Radical Miles & More shake-up announced – Lufthansa is copying British Airways Executive Club!

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Lufthansa has announced a massive shake-up of how you earn status in its Miles & More loyalty scheme – so huge that it is giving 14 months notice to members.

Weirdly, it has decided to copy the British Airways Executive Club model!

In all seriousness, these changes are very positive.  Importantly, they are also positive for British Airways Executive Club members.  There had been rumours that Lufthansa was planning to move to a revenue-driven status programme, where the colour of your shiny card would be purely dependant on how much you spent.  It has not done this – in fact, it has moved in the opposite direction.  It is unlikely that British Airways would move to a revenue-driven model when its biggest European competitor has rejected the idea.

I am not planning to go through every tweak of the new programme.  If you are an active Miles & More member, you will find full details on this page of the M&M website.

Lufthansa changes to Miles & More status from 2021

Here is a quick summary:

Redeemable miles

There are no changes to the way that you earn redeemable miles.  The changes announced today only impact how you earn status in Miles & More.  That said, the airline is known to be debating a move to some sort of revenue based redemption process in the medium term.

Say goodbye to …..

The following things will be abolished on 1st January 2021:

  • Status Stars
  • Status miles and HON Circle miles
  • JetFriends (children will be allowed to have standard Miles & More accounts – existing JetFriends accounts will be converted – and miles will not expire until they are 18)
  • SEN Premium Awards (a Gold card holder could book ANY seat for a 50% mileage premium, similar to BA’s ‘double Avios’ rewards for Gold members)
  • ‘Two year’ status period (status will now run for the balance of your current year plus all of the following year, just like BA)

Earning status from 2021

This is how the new scheme will work:

Short-haul flights will earn 5 status points in Economy and 10 in Business, one-way

Long-haul flights will earn 15 status points in Economy, 20 in Premium Economy, 50 in Business and 70 in First, one-way

I discuss their definition of ‘long-haul’ below.

This is what you will need for status:

Frequent Traveller / Silver – 160 status points

Senator / Gold – 480 status points

HON Circle – 1,500 status points

However, not all status points are equal.  For Frequent Traveller and Senator, half of your status points need to be earned on ‘qualifying’ airlines which use Miles & More as their loyalty scheme.  For HON Circle, ALL of your 1,500 status points need to come from ‘qualifying’ Miles & More airlines.

Lufthansa changes to Miles & More status from 2021

These are the airlines which count for ‘qualifying’ points:

  • Lufthansa
  • SWISS
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Eurowings
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Adria Airways
  • Luxair
  • Air Dolomiti

Additional benefits for heavy travellers

For very heavy travellers, there will be additional benefits (similar to what British Airways offers via ‘Gold Guest List’):

Frequent Traveller – ‘Mileage exchange’ (not explained) at 200 qualifying points

Senator – 2 eVouchers at 700 qualifying points, 15000 award miles at 1000 qualifying points and a Frequent Traveller partner card at 1300 qualifying points

HON Circle Member – 2 eVouchers at 1800 qualifying points, 30000 award miles at 2100 qualifying points, 2 eVouchers at 2400 qualifying points, Frequent Traveller partner card at 2700 qualifying points, Senator partner card at 3000 qualifying points

For clarity, the new scheme applies to all flights taken from 1st January 2021, irrespective of when they were booked.

Lifetime status is also introduced:

Lifetime Frequent Traveller – 7,500 status points on ‘qualifying’ Miles & More airlines

Lifetime Senator – 10,000 status points on ‘qualifying’ Miles & More airlines AND 10 years of Senator status

Lufthansa changes to Miles & More status from 2021

Let’s compare this to British Airways Executive Club

It is spooky how similar this is to British Airways Executive Club:

BA Gold requires 1,500 tier points, and you earn 140 tier points for most business class flights (so 10 one-way flights needed)

Miles & More Senator will require 480 status points, and you earn 50 status points for business class flights (so 10 x one-way flights needed)

The key difference is that BA allows you to earn virtually all of your points on partner airlines.   Yes, you need 4 x one-way BA flights to gain status, but nothing stops you earning 580 tier points on partners and then the final 20 from two return Economy flights on BA to Amsterdam.   Lufthansa requires a Gold to earn half of their status points with ‘qualifying’ Miles & More partners.

