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.