Looking past Lufthansa Miles & More’s tediousness

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The other day Drew made a comment that he keeps forgetting we have Lufthansa miles.  Well…ok perhaps we’ve gotten a bit “United” saturated and perhaps it’s good for us to reassure the public that we do indeed diversify our miles portfolio.

So, I thought I could welcome Lufthansa Miles & More miles into the cool kids’ club by writing a post outlining the program for beginners.

Getting an account

The only reason this really deserves a paragraph of its own is because Lufthansa does this unique and somewhat annoying thing where you cannot immediately sign up for an online account.  After signing up  for your Miles & More account with this link, you have to wait for your membership card to arrive in the mail before you can set up your online portfolio.  Also, don’t make the mistake I did of ripping my plastic account card off and tossing the letter in the trash….the pin is located on the letter the card is attached to.  Oops.

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Finding award availability

Another unique and somewhat annoying element of the Miles & More system is that you can’t even begin to search for award tickets until you have miles in your account.  This also means that you can’t search for award tickets unless you’re signed into your account…which…again can’t happen until you get your little plastic account number card in the mail.

BUT I’m really just being a whiner at this point because there are better ways to search for award availability anyway.  For instance, because Lufthansa is a Star Alliance member, (just like United) you can use United’s award search engine to get an idea of award availability with Star Alliance partners.  However, Lufthansa sometimes has better award availability than United, so while this is a way you can see which alliance members have available flights, it won’t be your best indication of how much availability there would be with your Miles & More miles.  For that, you’ll still want to run a search on Miles & More’s own search engine.

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Earning Miles

The Miles & More Lufthansa card still has a 50,000 award miles bonus going on, apparently until Dec 15th according to their website.  20,000 award miles for making your first purchase and another 30,000 if you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days of the opening of your account.  If you need a little help reaching the spend requirement, read this post for some ideas.

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Using your Lufthansa Miles & More miles

Lufthansa miles have great rules for award tickets, allowing two stopovers and two open jaws for roundtrip international flights.  Check out their award chart here.

A few things to note about these rules:

  1. Adding a third region will spike up your price to 100,000 miles in economy.  So to get a good redemption, you shouldn’t stopover in Europe on the way to Asia, you should use someone else’s miles for that.  Instead, stopover in one European location on your way to another European location.Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 1.44.59 PM
  2. You can have one stopover on either end of the furthest distance (point of turnaround), which will essentially be your destination.  For example, you couldn’t do a stopover in London and Paris on your way to Istanbul, but you could do a stopover in London on your way to Istanbul, and a stopover in Paris on your way back.Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 1.49.08 PM

A great use of miles

A roundtrip ticket to Europe is only 50,000 miles.  Add the stopovers in there and you can do your Europe tour pretty cheaply. 80,000 miles for a roundtrip to Australia/New Zealand/Oceania isn’t bad either.  Again, with the stopovers you can do a little Aussie tour.

Fuel Surcharges

When you start toying around with redemption ideas, you have to be thinking about fuel surcharges.  If you want to avoid those fuel surcharges all together then try to redeem your miles on these partners, as they wont’ have fuel surcharges:

  • US Airways (who will be leaving Star Alliance in March…)
  • TAM
  • TACA
  • Avianca
  • Air New Zealand

Or you can look to redeem your miles with an airline who has low fuel surcharges

  • LOT

Booking

First, we must explain Miles & More the Frankenstein

frankenstein

We know that Miles & More miles can be used to book Star Alliance partner flights, but in addition to that partnership, Miles & More is sort of a partnership of its own as well.  I call it the Frankenstein because it’s a program made up of pieces slapped together.  This confused the pants off of me at first because I hear “Miles & More” referenced almost interchangeably with “Lufthansa’s” program.  This is misleading though because Miles & More is not just a Lufthansa program.  Lufthansa is the ring leader of sorts, but Miles & More is a mileage program that includes a number of airlines.  See? Frankenstein.

Miles & More is technically made up of these airlines:

  • Lufthansa
  • Austrian Airlines
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • Adria Airways
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Luxair
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Germanwings

If you want to book your award ticket online, that can be done for Miles & More airlines such as the ones I just now listed, but when booking with non Miles & More partners, such as other Star Alliance partners, you must call in. This is the number I found for US residents. +1 800 – 581 64 00.  Luckily however, there is no fee for booking over the phone.  Makes sense to me seeing as you can’t book the Star Alliance partner flights any other way.

 

So there’s my beginning look at Lufthansa’s Miles & More program.  Welcome to the cool kids’ club Miles & More Frankenstein.  Show us what you’ve got.

If you are ready to dive in a little bit deeper, you can hop on over to Drew’s blog to read about how Lufthansa’s miles only suck if you suck at using them, as well as a bit more information about the best use of Lufthansa miles.  Or you can read about stopovers with Lufthansa miles.

While you’re over there, if you’d like to support us, we do get a kick back if you apply and get accepted via our affiliate links, available on any of the posts referenced above.

One Comment on “Looking past Lufthansa Miles & More’s tediousness

  1. Thanks for the great info. Could you please tell if the “components” of the group, – Austrian Airlines LOT Polish Airlines Swiss International Air Lines Adria Airways Croatia Airlines Luxair Brussels Airlines Germanwings – also charge the same fuel surcharges or there is a substantial difference?
    Anb how do one can dig out those charges to have that info handy?
    Thanks again,
    Sergei.

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