There will be some fantastic status run opportunities here.  Lufthansa is defining ‘long haul’ as a flight which crosses continents.  A trip such as Cairo to Frankfurt to Dubai and back in Business Class would seem to earn 200 status points, for example.

Is this a good move by Lufthansa?

What is interesting is that Lufthansa is now running two types of loyalty programme within the same scheme.

Award miles – ie the miles you redeem for flights – will continue to be revenue based.  The more you spend on your tickets, the more award miles you will earn.  High spenders will get the most ‘free’ flights, irrespective of how many flights they take.

Status points – ie the points which determine the colour of your shiny card – are purely based on flights taken, irrespective of what you paid for them.  Frequent flyers will get the best status benefits, irrespective of spend.

This is fine by me.

My biggest gripe with revenue based programmes is that they reward the wrong sort of behaviour and the wrong sort of people.

Let’s look at two people.

Mr A works at Goldman Sachs.  He frequently travels to New York in Business on €5,000 flexible tickets.  He is forced to fly on Lufthansa due to a route deal done by his employer.  His employer receives a 35% rebate at year-end if it hits a spending target with the airline.

Mr B runs his own small business.  He frequently travels to New York in Business using €1,750 sale tickets.  He is able to pick any airline he wants.  He receives no end of year rebate from the airline.

Which of these travellers should be rewarded the most?  Revenue based frequent flyer programmes reward Mr A, even though he has no choice over who he flies with, may have no personal loyalty to the airline and (due to the end of year rebate) generates lower net spend than his headline ticket purchases suggest.  Mr B gets stuffed.

Points based frequent flyer programmes reward Mr B and Mr A equally.  Mr B may spend less (although the end of year rebate to Mr A means the difference is smaller than it appears) but his loyalty is up for grabs on every flight.

Under the new Lufthansa system, Mr A will continue to be wallowing in Miles & More miles.  However, Mr B now has an equal opportunity to earn a Senator (Gold) card if he takes the same number of business class flights.  This makes sense, at least to me.

To find out more …..

As I said initially, there is a lot going on here.  Whilst some information is not clear, I think that most Miles & More members will be happy with these changes.

It also sends a warning to British Airways.  If they attempt to add a minimum spend threshold to the Executive Club, people who fly on cheaper Business Class tickets may defect to Lufthansa Group and continuing to earn Gold status with five annual return trips, irrespective of ticket cost.

You can find out more on the Miles & More website here.

PS.  In case you missed it, take a look at our recent article on my top 10 reasons to apply for the UK Miles & More Diners Club and Mastercard credit card.

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Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more with the analysis. My first thoughts (after reading the news on another site) was.. BA tier points … makes Lufthansa / M&M way more attractive to Euro-based flyers (and potentially more) than it ever did before, myself being one of them (HK based BAEC member)

    Things just got interesting, finally!

  2. Now that is very good news! And do we know if M&M are going to scrap the silly expiration date of their miles? They might indeed become very attractive. If you’re a *A loyalist, welcome to the world of TP-running 😀

    • With no stated changes to redeemable miles, I guess not. Remember the UK credit card stops your M&M miles expiring though.

  3. Do you think there will be any changes to redeeming First?

  4. Steve M. says:

    Good luck trying to earn miles on Adria!

