Members of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer programme Miles & More will earn double status miles for the entire year of 2021.
As the corona virus pandemic continues to have adverse effects on global aviation, travellers have been left worried about the future of their frequent flyer status.
With most countries in the world in lockdown, borders being closed and only a fraction of the normal number of flights operating, there just aren’t too many possibilities nowadays to fly enough to requalify for status.
The global pandemic has hit both the leisure crowd and business travellers, with many companies having switched to home office work and halting international business trips.
Last year, almost every major airline in the world has granted a full one year status extension to their frequent flyers. Some airlines even came with additional campaigns offering doubled mileage earnings in an attempt to lure hesitant passengers back in the skies and to entice frequent flyers to requalify on their own strength.
Given that global aviation is likely to remain at a low point this winter and spring, many airlines are now coming up with new actions to help their frequent flyers through 2021.
Miles & More, the frequent flyer programme of the Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, LOT, Brussels Airlines) is the first major European program to announce their solution.
In a press release, the airline group announced that its frequent flyers will benefit from double status miles for flights in 2021.
Lufthansa Group Head of Loyalty Joost Greve said: “We are currently flying by sight and are aware of the difficult situation the Corona pandemic poses for our customers as well.
“Unfortunately, we cannot predict how travel options will develop this year. That is why we create reliability for our most loyal customers by making it much easier to maintain and achieve the frequent flyer status.”
To be precise, all status miles for Frequent Travellers and Senators will be automatically doubled, regardless of booking class.
For the first time ever, all status members will also earn double HON Circle miles for First and Business Class flights. The credits are completely automatic and will also apply retroactively to flights made since 1st January 2021.
Do note that the double miles offer only counts for flights operated by Lufthansa Group airlines and a select few partners, and thus not on all Star Alliance members.
The promotion is valid on flights operated by Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Eurowings, Brussels Airlines, Swiss, Air Dolomiti and Edelweiss. It also applies to flights operated by the partner airlines Croatia Airlines, Luxair and LOT Polish Airlines on which status miles and HON Circle miles are awarded.
Two major Middle Eastern airlines have also jumped into action early by signalling their support to frequent flyers. Members of the Emirates Skywards frequent flyer programme will benefit from a full 12-month extension of their frequent flyer status.
An Emirates press release notes that the Skywards programme is “one of the first in the world, and first in the region, to offer its members a generous extension on all tier status reviews scheduled for 2021, by an additional 12 months”.
It added: “With travel restrictions still in place due to COVID-19, Emirates Skywards continues to pioneer new ways to offer its members greater reassurance during this time.”
Qatar Airways announced in turn that it would extend the frequent flyer status of Privilege Club members throughout 2021.
It’s interesting to see what airlines will come up with this year to support their frequent flyers. After all, it is quite a balancing act, as at one point you want to do everything as an airline to retain the loyalty of your most valuable passengers, but at the other hand don’t want to give them to much for free.
After all, most airlines in the world are in a dire financial position and could use every bit of extra revenue. In this light, the Lufthansa Group double miles offer is a sensible solution, as frequent flyers would still need to put in some effort as well to retain status.
This will likely mean some extra business for Lufthansa Group airlines as some frequent flyers will try to make the effort to retain their status in 2021 instead of having it lapse and falling back to less meaningful status level for 2022.
The fact that Emirates and Qatar Airways have decided to give blanket status extension is not much of a surprise as these airlines have deeper pockets being owned by governments rich in oil and gas money.
I’m more curious what other major European airlines will do this year to support their frequent flyers, most notably Air France/KLM and British Airways.
Last year, Air France/KLM’s frequent flyer programme Flying Blue already came with double XP and miles promo for the last six months of 2020. The decision by the Lufthansa Group to do the same for 2021 makes it more likely for Air France/KLM to follow suit with a similar offer as airlines do keep a close watch at what their competitors are doing.
The Lufthansa Group is offering double status miles for flights throughout 2021 to support Miles & More members to retain their status. It’s a welcome and sensible move which I think will benefit both frequent flyers as well as the airline within the Lufthansa Group.
I’m curious to see what other European airlines will do this year when it comes to customer loyalty, as I expect most of them to follow the Lufthansa approach instead of copying the big-pocketed Middle Eastern carriers which already gave blanket status extensions.
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