If things go according to plan and history, Lufthansa should be rolling out ‘enhancements’ to Miles & More sometime in the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year. Typically LH tweaks their program every 2 years so we’re due, and if the announcement is similar to what other Frequent Flyer programs have implemented, people will start to cry that the sky is falling and the end days are upon the elitist maximizer…….
If you have been paying attention to airline loyalty programs, you’ll notice that most have transitioned, or are transitioning away from miles flown to determine status and are gravitating towards cash spent to determine status levels. In other words, programs have become revenue based and the trend is spreading through the airline industry.
What may happen to Miles & More? A few things…..
According to trusted sources that are near and dear to Lufthansa, it appears that one major change to Miles & More will be a move towards a revenue-based loyalty program. From an airline’s perspective, this model has obvious advantages to the balance sheet and only makes sense to be implemented. What remains to be seen is what the spend requirements will be for those striving for Frequent Traveller, Senator or HON Circle status levels. Should the revenue model come to pass, expect the program to be favored towards passengers who are paying for full fare classes (F, A, C, D, J, E, G, B, Y).
Discount fare classes such as P and Z along with most Economy Classes will be on the losing side of the proposition as far as helping you gain status is concerned. Another major concern will be how the program handles passengers who fly a lot of segments within Germany and Europe, but don’t spend a lot of money because even the most premium fares are not very high in most cases.
Other considerations on the drawing board for Miles & More include revamping the program to better integrate Eurowings (Lufthansa’s Low Cost Carrier unit) and how mileage/spend credit will be calculated from flights operated for Star Alliance member airlines. Not much has come out of the rumor mill on these points, but it is obvious that Miles & More will need to be amended to account for these points should the transition to revenue-based loyalty take place.
Am I a fan of this? Mostly yes.
What I like about revenue based programs is that it does reward an airline’s best customers and that is what a loyalty program should do. Reward those that spend the most money, not those trying to ‘game’ the system just so they can get into a lounge. What I don’t like is that I’ll have to focus more on the dollars I spend vs. the fare classes I buy, but the benefits of the program and my travel habits easily support the decision to accept a revenue-based plan.
With the current Miles & More platform for example, it is easy to gain Senator Status for as low as $4000-5000. Especially when you can book United ‘A’ fares within the United States for only $800 (Chicago -Washington DC – Seattle as an example). A smartly built itinerary can easily yield 18-20,000 status miles with something like this. Book 5 or 6 trips, and you’re Senator. You never would even have to board a Lufthansa operated flight to earn SEN, yet Lufthansa now bears the costs of that Senator’s membership including Lounge Access, E-Vouchers, etc. Creating a true loyalty program that actually rewards loyalty is in my opinion the proper business decision for any airline.
Predictably, there will be a lot of protesting, snorting and grunting if and when these changes come to pass. In my humble opinion, the Snorters and Grunters will ultimately be those that will be priced out of a loyalty program simply due to their lack of loyalty. In theory this should improve the quality of the program for those who actually are loyal (key words of course being ‘in theory’).
Much more to come as we get closer to September and October when I expect the rollout of any changes.
Late last night I received a message from a reader who asked if I could help him find a good home for 2 eVouchers that are expiring at the end of this year. Unfortunately (or fortunately for you?) he won’t be able to use the vouchers for his own travels, but has generously offered them up to a deserving traveller…..
After thinking on it for a few hours I think I’ve come up with the perfect way to get these vouchers into the hands of someone who can use them.
For the next 3 days, until midnight December 24, anyone who leaves their travel plans in the comment section of this post will have a chance to get the vouchers. Once the deadline passes, the person (grantor) donating these vouchers will review all entries and he will pick the one that he feels is the best one. One winner will receive both vouchers.
Keep in mind, your itinerary must already be booked. In order to get the vouchers, your PNR or Locator code must be used when the vouchers are redeemed by the grantor.
Even though the vouchers expire on December 31, they can be applied to bookings in the future. You do not need to travel by the end of this month.
Keep in mind that not every fare class is eligible for upgrade via voucher. It is your responsibility to know if your fares are upgradeable! The winner will not be awarded the vouchers if the fares in their itinerary are not eligible.
To learn about the various options, including fare classes and using the vouchers on Star Alliance partners, please visit the FlyerTalk thread that specifically addresses how to use the vouchers. Pay special attention to the ‘Wiki’ at the top of that thread. If you have any specific ‘what-if’ questions, feel free to post them in that thread.
You can also refer to the Miles & More ‘Terms and Conditions’ for additional rules governing the use of Vouchers. Please do not leave questions in the comment area as to how to use the vouchers. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to answer the question in a timely manner.
