The ultimate guide to Miles & More for UK flyers

Sep 5, 2021

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Miles & More is the frequent flyer programme for a range of European airlines, the most important being Lufthansa, Swiss, LOT, Croatia Airlines and Brussels Airlines. It would make sense to pledge loyalty to Miles & More if you travel within Europe a lot or if you connect to destinations served by these airlines (for example, Lufthansa’s Asian destinations, or Brussels Airlines’ strong network in Africa).

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As with other programmes, Miles & More allows you to earn points as well as elite status. Boasting strong ties to the Star Alliance network, the programme can be pretty powerful as a worldwide loyalty tool. Let’s take a look at what it can offer for travellers based in the United Kingdom.

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How to value Miles & More miles

As with every miles currency, valuing Miles & More is somewhat subjective.

The best redemptions to be had are those aspirational flights you might never pay for in cash. All things considered, TPG U.K. values Miles & More miles around 1.1p apiece. To take this to the test, let’s look at two redemption options: London to New York City in business class and London to Frankfurt in economy.

For a standard business-class return reward from London (LHR) to Newark (EWR) with a stopover in Frankfurt (FRA), you will have to shell out 112,000 Miles & More miles, as well as £621 in taxes and fees. The same ticket in October will cost you £3,549 if bought with cash, giving you a value of 2.6p per Miles & More mile.

An economy-class return flight from London to Frankfurt in October sells for just £95. Booking this reward with miles costs a whopping 15,000 miles plus taxes and fees, giving you under 0.5p per mile in value.

This appears to be a pattern for Miles & More, with most economy redemptions falling short of the 1.1p valuation, whereas business- and first-class rewards offer significantly better per-mile value.

Earning elite status and status miles

As with other airline loyalty programmes, Miles & More offers a variety of tiers awarding you with benefits like upgrades, security fast track and lounge access. With Miles & More, there are three tiers: Frequent Traveller, Senator and HON Circle.

For the status qualification requirements, see “Earning elite status.”

Frequent Traveller

The lowest tier in the Miles & More programme already has some solid benefits compared to other airlines’ lowest tier. You’ll earn 50% more redeemable miles on all paid tickets credited to Miles & More, including flights on other Star Alliance carriers.

Also, Frequent Traveller offers access to Lufthansa Business Class lounges when flying Lufthansa Group and Star Alliance carriers. Furthermore, you are eligible for business class check-in, and an extra free checked bag.

Senator

You can use eVouchers to upgrade to business class on the Lufthansa A350. (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

If you credit even more flights to Miles & More, you’ll reach Senator status, offering even better benefits.

You’re eligible for access to the Lufthansa Senator lounge as well as all Star Alliance partner lounges when flying on a Star Alliance carrier — in line with the systemwide Star Alliance Gold benefits you receive with this status level. Also, you get access to first-class check-in and two extra free checked bags.

As a nice bonus benefit, you receive two eVouchers. An eVoucher can be used for a one-class upgrade in a single region (such as Europe or North America). For intercontinental travel, you need two eVouchers. For example, a flight from Frankfurt to New York-JFK can be upgraded from premium economy to business class with the use of two eVouchers.

Another very powerful benefit of Senator status is access to Companion Awards. If you book an award, you can add one companion at a 50% mileage discount on all Lufthansa Group airlines.

Lastly, similar to Frequent Traveler, you will earn 50% more redeemable miles.

HON Circle

If you are an absolute mileage warrior, you can reach HON Circle. As the exclusive-sounding name suggests, this hard-to-reach status is pretty special. You will get all Senator status benefits, but also access to the First Class Terminal at Frankfurt (FRA) if you fly a Miles & More airline, regardless of the fare you’ve booked.

Also, you’ll receive six eVouchers for upgrades, for use similar to the Senator eVouchers.

Lastly, in true VIP fashion, if you fly Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa or SWISS, you’ll receive limousine service shuttling you from the lounge directly to the plane.

Earning elite status

Until 31 December 2021, Miles & More awards status based on miles flown. Starting 1 January 2022, a new system will be used.

The new system is a lot simpler and awards status based on points accrued rather than miles flown. This system is much like the XP points system used by Flying Blue. The amount of points earned per one-way flight is listed below. For example, you’d get 15 points by booking an intercontinental flight in economy; 20 in premium economy; 50 in business and 70 in first class. For continental flights, you’d get 5 points in economy and premium economy, and 10 for either business or first class.

There is a distinction between Points and Qualifying points. When flying a Miles & More airline, you will earn Qualifying points, whereas if you are flying a Star Alliance partner (such as Singapore Airlines or United Airlines), you will earn the same amount, but they’ll be designated as Points.

This will make sense when you look at the number of points needed to get to status:

Each status tier requires a different amount to qualify. To reach Frequent Traveller status, you’d need only 80 Qualifying points, but twice as many Points.

