You should be able to read through this post in about 15 minutes to get a good overview of the Miles and More frequent flyer program. My next post will focus on how to acquire (ie. hoard) Miles and More program miles.
Members and Alliances
Miles and More is the largest European frequent flyer program shared by many European airlines and most members are part of the Star Alliance. The airlines participating in the M&M program include:
- Adria Airways
- Air Dolomiti
- Austrian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Swiss International Air Lines
Lufthansa is the main anchor of the group with almost 75 million annual passengers and has a subsidiary called Lufthansa Regional – Air Dolomiti, Lufthansa CityLine, Germanwings and Eurowings and also owns Lufthansa Private Jet. The other 2 main program members are Swiss followed by Austrian.
Since almost all the above mentioned airlines are part of the Star Alliance (except for Air Dolomiti and Luxair) you can use your M&M miles to book on 28 Star Alliance partners as well (think ANA, United, Thai, Singapore, etc). Other redemption partners include: Air Astana, Air India, Air Malta, Condor and Jet Airways.
To summarize, you can use your M&M miles 1) anywhere M&M partners fly, 2) anywhere Star Alliance partners fly and 3) where other partners fly.
Taking into account that Star Alliance is the biggest alliance and M&M is the biggest European alliance, can you go wrong with signing up with them? It depends. For mileage redemptions I would not suggest it. However, there are other factors such as receiving upgrades for elite status, which airline serves your home airport and which airline is most cost effective. Taking these factors into account it may make sense to sign up and credit your mileage and segments to this program.
If you would like to sign up for an account go to their main site here. To get an easy 500 miles, make sure that the option to subscribe and receive newsletters is checked or if you are already registered click here to login and subscribe to the newsletter. Once you have some mileage in your account you will be able to access and search reward inventory.
Obtaining Miles and Status
There are three different types of miles within the program: Award Miles, Status Miles and HON Circle Miles.
Award Miles – Earned through a variety of ways (more detailed post later). Redeem for flights, upgrades and merchandise from the Lufthansa WorldShop. For standard Miles & More members these miles have a shelf life of 36 months from the date they are earned and cannot be extended. For Frequent Travellers, Senators and HON Circle Card holders, these miles have no expiration date. However, as soon as a customer does not hold any of these cards anymore, the expiration date of all miles is set to 36 months counting from loss of frequent flyer status. For Miles & More Credit Card (Visa or MasterCard) holders issued in several countries, miles have no expiration date as long as the card is held and used monthly. After the credit card expires, the original expiry date of the miles is reinstated; although the earliest miles can expire is at the end of the quarter after the credit card contract is ended.
Status Miles – Only earned when flying on M&M partners or Star Alliance members and reset at the end of each calendar year. These miles allow you to reach elite level statuses.
HON Circle Miles – Only earned when flying in business or first class on M&M partners and Air-Rail trains in Germany (up to a total of 600,000 miles within two calendar years). They are necessary to attain the top-tier status on Miles & More – HON Circle. HON-miles have to be accumulated within two calendar years. Only Senators with an account balance of more than 300,000 status miles over two years, and existing HON Circle members, can see these miles on their account statement. HON Circle qualifying miles balance is also visible to Frequent Traveller and Senator members when logged in their Lufthansa iPad or Android app.
Status Stars – No real value but you get a pretty star(s) on your membership card 🙁 For each day you are a M&M status customer you get: Frequent Travellers one day = 1 point, Senators one day = 2 points and for HON Circle Members one day = 3 points. Then you convert points into stars: 5,000 points per star up to a maximum of 5 stars in total which are displayed in your personal online status lounge and membership card. Stars don’t expire… yay! Although it is stated “In future these stars will enhance the Miles & More service cards and bag tags belonging to Frequent Travellers, Senators and HON Circle Members.” We can at least hope that all this loyalty will be rewarded with some additional benefits like lifetime million miler status does in other programs.
