Personally I think the changes are passenger unfriendly, but it is still early days and in checking availability I have seen odd figures which don’t correspond to either the new or old, classic or flex figures. One hopes they sort this out, but from what I can tell, the changes do not bode well.
First, the redemption amounts for PE, Bus and First have all gone up significantly, especially PE and First. First has gone stratospheric.
Second, the corresponding decrease in their surcharges are neglible, as in business they are still EUR 180 each way, PLUS all of the real taxes and charges. This will still amount to more than EUR 500 return in charges. So passengers are still paying for their “free” tickets.
Third, availability is still patchy. It is practically non-existent with first tier ST partners (Delta), and variable on KL and AF themselves. I’m finding most availability with second (or third) tier ST members.
Fourth, while the’ve increased the upgrade possible fares, the amounts of miles can be huge for even a moderately discounted fare. Eco to PE is especially a bad deal. Deep discounted fares are still not eligible. The one bright spot seems to me to be the PE to bus upgrade amounts are more in line with BA and could be a good deal.
I don’t think the increases are in line with competitors, but I don’t think passengers would be so upset if they just had decent availability. But come on, little availability for KL flights in early 2014 (non-holiday period) is not an improvement.
The only “good” news is that you can still use the old amounts on bookings before year end if you call FB – but we all know how nice the French call centre can be. Good luck with that one.
I’ve been an elite member for well over a decade on FB (or Flying Dutchman back in the day), but have slowly been favouring other alliances, and for me this does nothing to bring me back into the fold, alas.