Lufthansa’s uber-top tier status is HON Circle, which can be earned by accruing 600,000 elite qualifying miles over the course of two years.
The status comes with quite a few benefits, probably the most significant of which is access to the Lufthansa First Class Lounges and Lufthansa First Class Terminal regardless of which class of service you’re flying.
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
So a HON Circle member can book a cheap economy ticket from Frankfurt to Munich and spend all day in the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, if they’d like. As a matter of fact, I know several HON Circle members who spend their weekends exactly that way. 😉
The catch is that while HON Circle status gets you access to Lufthansa’s First Class Lounges, it doesn’t get you access to the first class lounges of partner airlines.
Based on HON Circle feedback, it looks like Lufthansa HON Circle members will now receive access to United Global First Lounges when traveling on intercontinental flights on Lufthansa or United in business class. Here’s how the new benefit is described:
Exclusively for HON Circle Members: Access to United Global First Lounges with a Business Class boarding pass
Now, as a HON Circle Member traveling in Business Class on a scheduled intercontinental flight operated by Lufthansa or United Airlines you can access the United Global First Lounges. Show your boarding pass together with your HON Circle service card and you will be able to access the lounges at eight international airports on the day of departure of your Lufthansa- or United Airlines-operated flight:
- Hong Kong
- London: Heathrow
- New York: John F. Kennedy and Newark
- San Francisco
- Tokyo: Narita
There are, however, a few services offered by the United Global First Lounge that you will not be able to use with a Business Class boarding pass:
- Because of limited capacity in the lounges, access is restricted solely to you as the HON Circle Member, i.e. you cannot make a companion into the lounge with you.
- For operational reasons and because of limited capacity, you will also not be able to use the limousine service with a Business Class boarding pass.
- In the event of an irregularity of your Lufthansa flight or if you wish to change your booking, you need to call your HON Circle Service Team to receive assistance, because the respective airlines can only access their own reservation systems.
I wouldn’t expect this to be reciprocal (in other words, I wouldn’t expect Global Services members to get Lufthansa First Class Lounge access anytime soon), but rather just Lufthansa paying United a few extra bucks for every HON Circle member they let in their lounges. It is interesting to note the exclusions here — you can’t take a guest, and you have to be flying business class on an intercontinental flight (meanwhile Lufthansa HON Circle members get access to the Lufthansa First Class Lounge with a guest regardless of where they’re flying).
It is kind of surprising to me how exclusive Lufthansa has continued to keep their first class lounges. By calling them HON Circle Lounges rather than first class lounges they don’t have to admit first class passengers on other airlines into the lounge. That means if you’re traveling in first class on a Star Alliance carrier you get access to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge rather than the Lufthansa First Class Lounge. But I guess their goal is to keep them exclusive, and they’re doing a good job at that.
While United Global First Lounges aren’t exactly fancy, they’re certainly better than the United Clubs. Kudos to Lufthansa for negotiating this for their HON Circle members.
(Tip of the hat to Rambuster)