Lufthansa has finally revealed a few more details about their restructuring of the Miles & More program effective January 1, 2021 but this information has been given to the Handelsblatt in Germany instead of communicating directly to the customers.
In addition to the rather broad details we were able to give you yesterday this is going to be a bit more detailed even though (as always) also leaves plenty of questions.
The way this is being communicated is extremely lackluster to say the least even though it won’t go into effect before January 1st of 2021 but nevertheless it seems everybody and his dog is being informed about this before communicating directly to the customer.
First it was just a rumor that trickled out of the inner circles of M&M, then they sent out letters to customers explaining broadly what was coming yet the website that was mentioned in this letter is inactive to this moment and now the essential information is being published by the Handelsblatt in Germany (which is great, however shouldn’t there be a public announcement before briefing a newspaper?).
You can access the Handelsblatt article here (in German). I don’t want to run the article through translation and give you the same content verbatim so just a few important things that are of interest.
How many status points will I collect with flights?
Miles&More will differentiate here between continental & intercontinental flights.
- Economy Class: 5 Points
- (Premium Economy Class: 5 Points)
- Business Class: 10 Points
- (First Class: 10 Points)
There is no Premium Economy or First Class on Continental flights unless M&M wants to redefine continental and include destinations such as the Middle East and North Africa that are sometimes served with long haul equipment. So let’s focus on Economy/Business Class here.
- Economy Class: 15 Points
- Premium Economy Class: 20 Points
- Business Class: 50 Points
- First Class: 70 Points
Booking classes appear not to matter any longer. You get the same amount of status points for a “cheapo” ticket in Economy as if you would book full fare B/Y. Without making any predictions but this will annoy a lot of those flex ticket customers to say it in the most diplomatic way. Considering the price they will still earn a huge chunk of award miles though which will still be measured by spend (price of the ticket).
Individual Segments will no longer be counted which means the qualification by single segments for Frequent Traveller is gone. FTL now requires the 160 points.
There have been some avid discussions behind the scenes if connection flights will be counted in the future or if for example London-Munich-Frankfurt-Singapore would be counted as one single flight. We have to wait for the detailed rules to come out in order to answer that. Should this be the case then gaming the system by adding extra segments for fun would be a dead fish in the water.
How many status points will be required (per year) in order to obtain status with Lufthansa?
- Frequent Traveller: 160 Status Points
- Senator: 480 Status Points
- HON Circle: 1500 Staus Points
Miles&More will apply a system of “regular” status points and “qualifying” status points. Qualifying Status Points will be given for using a Premium Airline of the Lufthansa Group or a Lufthansa Partner Airline (whatever that means).
The key here: Frequent Traveller & Senator can only reach who collects at least 50% of the required points as Qualifying Miles, the remaining 50% can be obtained as “regular” points with random Star Alliance partners.
HON Circle’s 1500 points can only be obtained through aforementioned Premium Airline of the Lufthansa Group or a Lufthansa Partner Airlines however Lufthansa has brought back the option to collect HON Circle qualifying points through Economy Class flights.
What about that Lifetime Status they touted in the letter?
Miles & More customers with enough Qualifying Points (Star Alliance non-LH Group fights won’t count) will be able to receive their lifetime status at the following thresholds:
Lifetime Frequent Traveller: 7,500 Points
Lifetime Senator: 10,000 Points & 10 years of Senator status (so far not clarified if concurrent or if breaks are permitted).
I wonder how well the Lufthansa M&M database runs in adequately calculating these miles retroactively. Oh joy!
I stand by my initial analysis that these changes are mostly negative for the average customer. What’s definitely better now is the option to buy cheap Business Class fares in P class during sales and then run up enough qualifying points for HON Circle status. 50 points per longhaul flight in Business means 5 long haul round trips and you’re Senator.
With the competition you’ll likely be Star Alliance Gold in less than 5 round trips depending on how much the individual booking class earns. Question is how long these programs will prevail with that rulework and if Lufthansa will at some point cut down on the Lounge/Fast Track benefits for foreign Star Alliance Golds similar to how Singapore Airlines already handles it.
There will be more detailed rulework forthcoming once Lufthansa deems the public worthy enough of publishing such. Generally speaking I consider this frequent flyer stuff a game. You play it and if it’s no fun anymore then you’ll find another one. There have been plenty of great programs over the years (BMI Diamond Club, US Airways Dividend Miles come to mind) and we all survived once they disappeared. Times change and so do the rules.