Swiss First Class Awards to Be Available Only by Senator and HON Circle Members of Miles & More

Redeeming your Miles & More frequent flier loyalty program miles for an award ticket to sit in the first class cabin will become more difficult as of January 1, 2014. Photograph by FlyerTalk member FabiZRH. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by FabiZRH.

In response to a reaction to the “prevailing market situation”, effective as of January 1, 2014, you can only redeem your Miles & More frequent flier loyalty program miles for an award ticket in the first class cabin on flights operated by Swiss International Air Lines if you currently hold Senator or HON Circle elite status — and you can only do so by booking your award tickets through the service centre.

If you hold no elite status or currently hold Frequent Traveller elite status, you are out of luck — but cheer up: you can still redeem your Miles & More frequent flier loyalty program miles as usual for an award ticket on flights operated by Swiss International Air Lines in the economy or business class cabins…

…and if you book your travel in the business class cabin on a revenue ticket, you will still be able to redeem your Miles & More frequent flier loyalty program miles as usual for an upgrade to a seat in the first class cabin.

Not only do many FlyerTalk members view this new policy as a devaluation of the Miles & More frequent flier loyalty program, but they also portend more bad news in the near future to be announced — even as a few FlyerTalk members claim optimistically that this is a real benefit for members of the Miles & More frequent flier loyalty program who currently hold elite status, reasoning that fewer people will be able to procure the already rare award tickets for seats in the first class cabin on flights operated by Swiss International Air Lines.

Is this new policy a way of further monetizing seats in the first class cabin on Swiss International Air Lines? Will other airlines participating in the Miles & More frequent flier loyalty program — such as Lufthansa, for example — follow suit with a similar policy? What other devaluations might be forthcoming? What are your thoughts on this new policy?

Comments (Showing 3 of 3)

  • Allvest at 5:13pm September 03, 2013

    The downward slide of Star Alliance….

  • sdsearch at 5:35pm September 03, 2013

    Does this only apply to Miles & More members, or does it also apply to members of other Star Alliance partner airline programs trying to redeem on Swiss? In other words, for example, are members of United MileagePlus similarly restricted (with the corresponding levels of status required), or is this solely a “within” Miles & More thing?

  • Upgraded! at 5:59pm September 03, 2013

    Doesn’t AF do something like this for its own F cabin (not that AF is on anywhere close to playing on the same level as LX or LH)? And, as much as this may seem like a devaluation of M&M miles, it’s really no different than what other airlines do offering expanded award availability to top tier elite members. On AA, there is “hidden” award inventory for EXP members (not OW Emerald, mind you) which is essentially the same policy but with more flexibility. Want to keep non-EXP out of F on awards? Simply never open up availability beyond the expanded EXP-only seats. This seems more about exclusivity (or perceived exclusivity) than truly offering a benefit to top tier members.

    The fact that LH isn’t doing this says one of two things: Either LX is a testing ground, and it will be expanded to LH after a pilot period OR LH has no trouble selling out the F cabin (particularly the 8-seat 744s) and doesn’t even need to offer SEN and HON members award seats.

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