Lufthansa has introduced a new option to redeem miles of their frequent flier program Miles&More by redeeming miles in lieu of a cash portion when booking revenue tickets.
The ratio isn’t exactly great (as with so many other redemption options that aren’t for outright reward tickets) but it could be an option to use expiring miles.
Having such an option available for members isn’t a new concept, and other carriers such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have offered that for a long time, with the ratio not being ideal but not as bad as with Lufthansa.
As of now the Cash&Points option is only available ex USA and will soon expand to Germany and several other European countries in early 2017.
How is this going to work?
Relatively straight forward and you only need a minimum of 7,000 miles to redeem, though that won’t get you far. In fact, you will see that trying to pay an entire ticket with miles is a borderline disaster.
Here an example of a Premium Economy ticket from Los Angeles to Frankfurt:
The ticket would cost 2,537 USD and to offset this amount entirely you’d need to use 489,000 Miles&More miles. That is insane!
To compare, a First Class award ticket would be 170,000 Miles and Business Class 105,000 Miles plus approximately 600 USD taxes and fees. Of course such awards are subject to availability and Miles for Cash is available at any time. On top of this the tickets purchased this way would earn elite- and award miles. Nevertheless this ratio is horrible and one should absolutely abstain from this kind of redemption.
Using frequent flier miles for anything other than outright flight awards (preferably in First- and Business Class) is usually not worth considering unless these miles are subject to short term expiration.
The value of your miles when using them to offset cash is minimized to peanuts, and usually Miles&More has decent availability for their members in all classes of service (better availability than other Star Alliance members have for the same flights).