Back in April, Lufthansa e-mailed Miles and More members with details of changes to the programme from1st September.
I suppose they should be applauded for giving almost five months notice, but the net effect has actually been to make everyone forget about what was coming!
The changes are both good and bad, but they are likely to be wholly good or wholly bad for each particular person. In summary, this is what has changed:
- Discounted business class fares (booking class Z) on all Miles & More airlines no longer earn full business class mileage. On long-haul flights, you now get 150% of miles flown instead of 200%. Short-haul flights will earn 1,250 miles cross-border and 1,000 miles domestic.
- A new booking class for deeply discounts business fare (P) has been introduced gradually across M&M airlines since April. This earns a pathetic 100% of miles flown. (For comparison, BA gives you 100% of miles flown for a deeply discounted Economy booking!)
- Z & P class tickets cannot be upgraded to First Class with miles on Lufthansa, and require a 20,000 mile surcharge on Swiss
- One-way rewards are now bookable on Adria, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Condor, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, Swiss for just 50% of standard mileage. They can also be booked online for the first time.
For me – as someone who never flies on paid LH business class – these changes are good. I will benefit from the ability to book a one-way award at a sensible price (it was previously 75% of a return), especially as my wife and I both have just 100-150k M&M miles.
For someone who earns Star Alliance status via Miles & More, though, these changes could be a big problem. Cutting the earnings rate on discounted business class tickets effectively means more flying to retain the same status level.
Ironically, whilst cutting the earnings rate on their own flights to 100% of miles flown, Lufthansa has made it more attractive to fly on a different Star Alliance carrier! The cheapest business class ticket with other carriers will still generally earn 150% mileage (earnings details here) and 200% in some cases.
It is difficult to see how getting your customers to book with a competitor if they want to retain their status easily is good for business. Lufthansa has also annoyed a lot of people by changing the rules on partner earning (dropping most from 200% to 150% for business) with no notice at all.