KLM, the flag carrier of the Netherlands, is one of the world’s largest full-service airlines.
As the oldest airline in the world operating under its original name, this Amsterdam-based airline has a storied history exceeding over 100 years!
One fun fact is that KLM is actually owned by the same company that owns Air France. Along with other subsidiary airlines, the Air France-KLM Group comprises one of the largest airline groups in the world.
KLM mostly offers nonstop flights to Amsterdam (AMS), and as a SkyTeam airline, it has a variety of ways to book business class flights using points.
A Look Inside KLM Business Class
KLM, just like Air France, has an interesting hodgepodge of aircraft. Similarly, KLM’s business class seat varies depending on which aircraft you’re flying on.
Although KLM retired its 747 aircraft, it still operates the 787 Dreamliner, 777, and A330-300 on flights between the U.S. and Holland.
The best seats are aboard the 787-9 Dreamliner, as they are reverse herringbone seats that recline fully flat and are situated in a 1-2-1 configuration. Plus, every seat has direct aisle access, and the design of the seat is such that you feel like you’re in your own private pod.
The other business class seats aboard the A330 or 777 aircraft are still lie-flat, but they are staggered, forward-facing seats in a 2-2-2 layout. These seats don’t have direct aisle access at every seat and are slightly more cramped. On the plus side, though, the legroom on the 777 and A330 is generally better than in reverse herringbone seats.
Generally, your biggest motivator for booking KLM business class should be if you need to access a nonstop business class route to Amsterdam (AMS).
When you fly, you’ll enjoy extra checked baggage allowances, dedicated check-in lines, business class lounge access, priority boarding, decent catering, and solid service.
But the souvenir Delft Blue houses that the airline provides to business class passengers are one of the best perks — a very unique gift, indeed!
Again, the high-level concept here is that you should try to fly on the 787-9 business class — the other products are acceptable, of course, but the 787-9 is KLM’s flagship.
How To Fly KLM Business Class Using Points
KLM is less reliable than its sister airline Air France at releasing award availability.
In general, KLM has a smaller network of routes, owed in part to its fleet size of 115, which is around half of Air France’s 213 aircraft.
Its business class flights are best booked in advance. In general, it’s possible to find award space for up to 4 business class passengers on a KLM flight between the U.S. and Europe as long as you plan at least 7 months in advance and have a flexible departure date.
KLM imposes around $200 to $350 in fuel surcharges for flights between the U.S. and Europe, with U.S.-bound flights seeing higher fees.
Also, KLM has a reliable list of nonstop flights between the U.S. and Amsterdam:
- Atlanta (ATL) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Boston (BOS) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Chicago (ORD) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Detroit (DTW) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Houston (IAH) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Las Vegas (LAS) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Miami (MIA) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Minneapolis (MSP) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- New York (JFK) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Orlando (MCO) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- San Francisco (SFO) – Amsterdam (AMS)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Amsterdam (AMS)
Nonstop service to certain cities like Los Angeles is very difficult to find Saver-level award space for, so just keep that in mind.
Let’s take a look at our favorite loyalty programs to book KLM business class with!
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
KLM’s frequent flyer program, which is shared by Air France, is called Flying Blue.
The miles you earn and redeem are called Flying Blue miles, and this loyalty program boasts excellent redemption rates that are about as good as you can get.
For flights between the U.S. and Europe, Flying Blue has multiple buckets of award fares, ranging from cheapest to most expensive. As you can imagine, the cheapest awards are generally the hardest to find, while the most expensive awards are the easiest to find.
For example, on a nonstop, business class flight between Chicago and Amsterdam, you’ll find the following award fare buckets:
- 71,000 miles
- 91,000 miles
- 96,000 miles
- 252,000 miles
- 369,500 miles
- 375,000 miles
With such a huge range of possible costs, you should strive to book tickets that fall under the cheapest bucket, known as the Saver award.
Hot Tip: Partner frequent flyer programs like Delta SkyMiles only have access to the lowest-level Saver awards.
Here’s the range of prices for one-way flights in the cheapest business class bucket:
|Cabin Class||Flying Blue Miles Cost (One-Way, Cheapest Awards)||Taxes and Fees|
|Economy||From 21,500 to 29,000||~$69 to $138|
|Business||From 53,000 to 72,000||~$221 to $291|
Being able to redeem as few as 53,000 miles for a one-way business class flight to Europe, especially when compared to some one-way economy tickets to Hawaii being that expensive, is a treat!
