Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard Review

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The Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard is a surprising addition to Canada’s travel credit card scene. Flying Blue is a major travel loyalty program since it belongs to Air France and KLM. The surprise is that they partnered with BRIM Financial, a relatively small challenger credit card provider in Canada.

While this may have been a big blow to major banks in Canada, it’s a massive win for consumers as it’s another card you have access to that allows you to travel to Europe and beyond for cheap. Read my Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard review now for the full details.

Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard

  • $132 annual fee
  • 10,000 Miles after your first purchase
  • 10,000 miles when you spend $5,000
  • 10,000 Miles when you spend $10,000
  • 30,000 Miles when you renew your card
  • 2 Miles per $1 spent at restaurants & bars
  • 1 Mile per $1 spent on everything else

Welcome bonus and earn rate

The Brim Financial Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard currently offers a solid welcome bonus of up to 60,000 Flying Blue miles. You’ll get 10,000 miles after your first purchase, 10,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 12 months, and another 10,000 miles when you spend $10,000 in the first 12 months. Finally, you get 30,000 miles on your card anniversary. This is the only Flying Blue co-branded credit card in Canada, so it’s the best way to earn Flying Blue miles for Canadians.

As for the earning rate, it’s a bit basic. You’ll get 2 Flying Blue miles per $1 spent at restaurants and bars, and 1 Flying Blue mile on all other purchases. While the earning rate is not the best, it is comparable to most airline co-branded cards in Canada. On a positive note, since this is MasterCard, you can use it at locations that only accept MasterCard, such as Costco and No Frills (No Frills takes Visa too, but not American Express).

Benefits and Perks

The Brim Financial Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard comes with a mix of Air France/KLM benefits and traditional perks.

Miles accelerator on Air France and KLM flights

FlyingBlue members who hold the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard will be given an extra 5 Flying Blue miles per Euro (€) spent on Air France and KLM flights. The basic elite level of Flying Blue is the Explorer elite level which earns 4 Flying Blue miles per Euro spent on Air France and KLM flights. As an Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard cardholder, you would earn 9 Flying Blue miles per Euro spent.

60 XP welcome and 30 XP annual bonus

Under Flying Blue, the number of experience points (XP) you have determines your elite status. With this card, you get 60XP when you sign up for the card and another 30XP on each card anniversary. Since Blue elite members can upgrade to Silver status by earning 100 XP in a year,

The Brim FlyingBlue World Elite Mastercard gives 60 XP (Experience Points) as a welcome bonus and then 30 XP each year at renewal. Experience Points determine the elite status with the FlyingBlue program. Blue elite members can upgrade to Silver status by earning 100 XP in a year, so cardholders can get Flying Blue status more easily.

Bonus miles at merchant partners

Brim Financial has been building out a network of partners ever since they started operations in Canada. One unique benefit of the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard is that cardholders can earn up to 30 Flying Blue miles per dollar spent at select partners. In addition, you get access to targeted offers where you can earn even more miles.

Travel insurance

  • Travel medical – $5,000,000 / 15 days for those under 65
  • Trip cancellation – up to $2,000 per person / $5,000 total
  • Trip interruption/delay – $5,000 per person / $25,000 total
  • Flight delay/missed connection – up to $500 / 4 hours
  • Delayed and lost baggage – up to $500 per person ($1,000 total) / 4 hours
  • Hotel/motel burglary – up to $2,500
  • Auto rental collision/loss damage – 48 consecutive days / $85,000
  • Common carrier travel accident – $500,000

The Brim Financial Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard comes with excellent travel insurance. The only thing it lacks is coverage for those 65+, but that’s common for most travel credit cards.

Mobile device insurance

When you charge the full price of your mobile device (cellphone or tablet) to your Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard, you get mobile device insurance for up to $1,500 for two years. This insurance covers repairs, loss and theft. Depreciation does apply, but this is a handy type of insurance to have.

Purchase insurance

  • Purchase security – 90 days
  • Extended warranty – Up to one additional year
  • Event ticket protection – Up to $1,000

With purchase security, your goods are covered from loss, theft, and damage for up to 90 days. As for the extended warranty, your manufacturer’s warranty is doubled up to one additional day. The event ticket protection insurance is a unique feature that some Brim Financial cards offer. Inf you can’t attend your event for a covered reason, such as emergency medical, the cost if your tickets is covered up to $1,500.

