Book Now: Lufthansa First Class Awards For Winter

Lufthansa first class awards between Los Angeles/San Francisco and Frankfurt are wide open at the moment using partner miles in advance. These are typically the toughest routes in Lufthansa’s network on which to snag award space.

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Lufthansa usually only releases first class award space to partner airlines at most 15 days out, which can be a bit of a pain. However, over the past couple of years there have been a few instances whereby Lufthansa opened up a sizable amount of first class award space to partner airline members in advance.

Well, that’s happening right now, except it seems to be on the two routes on which it’s usually toughest to snag award space.

Starting in late November 2015, through the end of the 2016 schedule (late March), Lufthansa first class awards are wide open to/from Los Angeles and San Francisco. There seem to be two first class award seats available per flight. These are both routes operated by Lufthansa’s Airbus A380.

Lufthansa-First-Class

There’s availability in both directions, though these two routes are the only ones I’ve been able to find so far. Which works for me, because they’re also the two routes on which it’s usually almost impossible to find space.

Lufthansa-First-Class-1

Lufthansa-First-Class-2

This doesn’t seem to be phantom space, since it’s also available through the ANA website:

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Lufthansa-First-4

That would be bookable for 165,000 ANA miles per person roundtrip.

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I’d say the best value is booking through Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, as they charge just 62,500 Aeroplan miles for one-way first class. They’re transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (transfers from the former are instant).

The roundtrip taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges are about $1,000, in addition to the 125,000 miles:

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However, if you instead book the ticket as two one-ways, you can save about $200 worth of fuel surcharges:

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That’s because the fuel surcharges would be lower for a roundtrip originating in Europe, so you basically get to “split the difference” (a similar thing is true with British Airways):

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Bottom line

I love Lufthansa first class (perhaps too much), and this is an awesome opportunity to book it in advance on routes which are otherwise almost impossible to book in first class with miles even last minute. If you haven’t yet flown Lufthansa first class (or even if you have), I’d consider hopping on this.

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I wouldn’t expect this to last, so I’d recommend booking as soon as possible if you’re interested.

(Tip of the hat to Don’t Call the Airline)

Comments

  1. I discovered this about half hour before it hit the blogs. My husband is considering replacing his car via the BMW European Delivery program, and I was telling him there’s no better way to get there.

    But he’s refusing to commit. By the time he makes up his mind, I’ll bet this is long gone.

  2. Nice timing. Wait until everyone in Germany is asleep and let the Americans have at least 8 hours to go nuts! Looks like 2 seats per flight.

  3. ben,

    while I appreciate your love for LH F, isn’t 110,000 miles each way ridiculous? And the aeroplan booking creates higher fuel surcharges than BA.

  4. Thanks for the heads up. Wife and i have a ton of UA miles to burn through so i just made a one way booking back from CGK on TG and LH for December. We were planning to visit my brother while he’s over there and we loved our last TG/LH trip!

  5. Thanks for the tip! I booked from OSL to reduce the surcharge, and have an overnight in FRA – so I will wake up early and use the FCT the next day!

  6. Yeah, finally used most our 220,000 orphaned Asiana miles for a pair of tickets from SFO-Eurpoe on LH F! The taxes are outrageous though at ~$1,0005 per person r/t.

    Also booked another pair using UA miles. Not sure which is more painful — the Asiana taxes or the 220,000 UA miles per person. But when you have 11 million miles, who cares, right?

  7. Looks like it is gone for the most part. I mistakenly asked my SO about dates that I had to only purchase and when I went to search new dates I don’t find anything.

  8. it’s only the san francisco route, correct? Just my luck that I don’t have the miles for this right now…

  9. Avianca??? And will the limo pick you up in Heidelberg to return? It seems that there are also seats using LH miles

  10. Lucky,

    Thank you for this post and flying LH in F has always been my dream! Especially SFO is my home airport! I have a question regarding this and hope you can help, please.
    You mentioned of using 82,500 ANA miles or 62,500 Avianca miles for one way award flight on LH F. Question:

    1. How do you earn ANA miles, besides from flying ANA, what transferable program that transfer to ANA miles (UR, TYP)?

    2. I have United miles and healthy balance of UR, can I use it to book this LH F and if so, how many miles needed for one way award redemption?

    3. One of the reader also mentioned about using Avianca miles. “50,000 Asiana miles each way (+$500 in fuel surcharges”. How to get Avianca miles besides from flying and what transferable program transfers to Avianca?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

  11. not sure about Avianca, but ANA: transfer from Starwood points. United miles can be used (and no fuel surcharges, so some people will prefer to use them). But, the price in UA miles is high: 110,000 miles each way!

