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It just became much easier to book Lufthansa first class awards

Aug. 04, 2021
5 min read
Lufthansa A340 First Class Special Flight Gino ZH
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International first class is something slowly fading into history. Aside from airlines phasing out first class, booking these coveted seats using points and miles has been getting harder. Lufthansa first class is no exception to that.

Historically, Lufthansa only released first-class award availability to partners 14 days before departure. However, as reported by One Mile at a Time, that is now of the past. Lufthansa now appears to be releasing award availability up to 30 days before departure.

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Routes that offer first-class

Before we dive in, let's cover what routes even offer first class. With Lufthansa phasing out its Airbus A380s and A340-600s, the only aircraft currently flying with first-class is currently the flagship Boeing 747-8i. In August, it's flying to a number of destinations out of its Frankfurt (FRA) hub, including:

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy)

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Lufthansa First Class

Finding availability

Award availability has always been scarce for Lufthansa first-class. Even with the extension of 30 days before departure, I could only find availability on limited routes. Still, this is a welcome change nonetheless.

Chicago seemed to supply the most award availability. I was able to find two separate dates in August and one in September with open award availability for first-class.

(Screenshot courtesy of LifeMiles.com)
(Screenshot courtesy of Aeroplan.com)

ExpertFlyer (which is owned by Red Ventures, TPG’s parent company) is one of my favorite ways to go forth and find availability. It is one of the most powerful tools you can use when searching for award space. While it is not possible to book more than three days out, you can set yourself an alert to be notified when Lufthansa releases that award seat. You can find more on ExpertFlyer here.

Pick the right points program

Lufthansa's first class is bookable through several frequent flyer programs, with some of the most popular being Air Canada Aeroplan, United Mileage Plus, and Avianca Lifemiles. These three programs offer the cheapest rewards ranging from 87,000 to 110,000 miles one way.

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However, there's one major caveat. Lufthansa does not seem to release their reward space equally to their partners.

(Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock)

While it may be hard to find the first-class award availability, it shouldn't be an issue earning miles for those frequent flyer programs. Air Canada Aeroplan is now a transfer partner of American Express, Capital One, and Chase. Avianca Lifemiles is a transfer partner of American Express and Capital One and United Mileage Plus is a transfer partner of Chase

This means that if you have some of the most popular travel rewards cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can transfer your points/miles out to your selected frequent flyer program to book yourself Lufthansa first class.

Here are some sample rates for awards between the U.S. and Europe:

ANA MileagePlan

  • Mileage required (round-trip only): 165,000 miles
  • Taxes & fees: High, up to $500 for a one-way flight
  • Transfer partners: American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy

Asiana Club

  • Mileage required (one-way) 50,000 miles
  • Taxes and fees: High, $244-$800 one way
  • Transfer Partners: Marriott Bonvoy

Avianca Lifemiles

  • Mileage required (one-way): 87,000 miles, though a mixed-cabin award with a connection in business class could be even lower
  • Taxes & fees: Low, only $30.60 for a flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt
  • Transfer partners: American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Points and Marriott Bonvoy

Lufthansa Miles and More

  • Mileage required (one-way): 85,000 miles
  • Taxes & fees: High, possibly over $500 for a one-way flight
  • Transfer partners: Marriott Bonvoy

Singapore KrisFlyer

  • Mileage required (one-way): 107,500 miles
  • Taxes & fees: High, up to $500 for a one-way flight
  • Transfer partners: Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Capital One Miles and Marriott Bonvoy

United Mileage Plus

  • Mileage required (one-way): 110,000
  • Taxes & fees: Very low, only $5.60 for a flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt.
  • Transfer partners: Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy (the latter with a slightly higher transfer rate than other partners thanks to the RewardsPlus partnership

Related: 6 tips for booking Lufthansa first-class awards

Bottom line

It is awesome to see Lufthansa releasing award space more than 14 days out, as they have previously done. It will make planning trips quite a bit easier. You will no longer have to be frantically finding a way home when the seat does not open up or if someone snatches it before you do.

Featured Image courtesy of Gino ZH/The Points Guy.

Featured image by Lufthansa A340 First Class Special Flight Gino ZH (Photo by Gino ZH / 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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 80,000 Points
  • Annual Fee

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  • 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

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees