Miles&More Changes: Here’s What you Need to Know

Senator Backpack

Rumors about Lufthansa changing its frequent flyer program have been out for a while. But now we know for sure: Miles&More will undergo some radical changes starting in 2021. While there was no official communication until a couple of days ago, the loyalty program run by the Lufthansa Group has now set up an official landing page.

Suprisingly, most changes can be seen as positive ones, which is nice since the trend seems to be changing frequent flyer programs in a way that doesn’t benefit travels. United Airline’s Mileage Plus is an adequate example. So let’s dig in a little deeper and see what Miles&More will be like in a few months.

Award Miles Become Points

As of now, you can obtain an elite tier with Miles&More by earning award miles. Depending on the distance traveled and the booking class your ticket has been issued, you will be credited with a certain amount of tier miles. Many frequent flyer programs follow the same approach.

But from 2021 on, there will be no tier miles with Miles&More. Instead, you will be earning points for your flights. And that’s not the only difference. Also, the booking class won’t matter anymore. The number of points will be defined by two factors: the cabin class and whether or not it’s an intercontinental flight.

Here’s a table showing the points that you can earn:

Cabin ClassContinentalIntercontinental
Economy Class515
Premium Economy Class520
Business Class1050
First Class1070

If a flight is an international one or not is determined by a detailed list of the individual countries and regions allocated to continents that Miles&More published here. You’ll find a “made by Travel Dealz” (and therefore even better;)) version in this article:

Qualifying Points

While the new system itself seems much easier and straight forward then it is right now, Miles&More has thought of an excellent way to ensure customer loyalty:

Even though all Star Alliance flights will earn points on Miles&More, only select flights will get you “Qualifying Points”. To be credited with those, you’ll have to fly with Lufthansa Group’s premium carriers (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines) or with Miles&More partners such as LOT.

The importance of those qualifying points becomes more evident as soon as we have a look at the new way to obtain elite status.

Obtaining Elite Status

Now, how exactly will this affect the possibilities when obtaining Frequent Traveller, Senator, or even HON status? Let’s start with the number of points that you will need for each tier.

  • Frequent Traveller: 160 points, 50% of which have to be qualifying points
  • Senator: 480 points, 50% of which have to be qualifying points
  • HON Circle: 1,500 points, 100% of which have to be qualifying points

As you can see, there is no way to reach a status with Miles&More without flying the airlines mentioned above. Compared to the current system, that allows you to obtain (at least some) frequent flyer status without ever seeing a Lufthansa Group aircraft from the inside, this is a limitation. But in general, it could become easier to reach an elite tier.

Road to Frequent Traveller is Easier (Sometimes)

We’ve already stated that you will need 160 points in order to become a Miles&More Frequent Traveller. To date, you need either 30 segments or 35,000 tier miles to meet the requirements. So for many people, the new path is an easier one.

If you’re only traveling economy class on short-haul connections, you will need 32 segments instead of 30. But mix in another long-haul flight per year in economy, and you’re down to 28 flights that you will need to earn enough points. Generally speaking: the more long-haul flights, the easier it gets.

On the other hand: If you’ve earned your status by flying long-haul in rather expensive booking classes, the picture changes. While you are receiving loads of tier miles in the old system, the new one won’t favor those with costly tickets anymore.

HON Circle Achievable With Economy Flights

Now, this really is a significant change, and we’ll see how existing HON members evaluate it. It used to be given that one could only obtain HON Circle status by traveling with Miles&More partners in business or first class. But this will change. At least one of those two terms.

From 2021 on, it will be possible to reach HON Circle solely by flying economy class! Sure, you would need to travel almost once a week on long-haul flights. And it has to be 100% with Lufthansa Group carriers or select Miles&More partners. But still: HON Circle with economy class flights – that definitely is a game-changer!

It also makes HON Circle milage runs more accessible for “normal” people. 50 return flights from Europe to the USA would be enough to obtain the highest of all Miles&More tier. Which means the cost could drop to โ‚ฌ15,000 or even less!

Lifetime Status

This is something that we know from many other airline loyalty programs: a lifelong status. The Executive Club has it, MileagePlus has it, and soon, Miles&More will join the club. The lifetime status is available for the Frequent Traveller as well as the Senator tier. To keep the status for the rest of your life, you need to meet the following requirements:

Lifetime Frequent Traveller

  • 7,500 qualifying points

Lifetime Senator

  • 10,000 qualifying points
  • 10 years fo holding either Senator or HON status

Not exactly an easy way. But feasible. And there will be no HON Circle status for life.

Qualification

The old system will grant you status for two years. That changes with the updates Miles&More program. From 2021 on, your status will only be valid for one year. Sure, the 2-year period is nicer. But then it often becomes easier to obtain status in the first place.

There will be no Executive Bonus anymore. Consequently, re-qualifying for status will be just as hard as the initial qualification.

There is an exclusive transition agreement for HON Circle members. You can, under certain circumstances, earn HON membership and keep it for up to 2 years during the initial period of the new program.

Other Changes

  • HON Circle members will receive only 4 upgrade eVouchers when obtaining status. Senator status still comes with two eVouchers.
  • No more advantages for Senator members if it comes to booking award flights. The better availability that you could “buy” for 1,5 times the award miles is history.
  • JetFriends, the program that allows children and young people (under 18 years of age) to become members of the Miles & More, won’t exist in the future. Award miles will still be safe until kids reach the age of 18.
  • Status Stars and Status Stars points will be one as soon as the new program comes into effect. But there is a recognition of those points. Find out more.

Bottom Line

Overall we have to admit that Miles&More really surprised us with the changes that have been communicated. After learning that the program would be restructured, we couldn’t help but assume the worst. Turns out, the new Miles&More program will be much more interesting for many of us, especially for those traveling on cheap economy class tickets.

Also, the fact that the changes will be effective as of January 2021 and not immediately is positive. The only really negative chance would be the validity of the status that will be consolidated to one year.

Kudos to Miles&More for building a program that doesn’t only favor high spenders, and that makes all tier levels accessible to everybody. Also, the way Miles&More communicates is commendable.

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Comments (2)

  1. I fear there’s one crucial aspect on which no information seems to be available: will the present lower fares (e.g. K, T, P booking classes) still exist, or will Star Alliance airlines get rid of “letter” classes altogether and, “for the sake of transparency and simplicity” have only one standard fare for economy, one for premium economy one for business and one for first?

    When changing the award miles system to a price-related system for european flights last year, I personnally earned between 60 and 70% LESS miles than those I used to earn with the letter-class system: quite a devaluation!

    Over the past 3 years I was able to reach the 100.000 status miles threshold for Senator with 40 european international flights in C/D class, because of the 25% bonus on status miles earned for Frequent Flyers and Senators.

    However, with the new system, this 25% bonus disappears, and I will need 48 flights in business (a 20% increase) in order to obtain the 480 points needed to elicit/maintain Senator status.

    And, on top of that, I will need to do so every single year, not during any one out of 2 years.

    Considering these facts, I have the feeling that we are facing a downgrading of the program, unless the cheaper fares remain available…

    Reply

    • Hi Jozef, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and providing in-depth feedback on the Miles&More changes. You’re right. Depending on the personal flight pattern, there definitely are points that one can consider as negative changes.

      Reply

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