  12. @ Lantean — The old Asiana AMEX used to give 2 miles for every dollar spent, plus I believe a 10,000 – 20,000 mile sign up bonus. My partner and I spent about $45,000- $50,000 each over three years to reach our goal of 110,000 miles each. The miles have been rotting away ever since…until today! 🙂

  13. wow… you didn’t really read the post. all your questions. Q 2 and 3 are already answered in the post…

    1. Google “ANA mile transfer partner” => Amex MR or SPG, exactly same as Aeroplan miles.

    2. See the screenshot of united.com page above. or search the award your self and it will tell you exactly how many united miles and fees per person per each way.

    3. “I’d say the best value is booking through Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, as they charge just 62,500 Aeroplan miles for one-way first class. They’re transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (transfers from the former are instant).”

  14. @ Michael — I agree. But I think it’s a good value through Aeroplan, and the fuel surcharges aren’t worse than through British Airways.

  15. Hi Ben, I have managed to snag 2 seats just before xmas to Venice. Happens to be my wife’s birthday, reason we are going. So this will be a very nice surprise! what do you recommend seating for couples. Looks like the middle is good for interaction but no window. How would 2 window seats be? We are on the A380 from SFO. Very excited!

  16. @ JustSaying — Not bookable through LifeMiles, and Lufthansa doesn’t offer chauffeur service.

  17. @ SFOflyer —

    1) Membership Rewards and Starwood.
    2) Yes, you can use United miles, it’s 110,000 miles one-way.
    3) You can’t use Avianca LifeMiles for Lufthansa first class.

  18. @ Levy Flight — Woohoo, awesome. What a cool birthday trip. I’d do two center seats, ideally 2D & 2G, in your shoes. You won’t really be able to talk if you’re both in window seats.

  19. For the same amount of miles (110K) i just booked TYO-FRA-SFO on NH/LH in F. Book now and debate later. 1K still has some benefits.

  20. OK, going fast. The SFO-FRA flight I wanted evidently sold out while I was in the process of transferring points to Aeroplan, but I was able to book FRA-SFO.

    On a related note, Lucky, when booking an Aeroplan award ticket, what are the change rules? Can I add a segment to this?

  21. Just finish booking for next year. We are able to use one way Aeroplan and one way United since we don’t have enough for just one program. We will be celebrating the Valentine’s Day at Barcelona and flying from home airport (LAX) is best way to go. We can also finally try to see what the LAX Star Alliance lounge is all about.

  22. Just snagged 2 FC SFO-BCN………felt bad only leaving ourselves 2 hours connection in FCT but we’ll live………now to wait for SPG to transfer and snag the return……trust in the force….Thank you!

  23. Thanks for this Ben what a super deal. Booked TYO-FRA (ANA 777-ER F)-FRA-IST (23 hour layover)-IST-FRA ( 10 hour layover) FRA-SFO (LH F). Sad to use UA miles but they had to go, I have only flown revenue on them 2x in 15 months.

    All for 110k miles and $110 USD. Happy as a clam.

  24. Convinced hubby it’s worth the $90 cancellation fee risk to book a round trip SFO-FRA using Aeroplan transferred from MR miles. Direct flights to/from hometown for five day trip makes fees more than worth it in my opinion. Later March availability disappeared after the post so booked earlier in the month instead. Husband can’t think that far in advance but I’m psyched for him.

    Now he has a year to decide whether he’s buying a new car.

  25. Lucky,

    Thanks for the heads up on this opportunity! For comparison, how does the OZ A380 in F compare to LH F on the A380 as OZ has a direct flight from JFK to ICN via LAX on the A380 with quite a bit of availability in F for 120k UA miles vs the 110k UA miles for LH F. Thanks!

    Mark

  26. Ben. Once again your blog and news alert have been so helpful. I was able to book First on aA380 between LAX and FRA next Feb. Sincerest thanks. I still need more help for another more complicated trip from your team at Points Guys, especially from Alex. Best wishes. BB

  27. @Gene
    if you don’t mind me asking how did you collect 11 million miles ? how long did it take you 🙂

  28. If I did have 170,000 miles and $107 then I would probably book it. But I don’t. Maybe in a few years.

  29. Insane deal. My guess is that someone meant to release this award space to M&M members, but instead it got pushed to all partners (except LM ;)).
    Initially booked on UA for late March, but Aeroplan transfer went through and rebooked out of OSL in early April for only 62.5k + $225 in taxes.

  30. @rahul-whereisrahul

    so they let you transfer FRA twice on a one way award? i didn’t know that was possible?