As you can see, flying Miles & More airlines gets you status sooner. This is a way for Miles & More to keep revenue within the group. Additionally, top-tier HON Circle is only available with Qualifying points, meaning you can’t count on flying Star Alliance partners if you want to be a top-tier elite with Miles & More.

Furthermore, much like some hotel loyalty programmes, Miles & More reward their members with perks after hitting certain thresholds. Senator members earn two extra eVouchers (granting an upgrade to one class above) at 700 qualifying points and 15,000 award miles after reaching 1,000 Qualifying points.

Earning award miles

Miles & More miles are notorious for being hard to obtain and having stringent expiration policies. There are no transfer partners; even most hotel programmes don’t offer an option to convert to Miles & More. Luckily, there are still some good ways to earn award miles.

Flying Miles & More and Star Alliance airlines

Miles & More award miles can be earned on flights with all Star Alliance partner airlines. For all tickets booked with Lufthansa Group airlines (Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian, Eurowings and Brussels Airlines) directly, miles are earned based on your ticket price. This amount is set to 4 miles per €1 spent.

When flying another Star Alliance airline but crediting to Miles & More, the amount of miles you earn is based on distance flown and fare class. You can verify this using your ticket number. If the first three digits of your ticket number are not 220 (Lufthansa), 724 (SWISS), 257 (Austrian Airlines) or 082 (Brussels Airlines), mileage calculation will follow the tables below:

To calculate the mileage earning for your upcoming flight, Miles & More provides a practical mileage calculator.

Miles & More credit cards

Most Miles & More cobranded cards allow you to extend the validity of all of your miles as long as you keep the card. Unfortunately, the Miles & More Global Traveler Cards that used to be offered in the U.K. are no longer available.

If you’re located outside the U.K. or have the ability to apply for a cobranded credit card in another market, review this list of international cobranded Miles & More credit cards.

Booking hotels

Miles & More can be set as the preferred airline earning partner for a number of hotel loyalty programmes, including Wyndham, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG and Hyatt. Generally speaking, this offers less value than saving up the hotel loyalty programmes own currency. However, if you are loyal to one programme and only sporadically stay in other hotels, this might be a good option.

Next to the larger chains, Miles & More also offers an earning option with smaller hotel groups, like Althoff Collection, Leonardo Hotels and Steigenberger hotels. For each hotel stay not at a large chain, it pays to find out if they belong to a group offering a reward, which in most cases will be 500 miles per stay.

Find out more about all hotel partners at the Miles & More partners page.

Rental car partners

Most major car rental companies partner with Miles & More. Currently, AVIS, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt all offer miles for a car rental booking. For all rental car partnerships, you will receive 500 award miles for each rental.

Related: The best UK credit cards for car hires

Miscellaneous partners

Other offers are available, too, such as limousine services and shopping rewards at certain airports. These offers tend to change, so review the Miles & More partners page for up-to-date information.

Miles & More App

After logging in to the Miles & More App (on either Android or iOS) for the first time, you receive a bonus of 500 miles.

Do’s and don’ts when redeeming Miles & More Miles

Lufthansa First Class on the Airbus A340. Photo by Gino ZH / The Points Guy

Do check the Mileage Bargains regularly to score reduced-mileage awards. The often renewed Mileage Bargains offer excellent value for your miles, up to 50% off the regular amount of miles needed.

Don’t use your miles for the Lufthansa Worldshop, to book rental cars or to book hotels. This way of redeeming rarely gets you even half of our valuation of 1.1p apiece. Redeeming for these options could be appealing if your miles are about to expire, however.

Do book business class flights within North America. For only 20,000 miles, you can book a one-way flight throughout North America. Maximise this by flying across the continent, for example, from San Francisco (SFO) to Newark (EWR) on United or from Toronto (YYZ) to Vancouver (YVR) on Air Canada. Taxes are reasonable too, at around $43. Using this fixed reward amount on less-travelled routes that are sold at high cash prices could mean getting up to 7p per Miles & More mile spent.

Don’t book short-haul economy flights. Aside from some obscure routes that are especially expensive to book with cash and rare Mileage Bargain offers, it almost never makes sense to use your miles for short-haul economy as it will not use the full potential value of your miles.

Do save up for those aspirational flight rewards, such as Lufthansa or SWISS first class, as they are among the best seats in the sky and offer great value for your miles.

Bottom line

Miles & More is an extensive and useful frequent flyer programme for those in a position to frequently fly on Lufthansa, SWISS and Brussels Airlines.

Getting to HON Circle status might prove difficult, except for those exclusively flying on Miles & More airlines in business or first, but Senator status is very beneficial already and much easier to achieve.

Altogether, Miles & More seems to be targeted at the business traveller who strongly prefers premium fare classes. Flying economy, as well as redeeming for economy flights, rarely gets you exciting value. However, if the premium flyer profile fits you, you can extract great value from this loyalty programme.

Featured image by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images

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