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What is better for me: KLM or Lufthansa?

Due to a job change I will have to travel a lot by air in the near future. I am planning to enroll in a frequent flyer program to earn miles for upgrades. I live in the Netherlands and I can choose between Lufthansa and KLM. Which program is the best given my goal to upgrade my tickets?

Ben Koning

 

Airline Passenger Guru’s answer:

Ben, it is wise to ask this question before enrolling in any program. Flying Blue is Air France/KLM’s frequent flyer program, while Miles & More is Luftansa’s program.

On KLM you cannot upgrade any reasonably priced ticket. You can only upgrade if you pay a fare that is double or triple the lowest fare but one.

For example, if you fly in November 2008 for 4 days from Amsterdam to New York, the fare that earns you 100% Flying Blue miles – in this case 7,704 - amounts to €683. However, you need to pay at least €2,067 for a ticket that you can upgrade.

What's more, KLM offers only few choices as to the airline. You can only choose between KLM and Air France. The latter requires a plane change in Paris.

Lufthansa’s Miles & More offers more choices. You can fly Lufthansa, but also Austrian Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines and 4 smaller airlines because they are fully integrated into Miles & More.

For example, you may choose Austrian Airlines with a plane change in Vienna. The fare amounts to €695, which is approximately the same fare as KLM’s. However, you will not only earn 2,260 more miles (9,964), but you can also upgrade the ticket (for 70,000 miles Vienna-New York-Vienna). And that is what you want.

Thus, Miles & More is a much better program for you than Flying Blue.

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