A Points Collector’s Guide to Lufthansa Miles & More Loyalty Program

German air carrier Lufthansa connects tons of countries through its nearly 40 airline partners, including United.
Profile photo of June Casagrande
Written by June Casagrande
Profile photo of Meg Lee
Edited by Meg Lee
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

As Europe’s second-largest airline, Lufthansa and its subsidiaries own around 700 aircraft and partner with dozens of other airlines that can get you almost anywhere in the world — including in the well-regarded Lufthansa business class.

Whether you're flying to Germany or elsewhere in Europe (or even somewhere else in the world with a stopover in Europe) — and you want to go there for free, you should sign up for Lufthansa’s Miles & More loyalty program. There, you'll collect miles — and joining won't cost you anything aside from handing over your name and a few other personal details such as your email address.

And because Lufthansa is also part of the Star Alliance (which includes major airlines like United Airlines), you can earn and redeem miles through other Star Alliance members for Lufthansa flights or on those partner airlines too. Some elite status benefits carry over.

So if your goal is elite status, free trips to Europe, or both, here’s what a strategic points collector needs to know and understand about Lufthansa Airlines and its loyalty program, Miles & More.

Photo courtesy of Lufthansa.

How to earn Lufthansa Miles & More miles

Flying Lufthansa

Once you join Miles & More, you’ll earn points every time you fly Lufthansa — just supply your member number when you book your flight.

So how many Lufthansa miles do you earn per flight? Figuring out the number of miles you’ll earn for your flight can be a little complicated. Depending on how you booked, you might earn miles based on the amount you paid for your ticket or how far you flew and in what class of service.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you book a flight on Lufthansa through Lufthansa’s own website, it will tell you how many miles you’ll earn for every euro you pay for your ticket. Then, you’ll have to calculate the total number of miles yourself.

The easiest way to know how many miles you earn per Lufthansa flight is by using the animated calculator on Lufthansa’s website. Answer a few questions about your flight, and the Lufthansa mileage calculator tells you the method Lufthansa will use to pay you miles. Annoyingly for English speakers, the calculator is in German. But there are enough photos that should make the translation easy enough to figure out.

If your German translation skills aren't up for the task, there's also a more basic version of the mileage calculator on Lufthansa's Miles & More app, which is available from the App Store or Google Play.

The Lufthansa app has a basic version of its mileage calculator. Photo courtesy of Lufthansa.

Flying partner airlines

You can also earn Lufthansa miles by flying any of its nearly 40 partner airlines, including all 26 Star Alliance members like United, ANA, Turkish Airlines, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Egyptair.

To earn Lufthansa miles when flying a partner, provide your Lufthansa Miles & More member number when you're booking. Lufthansa calls your member number a “service number.” This ID can be accessed via your digital service card in the Miles & More App.

If you forget to enter your Miles & More membership number when you book your partner flight, you can also show your digital service card during check-in at the airport to get credited with Lufthansa miles.

Booking hotels and rental cars

Lufthansa's hotel partners include Hilton Honors, Best Western, IHG and Marriott.

To earn Lufthansa miles through hotel stays at those brands and dozes other, head to the Miles & More website. Select “Earn miles” then navigate to “Hotels.” There, you’ll see multiple ways to earn miles through lodging. After being redirected to a booking engine, log in with your Lufthansa service number and enter your dates and destination. You'll then see the cost of different hotel rooms and how many Lufthansa miles you’ll earn if you book.

Some offers apply to specific hotel groups, like a chance to earn 2 miles per dollar at Holiday Inns or 1,500 miles when staying at Best Westerns.

Rental cars work the same way. Just browse the Earn Miles section of the Miles & More website to see all the ways to earn miles by renting cars. Lufthansa rental car partners include Hertz and Europcar.

🤓Nerdy Tip

You’ll find the widest selection of miles-earning hotels by clicking through to Hotels & Cars by Points.

Spending on a Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card

Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®
NerdWallet rating 

The fastest way to start building a stash of miles is with the Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®, issued by Barclays. The card offers a tidy welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in purchases and pay the annual fee, both within the first 90 days. After that, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar for every purchase from Lufthansa or affiliated airlines and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.

After your first purchase with the card, you’ll get a companion ticket that covers the price of airfare (less taxes and fees) for another person accompanying you on an economy class flight on Lufthansa. Then, every account anniversary, you’ll get two passes to Lufthansa Business Lounges, plus another companion ticket.

