The good news
Late last year, Air France announced they would institute two changes on January 1, 2023, to make La Premiere award tickets harder to book. Those changes were:
- Only allowing platinum status holders to book La Premiere award tickets
- Only releasing one La Premiere award ticket per flight
Thankfully, it seems that Air France never instituted the second of these changes. For several months now, I’ve heard from friends with Flying Blue Platinum status that it’s still possible to book more than one La Premiere award ticket on a single flight. Expert Flyer confirms this, showing two and even three first class seats on multiple flights from Mexico City to Paris over the next several months.
There’s slightly less availability on other routes, but still more than one seat on lots of flights.
Since 2019, Air France has made it increasingly difficult to book La Premiere with miles. First, they restricted booking first class tickets to those with Flying Blue Gold status or higher. Then, they made it substantially harder to attain status. Finally, at the beginning of this year, Air France began only allowing Platinum status holders to book award seats in their first class cabins.
All these changes were ultimately meant to maintain the exclusivity of La Premiere–and, largely, they did (though there are still clever ways to book La Premiere relatively cheaply). My guess is that Air France abandoned the promise of releasing single seats because they realized that the past several years’ restrictions have been sufficient in maintaining La Premiere’s exclusivity and that restricting awards much further doesn’t make financial sense. After all, Air France profits from award redemptions: the marginal cost of an extra La Premiere passenger in an otherwise empty seat is low relative to sky-high redemption rates–around 220,000 miles for a transatlantic flight.
Alternatively, it’s possible that Air France forgot to institute the changes or, more probably, that their IT department has been on strike alongside the rest of the country over the last few months.
Whatever the reason for not going through with their plan to only release one La Premiere award ticket per flight, it’s nice to know that booking the product with miles in 2023 is a bit easier than we thought it would be. That’s not to say that it’s a cakewalk–attaining Flying Blue Platinum status is still mighty hard–but knowing that I could book La Premiere tickets for me and my girlfriend on the same flight makes a status run marginally more appealing, especially considering how much fun I had on my last La Premiere flight.