My view on the Miles & More programme changes

Lufthansa recently announced a number of changes to the Miles & More loyalty scheme. This covers a number of airlines, such as Swiss, Austrian, LOT and Adria, as well as Lufthansa itself.

The email was interesting, to say the least.

Paragraph 1:

From spring 2014, Frequent Travellers, Senators and HON Circle Members will be rewarded not only for attaining and renewing their status, but will also have the option during their status term of choosing from a variety of additional benefits and privileges. These benefits will be based on the number of flights you have flown. More detailed information on how you can enjoy these additional benefits will be provided to you from January next year.

You can’t complain about this. It directly links additional rewards to your volume of flights, and will be on top of the existing benefits. I would imagine that only Lufthansa Group flights will count, not those on Star Alliance partners.

Paragraph 2:

As a status member, you will also be able to enjoy very special recognition for your loyalty. Members with long-standing status will in the future be awarded ‘status stars’ which will enhance the appearance of their Miles & More service card. Further information about the awarding of ‘status stars’ will be communicated via various media from this November.

What?! You’re putting a little star on my membership card in recognition of my long term loyalty? That is what my 2-year old gets from his nursery …..

Paragraph 3:

Now we get to the crunch:

Also in 2014, the mileage currently credited in the lower-priced Economy Class booking classes will be reduced. For flights flown on or after 1 January 2014, operated by Adria Airways, Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Germanwings, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Luxair and SWISS, as well as with other Miles & More airline partners, the mileage credit will more closely reflect the paid value of the ticket.

On the face of it, this could not be so bad. But the wording fails to disclose the full force of the devaluation:

rsz_miles_more

What we’ve got here is the majority of short-haul Economy tickets now earning just 125 miles per flight, and the majority of long-haul Economy tickets now earning 0.25 x miles flown!

On this basis, you can fundamentally say goodbye to earning Star Alliance status with Miles & More unless you consistently fly on fully refundable tickets. You can also say goodbye to any meaningful redemption.

For comparison, BA will give you a minimum of 500 miles per flight and – long-haul – a minimum of 100% of miles flown. That means you will earn miles FOUR TIMES FASTER via BA than via Miles & More.

Redemptions are even crazier. It costs 35,000 miles plus £130 of tax for a return flight from Frankfurt to London in Economy. That would requires OVER 100 PAID FLIGHTS, assuming you were buying non-refundable tickets. BA would only require 9 return trips in cheapo Economy before you got a free flight – and you’d only pay £35 tax, not £130.

The earning rates for Star Alliance partners have not changed, but it is unlikely long-term that Lufthansa would allow partner earning to be more generous than the earning rate on its own aircraft.

If you are looking to earn Star Alliance status with a European airline, then Aegean is now looking more and more attractive.

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Comments

  1. 125 miles for a Euro economy flight? Why bother, when I can write a hotel review and earn 120 miles. Crazy.

  2. Goodbye to LH SEN for me. Already switched to BA and OneWorld.

  3. I couldn’t conceivably see what anyone would have found worthwhile from milesandmore before. This just accentuates my view.

  4. Lady London says:

    Isn’t it funny how the announcement was able to begin by announcing some far-off undefined woolly in-the-future supposed new benefits to the high-level status that LH is one of the hardest airlines to get high status with, AND YET what is fully known, fully defined and announced after that, are hardhitting virtual removal of benefits from a huge segment of Y passengers. Even in long-haul.

    It’s surprising that what is to be given is to very few people who already have to jump through higher hoops than elsewhere to achieve status, they haven;t committed to saying what anything ot be given is, and anyway it’s still undefined exactly what positive benefit they give to whom, but boy they sure as h*** know what they take away although they announce this after the earlier announcement of benefits they refuse to specify.

    I think we got the message, folks…. Personally I can’t see their SEN offering competing against alliances offering access to the top Asian airlines, or to the emerging 3 top Middle East carriers, for much longer.

  5. These changes push customers towards BA and the ME carriers. Even AF/KL will benefit as FB Gold is a superior and more useful status than FTL which is currently on a 30 segment promo. 60 segments on FB gets Plat. I’m no FB advocate but its a rubbish strategy when FB can beat you!

    SEN is worthless. Let’s not mention P class miles!!! If BA do that one day, I’ll just book the cheapest carrier which will inevitably be one from outside the EU that isn’t supporting EU workers and giving them the same employment rights.

  6. RogerWilco says:

    With the introduction of lower earning P and Z business fares I was starting to doubt if I would make a try to renew my SEN in 2014. With these changes it’s a clear NO.

    BA Gold (OWE) + SK Gold (*G) are my choices.