Lufthansa has announced that it has changed its approach to First Class upgrades for members of Miles & More.
Beginning April 3, 2018, all revenue based Lufthansa Business Class fare classes will be eligible for upgrade to First Class. Until this announcement, Miles & More members could only upgrade using their E-Vouchers if they flew certain Business Class fare classes. For example, purchasing a ‘P’ fare (deep discount fare) ticket would not allow you to upgrade to First. That is now no longer the case. Any Business Class ticket that you PAY for is eligible for upgrade. Award tickets obviously remain un-upgradeable!
Lufthansa made this switch to align with the policy in place with SWISS who has always allowed any Business Class seat to be upgradeable to First Class using e-vouchers. It’s a smart move for LH to make the upgrade policy consistent between the 2 Lufthansa Group carriers that offer First Class cabins.
Speaking from personal experience, the previous policy impacted my decision making a great deal. It was the old upgrade policy that had me choose to fly with SWISS more often than Lufthansa when I had e-vouchers to use for upgrades.
Now LH group passengers have a level playing field when it comes to choosing which of the 2 carriers to fly if they are looking to redeem upgrades to First Class.
Lufthansa announced that it has begun to roll out a new program that allows passengers to upgrade almost any fare class offered by Lufthansa on certain long haul flights. The upgrades are at a fixed price and are subject to availability and capacity control.
What this means is that passengers can pay a fixed price and move up from Economy to Premium Economy or Business, Premium Economy to Business, and Business to First Class.
What is nice about the program is that you will earn miles based on the fare class you upgrade to. HOWEVER, rules regarding refunds, rebooking, baggage, etc. are based on your original fare class, NOT the upgraded class.
For now, this program is limited to the following routes:
- Munich-Los Angeles
- Frankfurt-New Delhi
If this pilot program goes well, Lufthansa will expand the program to cover their entire long haul timetable.
If you are traveling on any of these routes, you’ll see the upgrade icon when you pull up your reservation on Lufthansa.com. You’ll be given a choice of upgrading with miles, cash, or a combination of the 2. Please note that you can only upgrade your ticket up to 4 hours prior to the scheduled departure. Inside of 4 hours, you will not be able to upgrade.
As mentioned earlier, this program is available for most fare classes however there are a handful of exceptions. Here is the breakdown of which fare classes are eligible to be upgraded:
Economy to Premium Economy (N Fare): All Economy fares are eligible except for X fares.
Economy to Business Class (Z Fare): All Economy fares are eligible except for K, L, T, X.
From Premium Economy to Business (Z Fare): All Premium Economy fares except for R.
From Business Class to First Class (A Fare): All Business Class fares except for I (Award Fare).
Here is the breakdown of costs depending on the route and fare classes involved for the upgrade (prices below are 1-way):
The Fine Print:
As with any program such as this, there are rules and restrictions that will govern your ability to upgrade. Upgrades are eligible under the following conditions:
The booking must be confirmed and ticketed.
Applies only to Lufthansa operated flights and Lufthansa flight numbers. In other words, codeshare ticketing is not eligible for upgrades.
You can not upgrade on a flight for which you are already checked in.
There are a few other minor rules that you can find here.
H/T to FlyerTalk’s Oliver2002 for putting the news in my inbox this morning…..
Sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon waiting for tonight’s Notre Dame upset of Florida State, I decided to ring United’s 1K Desk to ask why they insisted on making me look bad…….
Back on July 1, I posted the fact that United was finally moving to an electronic method to redeem Global Premier Upgrades for use on Lufthansa operated flights. That post was prompted by the assurance from 2 United reps, including a supervisor that the electronic process would start on August 1. Well, that obviously never happened.
So I call back on August 29, asking about the delay and I was assured that it was about to go ‘live’ and that passengers could start to use the new system on September 3, +/- a few days. So I shouted from the mountain tops that the process was finally here.
Well Labor Day came and went and no sign of the new system, even though every Mileage Plus associate has been trained in the new system and are ready to use it.
So today I call and ask if there are any updates and spoke for a while to a wonderful agent who had a great sense of humor. After letting her know that my expectations were set for August 3rd and September 3rd, she said suggested that the new date could be ‘Maybe-never 3rd’. Though I wasn’t happy about the lack of a start date, I couldn’t help to laugh at her punch-line.
So as it stands, there is NO FIRM DATE for the launch of the electronic process. The lesson learned here is for me is to NOT shout ‘Electronic GPUs For LH Flights’ in a crowded ‘blogosphere’, especially when basing my announcements on what I perceived to be factual and accurate information from an airline.
The next time I talk about it will be when I can point to screen shots proving that the process is finally in place….