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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
|Economy||Premium economy||Business class||First class|
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:
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.