Full Details: Lufthansa Miles & More Changes

Filed Under: Lufthansa

We’ve seen frequent flyer programs globally make significant changes over the past few years, and it looks like there’s no end in sight for this trend.

Last week Lufthansa sent a letter to Miles & More members informing them of changes being made to the frequent flyer program. Initially only a limited number of details were available, while now we have a full outline of the new program. So I wanted to update my original post to add a lot more information about how the new Miles & More program will work.

All of these changes come after Lufthansa Miles & More went revenue based in 2018, and also devalued their award chart earlier this year.

Lufthansa’s Letter To Miles & More Members

To start, let me share the letter that Lufthansa has sent to Miles & More members that describes these changes:

As our guest you are at the heart of our thoughts and actions. We want to make travelling as personal, simple and pleasant as possible for you, so every one of your journeys becomes a positive experience. That is our aspiration for our new, modern premium concept.

Our status programme only met this requirement to a limited extent in recent years. Your wishes for simplification also reached us more and more frequently. We have therefore set out to revise our frequent flyer programme for you. In future, you will not have to spend a lot of time figuring out rules or asking yourself how to achieve your status. You will be able to concentrate solely on what is important to you and enjoy your journey.

Today, we would like to take this opportunity to share the initial details about our frequent flyer programme with you. Here are the most important new features you can expect from January 2021:

  • How to achieve status will become more transparent – a comprehensible points system will replace the status miles.
  • Your trust in us will pay off – status will primarily be achieved through flights with our airlines.
  • Loyalty will be rewarded – there will be lifetime Frequent Traveller and Senator status for loyalty over many years.
  • The period of validity will be changed – your status will be active for at least one year in future.
  • The structure will become clearer – we will say goodbye to complicated elements such as Status Stars.

These changes will apply to flights form 1 January 2021. You will find detailed information at www.miles-and-more.com/frequent-flyer

We look forward to travelling with you again soon.

There is some ridiculous spin in this letter — “you will not have to spend a lot of time figuring out rules or asking yourself how to achieve status,” but rather “you will be able to concentrate solely on what is important to you and enjoy your journey.”

The New Lufthansa Miles & More Program

As you can probably tell, the above doesn’t actually tell us much about what is changing. Fortunately Lufthansa has now published all of the details of the new program.

Lufthansa’s head of marketing has made two promises about the new program:

  • It will be a lot easier for everyone
  • Anyone flying with Lufthansa Group’s airlines will be rewarded more

Those sure are some promises…

Lufthansa Will Award Status Points Rather Than Miles

As of January 1, 2021, you’ll no longer earn status based on a multiplier of the distance flown, but rather you’ll earn status based on earning a certain number of points. Note that this doesn’t change how you earn award miles, but rather this only impacts earning status.

The points earned will vary based on the cabin you’re flying, and whether you’re flying a continental or intercontinental flight:

  • In economy you’ll earn 5 points for continental and 15 points for intercontinental
  • In premium economy you’ll earn 5 points for continental and 20 points for intercontinental
  • In business class you’ll earn 10 points continental and 50 points for intercontinental
  • In first class you’ll earn 10 points for continental and 70 points for intercontinental

It’s quite surprising that the most discounted fare in a cabin will earn the same number of points as the most expensive fare.

Continental Vs. Intercontinental Flights

The definition of continental and intercontinental is as straightforward as you’d expect:

  • A continental flight is a segment for which the arrival and departure airport are on the same continent
  • An intercontinental flight is a segment for which the arrival and departure airport are on different continents

Points Vs. Qualifying Points

Under the new program, Miles & More will have both “points” and “qualifying points.”

If you’re flying one of the following airlines you’ll earn “qualifying points” (these are either Lufthansa Group airlines, or airlines that use Miles & More as their frequent flyer program):

  • Austrian Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SWISS
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Eurowings
  • Air Dolomiti
  • Croatia Airlines
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Luxair

Meanwhile travel on other airlines will just accrue points (and not “qualifying points”). While “regular” points can still count towards status, you need to earn a minimum number of qualifying points to earn status.

See, the program is so easy? 😉

New Miles & More Status Requirements

With the new program:

  • Frequent Traveler status will require 160 points, and half of those need to be qualifying points
  • Senator status will require 480 points, and half of those need to be qualifying points
  • HON Circle status will require 1,500 points, all of which need to be qualifying points

One positive change is that historically you couldn’t earn HON Circle status based on travel in economy on Lufthansa. That won’t be the case going forward anymore, as economy travel will qualify.

