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New York Stories #10 – Say ‘No’ to using miles for merchandise

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This is the last of my observational pieces from my recent New York / Germany tour.  After landing at Frankfurt Airport from my Singapore Airlines JFK to Frankfurt flight, I had a couple of hours to pass before my Lufthansa domestic flight to Hamburg.

I had paid cash for this flight and was in economy.  I had my Turkish Airlines Gold card with me (matched from my Cathay Pacific Gold card in 2013) so I could get into the Senator lounge at Frankfurt.

Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt 3

This post is not about the Senator Lounge at Frankfurt.  It is large, it had a decent food selection, it had some showers (thank you Lufthansa) and it was no worse than the Virgin Clubhouse in New York.  I have nothing more to add – it was early in the morning and I was very tired.

What it did have, which you don’t get in a British Airways lounge, was a shop.

A shop where you can pay for things with Lufthansa Miles & More miles!

There was big stuff like suitcases, as you can see above, and small stuff too.

Regular readers won’t be surprised to know that the ‘exchange rate’ was poor.  Exchanging points or miles for ‘physical goods’ is rarely a good deal.

Even I was shocked at how poor, though.  Transfer the Euro amounts to Sterling and you are only getting around 0.28p per mile!  If you compare that to Avios points, you will usually receive around 0.5p of value per point if you decide to use your Avios for, say, a case of fine wine or sport tickets.

Lufthansa miles have a strict three year expiry, however many miles you earn in the interim.  This probably accounts for the popularity of the World Shop as people try to get some value from ‘soon to expire’ miles.  0.28p is still pretty grim though ….

Comments (10)

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  • barney says:

    They don’t expire as long as you have a M&M credit card.

    • Rob says:

      True, but surprisingly few Germans have or even want a credit card.

  • AndyGWP says:

    Tenuous question re: showers (as you mentioned them 🙂 )

    What’s the deal? Are towels and shower gel provided for these kinds of amenities, or are you expected to have them in your hand luggage?!

    • flibbly says:

      I can’t make any guarantees about these particular showers, but in general airport lounges accessed via FF status or flying class provide all the towels, shampoo etc that you need, although at a small minority of them you may have to request items other than towels at the “shower reception desk” before you go into your cubicle.

    • Rob says:

      All provided. Often with expensive luxury toiletries in some First lounges.

  • Flyingbee says:

    The Worldshop is a useful option when you have LH expiring miles. I’m based in France so have no option to have a credit card to stop miles expiring, and no status because I only do enough flying to maintain BA status.
    I had a stack of miles expiring earlier this year and personal circumstances meant I couldn’t redeem for flights at the time. Given the poor exchange rate it was painful buying stuff from the shop, but on the other hand better than losing the miles and I was able to get an iPad which lessened the pain somewhat!

    • Czechoslovakia says:

      Surprising there is no M&M c/c in France? I have one issued in the (much smaller) Czech Republic issued by UniCredit

  • RogerWilco says:

    There are some exceptions though – especially if the miles would expire otherwise.

    Point in case: Lufthansa’s SoHo programme, PartnerPlusBenefits (Similar to BA’s On Business) I had a pot of points with them, but since LH gutted their FFP (and partly PPB) I haven’t sat on any of their planes, so no chance for using the points for the only reasonble way, upgrades.

    The points were about to expire, so my options were a) to let them expire b) use them for flights I didn’t need and pay crazy YQ or c) buy some merchandise. I ended up with some photography stuff

  • Czechoslovakia says:

    They have the same “store” in the standard Business Lounges at Frankfurt, too. Whilst I agree they translate to “poor” value, I generally only fly economy LH/LX, and consider using M&M points for a euro upgrade even “poorer” value, esp. given status I usually have the seat next to me free anyway. One thing to look out for, is the regular “sales” and “offer-of-the-month” in the website. Reasonable value to be had then, if you don’t have where to burn the miles anyway. Most of the LH branded luggage is Samsonite or Travelite, and actually quite good. Saving my miles for that Alu Rimowa I`ve always wanted, but could not justify paying for out of my own pocket. Bit like flying First – the perceived value is greater than you`d actually stump up for.

    • Rob says:

      Remember you can redeem 1875 Lufty miles for a £5 Heathrow Rewards voucher. This is 0.27p but at least you have the whole of Heathrow to choose from!

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