Aviation Op-Ed – September Edition

As a very frequent flyer with Lufthansa Group, I received to much fanfare (and cost – they paid for an envelope to be sent to me containing expensive bleach white color printed pamphlets) about two new ‘benefits’ afforded its frequent flyers: the ‘all-new’ Miles and More Selections for passengers who more than meet the status mileage thresholds for their airline status and ‘Status Stars’.

LH Miles and More is already one of the least generous programs on the market with 100,000 status miles needed to achieve Star Alliance Gold (by way of comparison, Turkish Airlines will give you the same for 60,000 miles). Moreover, the group FFP has moved towards the dreaded mileage for money spent model now part of Delta Airline’s FFP by drastically reducing mileage on so-called lower economy class fares.


Miles and More ‘Selections’

Now they have been generous to offer us more ‘benefits’. If you fly more than 175,000 miles in 12 months – yes you read correctly – 175,000 miles – they’ll give you Gold Status with Hilton Hotels for 1 year. Wow! You can get the same benefit if you sign up with AMEX and get a platinum card. The annual card fee is 550 euro. By the way, you also get ongoing gold for Radisson Hotels and Priority Pass and world class travel insurance for this fee.

With Lufthansa ticket pricing, 550 euros can get you about 3500 miles! Which means you would need to make 21 roundtrip tickets at 550/piece to get one benefit.



Status Stars

I’ll reproduce word-for-word, LH Miles and More’s marketing spin: “A very special innovation awaits Miles & More members who have held their status for many years: the awarding of status stars. In future these stars will enhance the Miles & More service cards and bag tags belonging to Frequent Travellers, Senators and HON Circle Members”.

I did a bit of phoning around the LH empire and got the general feedback that the ‘Status Stars’ mean nothing extra in practice. Aside from getting stars on our cards and baggage tags, we do get a chance to spend 100000s of miles to attend ‘exclusive events’. Auto-delete email. Yawn.

Stop Wasting our Time

I think many passengers are getting sick and tired of the over up-sell of benefits that convinces no-one and the total denial of program value erosions which is borderline unethical. It continues to explain why the so-called full service carriers (FSC) are losing customers to the LCCs since the weary and abused traveller continues to ask why should they pay ridiculous sums of money to FSCs if they continuously erode their services.

Lufthansa – how about spending less money on glossy pamphlets I throw in the trash and giving us real value for money when we actually step on to your aircraft?




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