If you’re redeeming Flying Blue miles, the best place to search for award space is on none other than KLM’s website!
Follow these steps to book your KLM business class flight using Flying Blue miles:
- Visit KLM’s homepage.
- Select your country (United States for most readers).
- On the homepage in the top-right corner, click Log in and enter your Flying Blue account details.
- After logging in, click Book with Miles on the top of the search box.
- Click Round trip or One-way.
- Enter your flight information.
- Click Search flights.
- Find your desired flight option, redeem your Flying Blue miles, and pay for taxes and fees with a credit card.
Here’s what a successful award chart looks like when done on KLM’s website:
Earning Air France/KLM Flying Blue Miles
Flying Blue miles are one of the easiest miles to accumulate. That’s because Flying Blue is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Brex Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex, Brex, Chase, Capital One, and Citi transfer almost instantly at a 1:1 ratio.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 Flying Blue miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points at a time to Flying Blue.
Lastly, Bank of America issues an Air France/KLM Flying Blue co-branded credit card that earns Flying Blue miles.
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Amex business cards that earn Membership Rewards points.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a nifty non-alliance partner of KLM. Even though Virgin Atlantic isn’t a SkyTeam airline, it has close partnerships with Delta, Air France, KLM, and other airlines on an individual basis.
When redeeming Virgin Points, you can only book KLM business class flights at the Saver level, which limits the number of flights you can book to a small fraction of what’s available on Flying Blue’s website.
Additionally, Flying Club passes on all fuel surcharges on KLM.
Flying Club uses the following award chart for KLM flights between Amsterdam and the U.S.:
|Cabin Class||Virgin Points Cost (One-Way) |
From East Coast North America and the Caribbean to Western and Central Europe
|Virgin Points Cost (One-Way) |
From West & Central North America and Central America to Western and Central Europe
|Taxes and Fees|
|Economy (Standard)||12,000||15,000||~$164 to $243|
|Economy (Peak)||22,000||25,000||~$164 to $243|
|Business (Standard)||48,500||61,000||~$302 to $409|
|Business (Peak)||58,500||71,000||~$302 to $409|
As you can see, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club also mandates standard and peak dates, which are listed below:
That means a one-way business class flight departing on September 1, 2022, will be priced under peak pricing while a one-way business class flight departing on September 10, 2022, will fall under the standard pricing umbrella.
Redeeming Virgin Points for KLM flights is doable completely online — just follow these instructions:
- Go to Virgin Atlantic’s website.
- At the top banner of the homepage, there’s a search box. Enter your airport pairs, number of passengers, and travel date(s).
- Under the number of passengers, click Advanced search. In the area that says Show Price in, click Points. In the area that says Show Fares For, click Upper Class.
- Perform the search.
- Choose the options that fit your needs, redeem your Virgin Points, and use a credit card for taxes and fees.
Earning Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Virgin Points
Virgin Points are also very easy to earn.
Though Flying Club doesn’t have as many transfer partners as Flying Blue, it does have partnerships with Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Chase, Amex, and Citi transfer almost instantly at a 1:1 ratio.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers take around 6 to 10 business days, and its transfer ratio is 3:1 with a bonus of 5,000 Virgin Points when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Bank of America also issued co-branded Virgin Atlantic Flying Club credit cards that earn points directly.
Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)
Business Owner? Check out our article on the best Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.
Delta SkyMiles is the frequent flyer program associated with Delta Air Lines. Although it gets a lot of criticism for being devalued frequently, it’s still a useful program!
We wouldn’t recommend Delta as our first option, but if you happen to already have a bunch of Delta SkyMiles, using them for KLM business class flights is a good way to get value.
Here’s the award chart for flights between the U.S. and Europe:
|Cabin Class||Delta SkyMiles Cost (One-Way)||Taxes and Fees|
|Economy||35,000 (55,000 when booking less than 21 days in advance)||~$5.60 to $221|
|Business||120,000 (195,000 when booking less than 21 days in advance)||~$5.60 to $333|
The good news is that even though redemption prices are much higher than expected, you won’t pay for fuel surcharges on flights from the U.S. You will still have to pay for fuel surcharges on flights from Europe, however.
