Quick overview

How did we get here…

Not too long ago, news on the block was that Lufthansa (finally) took the decision to reboot its Miles & More loyalty program. The changes were so sweeping that it gave its members practically two years notice.

It’s actually quite good; the changes made to the program will introduce greater transparency and simplicity in point allocation with a focus on driving long-term loyalty.

In short, from 1st January 2022, there will be a few changes to the frequent flyer programme of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and SWISS.

While there are both benefits and limitations to the new program, these changes only affect the Miles & More awards programme leaving the allocation, earning and use of award miles unaffected.

Interestingly, the changes made to Lufthansa’s Miles & More program (Lufthansa Groups flagship airline) now has a striking resemblance to its main European competitor’s loyalty program, IAG’s flagship British Airways Executive Club. Not to mention elements of the program can be seen in other Oneworld carriers such as Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Qantas.

The changes made to the program will introduce greater transparency and simplicity in point allocation with a focus on driving long-term loyalty.

miles & More

Miles & More may have started as a Lufthansa-specific program, but it is now the primary frequent flyer program of 10 European airlines. Nearly all of which are aligned with Star Alliance.

These include:
Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, LOT Polish Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways, Luxair and Air Dolomiti

Staying with Lufthansa, the airline’s current system (pre-2022 for those reading in the future) is, put simply, somewhat a mess. The reboot should simplify and streamline the frequent flyer hierarchy and make it more accessible to more people.

Naturally, these themes will develop throughout the article but if you want to go straight to the source the link is provided.


Going from Miles to Points

The biggest fundamental shift to the entire program

IN MANY RESPECTS, LUFTHANSA CHANGE FROM A MILES-BASED SYSTEM TO A POINTS-BASED STRUCTURE IS THE BIGGEST FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT TO THE ENTIRE PROGRAM.

THE CURRENT SYSTEM

In the current system, you can earn Status Miles, HON Circle miles, Select Miles, Status Stars Points, Flight Segment status (Silver Promotion anyone) and award miles. All of these, bar award miles, play a role in both the attainment of elite status tiers and additional perks. In many ways, it’s as messy as trying to understand Japan Airlines Frequent Flyer Program.

The new system

Now scrap all that knowledge and focus on points and qualifying points; these will be the only two interconnected metrics moving forward. In many respects, Lufthansa change from a miles-based system to a points-based structure is the biggest fundamental shift to the entire program.

Put simply, you now need twice as many general points to qualifying points to achieve elite status with Lufthansa. While every qualifying point earned also counts towards your general points war-chest; qualifying points can only be earned on airlines which use Miles & More as their frequent flyer program.

General Points

A point is in many ways like a status mile, it can be earned on flights with airlines who use Miles & More as their main frequent flyer program as well as on flights with all other Star Alliance members. 

qualifying points

In conjunction there are also qualifying points; these points can only be eared flying on airlines who use Miles & More as their main frequent flyer program but not on flights with other Star Alliance members. 

No matter how many points you earn, if you do not get the required qualifying points you will never reach the higher elite status tiers.

The Elite Status Tiers

From 2022 the elite status threshold will look something like this, and as you can see, not all status points are equal. With the exception of HON circle membership, you need half of the fights to be on co-issuing Miles & More airlines (as Lufthansa call it).

points required to move up tiers

It’s all fun and games until you you see the jump from Senator to Hon Circle

 
Frequent Traveller
SenatorHON Circle
Points160480 –
Qualifying points802401,500

specific changes to hon circle membership

HON Circle has actually changed for the better; if you one of the ones lucky ones travelling enough to actually achieve it. Where it used to be a 10/10 on the ‘mere-moral unachievable index’, it’s now more of a 9.5/10.

Currently, HON Circle status was earned by gaining 600,000 HON Circle miles within two calendar years. That isn’t too bad until you realise, HON Circle miles could only be earned in Business and First Class on flights with co-issuing Miles & More airline partners.

Under the new rules, you can still only reach HON circle status by flying on Miles & More partner airlines. Now though flights in Economy and Premium Economy will now count towards HON circle status. This is effectively a drop in the water in the grand scheme of things;l when doing the maths, if you are travelling only Europe in economy you will need to travel 300 sectors in a year to earn HON status.

Introduction of Miles & More mid-tier bonuses

Taking a page straight out of Cathay Pacific’s playbook, Lufthansa now gives mid-tier bonuses as a way to be “proactive in awarding benefits” to its members.