Status Will Only Be Valid For A Year

Historically Lufthansa status has been valid for two years, though with the new program it will only be valid for one year. I’d say that’s a pretty big devaluation.

Note that if you earned status in 2020 it would still be valid for two years as per the old rules, so this rule will just apply to earning status going forward.

Lufthansa Introducing Lifetime Status

Lufthansa will be introducing lifetime status for the first time:

  • Lifetime Frequent Traveler status can be achieved with 7,500 qualifying points
  • Lifetime Senator status can be achieved with 10,000 qualifying points plus 10 years of Senator or HON Circle status

In both cases, only qualifying points will count towards lifetime status, so travel on most Star Alliance airlines wouldn’t qualify.

If you’ve been loyal to Miles & More up until now, you can earn lifetime status based on your past activity.

Status Stars points earned through December 31, 2020, will be converted into qualifying points at a 2:1 ratio in 2021.

Bottom Line

Some people may be surprised to hear this, but I don’t actually think the new program is necessarily negative. Every program has pros and cons, and this of course represents a significant change.

I’d say it’s very bad news that status is now only valid for a year, while the good news is that lifetime status is being introduced.

Other than that, I’d say the changes aren’t necessarily bad. Of course everyone has different travel patterns and preferences.

What I’m surprised by with the new program is how good it is for those looking to get good value, rather than just those flying full fare tickets:

  • The distinction between continental and intercontinental flights leaves a lot of opportunities
  • The most discounted fare in a cabin counts the same towards status as the most expensive fare in a cabin
  • It’s nice that travel in economy will count towards HON Circle status

Now that we have the full details, what do you make of these Lufthansa Miles & More changes?

Comments
  1. Do you happen to know if this will this also affect existing status holders? I.e. will my Senator status achieved this year now only be valid for 2020 and not until 2021?

  2. Lucky, can you write about your take on all these changes to loyalty programs? Since the 80s, loyalty programs were used to award frequent costumers and to try to “lock” them into one airline, avoiding them to use the competition where they wouldn’t receive many benefits.
    Now, it seems the airlines are working hard to make everyone a free agent and are, as a result, devaluing their loyalty programs, which are a huge economic asset.
    Is it because of high occupancy onboard or a good economic period (which isn’t widespread)? Or because people are going to fly anyway and the benefit of loyalty programs became marginal? Or because blogs as yours made the loyalty market too popular and expensive for companies? Or…?

  3. The question I have is, will the clown miles until now he converted into points and therefor Will count towards lifetime status?

  4. I wonder if they go retroactive on lifetime years and recalculate earned miles to status points! I have been Senator for almost 6 years and did fly exclusively LH group!

  5. We really get spoiled with all the loyalty programs that are continuously being ‘enhanced’.
    Unfortunately realization that it has all been wrong will come after the damage is done.
    The trend I see is that programs are slipping away from stimulating loyalty to maximizing short term revenue – instead of long term revenue coming from loyalty.

  6. What is the status of transferring hotel points to top off account for an award? Any recommendations on how to get a few thousand miles? I believe you still can’t buy M&M miles.

  7. I like the point-based status. I always prefered BA’s tier points to miles-based qualification requirements as it makes it far easier to understand how much I need to fly to earn status (hence whether it makes sense for me to switch to the program).

    I always perceived M&M as a program focused on customers in premium cabins (indeed it’s one of very few programs where status has benefits even if you have J-class ticket). From that perspective, it doesn’t look that bad to me.

  8. Miles and More has already been a joke. Not sure why there´s coverage about a program nobody with a brain in his head would use.

    Also, historically you could earn HON through economy flights. It may just be… Not sure, 4-5-6 years ago or so?

  9. I’m a United 1K and really annoyed with United’s most recent changes. Am almost British Airways Gold but am open to one other Star Alliance program to credit my points on and of course want to have Star Gold status with.

    @Lucky what do you think is the best Star Alliance program to become Star Gold with where Miles are useful and they don’t have huge award fees like Lufthansa does? Flying primarily on P fares. I’m looking at Turkish (Chase and Citi transfer partner) but if I’m not mistaken P fares don’t earn much with that airline.

    Overall this change by Lufthansa almost looks reasonable vs what United is doing but I don’t trust them because of their hardcore award ticketing fees that can be as expensive as buying a ticket.