The winner will be contacted by email by December 27. Please make sure to leave your email address in the appropriate field when entering your comments.
LufthansaFlyer assumes no responsibility or liability as to the use of the vouchers.
UPDATE: The vouchers have to ‘clear’ before expiring on December 31. Should the winner’s booking not ‘clear’ the upgrade at the time the upgrade is requested, another winner may be selected if the Grantor choses to do so.
In a gesture of good faith, Lufthansa has offered members of Miles & More (MM) a gift of status miles for this year due to the potential impact that several strikes had on their travels this year. Specifically HON Circle members will receive 30,000 status miles, Senators will receive 10,000 status miles and Frequent Traveler level members will receive 3000 status miles.
Lufthansa’s rationale is that due to the strikes, members may have missed out on re-qualifying for their status levels by a small margin due to the strikes and this gift would help bridge that gap.
At first glance, this is a nice gesture and there is probably a very small group of ‘MM’ members that will benefit from this. However I think Lufthansa missed an opportunity to really deliver something of value to their elite level passengers.
My issue with this is the fact that the miles are ‘Status’ miles only and do not count as award miles. If Lufthansa really wanted to say ‘Thank You’ for your continued loyalty during a difficult stretch, they simply could have offered ‘Award’ miles that would actually have far more value for ALL OF THEIR Miles & More members. Member attrition has been a problem for Miles & More and I think a great opportunity to do the right thing was missed.
As a Senator level member myself, who planned ahead of time and qualified for SEN in October, this gift of status miles comes with literally no benefit to me. It’s like kissing my cousin.
In speaking with several friends who also are Senator level members, they shared similar sentiments. One of them raised an excellent point: Most people who are concerned about renewing their status levels have already planned their travels accordingly and have either already re-qualified or have bookings already in place that will allow them to re-qualify by year’s end. They were not going to wait to see what, if anything, LH would do as far as goodwill is concerned for this year.
I’m inclined to agree with that argument. Most of us have already taken care of re-qualifying for 2015 or have plans in place to do so. A few of these ‘SEN’ friends also suggested that they be allowed to return the miles to LH as a mild protest 😉 .
My point and opinion in all of this is that LH missed a great opportunity to provide true value and benefit to their best passengers. By simply giving a grant of ‘Status’ miles, they really did not help all that many to re-qualify and lost a chance to really deliver something that would be useful to all members. Especially if they wanted to ‘apologize’ for a rough year thanks to a record number of strikes that impacted travel for 10s of thousands of passengers.
Had these miles also counted as ‘Award’ miles the goodwill and tangible benefit would have been far more reaching. For example, receiving 10,000 award miles would cover nearly 20% of a ‘Meilenschnappchen’ deal where it only takes 55,000 miles for a Business Class award ticket between the USA and Europe. A real and useful benefit!
For those of you that know me, you know that I am a fan of the airline and defend their actions even when most do not. However in this case, I just could not let my disappointment go undocumented. I simply think LH missed a golden opportunity to deliver something truly valuable to those they rely on the most.
If you are an active Miles & More member, please check your email today for what may be a targeted offer.
When I checked my email this morning, I had an offer for the following:
If I fly 16,000 miles between now and January 31, 2016 I would be awarded an additional 4800 Award Miles.
For the miles to qualify, they must be earned on Lufthansa, Germanwings, Eurowings, SWISS Austrian, Brussels, Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines or Luxair.
I’m not sure if every MM member received the offer, or if every offer is the same but check your inbox!
After being away for over a week on an African Safari trip, I come back to a bit of a backlog of deals and opportunities that have come from the LH Group.
Perhaps the most exciting one is news of the availability of Mileage Bargain deals for Business Class award redemption on Austrian through Miles & More.
Typically, Miles & More offers great deals each month that allow for Business Class award bookings for nearly 50% less miles than the normal schedule. This translates into booking a Biz Class seat for only 55,000 miles instead of 105,000 miles.
But this deal is a bit different from the others….
For the rest of the year, Miles & More members can redeem their miles on Austrian for Business Class travel between the USA and a variety of Austrian destinations for only 55,000 miles. The deal seems to be available in both directions: Ex-USA and Ex-Austria and is available for travel between mid-October and end of December. Inventory is fairly good and widely available throughout the next 3 months.
You won’t find this deal on the Meilenschnappchen website.
Just log into your Miles & More account and search for travel between US and Austrian destinations and you’ll see the 55k deal come up in the search results.
H/T: FlyerTalk’s Oliver2002