Feeling Spontaneous? Book Lufthansa First Awards and More for a Cheap Labor Day Getaway

Aug 30, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s the start of Labor Day weekend and everyone’s either headed off to to the beach or planning a long relaxing weekend at home. If you planned to do the latter, well, let’s just say you might reconsider your weekend plans after reading this post — if you have points or miles to burn that is.

Here at TPG we’re always writing about how to get the most value out of your points and miles, which usually takes time planning and calculating. However, last-minute award ticket bookings are actually one of the best ways to maximize them because the cash price is usually insanely high. Take this for example:

You could fly nonstop from New York (EWR) to Amsterdam (AMS) as soon as tonight for 30,000 miles in economy plus $80.60 in fees one-way, and the same deal is available for the return on Monday. That’s a steal considering the same flight is currently being sold for — wait for it — $3,272.

Wanna get even crazier? You can fly Lufthansa First Class from Houston (IAH), New York (JFK) and Washington DC (IAD) to Frankfurt (FRA) on Saturday for 110,000 United miles, 87,000 Lifemiles or 70,000 Aeroplan miles one-way (although you’ll be pay lots in surcharges if you choose Aeroplan). There may be availability on other routes too, since award space usually opens up last minute for the amazing product. These last-minute first class tickets are pricing for more than $10,000 if you use cash.

We’ll be using our miles, thank you very much.

Better yet, you can avoid United’s $75 close-in booking fee, and only pay $5.60 if you have a United Club card. You can also use Avianca LifeMiles to book these Star Alliance flights, since the carrier has a solid award chart and doesn’t charge large fees for last-minute awards. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to United, while Citi ThankYou points, American Express Membership Rewards points and Capital One miles all instantly transfer to Avianca.

Here are some other examples of last-minute award trip booking options:

Charlotte (CLT) to Denver (DEN) for 12,500 United miles one-way in economy:

Dallas (DFW) to Phoenix (PHX) for 12,500 AAdvantage miles one-way in economy (or consider using British Airways Avios):

New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) for 30,000 United miles one-way in Lufthansa economy or 110,000 United miles in Lufthansa First:

Houston (IAH) to Frankfurt (FRA) for 30,000 United miles one-way in Lufthansa economy or 110,000 United miles in Lufthansa First:

Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR) for 30,000 United miles one-way in economy: Chicago (ORD) to Munich (MUC) for 30,000 United miles one-way in economy: If you’re looking for a tropical escape, there’s still availability to fly United on in a lie-flat seat from New York to Hawaii as reported yesterday.

Newark (EWR) to Honolulu (HNL) for 50,000 United miles or 12,500 Turkish Airlines miles one-way in first class:

If this has you ready to hop on a plane, but you don’t see your city listed in the examples, be sure to do a search for yourself on your preferred airline to see if you can snag a good last-minute deal.

Once you’ve booked a flight, start to look for cheap accommodations with an app like Hotel Tonight. Redeeming hotel points for last-minute can also yield great value.

Further Reading:

Featured photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.