  10. Unless there’s a multiplier applied to those points based on fare price, I can’t imagine that this scheme will entice anyone to loyalty. LH (and it’s group) are no longer relevant in the premium or economy competitive markets in which they fly and with a useless FF program they are further diminished. Too bad, they were once a great airline but their glory days are long gone with the wind.

  11. Am I reading this correctly? Someone flying SFO-MUC-BLR and return in business will earn 200 points in one swoop? In other words two round trips to India in business and a handful of UA domestic flights (16 segments) is enough for SEN status.

    This also makes HON much easier to achieve doing 7ish round trips in business with two long haul sectors each way with 20 random short hop Y segments thrown in.

    Or is it 50 points per purchased trip? I am probably reading this all wrong.

  12. Looks a lot like a copy of BAEC, which is slightly odd as that is rarely a model for anyone!

    The numbers almost match – BA Gold is (1500/280) 5.4 long-haul J returns vs 4.8 long-haul J returns with this model, and with all fares irrespective of price counting the same. Whilst Lufty wants less flying, more needs to be on LH metal.

    BA Silver is 600 TP (/280) so 2.1 J returns, vs 1.6 J returns here. Again, the lower requirement offsets the need for some LH metal and the fact that Star Silver is a lot less valuable than oneworld Sapphire due to the lounge entry rules.

  13. First question: don’t LuxAir get a look in as a partner airline? They are a Miles and More member but not part of Star Alliance.

    Second, maybe this is me being extremely cynical but the emphasis on Lufthansa (direct) partners looks like a precursor to Lufthansa pulling out of the Star Alliance.

  14. Raffles: I would consider BA Silver to be an equivalent of Senator, not FQTV. Benefits are certainly more similar.

  15. Hi Golfingboy,

    i think your example in Business makes 300 points for a return trip to India with the routing you proposed. If they include discounted fares like P it will become fairly easy to achieve HON with just 5 such trips.

  16. As a 3-year Senator mainly on LH/LX I really hope there is some distance based component rather than just “short” or “long”. There should be a difference between a 6-hr U.S.A. flight and and 12-hr Asia flight as the price is certainly different (and is different on BA etc for their tier based programs).

    It would be nice if one day an “upgrade” to a FF program was actually a benefit to their frequent flyers, rather than just destroying value.

  17. Service in Premium and regular economy is cut back, flights cancelled during strike, FF program devalued – what headline is next? Lufthansa starts using super CO2 rich jet fuel. Lufthansa names aircraft after Syrian dictator. Lufthansa forbids Christmas presents in passender luggage…

  18. Agree that M&M has already been the worst *A program before the changes. The requirements to achieve status were simply too high and the benefits too small. Now, they have found a way to go from bad to worse …

    And I don’t even understand their commercial logic (supposing there is any). Making programs revenue based is not very customer friendly, but commercially understandable. But these changes are actually incentivicing the quite the contrary, flying short longhaul routes on cheap fares. I’m really clueless.

  19. It may be technically possible to reach HON flying Y but it would take a 100 long haul segments or 300 short haul segments a year. That’s a lot even for a super frequent traveler.

    Compare this to Flyingblue, you can make Platinum by doing just 60 short haul segments in Y. Though it is a stepped program and you can’t jump from no status to platinum. You need to make your way through Silver and Gold with your points counter reset at each stage. I found this out the hard-way getting back to traveling after a 2 year break. Cumulatively I’ve earned about 450 XP this year but still remain at Gold.

  20. The points system sounds like an alignment with FB, but I don’t think you can really compare FB and M&M like that. FB Plat would be more M&M Senator, but Senators get a nicer lounge than Freq Travellers and business class pax. One of the things I appreciate about FB (as Plat) is that there’s just one lounge for everyone except la Première. The LH/LX/OS business lounges have always been a cut or two below what AF/KL put on.

  21. Some commentators asking who would use this programme. Which programme should I credit my miles to instead? Thanks

  22. The points are only for qualification of status and therefore there is no need for a ratio to transfer them into miles. You will still earn miles for redemption etc. only for status they have the new points.

    I actually think it is one of the easiest programs now to understand, no minimum spend, always the same amount of points, no matter which fare you book. And btw Lufthansa Group Airlines are more than LH, LX and OS. In addition it is SN, EW plus the Miles&More carriers LO, EN, LG and OU that count as qualifying carrier. UA and AC will not count as qualifying, only as normal points.

