Is the new SEN useful to anyone? not for me...

Old Mar 31, 2024, 9:52 pm
  #1  
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Is the new SEN useful to anyone? not for me...

Spoiler
 





I don't think I will ever be SEN again. Please allow me to explain why.



I qualified for SEN for the first time during the pandemic. After being denied boarding for SIN, I took an F flight to the US a couple of days after they opened borders.

Then, next year, until March, I requalified again, until Feb/26. I calculated that I would've needed just 13k for HON, but it didn't make sense to me.


So far, I moderately enjoy my benefits.

I don't play golf, and I live in FRA. Recently they closed down (for repairs) the first class check-in section, replacing it with fewer counters side by side with the J ones. I know you'll say it's Fraport - no, it's not: LH knows better what they're doing; Fraport is their playground.

The SEN lounges are typically overcrowded, though of better quality than their alternatives worldwide. I'd rate them in the top 25% lounges.

(edit) Yes, and there's the ASR. I think this one I enjoy the most. I find the best seat in Conti/ECO is 11A. J doesn't make any sense. And I don't mind paying an extra 30 for it - the way I see it, I pay for the seat and then complimentary, I have one check-in luggage, potentially two.

There's one more latent perk: if you secretly covet a business upgrade, ER seats may give you the best chances for a free bump. I was upgraded about ten times at the gate last year (due to an overbooked flight out of about 60 Conti/ECO legs), and I'm pretty sure that was also factored in. Even if I enjoyed the snacks and the early exit, I still missed my preferred 11A.


I found out that only 1 in 10 pursers ever acknowledge you as SEN. Most of them don't bother. And once you're out of LHG, your *G doesn't mean a thing.



Moreover, several times, I could not access the lounge due to strikes or unusual flight hours. To take the deceit one step further, their "partners" LOT are outbounding (FRA) from a section where I need to clear security again if I need to access any lounge. This is no coincidence.



The eVouchers, just expired them, so I'm profoundly disappointed about their usage. MM keep their expiration date a top secret, so you will never know when it will happen, secretly hoping you will never use them.



And finally, the baggage allowance - I think I never used it. Light fare doesn't count, and once you're allowed to check one piece - how often do you need a second one? Not me.



Until recently, I thought the biggest bummer was the -50% devaluation due to the validity reduction from 2 years to 1 year. That alone was not worth it for me, as my travel pattern is highly irregular: I can fly for 3-4 months, 4-6 legs every week and then nothing for 1y or more.



But now I have discovered how useless this system actually is: the qualifying threshold of 2000 points in a calendar year simply devoids the whole purpose.

Let's take the qualification possibilities

one by one:

- Conti/ECO: 100 legs (hahaha)

- Inter/ECO: 34 legs (bear in mind the definition of EU made by MM)

- Conti/J: 50 legs (1 per week:-O)

- Inter/J: 10 legs

- F: 7 legs



The whole purpose of having status is to take advantage of the perks while flying in an inferior fare. How early in the year should one fly Inter-J/F 10/7 times?? My point being that there is simply not enough time. Best case scenario, by the time one flies 5xRT inter-J, it will already be OCT or so. Then you're left with how long of SEN benefits? 4mo? I might never use more than 1x the benefits of being SEN.



Qualifying for SEN with Conti-J is impossible: I know some flying 50x in J per year, but they are so few compared with the existing SEN base that we can agree they're negligible. Again, 50 legs - when?!?

Even with an RT connection flight, it means 13 trips. If you do one per month, you never qualify.



And I haven't even started the cost/benefit analysis.

It doesn't make sense to me - I'm stopping here with the staggering number of required flights.



It is doubtful for MM to change something. If anything, maybe, just maybe, they will run some promos where your qualifying points will double or x1.5.



But even so, I can't see myself dry running for flights just to make the 2000p.

For me, my flyer future looks bleak, as I can see myself in J, entirely disregarding the airline or alliance.

For MM, their future looks dead, as they literally killed their loyalty programme.



Why did I write this post? Because I want to be proven wrong. I wish for someone to come and say: hey, man - you can still qualify somehow with 10x Conti-J or 2x F legs or hey, man -- there is this hidden benefit you didn't know about.



Until proven wrong, I take another look at my golden status until it expires.

Last edited by st8dm; Mar 31, 2024 at 10:05 pm
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 12:50 am
  #2  
 
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Then perhaps SEN is not your thing and M&M is not your program.

5 intercontinental trips per year in C are very doable to gain SEN status. And in my books this amount of flying doesnt constitute what a frequent traveller per se is. In past, SEN was one of the most difficult status to reach in *A. Now, it has become easier to gain.

