Loyalty Program Newsreel: Miles&More Drastically Increases Surcharges, Finnair Plus Enables Avios Transfers

Lufthansa Business Sitz 747 Oberdeck

Good and bad news are coming from Europe’s frequent flyer programs this week. Miles&More, the joint frequent flyer program of Lufthansa, LOT, Swiss and more airlines, saw a drastic increase in taxes & surcharges on award tickets over the last weekend. Prices spiked by €200 on transatlantic routes. Further northeast, Finnair Plus fully completed its switch from miles to Avios, now allowing transfers between Finnair’s own program and British AirwaysExecutive Club.

Miles&More Increases Surcharges for Lufthansa Group Redemptions

Miles&More members were baffled when they tried booking Lufthansa award flights on Monday morning. The already very high taxes, fees & surcharges for an award ticket to North America had increased again. From previously €654 to stunning €870 for a roundtrip between Munich and New York. That comes on top of 112,000 award miles.

Meilenschnaeppchen Gesamtpreis Mai2024

While a small part of the increase is due to a recent tax increase in Germany (€71 instead of €57 on airline tickets), the main culprit is Lufthansa raising its International / Domestic surcharge to a whopping €700. This part of the ticket is not influenced by government regulations and goes directly into the airline’s pocket:

This change also applies to award flights operated by Lufthansa Group members Austrian and Swiss to North America. Flights with Star Alliance partners like LOT, Air Canada or United Airlines remain unaffected.

If you are a Miles&More member and are set to redeem your award miles on a Lufthansa Group plane, there is a way to reduce the cash portion of your award-ticket – although it comes at the cost of increased mileage consumption. When booking a Flex Plus award ticket, taxes and surcharges only add €131 to your ticket. This example covers the Munich to Newark roundtrip in business class we mentioned earlier:

  • Flex award ticket: 112,000 miles + €894
  • Flex Plus award ticket: 155,000 miles + €133

Long-Haul award tickets to other continents like Africa or Asia don’t suffer from increased surcharges (yet). For example, the cash portion of a Miles&More award ticket to Johannesburg remains steady at €450. Even without the increase, Lufthansa already demanded ridiculously high surcharges compared to other airlines. This makes redeeming miles on their own flights increasingly unappealing, and offers like their monthly Mileage Bargains take another hit below the belt.

Finnair Plus Avios Now Transferrable to Executive Club Accounts (And Other Programs)

Earlier this year, Finnair has completely restructured its loyalty program. Status qualification has become increasingly difficult, award flights have become more expensive and award miles are no longer counted in points, but Avios. In March, the program automatically converted all remaining Finnair Plus points into the new currency. The conversion rate was surprisingly decent at 3:2. As promised, the program now offers the option to transfer Avios at a 1:1 ratio to the British Airways Executive Club.

This is great news for all Finnair Plus members that still have Avios stocked in the smoking remains of what used to be one Oneworld’s most attractive frequent flyer programs. Without any loss in value, these Avios can now be redeemed in British Airways’ Executive Club, Iberia Plus, and Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club.

To enable Avios transfers, you have to link your Finnair Plus and British Airways Executive Club accounts here. After establishing the connection, you can convert Avios between the programs at a conversion rate of 1:1. Once in your Executive Club account, you can redeem them for the numerous Sweet Spots there or transfer them further to Iberia Plus or Qatar Airways Privilege Club. Your Executive Club account basically functions as a hub to transfer Avios between all four programs at a 1:1 rate.

This is good news for members trying to salvage their Avios from Finnair Plus, as redemption options became decisively worse. It also makes a British Airways Executive Club account a must-have for most European Oneworld frequent flyers. The steady increase of airlines using Avios as a currency and the (currently) free transfers between four different programs gives customers an unprecedented amount of freedom.

Cover Picture: Peer Linder

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