A few other easy ways to earn Lufthansa miles

Download the Miles & More app: The first time you log in, you’ll get a welcome of 500 bonus miles

Earn miles with books & subscriptions: Get smarter and earn points when you subscribe to the Economist.

Notable ways Lufthansa miles can’t be earned

Unlike other airline frequent flyer programs, there are a few usually-standard ways to earn airline miles that don't apply to Lufthansa.

No other points or miles transfer to Lufthansa. A big drawback of the Lufthansa Miles & More program is that you can’t build up your points balance by converting points from other major programs into Lufthansa miles. This is a rare downside. Many other airlines partner with American Express, Chase or Citi — or with a hotel group like Marriott or Hilton — to let you convert their points into miles or vice versa. No such luck if you’re looking to convert points into Lufthansa miles.

You can’t buy Miles & More miles. With most airlines, if you have almost enough miles for a flight, you can just buy more. Not so with Lufthansa. So if you can’t fly enough, use a credit card enough or stay enough nights in hotels, you’re almost out of ways to get Lufthansa miles.

How to redeem Lufthansa miles

The number of Miles & More miles you need to book a flight depends on where you’re going and when.

Fly Lufthansa

If you’re flying Lufthansa, you can see in advance how many miles you’ll need by using its handy award calculator.

Select “Spend miles” then enter your trip details.

You’ll then see how many miles you’ll need for the flight in economy, business or first class, one way or round trip. Scroll down a little farther and you’ll see how many miles you need to upgrade to business or first class.

Fly a partner airline

It’s even easier to use your Lufthansa miles to fly a partner airline, as Lufthansa publishes a chart showing exactly how many miles you need to get where you’re going.

For example, if you’re in North America and want to fly to India on one of Lufthansa’s partners, just follow the chart to see you’ll need 100,000 miles for a round trip in economy, 192,000 miles for the same route in business class or 302,000 in first class.

Use Lufthansa miles to pay fees for some European award flights

Fees, taxes and surcharges on otherwise “free” award flights are famously frustrating and sometimes expensive. Usually, there’s no way around them, but if you’re flying a Lufthansa award flight within Europe and have an extra 15,000 miles, you can use them instead of cash to pay all fees and surcharges. Just add 15,000 miles to the award price of your ticket and you’ll pay $0 out of pocket for the flight.

Because fees and taxes can vary, so can the value of this points redemption option. But when the out-of-pocket costs for your flight are high, this could be a welcome benefit.

Other ways to redeem Lufthansa miles

  • Hotel stays: At the Hotels & Cars by Points website, you can search for hotels all over the world that you can book with Lufthansa miles.

  • Rental cars: Also at the Hotels & Cars by Points website, search for rental cars you can pay for with miles.

  • Gift cards: Trade miles for gift cards from three dozen big-name merchants including Target, Walmart, Starbucks and Gap, with some starting at 3,000 Miles & More miles.

Photo courtesy of Lufthansa.

Lufthansa’s elite status program

Miles & More members can attain elite status at one of three levels, depending how much you fly the airline.

The three elite status tiers of Miles & More are:

  • Frequent Traveller: Accumulate 35,000 status miles or fly 30 segments in a year.

  • Senator: Accumulate 100,000 status miles in a calendar year.

  • HON Circle: Accumulate 600,000 HON Circle miles over the course of two years.

At every level, you enjoy perks like more miles earned for every qualifying flight, but more perks pile on as you climb the status ladder. Here's what you need to know about each tier of Lufthansa elite status:

Lufthansa Frequent Traveller status

How to earn Lufthansa Frequent Traveller status: Accumulate 35,000 status miles or fly 30 segments in a year.

Top benefits:

  • Business-class check-in.

  • Access to the Business Lounge.

  • Higher baggage allowance.

  • Miles don’t expire.

You’ll also earn higher waiting list priority, Star Alliance Silver Status and access to a service hotline.

Lufthansa Senator status

How to earn Lufthansa Senator status: Accumulate 100,000 status miles.

Top benefits (in addition to all of the Frequent Traveller benefits):

  • First-class check-in.

  • Access to Senator Lounges and Star Alliance Gold Lounges.

  • Two upgrade vouchers.

Senators likewise have access to booking guarantees up to 48 hours before departure, mileage advances, Star Alliance Gold status, increased flight award availability and higher waiting list priority.

Lufthansa HON Circle

How to earn Lufthansa HON Circle status: Accumulate 600,000 HON Circle miles over the course of two years.