Delta SkyMiles allows its members to make partner award bookings completely online, so follow these steps to book your ticket 100% online!
- Go to Delta’s homepage.
- On the top banner, you’ll see a search box. Check off the box that says Shop with Miles.
- Click Advanced search under the number of passengers and choose Delta One from the Best Fares For dropdown box.
- Find your desired flights, spend your Delta SkyMiles, and enter your credit card information to pay for taxes and fees.
Earning Delta SkyMiles
Delta SkyMiles, thanks to lucrative co-branded partnerships and a strong brand in the U.S., are easy to earn.
Its 2 transfer partners are American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
Amex transfers instantly at a 1:1 ratio, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers in about 1 business day at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 SkyMiles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy to Delta.
Also, American Express has several Delta co-branded credit cards that each offer unique benefits, fee structures, and bonus categories to earn SkyMiles.
Recommended Delta Cards
Korean Air SKYPASS
Korean Air SKYPASS is yet another excellent-value frequent flyer program.
Although Korean Air miles have an amazing value proposition, we should warn you that Korean Air miles are actually very difficult to earn.
Fuel surcharges are all passed on, and Korean Air only permits round-trip award bookings on partner-operated flights, including KLM.
But if these quirks are fine with you, here’s the fantastic redemption chart for SkyTeam flights between the U.S. and Europe booked with SKYPASS miles:
|Cabin Class||Korean Air SKYPASS Miles Cost (Round-Trip)||Taxes and Fees|
Korean Air SKYPASS’s booking process is significantly more complicated, so be prepared to jump through more hoops to get this redemption price.
You can only book award flights for 5 immediate family members, including your spouse, children, parents, siblings, parents-in-law, children-in-law, grandparents, or grandchildren. Additionally, you must provide proof of relationship through the website, fax, or via a local office.
Here’s how to book your flight:
- Find partner-level award availability from Virgin Atlantic or Delta.
- Transfer your Marriott Bonvoy points to Korean Air — this may take from 2 days to 3 weeks to complete, so just keep the timing in mind.
- Write down the flight details and call Korean Air SKYPASS at 800-438-5000 to book the ticket using your SKYPASS miles and a credit card for taxes and fees.
Earning Korean Air SKYPASS Miles
Korean Air SKYPASS has only 1 transfer partner: Marriott Bonvoy.
Marriott Bonvoy transfers may take upwards of 3 weeks, and transfers process at a 3:1 ratio. You’ll get a bonus of 5,000 SKYPASS miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
U.S. Bank is also the exclusive issuer of co-branded Korean Air SKYPASS credit cards, both personal and business versions.
Recommended Marriott Bonvoy Cards
Aeromexico Club Premier
Aeromexico Club Premier is a frequent flyer program that doesn’t get discussed all that often.
Because this program is quite complex, most have written it off as a non-starter. But we’re here to tell you that it’s a worthwhile program to consider anyway.
Here’s Aeromexico’s award chart for U.S.-Europe flights in KLM business class:
|Cabin Class||Aeromexico Club Premier Points Cost (One-Way)||Taxes and Fees|
|Economy (Low Season)||48,000||~$164 to $243|
|Economy (High Season)||65,000||~$164 to $243|
|Business (Low Season)||110,000||~$302 to $409|
|Business (High Season)||114,000||~$302 to $409|
High season includes the following date ranges:
- The Monday before Easter season until the Sunday after Easter season (4 weeks)
- June 1 to August 18
- December 8 to January 16
For example, a KLM business class flight departing on August 1st will cost 114,000 Club Premier points while a KLM business class flight on September 30th will cost 110,000 Club Premier points.
Aeromexico Club Premier doesn’t allow any award flights to be booked online, so you’ll need to follow these instructions to redeem your Club Premier points:
- Find partner award availability using the Virgin Atlantic or Delta websites.
- Call Aeromexico Club Premier at 855-412-2650.
- Feed the agent your travel details.
- Redeem your points, pay for taxes and fees, and confirm the reservation.
