How Lufthansa Makes It Easier for Hackers to Steal Miles

A hacker stole more than 25,000 miles from my Lufthansa Miles & More account last week. Based on previous experience when reporting fraud to other companies, as I called the Miles & More U.S. phone line, I expected either to be connected with their fraud office or to be contacted by them as soon as possible, in order to get to the bottom of the incident.

Almost a week later, I’m still waiting.

Many airlines have taken measures in the last couple of years to prevent hacking of frequent-flier accounts. Lufthansa’s Star Alliance partner, United Airlines, for example, used to allow logging into an account simply with a four-digit PIN code. It no longer does, having realized that hackers have ways of figuring out such a number — after all, the possible combinations are limited.

Lufthansa, however, seems not to have received that message. You can still log into a Miles & More account with a five-digit PIN code. That was what someone — a Russian hacker, apparently — did last Monday…

Airlines wake up to benefits of mileage redemption for unsold seats

IMG_0439There are few more frustrating aspects of being loyal to an airline or a global alliance than the inability to redeem the miles you’ve worked hard to earn for what are known as award flights. There is, however, something even worse: Airlines choosing to send out flights with empty seats rather than make some of them available for mileage redemption.

I’m referring to saver award levels, not those that require double or triple miles. As it is, round-trip saver awards require as many as hundreds of thousands of miles these days.

Last week, I called out Air New Zealand, one of the worst offenders — particularly in Business Class — on Twitter. With a few hours left until its Los Angeles-London flight on Feb. 2, there were six unsold Business seats. Yet not one of them was available on miles. On the same flight the next day, 16 Business seats were open — again, no award space. The coach cabin was wide open on both days, so the carrier wasn’t protecting Business seats to accommodate a so-called oversell in economy…
 
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Singapore Airlines’ maddening perfection

Singapore Airlines topped yet another industry ranking this week, and while it usually deserves the awards it wins, there are a few aspects of the way it does business that drive some customers and partner-carriers crazy. Still, don’t expect those practices to change anytime soon.

The latest awards were bestowed by Britain’s Business Traveller Magazine. Singapore was named best airline overall and also won best economy and business class. Best first class went to Emirates, probably because of the shower on its Airbus 380 aircraft. I have yet to meet anyone who has flown Singapore and didn’t like it, regardless of which cabin they were in. It has long been the world’s leading carrier in hard-product innovation and luxury, often years ahead of its competitors…