60 Seconds with Lufthansa Miles & More's Thomas Gesing

60 Seconds with Lufthansa Miles & More's Thomas Gesing

Lufthansa Miles & More recently launched a revamped and updated Web site that includes a new “Online Lounge” and has recently introduced a new airline called Lufthansa Italia that will begin service next month. We spoke with Thomas Gesing, Director Customer Care Miles & More.

InsideFlyer
Miles & More seems to be one of the fastest growing frequent flyer programs in the world. You currently have nine fully integrated airlines in the program including Austrian Airlines and SWISS and it looks as though bmi will also be joining the program because of Lufthansa’s recent stake in that airline. Can you share more information about that?
Thomas Gesing
Fifteen years after the launch of Miles & More, the loyalty program of Lufthansa and its fully integrated partners has more than 16 million members with a growth rate of approximately 15 percent annually. Regarding bmi, there is no information I can share at this time.

IF
Will Miles & More members be able to earn and burn miles on Lufthansa Italia?
Gesing
The same Miles & More rules apply as for Lufthansa classic or Lufthansa regional.

IF
Any other new partnerships in the works? Gesing
At the moment, we do not have any news for you, but we will see what the next year will bring.

IF
What can your members expect to gain from Continental Airlines joining Star Alliance?
Gesing
Award flights and more options to earn miles! Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline, with routes throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Continental provides more than 3,100 daily flights (plus 280 with Continental Express) to more than 280 U.S. and international destinations from its hubs in New York/Newark, Houston, Cleveland and Guam. Continental also serves destinations within Europe besides our German hubs in Frankfurt and Munich to Berlin and Hamburg.

IF
Can you tell us a little about your JetFriends program? Why have a separate program? How many JetFriends members are there?
Gesing
Actually, we have almost 400,000 JetFriends members onboard. With the JetFriends program, we are aiming for long term loyalty from a very early stage in our members’ lives. In addition, through JetFriends, we also add an emotional component to the Lufthansa Miles & More brand within the public eye.

IF
You recently made several updates to your Web site. Can you tell us more?
Gesing
Starting in December, we launched a new miles-and-more.com Web site. You can look to discover the first “Online Lounge” worldwide, a completely new design, easier navigation, an intelligent +/- seven-day award calendar schedule for flight redemptions and information in nine languages, including simplified Chinese and Russian along with many more significant improvements.

IF
Why did Miles & More decide to launch the online lounge?
Gesing
Our goal is to deliver the utmost best possible service on our Web site. We feel that the interactive relationship between the airline’s loyalty program and its customers is one of our most valuable; we don’t see us simply as a member of a community platform. We will leverage Web 2.0 and social Web technologies wherever they apply. We have in mind that we will constantly look for sustainable and useful benefits for our customers and will not chase fashionable gimmicks.

IF
Who can access the online lounge, and what does it offer?
Gesing
According to their status, every Miles & More member has access to the virtual lounge where he can discover an individualized and status-specific area. Members will find the most important personalized information at a glance, such as your account status or remaining number of eVouchers, as well as your dynamic “Status barometer” which will show you the necessary amount of miles for re-qualifying or reaching the next higher tier level. And there’s much more–we suggest everyone try it out.

IF
Why did Miles & More decide to have an official spokesperson on FlyerTalk and how have members responded to LHrelate’s presence on the site?
Gesing
We were a bit surprised about the success of participating officially on FlyerTalk. Our customers appreciate communicating so closely with someone at Lufthansa Miles & More. We do our best to enrich the community discussions with background information while we inform our customers about program rules and other Miles & More information. Through this dialogue we seek to avoid misunderstandings and wrong interpretations. And because of the good experience we’ve had with FlyerTalk, we will be transferring this kind of dialogue to a German forum this year.

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