Earning Aeromexico Club Premier Points
Aeromexico Club Premier is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards (1:1.6 ratio), Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1 ratio), Brex Rewards (1:1), Capital One Miles (1:1), and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 ratio).
Marriott Bonvoy also comes with a transfer bonus whereby if you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to Aeromexico Club Premier, you’ll get an extra 5,000 points.
Amex transfers take 2 to 12 business days, Citi transfers are almost instant, Brex transfers take up to 1 business day, Capital One transfers are almost instant, and Marriott Bonvoy takes around 4 business days.
Recommended Citi Cards
Other Options for Booking KLM
KLM partners with a slew of other airlines (and loyalty programs) like Alitalia MilleMiglia, China Southern Sky Pearl Club, and Aeroflot Bonus.
Unfortunately, these miles are typically difficult to use, difficult to earn, or don’t offer stellar value.
Great KLM Business Class Redemptions
There’s no shortage of ways to redeem points and miles for KLM business class.
In the sections above, we focused on the best frequent flyer programs to use for booking KLM business class.
Putting all of the knowledge together, here’s what it would cost for each program to book a round-trip business class flight on KLM between the U.S. and Amsterdam:
|Route (Round-Trip)||Flying Blue Miles Cost||Virgin Points Cost||Delta SkyMiles Cost||Korean Air Miles Cost||Aeromexico Points Cost|
|U.S. to Amsterdam||106,000 to 144,000 + ~$512||97,000 to 142,000 + ~$711||240,000 + $340||80,000 + $711||220,000 + ~$711|
Korean Air is the cheapest option by around 20%, which is a big chunk! But that doesn’t take into account that Korean Air miles are hard to come by with just 1 transfer partner in Marriott Bonvoy.
The most practical transfer partners for most of us will be Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
In particular, Flying Blue has the best award availability, being that Flying Blue miles can be used for various types of award space.
Virgin Points can easily be used for KLM flights, too, but you can only use them for Saver award space, which can be hard to find.
Flying Blue and Flying Club are both transfer partners with Amex, Brex, Chase, Citi, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Additionally, Delta SkyMiles is another option, especially if you have a ton of Delta miles sitting around — but the award prices aren’t attractive compared to Flying Blue and Flying Club.
Lastly, Aeromexico Club Premier is yet another option, being a transfer partner of Amex, Brex, Citi, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy.
On the topic of stopovers, you’ll encounter the following routing rules:
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and Delta SkyMiles don’t allow stopovers
- Korean Air allows 1 stopover per SkyTeam ticket
- Aeromexico Club Premier allows 1 stopover on round-trip flights only, not one-way flights
Let’s take a look at some of the best example redemptions you can make aboard KLM business class:
- Atlanta (ATL) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class during the standard season for 48,500 Virgin Points + ~$302 in taxes and fees
- Boston (BOS) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class for 53,000 Flying Blue miles + ~$241 in taxes and fees
- Chicago (ORD) – Amsterdam (AMS) round-trip in KLM business class for 80,000 Korean Air miles + ~$711 in taxes and fees
- Detroit (DTW) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class for 110,000 Aeromexico Club Premier points + ~$241 in taxes and fees
- Houston (IAH) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class for 120,000 Delta SkyMiles + ~$6 in taxes and fees
- Las Vegas (LAS) – Amsterdam (AMS) round-trip in KLM business class for 80,000 Korean Air miles + ~$711 in taxes and fees
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class for 120,000 Delta SkyMiles + ~$6 in taxes and fees
- Miami (MIA) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class for 110,000 Aeromexico Club Premier points + ~$241 in taxes and fees
- Minneapolis (MSP) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class for 57,500 Flying Blue miles + ~$241 in taxes and fees
- New York (JFK) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class for 57,500 Flying Blue miles + ~$241 in taxes and fees
- Orlando (MCO) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class during the standard season for 48,500 Virgin Points + ~$302 in taxes and fees
- San Francisco (SFO) – Amsterdam (AMS) round-trip in KLM business class for 80,000 Korean Air miles + ~$711 in taxes and fees
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Amsterdam (AMS) one-way in KLM business class during the standard season for 48,500 Virgin Points + ~$302 in taxes and fees
How To Earn Enough Miles for KLM Business Class
KLM business class is easy to book, as long as you find award availability.
