The title of this post is the name of Lufthansa' s frequent flyer program, but the post is about my quest for miles in general. The purpose of this post is to try and explain what these miles are and why and how I collect them.
First of all, for those of you who think I'm crazy, or want to join me, I suggest visiting FlyerTalk - The world's leading frequent flyer community.
In this post, I'm going to focus on the frequent flyer program I'm enrolled in - KLM/Air France Flying Blue.
The basic idea is simple: Whenever you fly with the airline or their partners you get miles based on distance flown, which you can then redeem for free tickets based on zones in the world. There also status miles which are reset every year and let you gain Elite levels if you pass some threshold.
Optimizing for miles means many things. First, it means planning all your flights on one alliance of airlines, in my case SkyTeam, which covers three US airlines (Delta, Continental, Northwest) and many European airlines (KLM, Air France, Czech Airlines, Alitalia, etc.). Second, you must make sure your flight gives you 100% mileage, as some cheap flights only give 25%. Third, you can plan your itinerary in order to maximize your mileage, without compromising cost.
For example, if I need to fly from San Francisco (SFO) to Frankfurt (FRA), I can fly direct with Lufthansa, and gain 5,700 miles on Lufthansa one way:
I can fly via Newark (EWR) on Continental and get 6,434 flying blue miles:
or I can add another free connection in Houston and get 6,904 miles:
I am going to pick this last path, mostly because this way I will qualify for Platinum level, which requires 60,000 miles per year. More on levels in a later post.