  31. Yeah, Kevin & Rahul – how are you guys able to book that kinda itin for 110k miles one way in long haul F?

    It prices out around 185k for me even at the Saver award level. Even with trying the FRA-SFO leg in LH Biz (yes I know it’s a no-no cause LH J sucks, I was just curious how it would price.)

    Lucky, can you shed some light on this? Thanks!

  32. @ Adam — 110,000 miles is the correct price between North Asia and the US. Is the connection less than 24 hours on the itinerary you’re looking at? If so, you may just have to book by phone.

  33. @ Forrest — For what it’s worth, even M&M availability on this route is virtually impossible to come by in advance, so I think it must even be something else.

  34. @ Mark the Shark — They’re both fantastic first class products, it’s tough to say. Personally I love Lufthansa, but that’s not to say it’s objectively a better product than what Asiana offers. Keep in mind for not many more miles you could fly something like LAX-FRA-ICN.

  35. @ FlyingExplorer — It’s anyone’s guess. I assume it was a mistake given that it’s only on two routes, and happens to be the two routes where they usually release the least award space.

  36. @ dbeach — Yes, you can change it for a cost of $90, though it has to be done by phone. Not too complicated of a process, fortunately.

  37. @kevin @lanteen

    I booked as a multi-segment on UA. TYO-IST (and one of the many options was via FRA). Sure more direct options, but this was the only one with F space on ANA HND-FRA.

    Here’s how I punched it it
    day 1TYO-IST
    day 2 IST-FRA
    day 3 FRA-SFO

    Let UA.COM do the rest 🙂

  38. Adam…my stop in FRA is less than 24 hours. Figured I might as well get the most out of the 110,000 miles. I have done iterations of similar awards previously although have gone all the way to Southeast Asia. I was able to price it out on united.com without any issue. However if I tried to start the trip in SE Asia the website had issues or would not return the flights I wanted even though I knew they were available. If I tried to extend the itinerary past SFO it was also having issues as it priced the itinerary as 2 individual awards.

  39. Hi Lucky,

    How were you able to search for partner award availability on the ANA Website let alone view First Class availability? I thought the new update to the website got rid of that? I had moved 1,000 MR points to my ANA account and it didn’t help 🙁

  40. I think this is dead. I was able to book LAX-FRA on two dates in March ’16 and the dates were wide open…now I’m not seeing anything. Thanks for the post!! I got ripped off using UA miles, but the taxes were palatable. Just couldn’t risk the time it takes to transfer to a partner..

  41. It does appear I am dog meat on the return. I had 85 LH so I booked FC TOU-FRA-SFO and started transferring SPG from my account to spouse SPG to LH. It seems for naught as now all I see is coach on same flight. Do I grab that with eventual hope of adding miles and change fee week or two before. And sleep on the couch?

  42. @richard,

    I tried that ANA website while I was logged in and it re-directs me to some Japanese part of ANA, have you tried this recently and it worked for you?? I installed the Grease monkey thing but it still doesn’t work for me…

  43. @Brandon.
    OK, sorry–that ANA link is now clearly bad. I used it about 2 weeks ago, but I think they may have made changes on 4/12.

    Regardless, I have 0 miles in my account and had no problem doing an award search.

    I’m logged in and am on this page:
    https://www.ana.co.jp/asw/AMCTopServlet?type=ae

    Then I hit the ANA mileage club tab and then clicked “ANA international flight awards.”

  44. @richard,

    I must be going blind or crazy because I don’t see “ANA international flight awards.” at all. When I click into the ANA mileage club tab I have the following “boxes”/choices, 9 have stuff written, the bottom right is empty:

    ANA Mileage Program Join ANA Mileage Club

    ANA Card U.S.A. Earning Miles

    Using miles Premium Member Services

    ANA Million Miler Program Family Account Services

    Shop, Gift Cards and More

  45. @Brandon
    OK, try this route:

    In the flight reservation box (as if you were making a paid reservation), click “multiple cities” and then click the Award Reservation tab.

  46. @richard

    Ok I think that worked but First class is showing as “waitlisted”, if I manage to find dates that say “ok” will it display the cost in miles at the end even though I don’t have enough miles in the account? I did a random test and picked some economy seats and I got an error at the end

  47. April 22 around 7a.m. Los Angeles time. I just happened across the Lufthansa 1st class award looking for travel on March 18 from L.A. to Paris. I was trying to book a trip at the edge of availability.
    Delta, American and partners weren’t showing me anything great. So, I decided to try United (had always been frustrated trying to use their points). When I saw the 1st class in LH on the A380 I couldn’t believe it. Fortunately was able to transfer chase points in minutes and grabbed the flight. For future reference if I ever discover something like this, where should I post it? I just found this topic and realized how lucky I was to book this.

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