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Star Alliance Miles and More / False advertising

1 United States Review updated:

Lufthansas information about the benefits of their "Miles and More" program is wrong. When it gets to a point where they would have to admit this, they just don't answer anymore. Any company that cares about its reputation would try to make it straight if a customer was deceived by their information. Not so Lufthansa or its "Star Alliance Partners". Obviously there is no government agency that regulates frequent flier programs so that Airlines can basically make any kind of promises without having to fear any consequences.

On one occasion I booked a flight with Singapore Airlines that took me over 40 hours because I believed that I would be able to uprade it with my Miles and More miles that were about to expire. Lufthansa explicitly states that Miles and More members are able to upgrade their Singapore Airlines bookings. After I booked the flight it was, sorry - the upgrade is not going through. When I contacted SIA I was told that their flights are not upgradable for Miles and More members, only if it was a Code share flight that was originally booked by Lufthansa. i even have this in writing. When I submitted a copy of their letter to Lufthansa their response was: "We are unable to comment this" A second letter that I submitted to Lufthansa asking them if they don't communicate with their partners has never been answered, that's why I am assuming that my assumption is true. It is very convenient for Lufthansa to say "we cannot tell you in advance if an upgrade is possible, go ahead and book the flight" They make customers believe that Star Alliance is like one big company but if there is any issue that involves two different Star Alliance "partners" then it is "we don't have any control over this, we don't know why you were told this, we don't know why this happened..."

On another occasion I was denied access to a United First Class lounge despite my First Class Lufthansa ticket. Lufthansas website clearly states "A First Class ticket holder has access to any (!) Star Alliance lounge" When I mentioned this to the lounge receptionist the answer was "we don't care about what Lufthansas website says". Again, when I contacted Lufthansa they preferred not to comment this and never answered.

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  • Im
      30th of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Lufthansa Mitarbeiter sind arrogante inkompetente Arschlöcher.

  • Sa
      23rd of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I agree.

    I have never got more personalised service than 'cut & paste' template emails (that don't answer your explicit questions or concerns). And consider that I, the consumer, was paying to call them in Germany and fax them in Germany and email them, repeatedly, after no contact. (then 'cut & paste' replies). Terrible.

    Over the years I have flown numerous times with them from London to Melbourne and various Euro destinations (always using Star Alliance / Lufthansa with preference over other airlines). And after saving up 70, 000 points to spend (at long last!) and planning to log on and buy another round trip airfare while I was at it, I logged in to see what I could order from the World Shop... only to find out 60, 000 of my points had expired 4 days earlier. Originally, these points were actually a refund from an earlier purchase they failed to deliver. And they had NO EXPIRY DATE next to them - NEVER. After writing to Lufthansa Miles & More 'Service' Team repeatedly and getting the 'you need to log on and read the expiry date otherwise your points expire' excuse (and repeatedly telling them that those 60, 000 points actually had NO EXPIRY DATE & still being ignored - emails bouncing back too) I then decided to appeal to their good-will and fairness (since I am also with Qantas - had not used them too much, as I normally fly with Star Alliance - but I had noticed that Qantas points DO NOT EXPIRE). I asked Lufthansa to consider my loyalty to their airline, to consider that other loyalty schemes don't HAVE mean expiry dates, to consider the effort I had gone to to write to them with insufficient replies, to consider that the points had expired 4 DAYS PRIOR. And they still declined. Even though I had NO WARNING and no WAY of KNOWING when my points would expire!!! (should I look up all my old diaries and try & work out when I had been refunded the points? Is it even possible to know???)

    No, the last email I sent was auto-bounced back, and I just left it there. But I am now telling the story in my stand-up comedy all over the world (with shows in theatres and clubs in London, Melbourne, Edinburgh so far...!). The amount of people who come up after shows dying to tell me their own terrible Lufthansa story is quite reassuring. Makes you feel like you're not alone!

    Customer service, fairness & clarity is NOT their business.

    - Sarah B

  • Fl
      24th of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I was happy to read that you are exposing Lufthansa - Great job ! Lufthansa used to be different, now they are only after the money and a happy customer does not mean anything to them anymore. Even when you travel First Class and pay close to $ 10, 000.- for a ticket they care a s**t about your loyalty (as long as you don't fly First Class with them every week...)

    I could not believe it when they served "Fish and Chips" in First Class after i had paid so much money for my ticket. For me this was an insult. When I called their customer service their arrogant answer was "the menu is different on every flight..."

    What is so ridiculous about the expiration of their miles is that the statement won't show when the miles expire, you would have to calculate it yourself: LH miles expire after 36 months but LH does not give you statements that go back 36 months. If you travel a lot your online statement might only show the last 4 months or less. For their programmers it would be a piece of cake to show the next miles that expire automatically and to give you a message like "Your next miles are going to expire on... together with the amount of miles" Even when I called them to send me something showing the expiration of my miles they were not able to send me a 36 month statement, they just gave me the information when the miles would expire over the phone. that means, you have to call them up all the time to find out: Why should they give you your 60, 000 miles back ? The expiration of your miles was intended, their system is set up that way and obviously it worked.