|Key benefits||MILES & MORE MEMBER||FREQUENT
|How to qualify||One award mile||35,000 status miles (1) in a given calendar year||100,000 status miles (1) in a given calendar year||600,000 HON Circle miles (2) in two consecutive calendar years (the current and preceding year)|
|Mileage validity||36 months||No time limit||No time limit||No time limit|
|Your miles do not expire||For holders of a Miles & More Credit Card (3)|
|25% more award, status and HON Circle miles||25% more award, status and HON Circle miles||25% more award, status and HON Circle miles|
|Fly one class higher
|2 eVouchers on attainment of status and every time status is extended (5)||6 eVouchers on attainment of status and every time status is extended (5)|
|Booking guarantee||Up to 48 hours before departure in the highest booking class in Business and Economy class (6)||Up to 24 hours before departure in the highest booking class in Business and Economy class (6)|
|Waiting list priority||Third highest waiting list priority||Second highest waiting list priority||Highest waiting list priority|
|Preferential check-in||Business Class check-in (7)||First Class check-in; Premium check-in||First Class check-in; check-in at the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt (for Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines Group, Lufthansa, SWISS); Premium check-in|
|Free baggage allowance||Weight concept: 40 kg in total (8)Piece concept: 1 additional bag in Economy Class, 2 bags in total in Business Class and 3 bags in First Class (14)||Weight concept: an extra 20 kg (8) (9)Piece concept: 2 bags or 3 bags on certain routes in Economy Class, 3 bags in Business Class, 4 bags in First Class (15)(16)||Weight concept: an extra 20 kg (8) (9)Piece concept: 2 bags or 3 bags on certain routes in Economy Class, 3 bags in Business Class, 4 bags in First Class (15)(16)|
|Golf bag||One golf bag within the permitted free baggage allowance||One golf bag within the permitted free baggage allowance||One additional golf bag may be carried free of charge (10)||One additional golf bag may be carried free of charge (10)|
|Priority baggage handling|
|Lounge access||Business Lounge (11)||Senator and Star Gold Lounges (12)||Lufthansa First Class, SWISS First and Austrian HON Circle Lounge (17), First Class Terminal in Frankfurt|
|Access to the First Class Terminal||Only with First Class ticket (Lufthansa, SWISS flights)||Only with First Class ticket (Lufthansa, SWISS flights)||Only with First Class ticket (Lufthansa, SWISS flights)||Irrespective of service class (Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines Group, Lufthansa, SWISS)|
|Limousine and transfer service(13)|
|Personal assistance||Frankfurt and Lufthansa intercontinental stations worldwide|
|Improved flight award availability||Senator Premium Award (improved flight award booking availability)||Best flight award availability: HON + 3 companions until 14 days before departure. Valid for Economy and Business Class as long as there are seats available (flights operated by LH, OS, LO, LX, SN)|
(LH, JP, OS, OU, LO, LX, LG, SN, 4U)
|Exclusive service hotline||Available worldwide 24/7|
|Senator partner card for spouse / partner|
|Senator Premium Award|
- Various M&M partners release award seats 361 days in advance and award flight availability is quite good.
- Better and earlier access to Lufthansa’s first class awards.
- One-way awards are allowed for half of the roundtrip miles.
- No phone booking fee when booking through the service center.
- No close in booking fee – booking an award within 3 weeks of departure or less
- Allow 5-6 day hold on flights (certain airlines –Lufthansa, Swiss, Asiana, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Ethiopian, Jet Airways)
- No fee for cancelling an award within 24 hours of making the original reservation. There is a fee after 24 hours.
Take a look at a chart I’ve put together comparing mileage redemption amounts. M&M almost always comes in last when it comes to number of miles needed to redeem for an award flight.
- Only certain awards can be booked online: Adria Airways, Austrian Airlines Group, Brussels Airlines, Condor (only Economy Class), Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines (not for Premium Economy Class), Lufthansa and SWISS. You can book Germanwings flight awards here. For any others, you’ll have to call in.
- Mixed Cabin Roundtrip Awards are priced at the higher class mileage. This can be avoided by booking 2 separate one ways.
- You cannot book award flights within 2 days (48 hours) of departure.
- Expiration of miles is 36 months from the date you earned them. Only ways to avoid this is to have elite status or have a Lufthansa credit card and make at least one purchase per month and had it for minimum 3 months.
- Fuel Surcharges: Most redemptions include high fuel surcharges (a few hundred dollars to almost 1000). Fuel surcharges are less if you fly from Europe to the US and if you use some partners like Air New Zealand, Avianca, LOT, TACA, TAM, United and US Airways. Other ways to beat this charge is to fly within the US or fly from Brazil. Daraius from MMS has a detailed explanation with pictures.
- Buy up to 12,000 award miles (max per year) but newly purchased award miles can only be spent online after a period of 24 hours. To redeem before the 24 hours mark you’ll have to call the Service Center. The cost for 1,000 miles is 35 Euros and for 12,000 miles the cost is 290 Euros (24.17 Euro/1000 miles) – not a very good cost per mile.
- One region – 2 flight segments per direction (4 roundtrip)
- Two regions – 3 flight segments per direction (6 roundtrip)
- Three regions – 4 flight segments per direction (8 roundtrip)
Stopovers and Open Jaws
A stopover is when you spend 24 hours or more in a connecting city. An open jaw is flying into one city and flying out of another.
- 2 Stopovers (SO) and 2 Open Jaws (OJ) on Roundtrip Awards (RTA)
- 1 SO per direction on RTA that includes 2 or more regions
- SO not allowed in the region of origin
- SO must be booked over the phone
- No SO on One Way Awards (OWA)
Discounted mileage programs
(Warning: you cannot cancel these awards and miles are not redeposited and fuel surcharges are not refunded):
- Fly Smart Awards
- Mileage Bargains
- Flight award for children under 12 – 25% mileage redemption discount for kids
Other mileage awards/programs
- Round the world
- 3 region flight award
- Senator Premium Award
- Companion Award
- Pay taxes and charges with miles
- JetFriends (for kids ages 2-17): Your children get 2000 miles for signing up and you get access to award availability.
- Flex-flight awards: Additional supplement of 30,000 miles on the miles required for award flight, the booked flights can be flown in any order. This cannot be booked online. Rebooking charges apply if the flight date is changed.
The next post will focus on how to accumulate M&M miles as efficiently as possible.
Do you think that this program is right for you? Why or why not?