It just became much easier to book Lufthansa first class awards
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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:
- Chicago-O’Hare (ORD),
- Houston (IAH)
- Johannesburg (JNB)
- Los Angeles (LAX)
- Mexico City (MEX)
- Miami (MIA)
- Newark (EWR)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Sau Paulo (GRU)
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.
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.
However, there’s one major caveat. Lufthansa does not seem to release their reward space equally to their partners.
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:
- 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
- Mileage required (one-way) 50,000 miles
- Taxes and fees: High, $244-$800 one way
- Transfer Partners: Marriott Bonvoy
- 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
- Mileage required (one-way): 85,000 miles
- Taxes & fees: High, possibly over $500 for a one-way flight
- Transfer partners: Marriott Bonvoy
- 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
- 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
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.
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