Lufthansa may change frequent flyer program

Idea is symptomatic of a wider trend among airlines

As part of its wider restructuring, Lufthansa plans to change its frequent flyer program Miles & More in an effort to improve growth. The idea is symptomatic of a wider trend among airlines.

The reorganisation of Miles & More will take place over the coming months, a Lufthansa spokesman said. However, he gave few details.

Recent articles in the German press have suggested that the airline may make the program, which currently has more than 20 million customers, a standalone business. According to these articles, the unit would start operating in the second half of 2014 and report to the airline’s passenger division.

Restructuring at Lufthansa has the target of boosting operating profit to €2.3 billion and includes 3,500 job cuts, outsourcing, and expanding low-cost unit Germanwings.

A number of airlines have been generating cash by selling their loyalty program miles and points to other businesses such as credit card and car rental firms, which use them to attract customers. Air Canada sold its frequent flyer scheme in 2007, while Air Berlin sold 70% of its program to Etihad Airways for €184 million last year.

Reuters

[pictured: Lufthansa First Class; courtesy Lufthansa]