I am an officer in the military and currently stationed in Italy.
I am a member of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program, a Star Alliance
partner. I will move to Japan in August 2004. I am all about the upgrades,
elite status, etc. I am relatively new to Flying. I have only flown with
Lufthansa once but as you recommend I am sticking with them for the time
being. I already have another flight to Prague scheduled with Lufthansa
soon. Am I entitled to elite status on other Star Alliance partners if I
reach elite status on Lufthansa? Should I just plan to switch to another
frequent flyer program when I move to Japan. I’ll be in Japan for two years.
Answered by The Penny Pincher
Great Question! It is good to hear that you’re using loyalty to your advantage.
Your timing is very good, on December 6, 2003 the Star Alliance program announced the “Yokoso Japan” (Welcome to Japan) campaign. This is an initiative to promote flights to and within Japan. Benefits for Star Alliance members include: special fares, upgrades, and frequent flyer bonus miles (offered for a limited time through 2004).
To answer your specific question: I would definitely continue to build your relationship within the Star Alliance network. They have, arguably, the broadest grouping of air carriers with an excellent reward program. For service to and from Japan you will have a good choice of flights with United Airlines and ANA. And yes, if you achieve elite status with one of the network members, your elite status carries-over to all the airlines in the network.
As a side note, this year many airlines are offering special programs for flyers to earn “express elite status.” Typically, these programs are based on flying a reduced number of segments, sometimes as few as two, or earning a reduced number of miles, 10,000 miles versus 25,000. I suggest you call the members of the Star Alliance and ask if they are offering any specials for earning elite status. Take heed that often the reservation staffers are not aware of these programs and you might have to speak directly with someone from the marketing or loyalty program department. You can find additional information at: www.staralliance.com.
By the way, thank you for the good work you and your colleagues are doing!