German Supreme Court regards Lufthansa’s frequent flyer terms and conditions lawful

The Plaintiff was a participant of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer programme (“Miles & More”) terms and conditions of which state that air tickets aquired under the programme must not be transferred to any third persons unless this person had a tight personal relationship to the participant. Nevertheless, the plaintiff booked air tickets on behalf of a third person who he had no personal relation to using his bonus “miles”. Lufthansa therefore terminated plaintiff’s participation in the programme and cancelled his HON Circle Member status. Th Plaintiff filed a law suit for a declaratory judgement that his partcipation in the programme was not terminated and his HON Circle Member status still valid.While the court of first intance (LG Köln) dismissed the claim, the appleate court (OLG Köln) widely decided in favour of the plaintiff. Upon Lufthansa’s appeal to the Supreme Court (BGH), the latter set aside the second instance judgement and held that as there was no legal model for such programme, Lufthansa was free to determine its terms and conditions. The termination becuase of the plaintiff’s infringement of the terms and conditions therefore was lawful and so was the cancellation of the HON Circle Member status. Hence, the claim was dismissed.Judgement details: BGH judgement of Oct. 28, 2014, X ZR 79/13

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