Frequent Traveller

Mileage exchange at 200 qualifying points

Senator

eVoucher at 700 qualifying points

15,000 award miles at 1,000 qualifying points

Frequent Traveller partner card at 1,300 qualifying points

HON Circle Member

2 eVoucher at 1,800 qualifying points

30,000 award miles at 2,100 qualifying points

2 eVoucher at 2,400 qualifying points

Frequent Traveller partner card at 2,700 qualifying points

Senator partner card at 3,000 qualifying points

Earning Elite miles & more Status Points

It’s clear to see, as shown by Lufthansa’s marketing that an overarching tenant was to simplify the program and make calculating points earned a lot easier.

at its core, the old system wasn’t too difficult to follow, It was effectively distance flown multiplied by fare class and factor in earning rates when flying on other carriers – its all the extras that confused the majority of people who didn’t actively track their elite status. Websites like wheretocredit helped alleviate some of those issues but not all.

it’s notably simpler under the new system – you still earn a varying amount of points dependent on the carrier and class of travel; gone are the distance calculations and in its place a simple zone-based system takes its place.

The zone-based model is not as complex as say Cathay Pacific’s 6 different zones nor do you have to learn rules like British Airways 2,000-mile rule, rather you earn different miles depending on whether you fly within a continent or between two.

what you will earn

The earning table sums this up a bit more:

EconomyPremium economyBusiness classFirst class
Continental551010
Intercontinental15205070

In some situations it works out worse for the passenger under the new system, take a flight from New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) – a distance of 2,586 miles – as it’s classed as only being in one continent you would only earn 5 points in economy. Compare that with a trip from Lisbon (LIS) to Casablanca (CMN) – a distance of 383 miles – which will earn you 15 points in economy thanks to the hop from Europe to Africa.

What will now benefit leisure travellers is that there will no longer be any differentiation between lower-fare tickets and higher-fare tickets in a single class of service, an economy ticket is an economy ticket regardless of the price you’ve paid.

If you want to see how each country is broken down into which region, the full list you can be downloaded here.

Practically speaking, no matter how you cut it, to even have a shot at Senator status you will need to have to taken at least 5 intercontinental business class flights with a Miles & More carrier to even get enough qualifying mile to have a shot – and then there is still the remaining 230 general points to collect.

While you’re looking for ways to do point runs, you can forget about trying to do 5th Freedom Flight runs, Shout-out to Fly Pointy End who maintains a list and, as you can see, there are barely any routes where you can earn Qualifying Points on.

Changes to the program

Introduction of a Formal lifetime status program

Lufthansa is now introducing a lifetime membership program to properly reward its long term, loyal members. You can then earn lifetime status by fulfilling the following criteria:

  • Frequent Traveller Lifetime: 7,500 qualifying points
  • Senator Lifetime: 10,000 qualifying points plus at least 10 full calendar years of Senator or HON Circle membership

Gone are the Status Stars and Status Stars points, which will not be missed. But something says that earning lifetime status with Lufthansa is somewhat easier than other airlines, Finnair for instance, requires you to have at least 33 years to earn enough points to reach lifetime platinum (their top-tier elite status).

Better yet, historic loyalty is not wasted and will be converted to the new system and come 1st Jan 2022 Two Status Stars points will be equivalent to one qualifying point.

All frequent flyers with four or five Status Stars will thus be awarded Senator Lifetime at the beginning of 2022. You will receive Frequent Traveller Lifetime if you have already achieved three Status Stars by the end of 2021.

2 Years to 1 year – A devalued status

Another notable change to the programme is how long your status will last. Historically Lufthansa status had been valid for two years, though with the new program it will only be valid for one year. A pretty steep devaluation. However this is in line with other international players in the market – with the exception Royal Jordanian Platinum Hawk and Qatar Airways 2nd year fallback to a certain degree.

SAY GOODBYE TO JETFRIENDS

JetFriends was the kid-friendly side to Miles&More with its own cards and cartoon characters which will no longer exist moving forward. From 2022, children and young people will need to register as normal via Miles & More, and in this context, will also be able to qualify or requalify for a status.

However, with the removal of this program, one of the more unique benefits will go with it. JetFriends had a special perk where kids award miles will not expire until their 18th birthday but now will expire in accordance with standard policies.

removal of senator premium awards

Senator Premium Awards (exactly like British Airways ‘double Avios’ rewards for Gold Executive Club members) was a unique feature for Senators to get an award on any flight for a 50% mileage premium which will no longer be available moving forward.


Is miles & more still a good program to be with?

In the grand scheme of things these changes are positive for the airline, the program is simpler and overall easier to collect points with, if not for the devaluation from two years to one.

Although the true impact of this will solely depend on your travel patterns and this will correlate directly to whether you come out on top or get left behind.

If you frequently book other Star Alliance airlines (because say you don’t live in Germany but know that Lufthansa offers some decent perks) then you will almost certainly find it harder to gain elite status. On the other hand, if you fly Lufthansa or Eurowings more often-than-not and are price sensitive then you will likely find that this change will work out better for you in the long run.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Lately, Lufthansa asks for pass word.
    I have my card number and my pin.
    Still it says it is not enough.
    Please help me, my husband and I travelled a lot in business class over seas.

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