Leak: Lufthansa Will Change How Elite Status is Earned in 2021

A German-language blog has discovered two mistakenly-published pieces of information from Lufthansa Miles & More.

  • The way elite status will be earned is changing January 1, 2021
  • Status will be based on points instead of miles

They moved to revenue-based mileage earning a year and a half ago. They devalued their award chart this year. And they have plans to move to dynamic pricing of awards.

It would seem odd not to adjust their status-earning as well in the same direction, following perhaps along the lines of their anti-trust immunized revenue-sharing joint venture partner United Airlines which will no longer award elite status based on distance flown instead emphasizing dollars spent.

Copyright: jremes / 123RF Stock Photo

This would be significant because frequent flyer programs move in herds, largely copying each other. It’s the safe thing to do. It’s difficult for a business executive to stand apart from their industry, owning the results of doing something different, versus doing what everyone else does and burrowing in. The more programs that move in this direction, the more additional programs will do so.

Lufthansa, for its part, offers only (via Google translate),

As in all areas, we regularly review the structure and content of our customer loyalty program and develop it further as needed. We can not say more about that at the moment. Of course, we will inform all participants and the media in good time about developments and changes.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If the impending changes to United’s elite tier system weren’t convoluted enough, now their other partners are going to do the same. I hope Asian *A (and indeed, most other carriers) would continue to resist this change.

  2. It is just economics at work, the good old “invisible hand”. Back in the day, in the misty disty past, we earned miles by flying. Those of us who flew a lot got to bring their sweethearts along for the cool trips, schedules willing. Once the carders got involved the volume of points went parabolic. As with any good parabola, what goes up eventually returns to earth; our ability to use our inflated points fell back to earth. They don’t call them “SkyPesos” for no good reason. With lots of miles chasing about the same number of seats, something had to give, and that something was the money value of the points. All the tricks and “devaluations” are an attempt by the airlines to inflate their way out of their “obligations”. Governments do it all the time, so why not airlines? I blame the credit card churners and their bloggers; the airlines are just doing what comes naturally. They are no longer “loyalty programs”, they are credit card scams. It will get worse before it gets better, if it ever does. Back to green stamps, methinks.

  3. @Lentoasema.
    (1) You said: “same number of seats.” Economically, you have assumed supply of seats is fixed, so your argument is a demand only economic argument. However, airlines adjust supply of empty seats constantly based on demand. So supply is not fixed in the real world.
    (2) You said: “I blame the credit card churners and their bloggers”. Remember, credit card churners indirectly brought a lot of cash into the airlines. After all, the credit card company had to purchase the miles from the airline. Airlines need cash, there is no reason they cannot increase supply to gobble up all the free cash that the credit card churners are throwing their way. If miles did not generate revenues, profits, or needed cash for the airlines, then you could blame the churners and bloggers.

    Just saying.

    However, I agree, that airline miles might go the way of green stamps.

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