Is buying frequent flyer miles worth it?

Right now Miles and More (Lufthansa’s StarAlliance rewards program) is having a sale on. You get 20% more miles when you buy.

Often this scheme is touted by people (like Chris Guillebeau for example) as a good way to get more miles. But, I sometimes wonder if it is worth it.

During the sale, if you spend €290 you get 14,400 Miles (12,000 + the bonus).

To buy a ticket from Frankfurt to Tokyo using miles costs 80,000 miles. Note that you still have to pay the tax.

So, I looked at a particular date range I was interested in (from August to September). The tax on the flight would be around €450. So, to get an economy ticket using points + tax would cost $1611 (the cost of points) + €450 (the tax) = €2061.

I can buy the same seat with cash for around €1000. In reality those 80,000 are only worth €600, not €1600.

Am I missing something?

Comments greatly appreciated!

(I do know that you can only buy 12,000 miles/year with Miles and More and that you would need to use ‘earned’ miles for this actual transaction. I have 100,000 Miles and More miles anyway).

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