…) triggered from the time of booking until the day of departure, for upgrades from Economy to Premium Economy, Premium Economy to Business or Economy to Business (according to terms and conditions yet to be defined, it will be necessary to use both certificates for a two classes upgrade). No upgrades to La Première class, to maintain a certain exclusivity.

Enjoy the Business cabin with an Economy or Premium Economy fare twice a year. Photo Credit AF

These will be confirmed upgrades only, with no waiting list, and subject to availability of eligible classes in the destination cabin, which should be quite large.

Similarly, there are few constraints on the fare booked in the initial cabin, only highly promotional fares in the Economy cabin may not be eligible.
Photo Credit AF
Also, these upgrade certificates will be transferable to people who are referred by the Ultimate to their Travel Assistant,who can use them whether or not they are traveling with the Ultimate member.
Finally, these certificates can only be usedthrough the Ultimate member’s Travel Assistant, not through digital channels.

Lounges

The team aims toenhance the Ultimate experience in the lounges. While members now have reserved areas or tables at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle, this is not yet the case at Amsterdam Schiphol, and even less so in the end-of-line lounges.
Le Club area of the AF 2E/L lounge, reserved for Ultimate members. Copyright Yonder

Partnerships

Flying Blue will offer an enhanced car rental experience at Hertz, roughly equivalent to that offered to the brand’s President’s Circle members.

Digital

An Ultimate counter will finally be provided on the Flying Blue website, avoiding Excel sheets to determine the eligible XP. Finally !

Bottom line

The Flying Blue Platinum Ultimate status is becoming more attractive. But is it worth it? Still not. Our advice: reach Platinum status, possibly for life, then diversify your frequent flyer programs at oneworld and Star Alliance. To maximize your chances of getting into a lounge…
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier Delestre-Levai
Olivier has been into airline blogging since 2010. First a major contributor to the FlyerTalk forum, he created the FlyerPlan website in July 2012, and writes articles with a major echo among airline specialists. He now co-runs the TravelGuys blog with Bertrand, focusing on travel experience and loyalty programs.
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