Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lufthansa Miles and More Temptation

I’m a member of at least 15 airline frequent flyer programs. That sounds like a lot, but there are dozens of other programs I can join, but do not interest me. For a program to interest me it must meet one of these criteria: 
1) Attractive Reward Value: Earning and burning points for general award travel. This is the core of my frequent flyer hobby. I don’t have anywhere in mind, but I have the miles to go anywhere I choose. United, American, Southwest, British Airways, and Delta (at least when I joined 8 years ago) fit this category. 
2) Unique Redemption: Limited service markets I travel or want to travel. Alaska Airlines fits this category with their extensive network north of Seattle. Hawaiian, Iceland, and Singapore also fit this group. 
3) Website Search Features: Most airlines websites are miserable for booking award tickets. Many only show availability one day at a time and can only search a limited set of partner airlines. I joined Qantas and ANA to search award space on their superior websites (space should be the same across all alliance members). Then I use that information to book with my preferred program. 
4) Doesn’t Play Well With Others: Frontier and Spirit flights only credit to their own programs. I feel compelled to collect miles even if all I might earn is a magazine subscription. Southwest is like this too, except their miles have value on flights. 
5) Just for Fun: Something somewhere grabs my interest and I join a program. Air Berlin has flight awards that start at 2,500 points and has many free point offers. 500 points here and there quickly earn a free flight. Qatar, TAP, and Etihad also were just for fun sign ups. 
Lufthnsa A320
Lufthansa’s Miles and More program is now interesting. United’s most recent devaluation made first class on partners astronomically expensive. Also Lufthansa, like Singapore, has ample first class space for their members, but severely restricted space for partners. 85,000 points for a one way first class flight from Europe to North America is good value (United charges 110,000 points, the old price was 67,500). The First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is amazing and I want to return some day. There is also a good credit card sign up bonus offer available and Lufthansa is an SPG transfer partner.
Doesn't Play Well With Others
Update:  The 50,000 mile bonus is gone, so wait for it to return before signing up.

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