  5. OT.
    I have 33,000 Aeroplan miles that I understand expire after 12 months of no account activity. I made a few business trips to Canada between June 18 and Feb19 and every time was pushed in the direction of Air Canada as they were cheaper than BA!
    I won’t be going back to Canada any time soon and have no idea what to spend them on.
    I cannot see that it’s possible to convert them to other schemes and assume that exchange for gifts/cards etc are for Canada based citizens only.
    Has anyone else experience of Aeroplan? And how did you use your points?
    Thanks.

    • Are there any electronic giftcards or other awards? If so you could try changing your address to a fake Canadian one and retain your real email address to receive the giftcards?

      • Thanks BJ. I though about that, but all cards would in Canadian dollars and require spend over there or online. Amazon gift cards were available – but had to be spent via their Canada store only. I decided too much faff all round!

    • If you want to get yourself 12 months more miles validity simply make a refundable hotel reservation through Aeroplan and then cancel the reservation – this resets the expiry clock.

      • Thanks AV. I hadn’t considered that. It was possible to make a small points donation to charity, this would keep points open, but the reality is that I doubt I’ll be back any time soon.

    • Do you collect IHG points? If yes you can exchange Aeroplan miles for IHG on points.com along with a few other programs. Rate is not great but if you have no other use for them…

    • Another easy way to extend the life of your Aeroplan miles is to make some miles donation to one of the charities. Instantaneous transaction.

    • You can convert them to a Starbucks gift card and it will work in the UK 😉

    • Thanks to everyone for their comments. I found an online points broker prepared to buy them from me. Not a fabulous rate, but for points I was likely to lose, or struggle to redeem, it seemed worthwhile.
      Was offered US$325 for 30000 points. However, the broker needed to access my Aeroplan account to move the points before paying by PayPal. I was suspicious of a scam but after a lot of background research and conversations with the guy (in Texas) I set a temp password for the account and went ahead.
      2-3 hours later the money was in my PayPal account. Result!

  6. The BA and LH programmes might be similar for business class tickets but for premium economy they are massively different – BA give 68% of the points in premium economy compared to business, LH premium economy earns 40% of the points .. and barely more in premium economy than economy, but on BA it can be 4.5x as many tier points in premium economy vs economy.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes, I was wondering why LH is only giving same tier points in Y and PY – no more in Premium Economy than in Economy.

  7. M&M is going to be much better than BA for economy travellers. On the cheapest BA economy short haul you earn 5 tier points – an 8th or the cheapest club Europe at 40 tier points. M&M you earn half in economy what you earn in business. This makes business class less attractive for people chasing status.

  8. Thomas Howard says:

    This looks like a huge improvement but if I was chasing status, I’m still not convinced M&M is better then Asiana.

  9. Thanks, is it worth pointing out that the new M&M status requirements are a massive devaluation on today’s program? Status gets harder to earn and doesn’t last 2 years. Your only comment seems to be that M&M’s new devalued scheme will still be slightly better than BA’s dreadful loyalty program!

    • BA’s loyalty scheme is very good. Why would you say it’s dreadful? It rewards status holders, think seat choice for example, offers great value RFS redemptions, makes it easy to keep Avios for as long as you wish. EC is one of the best things about BA.

      • Agree, all very good points. Esp seat choice. Think what you save on that alone. Family pooling really is the best going too. BAEC was a breath of fresh air for us after we left the QR program. It was a nightmare years ago, might be a bit better now. Still would never recommend anyone credit their BA flts to QR.

      • I agree, but it is rarely used as a model elsewhere.

  10. In your example, if Mr A is “forced” to fly Lufthansa for work, and assuming he is in paid employment, why should the airline reward him at all?
    TfL don’t reward me for going to work

  11. Any idea how many status points short haul premium economy will earn? Only mentions economy and business in the article

    • I don’t think Premium Economy exists on short-haul.

    • short haul premium economy gets the same as economy. The LH website has the numbers. Short haul premium economy can be SAS plus in europe or many routes in Asia.
      They really don’t want to reward passengers travelling in premium economy!

    • Lady London says:

      same as Y.

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