Now that I have shown you the way to buy miles at Miles & More for under 1 cent per mile here's some more thinking on what to do with them.
The Miles & More award chart is located here. It also lists which countries are part of which zone.
The bad news first – it's not an award chart that has many steals. Also Miles & More was one of the first players in the miles game and has worked hard to prevent 'gaming the system'. Miles & More is a bit like American AAdvantage as it does not allow you to transfer through a zone – it will charge you separately.
Miles & More allows one-way awards for half the miles of a return trip.
Changes to your itinerary cost $60 and so does the cancellation of an award. There is no phone booking fee.
You may redeem on all Star Alliance partners and:
Austrian Airlines Group holiday flights
You can book LH group flights (Swiss, Lufthansa) online in a very fast interface. Other partners need to be booked via the call center. Several times call center agents could not see the availability that showed online. I booked some of that availability and got ticket numbers so it's not 'phantom availability'.
So what is a good value than?
– US residents pay 50k miles for a Round-Trip to Europe in Economy. That' s a good discount but only makes sense if you can manage to find seats on US Airways (I hope they stick around a bit in Star Alliance!) or LOT.
– the Middle East/ Northern Africa zone is pretty huge at Miles & More (interestingly Turkey is not in the region but in Europe!), now that Ethiopian Airlines has joined you can fly from West Africa all the way into Dubai for little mileage
– take a good look at the 3 region awards, they apply for any flights crossing the Atlantic but not the Pacific, for example HKG-FRA-SFO would be considered a 3 region award at Miles & More. Why is this good value? Well find the longest 4 segment one-way and a place where there are no fuel surcharges and you may be surprised of what you can get for $1400 in miles bought.
– Miles & More has excellent availability for Lufthansa's A380 in First Class 330 days out. Often 2 seats are released at once with more to follow. Availability is the same as it used to be for partners several years ago.
– Miles & More US domestic awards are the same price as United Mileage Plus, that's 12.5k OW in Y and $2.50 for a transcon, this can be helpful for expensive flights back home in Y
Miles & More certainly used to have better value but given the easy and cheap access to miles it's still a mileage currency that can make sense.