Lufthansa Miles&More has now published the details about their change to a revenue based frequent flyer program, affecting all tickets purchased (issued) on March 12th, 2018 and beyond.
Lufthansa had initially (last night) published an announcement of these news on their application but only mentioned that date and that there will be changes but didn’t provide a live link with explanations.
After uploading the announcement customers and frequent flyers across social media and the message boards speculated how the changes will look like and how it will affect the mileage earnings.
The live link has now been added and you can access the relevant Miles&More website here.
The Lufthansa Group airlines – Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines – are introducing a new system for calculating award miles. For flights booked from 12 March 2018, the basis of the calculation will be the fare, i.e. the ticket price plus any surcharges levied by the airline concerned. This figure is then multiplied by a factor dependent on the passenger’s frequent flyer status to calculate the award miles given.
For flights operated by one of the above-mentioned airlines or another Miles & More partner airline(1), the base multiplying factor is generally 4.
If you are a Frequent Traveller, Senator or HON Circle Member, this factor is 6 for flights operated by Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, LOT Polish Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Adria Airlines and Air Dolomiti. For flights operated by Eurowings, Brussels Airlines or another Miles & More partner airline(1), the fare is multiplied by a factor of 5. As a member with a frequent flyer status, your Executive Bonus of 50% or 25% is taken into account in the multiplying factor.
This new system will apply to you every time you book a ticket via a Lufthansa Group airline booking channel. If you book your flight via a travel agent or online travel agent, you will find out what system has been used to calculate your award miles when you receive your ticket number(2). If you book your flight through another airline’s booking channel, your award miles will be calculated according to the current system.
It’s a good thing that customers are given 4 months advance warning this time around so people can prepare and if necessary adjust their strategy for the upcoming membership year.
What are the changes in the nutshell? Lufthansa Miles& More summarized them like this:
What’s happening here is basically in line with the changes we have seen from North American frequent flyer programs which switched to a revenue based earning system since the last qualification year. The same limitations apply with Lufthansa as well as the program is only able to track the value of tickets issued by the Lufthansa Group carriers (Lufthansa), 724 (SWISS), 257 (Austrian Airlines) or 082 (Brussels Airlines) or Eurowings.At this given time the changes only concern the collection of award (redeemable) miles. The actual staus miles will continue to be accumulated based on booking code and distance. At the same time all remaining tickets issued by other airlines will receive both award and status miles based on the booking class and distance.
The factor of collecting award miles in the future is 4 Miles per EURO spent (including the Fuel Surcharges that can make up a bulk of the ticket).
Miles&More Status members however can look forward to a 50% Bonus (25% on Brussels flights):
Lufthansa currently has a so called ‘Executive Bonus’ of 25% for their Frequent Traveler, Senator and HON Circle Members which will be bumped up to 50% of the award miles. I currently can’t see any language that let’s me conclude the executive bonus for status miles will be discontinued but you never know what happens in the future.
Example for a 500 Euro ticket:
- Miles&More Blue Member: 500×4 = 2000 Miles&More award miles
- Miles&More FTL/SEN/HON: 500×6 = 3000 Miles&More award miles
This new system can be very beneficial for flights that have a high ticket price, especially one way, full fare and last minute purchases. It’s a case by case basis though and depends on the base miles of the entire journey as well.
A long haul flight in First Class currently earns 325% award miles for status members. I had such a round trip between Zurich and San Francisco:
The ticket was very cheap, roughly 4,100 EUR. Under the new system this would earn me 24,600 Award miles. Just the long haul segments netted 37,870 miles under the current system, not even counting my connection flights from London.
Here are some examples how Miles&More currently credits domestic flights in Germany:
These are expensive flights, even the M Class ticket was a pretty high price for such a short flight. High ticket classes earn pretty decent flat rates for domestic flights right now. Any non-full fare such as the M Class above brought is a meager 625 miles for 398 EUR one way cost. The new system would have awarded 2,400 miles for that.
You can clearly see the 25% Executive Bonus for both award miles and status miles. Right now the FAQ say about elite status miles and benefits in the future:
The new system does not apply to status, select or HON Circle miles. All the privileges associated with your status also remain unchanged.
There is something else that stands out as really interesting however:
Miles will continue to be credited to you after each flight. For this purpose, the ticket price is allocated to the individual flight segments. Once you have completed your entire journey, the total miles for the individual flight segments are thus equivalent to the mileage amount for the entire ticket.
Does this mean that Lufthansa could withhold miles if a passenger skips the last leg of his ticket? That would open a whole new pandora’s box as far as earning miles are concerned.
There have been rumors for weeks that Lufthansa would do something substantial with their Miles&More program and most rumors out there actually dealt with the fear of them adjusting the way status miles are collected or respectively the elite status would be changed to an annual re-qualification requirement and validity (currently Miles&More status is good for 2 years as long as the member satisfies the status requirement within one single calendar year).
Airlines want to tie in their big spenders more and reward them for the actual money spent at the airline, that’s understandable. At the same time however Miles&More moves away from a frequent flier program to a program where it’s very easy to collect miles through leisure items (newspaper subscriptions, credit card spend, shopping partners, Payback points transfers) while it’s extremely hard to collect any reasonable amount of miles by actual flying activity. I fear though that over time this will be the future of most if not all programs on the market.