Top benefits (in addition to all of the Senator benefits):

  • First-class check-in.

  • Access to First Class Lounges and First Class Terminals.

  • Limousine transfer service.

  • Free Senator status for your spouse or partner.

  • Six upgrade vouchers.

Members also receive 50% reduction on flight awards for your companion, a 24-hour service line in selected markets, booking guarantees up to 24 hours before departure, the highest waiting-list priority and the best flight award availability.

A Lufthansa first class cabin. Photo courtesy of Lufthansa.

What it's like flying on Lufthansa Airlines

Lufthansa is generally considered one of the higher-end airlines out there.

The four Lufthansa cabins

When you fly Lufthansa, you have four types of cabin options, which are:

Even in economy class, passengers are served a 3-course meal. On long-haul flights, the wide seat cushions measure over 40 cm, headrests are adjustable and there are seat back screens with complimentary entertainment. And as you progress in fare type up to first class, the amenities increase.

Photo courtesy of Lufthansa.

Lufthansa first class passengers get valet parking service for rental or private cars at the Frankfurt and Munich airports, a personal assistant and — depending on your flight — first Class limousine service for routes boarding at Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Geneva or Vienna. Passengers in first class also get lounge access.

Lufthansa fare types

Within the service class you book comes different vary options. Within those cabin classes, fare types include iterations of "Classic," "Flex" and "Saver," which function pretty much as they sound. Saver fares can be cheaper but have more limitations than, say, Flex fares.

Generally speaking, the cheapest Lufthansa fare type is Economy Basic. While it allows you to rebook without a fee, you'll owe the fare difference if your new flight is more expensive. Refunds are not possible.

For more flexibility, opt for Economy Flex, which allows for refunds without a fee (as is common with many other airlines).

Green fares: If you want to pay a little more in an effort to help the environment, you can opt for a Green Fare. When you book one of these (more expensive) fares, Lufthansa promises that it will reduce 20% of flight-related CO emissions by the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and offset the remaining 80% of the CO emissions by an equivalent contribution to climate protection projects. 

Green Fares are not booked as extras, but rather are independent and directly bookable fares alongside the other fare types. When you book Economy Green and Business Green fares, you get the same exact benefits of the Economy Classic or Business Saver fare, but with more flexible rebooking options and an extra 20% status and award miles on European routes.

Europe fares: Lufthansa also sells “Europe fares” for flights operated by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and SWISS within Europe. These fares offer three levels of economy-class fares (light, classic or flex) and are designed to allow customers to only pay for the services they want to use.

Places where Lufthansa flies

Lufthansa is the flag carrier of Germany, with corporate headquarters in Cologne. Lufthansa serves nearly 80 countries, and within them it serves more than 200 destinations (about two dozen of which are in the U.S.).

U.S. routes: Lufthansa flies into about two dozen U.S. airports that span the entire country. Beyond New York-JFK and Los Angeles (LAX), you can also fly Lufthansa from smaller cities like Tampa (TPA) and Charlotte (CLT).

Using the Lufthansa Airlines app

When flying Lufthansa, it can be helpful to download the Lufthansa app, which is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

You can use it to book (or adjust reservations), to get real-time updates on your flight, and to receive offers. Its got virtual check-in features to help you avoid lines at the airport.

There's also a digital wallet inside, making it easier for inflight purchases.

Of course, use it to scan your Lufthansa boarding pass, and avoid the need to worry about a paper boarding pass.

Photo courtesy of Lufthansa.

Lufthansa’s Miles & More, recapped

Lufthansa’s Miles & More frequent flyer program is not without its pitfalls. The fact that you can’t get miles by transferring any other currency is rare and, for some travelers, renders the whole loyalty program useless.

But if you travel Lufthansa or any of its nearly 40 partners regularly, signing up for Miles & More lets you earn miles redeemable for flights anywhere Lufthansa or its partners fly. You can also use the miles to pay for hotels, rental cars or even gift cards.

If you're deciding whether or not Lufthansa's loyalty program is right for you, look at the partner redemption chart to see how many miles you'll need to get where you want to go, or use the tool to look up long-haul flights in Lufthansa business or first class. Then, consider the ways you could earn enough miles by signing up for the credit card, flying, staying in hotels or renting cars. If your earning potential outweighs the cost of the flight in miles, joining this loyalty program can make a lot of sense.

One of Lufthansa's Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Photo courtesy of Lufthansa.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.