In the sections above, we presented a handful of the best frequent flyer programs to use for KLM business class award flights.
Korean Air SKYPASS offers the lowest rates by far, while Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club are the next best programs.
However, this doesn’t account for the difficulty of earning Korean Air miles, so we actually recommend Flying Blue and Flying Club as realistic and accessible programs.
Flying Blue has the broadest award space while Flying Club only has access to partner-level awards.
Lastly, some other options include Delta SkyMiles and Aeromexico Club Premier.
Whichever way you decide to redeem points, we want to show you how easy it is to earn enough points, as long as you stick to transferable currencies:
- Amex Membership Rewards points transfer to Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Delta SkyMiles, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club almost instantly at a 1:1 ratio. It also transfers to Aeromexico Club Premier at a 1:1.6 ratio in 2 to 12 business days.
- Brex Rewards transfer to Aeromexico Club Premier and Air France/KLM Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
- Capital One miles transfer to Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Aeromexico Club Premier at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club almost instantly at a 1:1 ratio.
- Citi ThankYou Rewards Points transfer to Aeromexico Club Premier, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly.
- Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Aeromexico Club Premier (4 days), Air France/KLM Flying Blue (3 days), Delta SkyMiles (1 day), Korean Air SKYPASS (2 days), and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (6 to 12 days) at a 3:1 ratio. All of these programs also get a bonus of 5,000 miles when you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
In the past, transfer bonuses have been offered from Amex or Citi to Aeromexico, Flying Blue, and Flying Club. These bonuses range anywhere from 15% to 30%.
When Should You Search for Award Space
KLM usually occupies the extremes of award space. For certain stretches, even months, of the calendar, they may release sparse or no award space. And sometimes, KLM releases 8+ business class seats on the same flight for 75% of the month.
Based on our research, we’ve found that KLM business class award space is much easier to find on flights between Amsterdam and the central U.S. or East Coast.
On flights between the West Coast and Amsterdam, it’s generally pretty difficult to find business class award space, especially for the nonstop Los Angeles route.
That being said, it’s best to start your search early, at least 7 months in advance, to maximize your odds of successfully booking a flight.
We recommend performing award searches on KLM’s website if you plan on redeeming Flying Blue miles. Otherwise, you can perform award searches on Delta’s or Virgin Atlantic’s website.
What Makes KLM a Great Redemption Business Class
KLM is one of the world’s oldest airlines, so it’s an established brand with consistent service.
Unfortunately, its business class seat is inconsistent and highly dependent on the aircraft you fly. For the best privacy and experience, we recommend booking flights on the 787-9 Dreamliner.
All other planes have staggered, forward-facing seats in a 2-2-2 configuration which don’t feature direct aisle access at all seats.
Let’s take a look at why you’d want to fly KLM business class.
Convenient Schedules Nonstop to Amsterdam
KLM flies almost exclusively to and from Amsterdam, which is the capital of the Netherlands.
The biggest appeal of flying KLM business class is being able to fly nonstop from a variety of international gateways in the U.S.
Although other airlines like Delta also offer nonstop service, KLM is, by far and away, the airline with the best route network between the U.S. and Amsterdam.
Enhanced Connectivity to Niche Cities
KLM usually gets compared to Air France in terms of its route network and list of destinations.
Sure, Air France has a fleet size of nearly double KLM’s, but KLM still offers nonstop flights to some places where Air France does not.
- Bahrain (BAH)
- Dammam, Saudia Arabia (DMM)
- Kigali, Rwanda (KGL)
- Mombasa, Kenya (MBA)
- Zanzibar City, Tanzania (ZNZ)
Essentially, you can fly to any of these above cities with just 1 stop on KLM, which is a convenient perk!
Overall, KLM’s business class product isn’t typically talked about in the same breath as Emirates, Qatar Airways, and even Asian airlines.
Indeed, the biggest benefit of flying KLM is the nonstop schedule to Amsterdam — it’s very much an airline of convenience.
To that end, KLM business class can conveniently be booked using any type of transferable rewards points — we recommend Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Delta SkyMiles, Korean Air SKYPASS, and Aeromexico Club Premier as our top programs.
You now have all of the information you need to book a business class flight on KLM with points!
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Unlimited® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
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