Reader Susan has asked us how to find the price of an award using Miles & More in miles and fuel surcharges.
Star Alliance has been growing and there are a lot of regions that aren't easily parsed reading the award chart.
Example CMB (Colombo) – ADD (Addis Abeba)
1) Finding the miles required
Lufthansa has a nifty tool called Meilenrechner that shows you the price in miles for a city pair.
For our example it says 15,000 miles for the one-way. You can also use the Award Chart to look up mileage required.
2) Does a partner fly without touching another zone?
However – much like American Airlines – you can't actually transfer in a third region. So you will need to find a direct flight – a Star Alliance or one that is connecting in one of the zones.
The country to zones matching can be found here.
Now we actually have to find Star Alliance flights between both cities that connect in both zones.
Turkish Airlines connects in the Europe zone, so we can't use it for 15,000 miles. It would trigger a 3-region-award or 2 award.
No flights are available direct since Ethiopian Airlines only flies from Bombay to ADD. But we can use Air India since they are already a Miles & More partner.
3) What about fuel surcharges?
Ethiopian Airlines has fuel surcharges (but Air India does not). It shows in the ITA Matrix with YR or YQ. Lufthansa will charge you these plus any other (real) taxes and fees.
So in our example the one-way award should price at 15,000 miles + ~$150 in fees.
4) Now is this good value?
Flights via Saudi Arabia are available for $310 in our example. These flights may earn miles.
Another example ADD(Addis Abeba)-IST(Istanbul)
The one-way flight award is priced at 20,000 for a one-way. Turkish Airlines flies the route. Fares are >$600 but we are only interested in the $75 YR that Lufthansa will add. This is better value for a direct flight but Qatar Airways has fares under $300.
Another example ABJ (Abidjan)-IST(Istanbul)
Here Lufthansa Miles & More starts to shine – United charges 30,000 and $131 while Miles & More charges 20,000 and $200 for the one-way. Paid options are $650++.