Lufthansa Starts Selling Miles, Figuring Out How To Circumvent German Law

In 2019 Lufthansa abruptly terminated the ability to transfer points from Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and others into Miles & More. That made it tough for Americans to get their points. For most, it meant you’d need to spend on a Barclays-issued co-brand Miles & More credit card, or credit flights to Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program.

The explanation at the time was that German law made it impossible for them to continue allowing. Germany’s Payment Services Supervision Act was being interpreted to count a mileage transfer as a payment service which requires registration, government supervision, and “strong customer authentication” among other requirements. (A co-brand credit card will already meet these rules, but transfers will not.)

Miles & More has started selling miles again, working with, as they’ve found a workaround – as first noted by You Have Been Upgraded. They are selling miles bundled with other offers (that you may have zero interest in) which makes it impossible to assign a price just to the miles being purchased, and therefore less obviously making this a payment transaction for their Miles & More currency.

What’s more they’re running a ‘30% bonus’ on the miles purchase portion of the bundle through January 31.

  • “Small” bundle: 13,000 miles costs EUR 250 (US$263.30 or 2 cents per mile)
  • “Medium” bundle: 65,000 miles costs EUR 1,000 (US1053.73 or 1.6 cents per mile)
  • “Large” bundle: 130,000 miles costs EUR 1,750 (US1844.03 or 1.4 cents per mile)

You can purchase ‘Bundle&Go’ when logged into your Miles and More account. Miles take up to 5 business days to post. And you can purchase up to 250,000 miles per year. And you’ll receive a Hotels & Cars Bonus, Avis benefit and Priority Pass discount which you may or just as likely won’t value.

Here’s why this matters. While fuel surcharges can be choke-worthy depending on the route, Lufthansa’s Miles & More program offers several advantages,

  • Lufthansa offers better award space to its own members (and so does Swiss).
  • First class awards are available more than 14 days in advance of travel when using Lufthansa miles.
  • They discount different routes each month (Mileage Bargains) to just 55,000 miles roundtrip or even 28,000 miles roundtrip in business class to Europe.

Miles & More certainly has strategic uses, even if a business class roundtrip New York JFK – Frankfurt incurs a $1700 fuel surcharge ($1800 for first class). Bear in mind that fuel surcharges are very much dependent on the destination. For instance flying from New York through Frankfurt to Tokyo incurs a $780 fuel surcharge, though of course itineraries crossing more than one continent incur much higher points costs.

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