Making Waves

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Lufthansa (1995 – 1996)

In early 1995, Lufthansa announced the expiry of all miles that had been earned 3 years and more before – “bad news” that received major media coverage and public attention. As a result, a wave of demand for free travel overwhelmed the airline.

This was when I was asked to move from my previous position within Lufthansa.


What were the challenges

  • First and foremost: recover customer service and restore trust in the programme
  • Integrate with partner programmes within Star Alliance
  • Turn Miles & More into a profitable business unit

The approach we took

  • Created multiple and timed opportunities for members to ‘burn’ their miles and hence eliminate peaks demand on customer service
  • Negotiated the integration of programmes within Star Alliance through initial harmonisation of accrual and redemption across the partner network
  • Later also harmonised the up-tier qualification criteria within Star Alliance
  • Introduced instant enrolment, simplified tier structure, and targeted emotional benefits
  • Developed the sale of miles to airline partners to become a major generator of incremental revenue
  • Resources: then 2 m members, 40+ staff, € 95 m budget

The results we achieved

  • Turned lost call rate of 95% into 95% calls answered
  • Laid the foundation for Miles & More to become Europe’s leading Frequent Flyer programme


1995 - 1996


Head Office, Frankfurt

VP Relationship Marketing - Miles & More