  23. @pixielott46: Traditionally, Aegean, Turkish, Scandinavian, and maybe Asiana were considered the “best” for earning status on Star Alliance. Aegean because of the relatively low requirements for Star Gold if you fly Aegean for a few segments, Scandinavian due to generous tier points for some cheap fares, and Turkish because of the lower requirements to renew (and over two years), and Asiana because of the two year status period.

    Air Canada and ANA have some good sweet spots in the mileage redemption side. (As does Turkish and Aegean, so I hear.)

    But it depends on what perks you value. I’m based in the US and I bank my status with United. Not because it’s easiest to earn status with them, but because I end up flying United, and the perks that matter more to me are Economy Plus seating, fee waivers for awards, the occasional upgrade, and same day change, rather than lounge access.

  24. There was already a lifetime Senator status, though the requirements were quite ludicrous.
    You had to have SEN consecutively for 10 years, you needed to collect one million tier miles during these 10 years, and you needed to be 60 or older and then lose your normal SEN status.
    Only then you would get SEN lifetime instead of losing it.

  25. An intercontinental flight is a segment for which the arrival and departure airport are on different continents.

    So then I can see flying from any Turkish warm water airport to Eastern Europe become a new thing for great points rampage.

  26. This program proved the status of Deutschistan
    For those who regularly commute between Germany and Ankara,
    They are flying Intercontinent

  27. This feels like semi alignment with BA tier points, which, looking at the route network and general positioning of IAG and Lufthansa Group .. would make some sense. M&M never made any sense to someone having to go out of their way to use Lufthansa, even though first class looked amazing (but biz still looked worse than standard BA Club World, for what that is worth)
    So it will be interesting to see how this may affect European biz travel, especially.

  28. @johnas: I understood from a friend TK flights will change to earn the same amount of miles as say SQ or OZ currently (and the 25% cap goes away indeed)

  29. Wow! I just read all these comments. I’d venture to say that at least half of the people commenting couldn’t be bothered to read the article and yet asked questions easily answered within it. Others were geographically challenged (e.g. Istanbul’s airport is on the European side of the Turkey) or made statements not supported by the article (e.g. tickets can be purchased on Austrian, Swiss or other metals too).

    I’ve been a Lufthansa Miles & More member for over a decade — and it is largely where I put my Star Alliance miles (not United despite being based in NYC). Sure, the fuel surcharges are a nuisance — but I decided years ago to use my miles for free upgrades (no fuel surcharges) and that’s been working out just fine. (Incidentally, if I am in Y or B class, then I use Avianca Lifemiles to upgrade with instead). I don’t think I’ve ever been turned down for an upgrade actually. I just landed in Minsk, Belarus this evening — half-way through my 7th trans-Atlantic trip this year (with possibly two more to go) and I have about 94,000 status miles (of the 100,000 needed to become Lufthansa Senator for two years). I’ll have it by the time I get back to New York. I’m annoyed as heck that they are going to cut this from 2 to 1 years — they will hear from me on this. It is a very tough status to get when you aren’t flying in business class — and it has eluded me since 2009 (when I used to have United 1K) — so very happy to have reached this milestone — but now with the program changes — I shall have to try to get it again in 2020 — to get that least two year window. I also will have over 3,500 status stars by the time the new program starts — and I’m sorry these are going away because it was an excellent device for awarding loyalty over a lifetime.

  30. I basically quit Miles and More, where I had status, in…(?) when they introduced P Business Class fares with devalued mileage credit, and I simply kept the credit card miles which were not too bad for European Business Class discounted awards.

    The present move, which makes no business sense whatsoever for the airlines involved as it rewards and encourages buying discounted fares, might make me come back but service on LH/LX has been so downgraded as per my recent experiences that I am not encouraged to do so.

    To me, this looks like adjusting the program to compensate for a very diminished travel experience. Unpleasant flights but everybody will be “Senator”. It certainly explains why the Zurich A gates Business lounge has almost become “Senators only”, with a tiny impractical crowded part allocated to rankless Business Class passengers.

  31. “One positive change is that historically you couldn’t earn HON Circle status based on travel in economy on Lufthansa. That won’t be the case going forward anymore, as economy travel will qualify.“

    I had to laugh at this statement @ 5 pts per leg continently, you would need to fly 300 segments per year!

