Swiss International Air Lines, Lufthansa and the Lufthansa Group are all part of the Lufthansa Group. This group is composed of five European airlines:
Star Alliance is a partnership between Swiss, Lufthansa and all of the other airlines except Eurowings.
We’ll help you choose the best airline for you if you have to decide between Swiss Air and Lufthansa.
Their base and the places they fly
Due to its larger international footprint and the number of destinations it serves — almost twice as many than Swiss — Lufthansa has won this round.
Lufthansa wins the award for most destinations served
In Berlin, Germany the Lufthansa name was first used in 1926 on a flight that carried two passengers as well as a package of mail. Lufthansa, Germany’s biggest airline today with hubs at Frankfurt and Munich.
This airline has about 220 destinations worldwide in 72 different countries.
Swissair was founded in 1931 when two airlines merged. Swiss International Air Lines was created after Swissair filed for bankruptcy in 2002.
Swiss, Switzerland’s biggest airline, serves more than 110 destinations across 48 countries from its hubs in Zurich and Geneva.
Loyalty programs for airlines
This category is a tie because the two airlines are members of the same loyalty programme: Miles & More.
Tie for the winner of ease of Miles:
Miles & More loyalty programme
Miles & More is a frequent-flyer program that Lufthansa, and Swiss Airlines are part of.
In reality, many major European Airlines participate in the loyalty program. These include Air Dolomiti and Austrian Airlines as well as Croatia Airlines, Eurowings European Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Luxair, Eurowings.
The Miles & More Elite Status program is divided into three tiers.
Members of the Frequent Traveler program enjoy a preferential check-in process, an increased luggage allowance, and exclusive access to Business Lounges.
Members have exclusive access to the Star Alliance Gold lounges. They also receive two vouchers for upgrades and preferential luggage pick up.
HON Circle top-tier members get limo transfers on arrival, upgrade vouchers for six upgrades, first class lounge access and priority in the waiting list.
Miles & More Miles can be redeemed for flights on more than 40 airlines including Lufthansa, Swiss and Lufthansa.
First class award is one of the most compelling reasons for becoming a Miles & More Member and earning miles through the program.
Lufthansa, for example, does not release first-class award seats to partners until 15 days prior to departure. This means that actual availability can be a gamble. Most travelers do not have the flexibility to travel in first class on Lufthansa.
Miles & More Members can reserve Lufthansa First Class Award Seats up to 360 Days before their departure. This is a huge advantage over those who try to book the seats via a partner.
Miles & More Awards to or from the U.S. are subjected to high fuel surcharges.
Miles earned through the Miles & More Program expire after 36 consecutive months of inactivity.
Available Travel Credit Cards
Both airlines offer the same Miles & More credit cards and other benefits.
Lufthansa has the slight advantage, as certain benefits can only be redeemed through their airline. This includes companion tickets and lounge access vouchers.
Winner of the most valuable airline card is Lufthansa
Lufthansa Miles & More credit card
Barclays offers the Lufthansa miles & more credit card to travelers in the United States for $59 per year. You’ll get the following benefits as a member of this card:
Earn 50,000 miles for spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 90-days and paying annual fees.
Earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on airline tickets that participate in Miles & More.
All other purchases are eligible for 1 mile per $1.
Two free vouchers for the Lufthansa Business Lounge per annum.
Companion tickets in Lufthansa Economy class After each account anniversary.
Convert award miles to status miles in a ratio of 5:1.
No foreign transaction fees.
The Lufthansa Miles & More Card can be useful to those who fly Swiss, too. Keep in mind, however, that companion tickets are only valid on Lufthansa flights.
It’s no surprise that Swiss prices are more expensive than German prices. Therefore, Lufthansa has a slight advantage in this round.
Lufthansa wins lowest fee award
Advance seat reservations: starting at $12 (12 Euros).
The price of a seat in the zone preferred starts at just $19 (17 Euros).
More legroom in the seat: starting at $25 (25 Euros).
Starting at $45 for oversize baggage
Advance seat reservations: starting at $14 Swiss Francs (USD 16).
The price for a seat in the zone of your choice starts at just $22 (20 Swiss Francs).
A seat with extra legroom starts at $30 (30 Swiss Francs).
Starting at $46, for oversize baggage
Winner for best first class: Tie
It’s difficult to find anything wrong with the first-class product of either airline.
Lufthansa offers a personal assistant and caviar in flight for those who want to be treated like royalty on and off the plane. Swiss offers gourmet treats from the region and an airport lounge for its customers.
There’s not much of a difference in the economy class service between airlines.
If you fly Lufthansa in first class, though, you will have the option of a valet service at certain airports. You’ll also be able to access a personal assistant, located at Frankfurt’s First Class Terminal, First Class Lounge and limousine services to and from your aircraft.
You can enjoy a variety of culinary treats (including caviar), as well as a bed that is flat and has a duvet. The washrooms are also spacious enough for you to walk around.
When you choose to fly economy, Swiss offers a little perk. You’ll receive a free bottle of Swiss mineral water onboard the plane whenever you depart from Zurich or Geneva.
Swiss offers a special terminal at Zurich airport for first-class passengers. They also have the Swiss First Lounge. Seats can be converted into beds that lie flat, and pajamas are provided for sleeping. Some flights feature the biggest in-flight entertainment screen in the industry, 32 inches.
You can also enjoy a wide range of Swiss gourmet specialties, such as smoked salmon. Meal times are flexible. A chauffeur will be waiting for you when you arrive at your aircraft.
If you are choosing between Lufthansa or Swiss
The margins between Swiss Airlines and Lufthansa are quite narrow.
Both airlines offer excellent first-class service and share the same program. They are also in the alliance. Lufthansa is slightly ahead due to the greater number of its destinations, and some additional credit card benefits.
If both airlines fly you to the same destination at the same price, then either choice is a good one.
(Lead photo is courtesy of Swiss International Air Lines).
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