Miles and Less…

According to a very euphemistic mail sent out by Star Alliance today, Miles and More are going to be even more oriented at the “value of the flight ticket.” Now of course we know there’s no such thing as a free lunch (if we’d even dare to call an in-flight meal a “lunch”), and of course we all know we shouldn’t be whining about not using Business class flights in the first place. Now, if anyone of you has recently had the complete lack of a pleasure not to be able to avoid Lufthansa in any of the major German airports – Munich, Frankfurt, etc. – you’ll have noticed, that the average “Economy” passenger isn’t even looked at by a Lufthansa employee at the time of Check In. No, you’re asked to meet one of the check in machines, next to which you’ll find one of those employees who’re helping their company making themselves redundant too.

That’s of course all fine and just a logical consequence of the customers heading for cheap tickets (unless you’ve traveled in the US and have actually been grated with a very warm service, even at an “Economy” level of ticket.)

Now, to make the cattle class even more of itself, Star Alliance of course goes to great length trying to “incentivize” its customers to upgrade. As a result, and adding insult to already a massively complex system of sub classes in those three zones of “buy the aircraft” (a.k.a. first class), “buy the whole seat row” (business class) and “we actually don’t really want your business anyways, so how about sitting with your ears between your knees” (the rest of the crowd), they’re massively reducing the number of miles you can actually earn.

Here’s their new model:

New Star Alliance Miles

Now for example, if you’ve been booking a European flight in one of those coach classes – say, S or W, you had been earning 750 miles. Now, you’re earning 500 miles. For a “T” ticket, you get 125 instead of, previously, 750 miles.

Worse, if you’re counting on accumulating miles on your transatlantic flights, before you may have collected the round about 7500 miles one-way from Europe to the West Coast (miles times 1.0). Now, in those el-cheapo classes (ears between your knees), you’re earning half the amount of miles. And in those classes E, K, L, T – where you’d rather be doing a bus journey had not someone messed up tectonics and added a lot of water between the continents – you’re actually only earning 25 percent of the miles you were earning previously.

Of course, for there are alternatives. For example, get one of those American Express Platinum cards. Spend a dollar and earn two miles. And get a free Lounge pass with it. And thus just forget about those miles altogether. The only reason I’ve ever been accumulating miles was to benefit from the fact that on longer stop-overs, I can conveniently work in a lounge without having a whole crowd of people tramping over your feet.

So with those new changes, my decision to chose one of those other options for Lounge access makes even more sense.

Just the 2c, of course, of one quite frequent traveller.