Skip to content

Sweet Spot Sunday: Booking Lufthansa first class to South Africa with Aegean miles

April 24, 2022
5 min read
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.

Booking Lufthansa's first class is the "holy grail" of Star Alliance award tickets. Historically, we've advised using Avianca LifeMiles to book long-haul first class flights on Lufthansa, but today, we're exploring a lesser-known way to book Lufthansa's first class.

With Aegean's Miles+Bonus, you can book a one-way Lufthansa first class flight from the United States to South Africa for 75,000 miles. And while these miles are hard to earn in the U.S., it's not impossible. Let's take a closer look.

For more news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for TPG’s daily newsletter.

Why it's special

Flying first class to Europe for 75,000 miles is already a lucrative price point. When you can fly on to South Africa after connecting through Frankfurt (FRA) for no extra miles, you've got a steal of a deal.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While the downside is that you'll run into around $1,000 in taxes and fees using Aegean miles, these flights routinely sell for over $9,000 one-way. So even after applying the taxes and fees to the award rates, you're getting over 10 cents per dollar on your Aegean miles for this award.

(Screenshot via google.com/flights)

The same exact seat when using other airline currencies would cost:

  • 130,000 Aeroplan points
  • 143,000 United MileagePlus miles

From the U.S., Lufthansa operates its first class product to/from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), O'Hare International Airport (ORD), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Miami International Airport (MIA), Dulles International Airport (IAD), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Related: The holy grail of award tickets: Flying Lufthansa first class on the Boeing 747-8

How to book this award

Step 1: Enroll in Aegean's Miles+Bonus program

First, sign up for Aegean's Miles+Bonus program. I was given 1,000 award miles and 1,000 tier points upon enrollment.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
(Screenshot via aegeanair.com)

Step 2: Check availability and book

One caveat is that you can only book Lufthansa's first class Star Alliance award bookings 30 days prior to departure. Additionally, award tickets in Lufthansa's first class cabin are far and few between. Still, you can search for an award ticket here.

I found award space between Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB). Unfortunately, since Lufthansa flights from the U.S. arrive in Frankfurt in the morning and flights to South Africa don't leave until the evening, there's a long layover in Frankfurt on most eastbound flights.

Once you find award space, follow the on-screen prompts to finalize your booking,

(Screenshot via aegeanair.com)

Related: Flight review: Lufthansa first class on the Airbus A380

How to earn miles for this award

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

The easiest way to earn miles for this award is transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to Aegean Miles+Bonus at a 3:1 ratio (225,000 Marriott points equals 75,000 Aegean miles).

Marriott routinely runs sales where you can either buy points with a discount or with a bonus. We will continue to monitor Marriott's point sales and update this page as they become available.

You can also earn Marriott points with a Marriott cobranded credit card, and the welcome bonus can get you well on your way to earning enough miles for this award.

Right now, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card offers 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.

Alternatively, business owners might consider applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. This card earns 75,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership.

You might also consider buying Aegean miles outright. Aegean sells miles in 1,000-mile increments for €40 (roughly $43.28). Members without flight activity can purchase up to 30,000 miles for €750 (roughly $811.43) per calendar year, while members with flight activity can purchase up to 50,000 miles for €900 per calendar year.

Aegean has run mileage sale promotions in the past. In one such sale, members could buy points with a 100% bonus, so you could have bought 60,000 miles for roughly $811.

Related: New offer: Earn up to 75,000 points plus a free night on this Marriott credit card

Bottom line

The opportunity to get more than 10 cents per dollar on Aegean Miles+Bonus by flying Lufthansa's first class product from the U.S. to South Africa is highly appealing. While it's hard to earn Aegean miles here in the U.S., it's possible to transfer Marriott points to the program at a 3:1 transfer ratio.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees