Lufthansa‘s Miles & More scheme has launched ‘Early Bird’ rewards. These are aimed at leisure travellers who are willing to book their reward flight well in advance and give up some flexibility.
I am not totally convinced so far, and for UK members they are even less useful. Here are the rules:
- they are only valid for non-stop redemptions, eg Frankfurt to New York. You cannot add on a connection, so you’d need to pay for this separately.
- they are only bookable as round trips and you cannot mix and match airlines, eg Lufthansa out and SWISS back
- you must stay away for four days
- you can only book in Economy
- you must book 90 days in advance
- no changes
- no refunds
The last two are particularly painful, as one of the key benefits of a redemption is the ability to make changes if needed.
And, of course, full taxes and charges are due.
A return ticket from Frankfurt to Boston, for example, is 20,000 miles return plus €423 in cash. This is VERY high – a cash ticket won’t be much more than €423 if booked well in advance. For our UK readers, adding in the cost of a return flight to Frankfurt to connect would add insult to injury.
Even the longer routes – Cape Town, Mauritius etc – start looking expensive at 40,000 miles return plus such high taxes. In general, it is a decent idea ruined by Lufthansa’s failure to reduce taxes to an acceptable level.
Here are the long haul routes included:
Frankfurt to Amman, Baku, Boston, Cairo, Delhi, Dubai, Montreal, Mumbai, Nairobi, New York, Tehran, Tel Aviv
Munich to Boston, Charlotte, New York
Vienna to Amman, Cairo, New York, Tehran, Tel Aviv
Geneva to New York
Zurich to Boston, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Delhi, Dubai, Montreal, Mumbai, Muscat, Nairobi, New York, Tel Aviv
Frankfurt to Austin, Bangkok, Beijing, Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Male, Mauritius, Mexico City, Miami, Orlando, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Tampa, Toronto, Washington
Munich to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Chicago, San Francisco, Singapur, Québec
Vienna to Bangkok, Beijing, Chicago, Los Angeles, Male, Miami, Montreal, Shanghai, Washington
Zurich to Beijing, Chicago, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore
Frankfurt to Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Cancún, Cape Town, Johannesburg, San Diego, San José, Tokyo
Vienna to Cape Town, Mauritius, Tokyo
Zurich to Bangkok, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Tokyo