With the change by Lufthansa Group, travelers in Europe will have to adjust to the new normal in loyalty programs.
Just a month after Air France-KLM and British Airways set forth plans to launch revenue-based loyalty programs in 2018, Miles and More, the program employed by Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Eurowings, and Brussels Airlines, is unveiling similar plans.
Beginning on March 12th of 2018, members of Miles and More will earn award miles based on how much each ticket costs. General members of the loyalty program will earn four points for each euro spent, while higher tiers up to super-elite travelers will earn six. On Eurowings, Star Alliance’s budget carrier, and Brussels Airlines, travelers will earn five.
The U.S. legacy carriers American, Delta, and United have all moved to revenue-based programs over the last five years. Those programs, by comparison, generally yield five miles for every dollar spent for base-level members while elites earn up to 11.
Tickets issued by travel agents will also be treated differently in the system coming from Miles and More. Since a variety of factors including fees and currency (for example, credit card points) can come into play when booking through a third party, Miles and More simply says that “you will find out” what the earning rate is after the ticket is booked.
Bookings through Chase’s travel portal, which can often include a balance of credit card points and cash, illustrate this situation well. Currently, those bookings show up as “special fares” when tabulated with U.S. carriers, with the award and status earnings slightly adjusted from the typical revenue fare.
As Miles and More moves to its revenue-based program, Europeans seem to have few choices left for earning award miles through traditional, distance-based means. The biggest carriers in both competing alliances, British Airways (Oneworld) and Air France-KLM (SkyTeam), are both in the process of changing their programs, while low-cost carriers like Norwegian and Wow Air don’t have competing products. In America, Alaska Airlines held out and kept the distance-based factor in its loyalty program, which earned it a great deal of praise from the traveling base. In the EU, no carrier or alliance seems to be willing to carry that flag.
As a result of the upcoming changes and as the similar trend in the U.S. illustrated, Europeans are going to end up ultimately earning fewer award miles across the board —especially for those who book the lowest possible fare. Last-second or premium travelers, by contrast, may earn slightly more miles than usual, but those cases will be few and far between.
— Grant Martin
Skift Stories and More Expert Insight
Delta Air Lines Is Going After Future Business Travelers — While Still in College: The segment will account for 50 percent of Delta’s business customer sales by 2020. This is why Delta is subtly — and not so subtly — trying to recruit younger travelers not only from the nation’s most formidable employers, including elite consulting firms, but also from universities.
The Airport Lounge Business — An Insider’s View of How It All Works: Few things excite casual travelers as much as an airport lounge with free pretzels, cookies and — often — mediocre beer, wine and spirits.
Delta CEO Didn’t Expect 2017 to Be a Good Year for Travel: In our behind-the-scenes conversation, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian shared his thoughts about the purpose of basic economy, the reason business travelers are so important to the airline, and his outlook for 2018.
Video: Why Being Uncool Works for Wyndham: Wyndham Hotel Group wants to revamp its brand design and experience as it gears up to go public. A good brand is a terrible thing to waste.
Lufthansa Ends Pursuit of Air Berlin’s Niki After European Union Pressure: Deutsche Lufthansa AG dropped its plan to buy Austrian airline Niki from insolvent parent Air Berlin Plc after European Union competition regulators opposed the deal, leaving the leisure carrier at risk of folding and stranding thousands of travelers ahead of the Christmas travel rush.
Singapore Airlines, SilkAir to Start Charging Passengers for Some Advanced Seat Selections: Customers will have to pay for advanced seat selection for selected Economy Class flights on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir as they switch to a revised airfare pricing structure next month, said both airlines in a joint release on Friday.
Hilton Adds the Ability to Pay to Get Your Expired Points Reinstated: For points and miles enthusiasts, having points expire is one of the worst things that can happen. Hilton has long been known to have one of the more customer-unfriendly expiration policies in the hotel industry by not allowing members a way through which they could retrieve any expired points. However, the program has just introduced wording in its terms and conditions that now allows Honors members to reinstate some of their expired points.
Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch
Photo credit: An Austrian Airlines jet is pictured. The loyalty program used by Austrian and other airlines including Lufthansa, Swiss, and Eurowings is moving to a revenue-based model. sloppyperfectionist / Flickr