Lufthansa will adopt dynamic pricing for its awards seats, but is hardly a trendsetter in moving from fixed-price to variable-priced awards.
I titled my article the way I did because Skift, a reliable news platform with excellent writers, made a rare mistake. It ran a headline this week entitled, “Lufthansa Will Be First European Airline to Adopt Dynamic Pricing for Award Seats.”
I’ve got news for you: that honor goes to Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France/KLM. Flying Blue eliminated award charts and began offering dynamic pricing last year. I’ve written about the program extensively.
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And the Flying Blue model is precisely why I am not losing any sleep over the changeover on Lufthansa. Although Lufthansa has a USA-issued credit card with Barclays, the points are generally difficult to earn. Although there are occasional goods deals like “Mileage Bargains” reduced-price awards, surcharges are high. Still, Lufthansa Group carriers do make additional award seats available to their own members, which can certainly help when booking in advance.
It is my hope that we will see some excellent deals on select awards during periods of reduced demand, much like Flying Blue offers. We will certainly see higher prices for busier travel periods, but that was inevitable. That’s the best we can hope for.
We are already see dynamic pricing at work, on a more limited basis, with American, Delta, and United. I believe that award charts should be maintained for accountability reasons, even if they just display upper and lower bounds, but that is not the direction most loyalty programs are going.
When it comes to Lufthansa, we’ll just have to wait and see. We don’t have any further details at this point, including a specific launch date. Thus, we are left to hope that it won’t be any worse than the Flying Blue program. But no, Lufthansa was not the first. And it won’t be the last either…