There is a new credit card in town. Air France KLM has teamed up with Bank of America to release their first ever credit card in North America. Although you can transfer Chase, Citi, Marriott and Amex points to Flying Blue (the joint loyalty program of these two airlines) this is the first and only credit card in the US that earns their points directly.
“Flyers in the U.S. have many choices. It is our priority to delight and reward our frequent fliers. Especially following the enhancements to our Flying Blue program, this card will allow us to provide customers more flexible, accessible reward tickets and provide services designed to make trips more enjoyable.” Said Stephane Ormand, vice president and general manager USA at Air France-KLM, in a press release. Air France and KLM are Skyteam members and Ormand says the program gives travelers access to award booking to over 1000 destinations through the Skyteam network
The card is a World Elite Mastercard and offers a sign up bonus of 25k miles for $1000 of spending in the first three months, as well as a 5000 mile gift on your card’s anniversary each year, as long as you make over $50 of purchases per year. Here is a full breakdown of the benefits:
- Earn three Miles for every $1 spent on purchases made directly with Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and SkyTeam member airlines.
- Earn 1.5 Miles for every $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases.
- Earn 25,000 bonus Miles after the cardholder makes $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of their account opening.
- Earn 60 XP (Experience Points) upon account opening for the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard® (limited to one time per Flying Blue member). 60 XP bring new cardholders 60 percent closer to achieving Silver status.
- Receive a benefit of 5,000 anniversary Miles after spending at least $50 on purchases within the card anniversary year.
- Plus, receive 20 XP every year on the account anniversary and the opportunity to earn an additional 40 XP after spending at least $15k on purchases within the card anniversary year (totaling up to 60 XP).
- Annual fee $89 (not waived for the first year)
I would call this a tier 3 card in my 5 tier credit card rating system. Most tier three cards waive the annual fee for the first year, this card doesn’t. But on the plus side the rate of point earning is competitive with other airline cards, 3x on Air France KLM flights and 1.5x on everything else. Another plus is the 5000 “free gift” each year and the 60 XP (no that isn’t something from an RPG). The 60 XP get you 60% of the way to earning silver status, you just need 40 more XP to get there, which you can get from the white mage (okay enough video game jokes). You can get 60 XP every year as long as you spend $15k on the card (otherwise just 20 XP).
Personally I would only recommend this card for people who are actually in the Flying Blue loyalty program and want to move up through the status tiers. Since Flying Blue is already a transfer partner of all the major points currencies anyway, the point earning on this card is nothing unique. You can earn just as many Flying Blue points when flying on Air France by booking with the Amex Gold card (3x on flights) and even more on the Platinum (5x), there are also many cards that give 1.5 points per dollar or more on everyday purchases that can be transferred to Flying Blue. The sign up bonus is also nothing to write home about. But it is the fact that the card helps you move up through the membership tiers that will be of benefit to some travelers.