Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly Lufthansa first class for 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points
Lufthansa first class is one of the best ways to get from the U.S. to Europe — and it's getting easier to book.
The airline used to restrict award space to partners to be bookable 14 days prior to departure, meaning it was only possible to book last-minute tickets if you didn't have Lufthansa Miles & More miles. Thankfully, the partner booking window was recently extended to 30 days prior to departure, giving travelers more time to plan out their first-class excursions.
Each of the major Star Alliance mileage programs has its own pricing for these tickets, and one reigns supreme for booking Lufthansa first class to Europe: Asiana Club. It offers the best award pricing, charging half of what some of its competitors charge.
In turn, this makes it the best to book Lufthansa first-class awards with Marriott Bonvoy points. For reference, Marriott is Asiana's sole transfer partner.
Let's take a closer look at this sweet spot and why you may want to consider booking it.
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Why it’s special
Lufthansa first class is one of the best first-class cabins in the sky.
Onboard, you'll find a huge lie-flat seat and be treated with excellent service. I flew Lufthansa first class in 2018 and found its food and drink service to be the highlight. There were a ton of excellent drink options and the food tasted similar to what I'd expect from a high-end restaurant on the ground.
Lufthansa first-class tickets aren't cheap, though. The airline often charges over $10,000 for a round-trip ticket from the U.S. — for example, Miami (MIA) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA), costs a whopping $11,715 this October. It goes without saying that this is no small price to pay for a trip to Europe.
Of course, you can use United MileagePlus, Avianca LifeMiles or any other Star Alliance award program to book a Lufthansa first-class award ticket. That said, these programs charge significantly more miles than the 50,000 miles Asiana Club charges for a one-way ticket. For example, United charges over 100,000 miles for the same one-way ticket.
The only downside to booking with Asiana Club is that you have to pay high taxes and fuel surcharges on award flights operated by Lufthansa, Austrian and other carriers that add these fees. These taxes and fees could be up to $800 on a one-way Lufthansa first-class ticket to or from the U.S when you book with Asiana.
That said, it may be worthwhile for those who want to spend fewer miles, and for those wanting to book Lufthansa first class with Marriott Bonvoy points. Do your own cost analysis and see if transferring points to Asiana Club for a Lufthansa first-class award makes sense for you.
Related: The ultimate guide to Lufthansa first class
How to book this award
Unfortunately, you cannot book Asiana partner tickets online. Instead, you need to call.
Thankfully, this is a simple and straightforward process. You'll start by using your favorite Star Alliance search tool to find Lufthansa first-class award space. As discussed, partners like Asiana Club can now book Lufthansa first-class awards within 30 days of departure.
I recommend using Air Canada's website to find award space. To do this, head to the Air Canada website and sign in to your Aeroplan account. Then, enter your search criteria at the center of the homepage. Make sure to select the "Points" button so you see award prices instead of cash pricing.
Look through the list of available flights and find a Lufthansa-operated flight with first-class award space. You will see Lufthansa listed as the operating carrier at the lower left-hand corner of the search result box. Any flight with a price listed under the first-class column has bookable award space.
Now, click the "Details" link underneath the flight time and a pop-up window will appear. Write down the flight number (it starts with "LH") and the date of the flight you'd like to book.
Now, call Asiana Club at 800-227-4262 and ask the phone representative to book an award ticket for you. They should ask for the date, route and flight number. Then, you'll get a mileage and tax quote and can complete the booking by providing your credit card information.
Related: Ultimate guide to searching award availability for the major airlines
How to earn points for this award
Asiana Club miles are some of the most difficult airline miles to earn.
Unfortunately, the program isn't a partner of any major transferable credit card points programs. Instead, you can only transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy to Asiana Club at a 3:1 transfer ratio. Marriott adds a 5,000-airline-mile bonus to transfers of 60,000 Marriott points or more, so 60,000 Marriott points equal 25,000 airline miles.
In other words: You can book a one-way Lufthansa first-class ticket to Europe for 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, which is an excellent deal if you don't mind paying high taxes and fees.
There are plenty of ways to earn Marriott Bonvoy points. The hotel group has a suite of cards issued by American Express and Chase — here’s a look at current offers:
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card: Earn 30,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
You can also earn Asiana Club miles by crediting Star Alliance flights to the program or by booking travel with its rental car and hotel partners. Unfortunately, Asiana no longer offers cobranded credit cards in the U.S.
Related: 6 tips for booking Lufthansa first-class awards
Booking Lufthansa first class for just 50,000 Asiana Club miles (or 120,000 Marriott points) one-way is an incredible deal. These tickets often cost well over $5,000 depending on your departure city, so this deal can make an otherwise unattainable trip possible.