Free global Wi-Fi with Boingo

Cardholders get a free annual Boingo account. With Boingo, you’ll have access to over one million public Wi-Fi hotspots, including ones on planes, in airports, and within major destinations. Normally, this service would cost you $15 USD a month, so it’s a good savings.

How to redeem your points

People applying for the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard will likely want to redeem their points for flights on Air France and KLM. These two airlines combined offer surprisingly great coverage for Canadians. Air France flies to Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, while KLM flies to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

Like Air Canada’s Aeroplan, Flying Blue gives you access to all available Air France and KLM seats. Also, like Aeroplan, Flying Blue uses dynamic pricing. That means the number of points required for a flight will go up and down, depending on supply and demand. For reference, a one-way flight from Canada to Europe in economy can cost anywhere between 35,000 to 100,000+ Flying Blue miles.

A great feature of the Flying Blue program is that they have monthly award flight promotions that can be pretty generous. During these promotions, you can find flights between Canada and Europe for 20,000 Flying Blue miles one way in economy, 35,000 miles in premium economy and 50,000 miles in business class. These promotions are for specific routes and dates, but Air France and KLM often release lots of seats.

Redeem on partner airlines

Since Air France and KLM are part of the SkyTeam alliance, you can redeem Flying Blue miles for flights with more than 30 airlines, including AeroMexico, China Eastern, Delta, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qantas and WestJet.

The availability and the price of partner redemption will vary for each route and date. That said, the cost for a redemption in North America on Delta or WestJet is reasonable at 10,500 miles for short flights like Calgary-Vancouver or just over 20,000 miles for longer flights.

Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard eligibility

To apply for the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You are a Canadian resident
  • You have reached the age of majority in the province in which you reside
  • You have an annual income of at least $80,000 or a household income of at least $150,000

You’ll notice that there’s no formal credit score listed. That said, I recommend having a score of at least 700 before applying, as that will help increase the odds of you being approved.

How the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard compares

Airline credit cards can sometimes be difficult to compare since they’re specific to a loyalty program. That said, you still want to look at other airline cards to see what they offer.

Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard vs. TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

It makes sense to consider the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card since it’s one of Aeroplan’s core credit cards. In case you’re not familiar, Aeroplan is the loyalty program of Air Canada. Since Air Canada is the country’s top airline, they have the most flights available. With this card, you’ll earn 1.5 Aeroplan points per $1 spent on Air Canada, grocery, and gas purchases. All other purchases earn you 1 Aeroplan point per $1 spent.

The primary cardholder and up to 8 additional guests on the same itinerary get their first checked bag free. In addition, you get excellent travel insurance. Obviously, if you plan on flying Air Canada more than KLM and Air France, then getting the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card is the right move.

Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard vs RBC WestJet World Elite MasterCard

The RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard is worth comparing since WestJet is part of SkyTeam. The earning rate of the WestJet card is 2% in WestJet dollars on WestJet purchases and 1.5% on all other purchases. The primary cardholder and up to 8 travelling companions on the same itinerary also get their first checked bag free. Plus, you get an annual companion voucher.

While you get a higher earning rate and better airline benefits with the RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard, you can only use your rewards on WestJet products. The Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard is better suited for people who want more flexibility and are looking to travel to Europe.

Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard vs American Express Cobalt

When it comes to earning rates, the American Express Cobalt Card is the best. You get 5 American Express Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on eats and drink, 3 points on streaming services, 2 points on travel and transit, and 1 point on all other purchases.. Moreover, Membership Rewards are highly flexible since you can transfer them to different loyalty programs, including Aeroplan, Avios, Marriott and Flying Blue.

The transfer ratio is 1:1 to Aeroplan or 1:0.75 to Flying Blue, so you get the best of both worlds. With the higher earning rate, you’re actually earning 3.75 Flying Blue miles per $1 spent on eats and drinks. That’s more than the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard.

Final thoughts

My Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard is positive. It’s an ideal card for people in the following situations:

  • You travel often on Air France and KLM – Since you earn Flying Blue miles with this card, you can quickly turn them into trips to Europe.
  • You’re looking to diversify your points – Many loyalty enthusiasts like having different points pools. This is another option for Canadians.
  • You have a specific redemption in mind – Some people may want to fly a specific route or aircraft via the SkyTeam alliance. This card allows you to earn Flying Blue points, which you can redeem later.

While the benefits are clear, this card does lack KLM and Air France-specific benefits, such as free checked bags. In addition, even though KLM and Air France have decent coverage in Canada, Air Canada offers even more routes.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

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