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Lufthansa’s Miles & More loyalty program has announced that it has introduced a “Cash & Miles” award option for Miles & More members based in the US and will be rolling out the program to other countries starting in early 2017. The idea appears to be that Miles & More will assign a monetary value to a mile and flyers will then be able to use their miles to pay for part of or all of their fare.
With Cash & Miles, Lufthansa and the Frequent Flyer and Award program, Miles & More will be offering an additional service, allowing passengers to cash in award miles on flights or even to pay for flights. On the Lufthansa website LH.com, Miles & More members can use their award miles in the future to pay, either in part or in full, for any regular Lufthansa flight as well as those with Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings and Eurowings.
There is a little bit of confusion as to when exactly this new option will be going live because the summary of the press release reads:
Available from the beginning of 2017 in Germany as a complementary service to the classical Flight Award Miles
While the body of the press release reads:
The rolling launch will start on 17 November – with the launch for Germany as well as in Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain and Italy planned for the beginning of 2017.
I’ve logged on to Lufthansa’s website posing as a German resident and I can’t see the Cash & Miles option anywhere…but that may have something to do with the fact that Lufthansa says members need at least 7,000 miles in their account before they can redeem for a Cash & Miles award (I don’t have any miles in my account)
UPDATE: This has been launched in the US (available immediately) and the roll out to other countries will commence from the beginning of 2017
Members will have the chance to use up a flexible amount of award miles against the cost of their flight for the first time, thus reducing the amount of money they need to put towards it. Using Cash & Miles is simple – the member, who needs to have a minimum of 7,000 award miles, logs into the website LH.com with his/her Miles & More service card number and password.
The process of booking involves entering the amount of miles you want to use into the appropriate field or selecting the amount by means of a sliding scale option on the screen. The service can be used in all service classes as well as for all flight connections available on the Lufthansa website. As with a regular ticket, members will also collect award and status miles with these bookings too.
So I can’t say I know what’s going on. Either this new option is already live and I simply can’t see it because I don’t have enough miles in my account or the 17 November date is incorrect and we won’t see this until the beginning of 2017.
It will be interesting to see how Miles & More miles are valued when the Cash and Miles option is up and running.
With Lufthansa Group stressing that the existing “classical flight awards” are not being replaced, the airlines will soon effectively have a revenue-based redemption system running alongside a regular zone-based redemption system and each will have its own benefits.
The revenue based system will almost certainly offer less value/mile than the zonal redemption system but, because customers will be using miles to buy cash fares, there won’t be any need to search for award availability. As long as the Lufthansa Group of airlines are selling seats on their planes a customer will be able to use miles to pay for a seat (or part of a seat).
Now what flyers will have to work out is which system works best for them.