    Almost every detail of the Miles and More program is deception: You think that you have "earned" a lot of miles but then when you want to use them you find out that they are useless because you can't get an upgrade (usually you can only get it when you paid the full fare price for your ticket) or you can't get the reward flight that you would like to book because "there are no seats available". Even when you are able to get an award flight, the taxes and fees that they charge you are almost as high as a cheap online ticket. When you receive your "Silver Frequent Traveller" card you believe that you are getting a bunch of privileges like for example "Free use of Star Alliance lounges" regardless of the ticket that you purchased. But then you click the "Lounge finder" on their website just to find out that you have access only to a few lounges, probably less than 10% of the airports that are listed. At most of the major airports like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Hongkong, etc., etc. you still need a Business or First Class ticket to get access to the Star Alliance lounges.

  • Jo
      12th of Aug, 2017
    0 Votes

    @flyhi152 I'm afraid you're wrong on several points. You receive an e-mail two months before your miles expire warning you of this. If you have changed your e-mail address without updating your Miles & More profile, then you are not receiving this notice. That's not their fault.

    Also, you are totally able to view your account history going back as far as you wish on your account page.

    I agree the website is a bit cumbersome to navigate but hey, they are German :-). If you're under the age of 65 you should have no problems if you just follow the directions.

  • Es
      15th of Jun, 2014
    0 Votes

    I seriously believe that the Lufthansa Miles and More program is one of the worst reward programs. Their service center abroad actually had more competent and helpful people but once you try to get someone in the main office to correct their own mistake, you are simply getting yourself into a long battle. I have spent hundreds of Euros calling the service center and being put on hold for 15-20 minutes and oh, have I mentioned that you have to call because their system doesn't work? Or that they simply don't bother responding even when they have told you to address a particular person? You earn some miles and then they make mistakes so you loose them and then you are the one who has to beg to get miles back.

    I won't go into other things like what you get for your money in comparison to other programs. It seems more difficult to earn miles, status and flight awards than with other airlines. I am upset how little service you get as a frequent traveller, you have the feeling that this is nothing but I am sorry, if I pay five times the price of an economy class ticket, I think I deserve decent service even if I don't fly enough to be a gold member. Maybe it's because I already decide to fly with other airlines and will maybe soon consider dropping Lufthansa for good!

  • Ol
      23rd of Jun, 2016
    0 Votes

    I must agree that it is abysmal service this year. Nearly every flight with a partner airline has not been registered and I have been forced to follow up with the service desk to accredit the mileage. This has been a protracted endeavor through repeated emails and phone calls. Beware to save your boarding cards as without these absolutely nothing can be done, and even with them it will take weeks of battling to effect a change. I wonder if there is any way to make use of media channels to bring this to the community as a whole? We cannot be the only ones suffering from this.

  • Er
      4th of Feb, 2017
    0 Votes

    I tried to book a flight for my husband and I using my mileage with Miles and More. As they did not have a Lufthansa flight I asked for one with their partners. They told me that there was a flight with Swiss and Austrian airlines. They gave me a total amount I was going to pay plus 100, 000 reward miles. I made a temporary reservation and called Swiss and Austrian airlines directly. I was shocked to discovered that the price given to me by Miles and More was exactly the same as the purchasing price directly from the airline with one major difference, no miles! Miles and More was going to charge us the same amount as booking directly with the airline plus 100, 000 miles! Note that to accrue 100, 000 miles you must spend 100, 000 dollars on their credit card plus pay an annual fee of over 100 dollars. I have booked this same flight with them several times and I am sure they have done the same in the past. There is no benefit using their credit card but only a cost. Ask the airlines directly before booking with Miles and More Luftansa. You may be charged miles for no reason as the ticket price may be the same directly through the airlines.

  • Jo
      16th of Dec, 2017
    0 Votes

    I work in the frequent flyer program industry and I can tell you a couple of things I've observed;
    1. The rules are very arcane. In order to be 100 percent sure about any questions, do NOT assume anything!! If you are unable to find the information you are looking for (OFTEN buried in the small print), definitely call the service office. When they provide you with the answer, ask them where you can find that information for yourself.

    2. SAVE YOUR BOARDING PASSES! Check your mileage program to find out how far back you can claim retroactive credit for and always save your boarding passes for that length of time.

    3. When calling in - don't be angry if the number you call isn't the right one and the CSR tries to give you another number. These programs are usually outsourced and different functions may be outsourced to different companies.

    None of this is to make excuses, it's more to explain.

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