Lufthansa Miles&More which is known for being really difficult when it comes to booking partner awards, requiring a phone call has now added five Star Alliance partner airlines to it’s online booking engine.
While being a far cry away from a full fledged alliance wide booking engine at least it gives people a few additional options without calling the hotline which is always a waste of time.
It was and always is a nuisance when a major airline and especially such an important player as Lufthansa isn’t even running a frequent flyer program that allows alliance wide online award booking, something which United had for years now and even tiny Avianca LifeMiles operates successfully.
Of course the reason why many airlines don’t offer that is because they want to keep people that redeem their miles on the carriers own metal so they won’t have to reimburse partners for mileage awards booked on their flights. It’s simply a not so subtle manipulation of the members looking to cash in their miles.
In Lufthansa Miles & More’s case it was previously possible to redeem miles for Lufthansa Group airlines and local partners. Now they have added Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, ANA and EVA Air to the booking engine.
While trying to make a booking I was indeed able to find a connection on EVA Air from Bangkok to Taipei but was surprised when the search returned and offered me a ticket in First Class (EVA Air doesn’t have First).
Not sure what this glitch is about but you’ll end up with a ticket in the Business cabin so people should be careful about that. I wonder what’s going to happen when someone shows up with a First Class booking for a flight that doesn’t have First. Apart from not being able to fly First Class of course.
Here are the partners that still require a call to Miles&More (essentially every other Star Alliance airline and redemption partner):
Sure it’s great that Lufthansa finally did something but I have absolute zero understanding why it a) took them this long and b) not more or even all partners can be booked online. Especially when other programs like United manage this for years by now. And keep in mind that United used to have the worst website of all airlines in the mid 2000s (the website was actually called united.bomb in frequent flyer circles because error messages were as frequent as successful transactions).
Having to call the call center is not only a huge waste of time but the result also depends on the quality of the agent. On top of it all you have to deal with opening hours of the call center.