After all, you decide what matters the most for you. If you can get all benefits that you describe with *G from another program, then why not
go for that program and just leave Lufthansa?
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 1:11 am
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Originally Posted by st8dm
So far, I moderately enjoy my benefits.
You forgot the overcrowded SEN lounges by cheap *G, a major downturn.

SQ does the right thing, superior C class lounges and *G flying Y in an inferior lounge.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 1:50 am
  #4  
 
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The biggest issue with M&M is that FTL is comparable to *G on other carriers in terms of qualification requirements, but inferior in terms of benefits. SEN is super hard to reach and doesn't really come with any interesting perks on top of *G.

If you can easily make it to FTL, my recommendation would be to switch to another programme. You'll be *G with all the important benefits - priority check-in, fast track at security, lounge access, priority boarding. SEN doesn't deliver anything meaningful on top of that, unless you fly non-*A M&M members (Eurowings, Luxair...) a lot.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 1:53 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by olm022
In past, SEN was one of the most difficult status to reach in *A. Now, it has become easier to gain.
This is rather subjective and doesnt apply to all flyers. For me, as a pax flying paid F on long routes like SIN (and then on to SYD) or SFO, the new SEN means more flying. I usually reached requalification in the first quarter of the year, now it will take a bit longer.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 2:01 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by behuman
You forgot the overcrowded SEN lounges by cheap *G, a major downturn.

SQ does the right thing, superior C class lounges and *G flying Y in an inferior lounge.
Like UA with Polaris and AC with their nice signature suits. Seems to be a trend now and LHG the outlier.

On the other hand, it gives them a positive selling point for me. I enjoy having access to the SEN lounges before and after even short hops, which I often book in Y now, as Euro-J seats and Heimat catering are hardly superior to an exit row window seat on a 30 or 45 minute flight.

Last edited by worldclubber; Apr 1, 2024 at 3:31 am
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 2:43 am
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I agree with the OP. I am already BA silver now and have been KLM Plat for ages. These two have gained business from me now.

LH/LX is losing me. I fly them but really they already lost any incremental business. The lifetime requirements and non-recognition of past loyalty are other factors driving me away.
away

I must say, BA is also not ideal, the call center in India is horrible. And LX First is nice if upgrades or award seats actually are available. The whole FF life is just not what it used to be. Not much left to do than voting with wallet and accepting. Certainly LH is not getting the full business anymore just to retain the SEN card.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 3:03 am
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HON is the real thing/game-changer, rest is pleb (FYI, I’m not amongst the gods).

I guess it all depends on travel patterns, “individual” circumstances (e.g., home airport etc.), and so forth. If I was to “drop” to FTL today, and even if the business would no longer allow C within Europe (which is still appreciated, certainly not for the food, though), will I miss the SEN lounges (or the all-day croissants at SJJ)? Not in the slightest. Will I miss priority boarding? It is hardly ever implemented at SJJ (“individual” circumstances at play here, as mentioned above). FTL would still grant priority check-in and lounge access at WAW/VIE/FRA, and I would happily pay for Privium membership for a better experience at AMS.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 3:31 am
  #9  
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So, with these informed responses, don't you think LH should be taking a closer look at what they are doing? Or will they wait for it to hit the balance sheet before they do? Which it probably won't, because if they lose a certain set of flyers those will simply be replaced by a younger new set of incumbents. Let's face it, there isn't a lot of choice or competition in central Europe now and service levels have descended to a level that I would place just below that of the US. Is Ryanair, with their nonstop flights and frankly interesting city pairs, really a competitor to the LH profile? That is a whole other discussion topic.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 4:44 am
  #10  
 
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1. IMHO the biggest problem mentioned here is lounge overcrowding. Of course everyone has to be realistic: 0730 on a working Monday morning is never going to be an oasis of calm. But even at formerly quiet times, FRA lounges these past months have been truly ridiculous. At FRA LH needs at least double the size of C and SEN lounges, and this needs to be replicated across the *A network to ensure reciprocity. If they dont / cant do that (and it seems unlikely) they should push for it to be equally hard to get status on all *A carriers On many occasions when there is standing room only in SEN B, with hoards of screeching kids and queues of student backpackers waiting for the German beer tap, its due to AI/TK/CA and not LH. On the other hand, Im sure those carriers would be quick to point to the times when their lounges in DEL/IST/PVG are crammed full with departing LH pax. Overall, even if it sounds mean, less status is needed. And I dont believe current overcrowding is due to the Covid bonus hangover Its just too easy to get status in some loyalty programs. And Im sure many of them have plenty of exceptional cases as status members- friends and family, political favor

2. Is there not a theory that says loyalty as a whole is less and less important to airlines? There are indicators which point that way- changed corporate travel policies, ongoing success of LCC If loyalty is less important going forward, then all carriers, not just LH, are likely to be less concerned about all problems for loyalty card holders- including overcrowded lounges.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 5:05 am
  #11  
 
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Since LH deserted BRS (again), I can't see how or why I should maintain SEN.

