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

April 24 2022
5 min read
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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.

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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.

(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 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 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 100,000 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 photo 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.

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The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
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  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
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Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees