Lufthansa 01

Miles & More – The 2024 Update

To the point Miles & More, Lufthansa’s loyalty program, is one of the best-known frequent flyer programs and the largest one in Europe. And at the turn of the year, the program will have significant changes. 

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Miles & More, Lufthansa’s loyalty program is one of the best-known frequent flyer programs and the largest one in Europe. Attentive readers and aviation enthusiasts know that changes are coming – after all, Lufthansa announced the new program already in 2019 and only due to Covid, this has been postponed to 2024. By now, all existing members have already received an email with the new T&Cs. At the turn of the year, the program will have significant changes and I would like to briefly address them – what do the changes mean for us from January 1st onwards?

What is Miles & More?

Miles & More, launched initially in 1993, is Lufthansa’s loyalty program, encompassing not only the Lufthansa (parent) airline but also by now all its subsidiaries (incl. Eurowings finally since this year!) and is connected with its numerous Star Alliance partners.

The program offers a tiered structure with four membership levels starting with

  • Member (with registration)
  • Elite status members Frequent Traveller
  • Senator
  • HON Circle

Each grants escalating benefits such as priority services, (differing) lounge access, increased baggage allowance, service levels and exclusive promotions.

Types of Miles

Until the end of 2023, all members earn varying types of “miles” that are Miles & More’s currencies.

Award Miles

Award Miles are the standard currency for redeeming rewards within the Miles & More program. Members accumulate these miles through flights (not related to the status miles), credit card spending, and various non-flight activities – during/with Covid, the latter has become interesting for all “non-frequent” flyers and proved to be an exciting way to earn e.g. your next special flight! Main redemption options include award flights, upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, and merchandise. Shelf life is a min. of 36 months with ways to prevent expiry (e.g., via elite status or credit cards).

Status Miles (or Qualifying Miles)

These miles determine a member’s status within the program. They can be earned only via flights and are calculated based on the distance flown and the booking class (i.e., not flight class). Status Miles contribute to achieving and maintaining elite status levels like Frequent Traveller (FTL), Senator (SEN), and HON Circle (HON). These are usually earned on an annual basis and expire at the end of the year.

Executive Bonus Miles

Elite-status members receive additional status miles as a bonus on top of the standard miles earned from flights, providing an extra incentive for loyalty.

HON Circle Miles

Specifically designed for achieving and retaining the most exclusive status, the top-tier HON Circle status, these miles are earned only with business and first-class flights on fully integrated Miles & More partners (listed below) over two consecutive years.

Select Miles

These miles can also only be earned at fully integrated partners, yet mainly via flight activities (in all booking classes though). Some promotions and offers may provide members with special Select Miles, offering additional bonuses on qualifying activities. These miles can boost a member’s overall balance and/or perks, but mainly only relevant to elite-status members due to the high requirements.

Status Stars (yes…the only “non-Mile” currency)

While not technically miles, Status Stars are earned based on the length and status of the membership in the program. The main benefit is the invitation to exclusive VIP events…only relevant to you if you have way too many miles (I never valued any of the events as exclusive enough to spend my precious miles which I’d rather spend on nice flights…the corresponding value per mile was much higher for business or first class flights!).

Changes: What is new from Jan 1st onwards?

While the award program remains the same, the changes will be focused on the status program of Miles & More: instead of the various miles, all members will earn points going forward! Beyond a simple change of terms, it is a significant restructuring of the program logic and unfortunately yet another overall negative change for most of us members.

The Good Ones...

The good news first: The program will become simpler and more transparent by decreasing its complexity with some innovations.

Qualification Period and Validity

Qualification period and validity are simpler. The qualification period will be one calendar year for all status levels. So, if you achieve or renew your status, it will be valid right away and finish at the end of February of the year after next. For example, if you reach your next status level in August 2024, it will be valid until the end of February 2026.

Currencies

There will be “only” three currencies and the elite status is more exclusive. To simplify, I think of Points and Qualifying Points instead of Status Miles, and HON Circle Points instead of HON Circle Miles. All levels become more exclusive as it will be harder to reach and maintain them…whether that is good is for you to decide.

New Setup

Some “exotic” new setup might enable you to reach elite status. Previously rather impossible setups are now possible (e.g., reaching SEN via a pure number of flights which was only possible for FTL…).

Concise Table

Understanding how many points you will earn becomes easier. Instead of booking classes (i.e., the “letters” that you have seen on your ticket or reservations) points will be given based on your travel class (i.e., such as Economy or Business that can contain various of the former booking classes) – see the table below (which would not have been possible before…especially this concise!).

  Economy Class Premium Economy Class Business Class First Class
Cont 20 20 40 40
Intercont 60 80 200 300

Lifetime Status

There will be an official lifetime status! Frequent Traveller Lifetime will be completely new and Senator Lifetime will be now official – also for people below 65 without flying a lot before their retirement…  The new currency of (Lifetime) Qualifying Points enables this: 30,000 Qualifying Points for Frequent Traveller Lifetime status and after accruing 40,000 Qualifying Points, you will achieve Senator Lifetime status. The current Status Stars pointswill be converted in a ratio of 1:2 into Qualifying Points.

... and the Bad Ones

Now unfortunately the bad news: for most people, it will be much harder to reach and maintain status – focus will be required!

Higher Status Requirements

Status requirements are higher…and more complex. You will need to fulfil two differing Status Mile – pardon – Points requirements.

