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Lufthansa latest to switch to revenue-based loyalty programme

German airline group Lufthansa has become the latest operator to switch the earning mechanism for its frequent flyer programme from a distance to a revenue basis.

Lufthansa Group today said its Miles & More loyalty programme would from mid-March change the way award miles are accrued by basing it on the price of flights. Currently frequent flyer miles are accrued based on the booking class and length of the route.

This will apply to all Lufthansa Group carriers, which include Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings and Swiss in addition to Lufthansa. It will also apply to flights on its Miles & More partners if the flight it ticketed by a Lufthansa group carrier - though relevant miles covered on flights booked with and operated by a Miles & More partner will still be accrued under the old system.

"With this change, the leading European aviation group is rewarding the purchase of higher-priced tickets more strongly than is currently the case," says Lufthansa.

The number of award miles that are credited per flight has repeatedly been brought in line with the development of ticket prices in the past, and lowered, especially in the lower-priced booking classes. The new reward system will result in an automatic allocation of award miles based on the sales volume that is generated by the purchase of the ticket. With this move, the Lufthansa Group airlines are creating a consistent system for assigning award miles."

It notes the length of the route will still be the relevant factor for awarding status miles and privileges linked to frequent flyer status will remain in place.

Changing the basis for accruing frequent flyer miles from a pure mileage basis to one that reflects the price of tickets has become more common among network carriers in recent years.

All three US majors, including Lufthansa's transatlantic partner United Airlines, moved to a fare-based approach for their loyalty programmes over the course of 2015-16. Carriers from other regions have since followed and notably Air France-KLM last month became the first major European network carrier to announce plans to do so as part of the revamp of its Flying Blue programme.

Lufthansa adds: "This change will also not have a fundamental impact on the number of award miles that are distributed by the airlines over all, or on the availability of flight rewards."

The changes will enter force from 12 March next year.

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