  32. @Golfinboy
    You’re absolutely right. Each flight segment counts and each intercontinental segment will earn said points.

    To me, earning Senator or HON is much easier than it ever was. Yes the huge devaluation is that the status is only valid for a year.

    I wonder though if Lufthansa will in due time reduce perks of being a Senator/ HON because people will attain the statuses with much less effort than currently needed.

  33. +
    1. Two free vouchers per year with Senator re-qualification (vouchers were awarded bi-annually with the old program, regardless if you re-qualified every calendar year)
    2. No age-limit on lifetime status
    3. Can earn HON with a mix of classes (still fairly unattainable for most, but it was before too and it supposed to be very exclusive)


    1. With my current flying habits I will need to spend more time in the air (more legs) to reach Status with this new program.
    2. With the current program I would only need a 5 more years of uninterrupted Senator status to reach the life-time status requirement (although i would have to wait till my 65th birthday to for it to take effect), with the new system I will need an additional 15-17 years as Senator to reach the 10k points needed (Status Stars conversion included).

    Conclusion: Not a huge change, some benefits some degradation… Not sure how I feel about it right now. But it’s sort of nice to see the removal of Status Stars, Select Miles and HON Circle miles which were all a nuisance to me…

  34. Premium Economy travellers are definitely at a disadvantage.

    For instance you can book a dual-leg round-trip Eco Light ticket, i.e. TXL-FRA-ARN at a price of 150 EUR and get 20 status points, that’s 7.50 EUR/pt.

    While an intercontinental Premium Eco ticket i.e. TXL-FRA-PEK can easily cost more than 2000 EUR and only rewards you 50 status points (5+20+20+5), that’s a whopping 40 EUR/pt, …or even 50 EUR/pt if it’s a direct flight FRA-PEK.

    Mind-boggling!

  35. I compared my flights this year, 140,000 miles, all on LH, all in economy or premium economy, to the points that would have been earned under the new system, 430. In short while I easily re-qualified for Senator under the current system I would be 50 points short under the new system. I would have to fly about 50-60% more in the future to retain Senator status for one year, totally impractical for me. As for lifetime status, 10,000 new points would require me to achieve more than 27 years of Senator status and about four million miles. I have had Senator status now for more than ten consecutive years, totaling well over a million LH miles, in fact well over !00,000 miles in each of the ten years. Being over age 70, I would have perhaps qualified for lifetime status under the informal old system. In the new system my 2 stars get me halfway to lifetime status which I would reach in 13 years at age 95. Not much of a benefit for a 95 year old. The new system represents for me a massive reduction in benefits.

  36. The 27 year figure for lifetime in my previous comment is misleading. 27 years is based on star conversion, 27 years of senator status at 2 star points per day or 730 per year and a 2 for 1 conversion to new points means as a senator it would have taken 27 years to reach the 4 star level that grants instant lifetime status. Starting anew at 480 points a year it would take a little over 20 years. Either way, I am not getting there.

  37. After reading all comments I suggest that all of you

    BREAK AWAY FROM YOUR “ADDICTION” TO STATUS

    Since I did, I am living a much happier life: I have done more than 100 flights per year for the last 40 years (and I still do) and now I choose a flight for:
    -Best Departure and/or Arrival time
    -Non Stop vs Stops or Detours (every hour lost to either you’ll never get back!)
    -Airline choice ~ It is SO MUCH fun trying new airlines!
    -Price
    -Number of Miles

    Forget about STATUS, you’ll automatically get it on some airlines anyway but don’t chase it, it’s not worth it!
    Ben does a wonderful job evaluating airlines and hotels and I enjoy reading the Blog every day but with each passing year it is obvious that the airlines have decided to devalue their rewards and awards, so STOP spending hours each day trying to maximize your returns…being FREE to choose ANY airline is a wonderful experience that you should not miss!
    The hours spent on “Where to credit” and trying to understand the ever changing rules ARE MUCH BETTER SPENT ELSEWHERE!
    Just enjoy all the information Ben puts out and let it guide you if needed but don’t waste your time chasing Elite Status in ANY program AND USE UP ALL YOUR MILES NOW, they’ll never be worth more than right now!!!
    (As far as Miles & More is concerned: the P is one of my Pet Peeves! I should have received “life time status” a long time ago but refuse to start all over again with a new form of enslavement).

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