United Bug Limiting Lufthansa First Class Award Bookings
Update: Lufthansa first class is once again available through United.com.
Lufthansa first class is easily one of the world's most sought after award redemptions. Availability is incredibly limited — Lufthansa itself doesn't make first-class seats available via partner programs until roughly two weeks before departure. But as long as you're somewhat flexible about your travel dates and/or routing, it's often possible to score one of these coveted awards. Well, most of the time, at least.
Currently, yet another MileagePlus bug is making it very difficult to redeem United miles for Lufthansa first class. The situation isn't quite as dire as some are reporting, but there is indeed an IT malfunction at play. I reached out to United, and a spokesperson confirmed that the airline is aware of the issue and "urgently working to resolve it."
While many routes do indeed appear to be unavailable, some Lufthansa availability is popping up — albeit under the "Business Saver Award" category — such as this A340 flight between Munich (MUC) and Shanghai (PVG) for later this week.
I booked the flight to confirm that it was indeed available, and the reservation was correctly ticketed and confirmed in first class right away — reflected on Lufthansa's end as well.
While this is hardly an ideal situation, United does claim to be prioritizing a fix, and select flights are indeed bookable right now. And at 110,000 miles each way, United's first-class Star Alliance awards to Europe are priced higher than the competition. Assuming you have points to transfer and need to book Lufthansa first class right away, there are a handful of alternatives methods to consider, which may present a better award value than United can offer -- even when its booking site is working as intended.