If I have to go to LHR to fly, all my TATL flying is going on UA (and the previous cuddly SEN Bonus hasn't translated into earning Qualifying Points) and my Asian flying onto TG and SQ. It's only intra-Europe flying that stands a chance of earning QPs

I know many / most airlines have a 'you must fly some segments with us' requirement, but the 50% QP requirement for LH is steep compared to '4 segments a year' which seems typical on other airlines.

After 18 years as SEN, I was 'close' to lifetime SEN, but now that's just impossible. So that's a big blow.

I think LH will end up revising the programme, and the application of Points and Qualifying Points, but I suspect I'll be out the door by then.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 6:26 am
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Concerto
because if they lose a certain set of flyers those will simply be replaced by a younger new set of incumbents.
Will they though? As a millennial, I know quite a few people of my age who can't wrap their head about the idea of flying Lufthansa if it's not the cheapest option or necessary due to the network / timing. The default is to fly Ryanair, easyJet, etc - and these are adults in their early 30s with proper careers, not backpacking teenagers.

Yes, someone flying SJJ to KSC will probably stay with OS, but until recently, LHG was able to charge higher fares even on more competitive routes based on their image of a premium airline. Those days are gone, new generations see LHG as what it is - an expensive lowcost you fly only if you have to.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 6:51 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
After 18 years as SEN, I was 'close' to lifetime SEN, but now that's just impossible. So that's a big blow.
Thats one of really unfair parts of the change. Could have been done much better, valuing long loyalty.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 7:51 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerLX
1. IMHO the biggest problem mentioned here is lounge overcrowding. Of course everyone has to be realistic: 0730 on a working Monday morning is never going to be an oasis of calm. But even at formerly quiet times, FRA lounges these past months have been truly ridiculous. At FRA LH needs at least double the size of C and SEN lounges, and this needs to be replicated across the *A network to ensure reciprocity. If they dont / cant do that (and it seems unlikely) they should push for it to be equally hard to get status on all *A carriers On many occasions when there is standing room only in SEN B, with hoards of screeching kids and queues of student backpackers waiting for the German beer tap, its due to AI/TK/CA and not LH. On the other hand, Im sure those carriers would be quick to point to the times when their lounges in DEL/IST/PVG are crammed full with departing LH pax. Overall, even if it sounds mean, less status is needed. And I dont believe current overcrowding is due to the Covid bonus hangover Its just too easy to get status in some loyalty programs. And Im sure many of them have plenty of exceptional cases as status members- friends and family, political favor

2. Is there not a theory that says loyalty as a whole is less and less important to airlines? There are indicators which point that way- changed corporate travel policies, ongoing success of LCC If loyalty is less important going forward, then all carriers, not just LH, are likely to be less concerned about all problems for loyalty card holders- including overcrowded lounges.
Add lounge guesting to the over crowding of lounges. There is enough blame to go around.
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Old Apr 1, 2024, 8:35 am
  #15  
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Its pretty useful. If you know what youre doing you can do well out of it. LH Group have very competitive fares to the point of being almost destroyer pricing out of some markets.

The Polish call centre in BRQ is pretty good and got better lately. Those Babuschkas in Berlin (?) who answer in German are fine to deal with.

Id say that LOT have declined slightly whereas LH Group have improved. Id like to see free ASR for Light and one bag, whereas on LOT Id like to see ASR apply to others on the same PNR. Its not amazingly useful to get the exit for free if you then need to pay for your P2. The cheap Altea that LOT use means it doesnt have the extent of seat blocking that LH Group offers.

The greetings are worthless, especially if they cant offer you anything except paying for
the delicious, fresh and sustainable onboard delights.

I have a sense the crew are bored on European flights, they have nothing to do.

FRA is horrendous and thankfully Im there a handful of times per year, if that. The lounges there were always overcrowded. I cant remember when it wasnt?

FRA, like much of the broken West, its just not fit for purpose. It needs knocked down and rebuilt.

On the other hand, with my anthropomorphic climate and ecological emergency hat on I am surprised that there are no initial measures to ban FFPs, at least in countries like Germany. I dont even see any baby steps.
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