Are you a member of the Flying Blue Program of KLM Air France? Then you might came across the Flying Blue American Express Credit cards. From my side I have an Amex Gold card for over 2 years now, but I wanted to check whether it really worth the EUR 170 yearly fee to keep it. I made some calculations and share below what I found.
Initially I wanted to write an article about something like “The Great Dutch Credit Card Review”, where I would compare various credit card offers and find the most beneficial for different people. However, I found very little choice. In fact the Dutch credit card offers can only be compared to the offers of a Venezuelan supermarket on the last day of the discount season.
Needless to say that you should never use your credit card to get a loan. You should always settle the outstanding balance on time, otherwise the interest on the outstanding amount will be horrific. The main advantages of credit cards are the various promotions, reward programs, cash backs etc. that might come with them.
Instead, the majority of the Dutch credit card offer the following range of benefits:
– You get a credit
– You get a card
And that’s about it. The only credit cards I found worth investigating closer are the Flying Blue American Express cards.
Benefits of the Flying Blue American Express Cards
These Amex cards can help you to earn extra award miles on your Flying Blue account with KLM Air France, plus offer some extra benefits.
There are 4 different cards you can choose from: an entry card, a silver card, a gold card and a platinum card for a yearly fee of EUR 35, 75, 170 and 600 respectively.
On every purchase you make with the Flying Blue American Express cards, you get award miles on your Flying Blue account. How much you get, depends on your card. The entry card gives you 0.5, the silver card 0.8, the gold card 1 and the platinum card 1.5 award miles per every euro spent.
Besides of the entry card, if you use your card to purchase Air France KLM tickets, you get even more points. With silver 1, with good 1.5 and with platinum 2.
Each card allows you to pay your flight tickets in 3, monthly instalments without any interest charged. This can be good for your cash flow.
There are also some other benefits (e.g. insurance, extra qualifying flights to your flying blue account etc.), but I mainly want to check whether it worth to have these credit cards for the award miles.
Do They Worth Their Price?
In order to answer this question, let’s take an example of a sample yearly credit card bill. You spend EUR 2,000 on flight tickets and EUR 6,000 on other items like grocery, fuel etc. Bear in mind that you might need to change your shopping habits, as not every place accept Amex. At the moment for example Albert Heijn does not accept these cards, but Jumbo does.
So how many award miles can you collect on these cards under the above example?
As you can see the number of earned miles are nicely growing as you move towards the more expensive cards. But let’s see whether they worth their price!
How much does a mile worth? I was browsing among the current promotions and as an example you can book a return flight from Amsterdam to St. Martin for 30,000 miles with travelling time during November-December 2017. During the period of the offer, if you want to purchase the same ticket, the cheapest option I found was EUR 500. Based on this, under this example one mile worth EUR 0.0166.
Under another example, you can book a return flight to the less exotic Southampton for 13,600 miles or EUR 99. Here one mile worth only EUR 0.0073.
Other examples I found were somewhere in between the two, but let’s be generous and say that under a good deal one mile worth 2 cents.
If we go back to the yearly overview and compare the miles we receive for a gold card, we find that it’s 2200 more than the amount we would get with the silver card. This worth EUR 44, while the card costs EUR 95 more. So basically you pay EUR 51 per year (or EUR 4.25 per month) for the extra insurance that the gold card offers.
With the platinum card, you get extra miles vs the gold that worth EUR 80, while the price of the card is EUR 430 more expensive. So it costs you EUR 350 per year to get a more comprehensive insurance and a “platinum lifestyle service”, whatever it means.
What I like about these cards is that you can link them to your bank account, so when the payment is due, it is automatically debited from your account. Because of this, as long as you have enough money on your account (please, don’t spend more money than you have), you will be never charged with late payment interest.
If you want to compare the cards based on all the benefits they offer, there’s a good comparison chart at KLM’s webpage.
The card that I definitely would not choose is the entry card. Under our example, the value of the extra miles with the silver card is EUR 56, while the yearly cost is only EUR 40 more. In addition you also get a basic travel inconvenience insurance with the silver card, plus 2 qualifying flights per year on your Flying Blue account.
I also would not chose the platinum card as I find the annual fee too high comparing to the extras it offers vs the gold card.
The main question for me is whether the silver or the gold is the better option. I would say if you travel more often, the extra insurance the gold card offers might worth the extra fee. In addition at the time of writing this article you also get 20,000 miles welcome bonus (or 22,000 if you apply via my link), which is almost the price of a return flight to St Martin…
The decision also depends on how much you use the card per year. If your spending on it is around the EUR 3-6k per year range, probably the silver is the right option. Over 6k I would put my vote on the gold card. Of course all of this under the condition that you always settle your balance on time! If you spend less than EUR 3,000 with it per year, I do not believe that any of the cards worth it for you.
If you wish to apply for a Flying Blue American Express credit card, you can either do so via their webpage, or alternatively you can click my below referral link for extra benefits. By doing so, you do not have to pay any fee in the first year for either the silver or the gold card (the gold would cost EUR 75 in the first year under the normal process). Also, if you spend at least EUR 500 during the first 3 months, you get 5,500 award miles with the silver and 22,000 award miles with the gold card (10% more comparing to the normal process). From my side I do not get any money for the referrals, but I do receive award miles. You can find all the terms and conditions HERE.
REFERRAL LINK: APPLY FOR FLYING BLUE AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARD
Summarizing my experience and the above calculation, in an international comparison, these cards might not offer extraordinary benefits. Nevertheless if you check the credit card choice in the Netherlands, these definitely are the cards I would chose from. Personally I am happy with my Amex gold.
If you have any questions about the cards, feel free to ask. Also, please share your experience (both positive and negative) if you already use any of them.
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Disclaimer: This post or any other information on the site is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice or any other advice. I am solely sharing my idea, plan and progress on financial independence and early retirement.