The Miles & More frequent flyer program announced this morning that there will be a “change to the way award miles for flights are allocated,” introducing a revenue-based system for the calculation of miles earned for a flight.
The change will take effect on March 12, 2018, and will apply only to flights that are both ticketed and flown on that date or after. That means that any tickets you buy up until March 11 will still earn miles under the current calculation system.
Miles & More is the combined frequent flyer program of the Lufthansa Group Airlines, including Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, and Brussels Airlines.
How Will Miles Be Calculated?
This new revenue-based system ties your earnings directly to the amount you pay for your ticket. The number of miles earned for a flight will be the product of the fare paid and a multiplying factor.
The fare paid is defined as the ticket price plus any surcharges levied by the airline. Calculations will be done in Euros; for calculation purposes, foreign currency transactions will be converted to Euros at the time of purchase.
The multiplying factor will vary based on the airline flown and your frequent flyer status level.
- Base multiplying factor: 4
- Multiplying factor for Frequent Traveller, Senator, or HON Circle Members:
- 6 for flights on Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, LOT Polish Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways and Air Dolomiti
- 5 for flights on Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, and other partner airlines
The new revenue-based earning system does not apply to the calculation of status, select, and HON Circle miles. Those will still be calculated and awarded based on distance flown.
What Tickets Does This Apply to?
Revenue-based mileage earning will only apply to certain flights and will be dependent on how your flight is booked.
All tickets sold directly by Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, or Brussels Airlines are easy to understand. They will all earn miles based on the new system.
For tickets sold through a third party, like a travel agent or online booking site, it will be a bit more difficult to tell.
If the ticket number begins with 220 (for Lufthansa), 724 (for SWISS), 257 (for Austrian Airlines), or 082 (for Brussels Airlines or Eurowings), the new system of revenue-based earning will apply to your flight.
If the ticket number begins with any other numbers, you will earn miles based on the old system, using the distance flown and the fare class.
As sad as we are to see this announcement, it seems to be the reality of where frequent flyer programs are heading. Mileage running for redeemable miles is slowly being pushed out of airlines around the world.
We can take heart in the fact that Miles & More will still be using actual miles flown for figuring elite status. In this way, the program is still better than major U.S.-based programs that also require a certain amount of spending to reach each level of elite status.
In the end, most of us here in the United States probably weren’t crediting our flights to the Miles & More program anyway, since they are known to charge high taxes and fuel surcharges on awards. For those based in Europe, this may be more significant news.
The most concerning part of this announcement is that airlines will take any excuse to copy another program when it comes to devaluations. We would guess that we can expect to see similar news coming from other frequent flyer programs sooner rather than later.
Until then, collect those miles where you can still earn the most and keep traveling the world for less.