  • For FTL, you need to collect 650 Points, of which at least half must be earned on flights operated by Miles & More partner airlines (i.e., leading to 325 Qualifying Points; list of the airlines below).
  • SEN status is awarded after 2,000 Points and 1,000 Qualifying Points (i.e., again, half of the Points must be earned on flights operated by Miles & More partner airlines).
  • For HON, you need to collect at least 6,000 HON Circle Points (!) which is…demanding as it would be the equivalent of 30 intercontinental flights in business class!
  Frequent Traveller Senator HON Circle
Points 650 2,000
Qualifying Points 325 1,000
HON Circle Points 6,000

Shorter Validity

Elite status validity is much shorter. In the old program, your elite status was valid for at least two years (the current year when reaching it + 2 full calendar years afterwards + until end of February of the fourth year). Ideally, this led to 3+ years of status and you could use one of the two years to re-qualify – rather a marathon with sprints in between. So for old SENs like me, we used the other remaining “dead earning year” to earn/maintain status in other programs (such as at SkyTeam or Oneworld).

In the new program, you will need to re-qualify every single year to maintain the status which will be a constant sprint. I do see the logic of letting flyers be loyal only to Miles and More airlines, but this shortened validity did not come with generally lower, but on the opposite rather higher requirements! This makes me question whether all the elite status benefits are needed or whether I would leverage other ways (e.g. American Express Platinum Card benefits incl. Priority Pass, UpTrip vouchers).

No More “Soft Landing”

“Soft landing” of elite status is gone. The old program used to really take care of you landing softly…also in terms of membership status. Once you have earned the higher tier and couldn’t maintain it, you would land softly onto the next lower tier with all its benefits and validity!

Beforehand, earning HON could give you elite status for 7+ years! For example, earning HON in June 2016 gave you elite status until at least the end of February 2023 (HON status until Feb 2019 + SEN until Feb 2021 + FTL until Feb 2023). Again, instead of a marathon, prepare for running annual sprints!

Term Definitions

Term definitions are in the program’s favour. Miles & More had four years to fine-tune the program and also actively reacted to some of the “feedback” in the frequent flyer community. Elite status-earning “sweet spots” that were quickly discovered after the initial announcement disappeared by now.

Instead of following the official IATA definitions of “Intercont”, North Africa was grouped with Europe. So no more status runs via short hops over the Mediterranean Sea possible.

Conclusion

Of course, everything has its pros and cons – and a well-balanced program is crucial for its acceptance and ultimately success. Despite some of the major disadvantages of the new program, the overall changes seem reasonable, especially when compared with the overall development in the aviation industry with its loyalty programs becoming more “exclusive”. The pandemic of the previous years was a hard hit that is long over (with record earnings for many airlines by now!), but it triggered many of the now visible changes and follows an overall trend of gaining more loyal and especially paying customers (e.g., the previous introduction of the spend-based award miles).

As mentioned above, existing members have received the new T&Cs as an FYI (opt-out)… Otherwise, you cannot continue participating. Thus, let’s make the best out of it: if you are close to an elite status, leverage the remaining weeks for a mileage run (which I have actually never done… not only for the environment), but this year, it might be worth it. Perhaps, combine it with a last-minute exotic Christmas trip?!

What do you think of the changes? Let me know in the comments and I’d love to hear your feedback and/or questions!

FAQ

How Does Miles and More Work?

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Miles & More is Lufthansa’s loyalty program, encompassing not only the airline but also its subsidiaries and numerous Star Alliance partners. The program offers a tiered structure with membership levels such as Member, Frequent Traveller, Senator, and HON Circle, each granting escalating benefits (e.g., priority services, lounge access, and exclusive promotions).

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How Do I Collect Miles and More Miles and Points?

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Members earn miles mainly through flights with 40 airlines. Additionally, spending with co-branded credit cards or utilising various (300+) partners & services through the Miles & More network (in travel, mobility, entertainment, shopping and finance, as well as with conversion offers) contribute to mile /point accumulation.

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How Can I Use Miles and More Miles and Points with Lufthansa?

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Redemption options include mainly award flights, upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, and merchandise. The program’s flexibility allows members to tailor rewards to their preferences, but flight-related awards usually have the highest value for miles/points.

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How Can I Contact Miles and More by E-Mail?

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Miles & More primarily handles customer inquiries through their online contact form on their official website. To reach Miles & More customer support in writing, follow these general steps:

  • Visit the Miles & More Official Website
  • Log In to Your Account (more convenient as it then pre-fills your information)
  • Find the section “Contact Us” or “Support” (usually located in the footer or header of the page). You will then receive an answer via email and you can take it from there!

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Is SWISS a Member of Miles and More?

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Yes, SWISS International Air Lines is a member of the Miles & More program. As Miles & More is Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program, it encompasses not only Lufthansa itself but also its subsidiaries and various partner airlines within the Star Alliance network.

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Is Luxair a Member of Miles and More?

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Yes, as Luxair is a long-term, fully integrated partner of Miles & More, it is possible to earn award and status miles on every scheduled flight with Luxair Luxembourg Arlines. On flights in Business Class, you can also earn HON Circle miles.

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Which Airlines are Miles & More and Lufthansa Partners?

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With Miles & More, you can earn and redeem miles with ±40 airlines. First the fully integrated Miles & More partners (besides Lufthansa and all its subsidiarie, Austrian Airlines, SWISS & Edelweiss, Brussels Airlines, Air Dolomiti, Eurowings & Eurowings Discover), and then the airlines within the Miles & More family, LOT, Luxair, and Croatia Airlines. Of course, all Star Alliance airlines are partners as well: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Avianca, Copa Airlines, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, SAS, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines. Furthermore, you have independent Miles & More partners for e.g. code-share flights: Cathay Pacific, LATAM Airlines, Olympic Air, Air Astana, Air Malta, Vistara. As changes can happen, you can always the Miles & More Official Website for the latest list of partners.

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Tom
Tom
Based in Germany, Tom is our expert on loyalty programs, credit cards and travel - and he is passionate about great deals! He is a food enthusiast who has lived and worked on every continent (except Antarctica).

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