Why You Must Fly Lufthansa First Class!

I flew Lufthansa First Class on their the Munich to San Francisco flight a few weeks ago, and it was one of the best flights I’ve ever taken. It seems almost like Lufthansa has upped their product even more after United made it harder for Americans to freeload to redeem for First Class. For this flight, I used my Aeroplan miles which I earned from the American Express Platinum Card, offering 60,000 points as a signup bonus.

Lufthansa First Class

Lufthansa First Class

How to Redeem for Lufthansa First Class

Lufthansa first class is also one of the easiest first class products to access, since it costs just 62,500 Aeroplan miles to fly from Europe Zone 1 to North America one-way. You can the points easily get through signing for just two credit cards. The American Express Business Gold Rewards Card offers 40,000 Membership Rewards points after completing minimum spend, transferring to 40,000 Aeroplan points. To get the remainder, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite offers 25,000 Aeroplan points after $1000 minimum spend. Both cards have annual fee waivers, so you’re not paying anything out of pocket.

To see detailed information on these offers, please see the posts I’ve written:
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card 40,000 Points Signup Bonus
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite 25,000 Points Signup Bonus and Waived Annual Fee

The ticket I booked was Copenhagen – Vienna – Frankfurt – Munich – San Francisco – Vancouver.

Aeroplan Award Itinerary

Aeroplan Award Itinerary

I specifically utilized this routing because it allowed me to depart from Scandinavia, reducing fuel surcharges. As well, I inserted a 23 hour layover in Vienna, allowing me to visit the First Class lounges in Frankfurt and Munich all in one ticket. The total price for my ticket was 62,500 miles and $356, with around $160 in fuel surcharges.

Normally fuel surcharges on Lufthansa are $450+, but a great way to save a bit of money and visit Scandinavia is leveraging capped fuel surcharge regions. This trick is quite useful for an itinerary like this where fuel surcharges are quite heavy.

If you want to offset the fuel surcharges, I could have redeemed miles from a flexible travel currency like points from the TD First Class Visa InfiniteScotiabank Gold American Express, and BMO World Elite Mastercard. You could also use TripFlex to redeem your American Express points like those from the American Express Gold Card, but that is not the best use of AMEX miles, in my opinion.

Flying Lufthansa First Class

LUFTHANSA FIRST CLASS IS AWESOME!!!

In Frankfurt, you have your own dedicated First Class Terminal.

First Class Terminal

First Class Terminal

You’re escorted to the plane in a Mercedes or Porsche.

Nice Cars

Nice Cars

There are planes where you get both a seat AND a bed.

Seat and Bed Combo on B747

Seat and Bed Combo on B747

I really enjoy the caviar on board, the in-flight wifi, and the Rimowa Amenity kits.

Lufthansa First Class Caviar

Lufthansa First Class Caviar

Service and food is hit or miss, but on average Lufthansa has one of the strongest all-around first class products. When the food and service is spot on, like it was on my Munich to San Francisco flight, it’s an amazing flight.

Finding Lufthansa First Class Award Availability

Lufthansa starts releasing first class awards to non Miles & More members starting 14 days from departure. I monitor the paid space availability on ExpertFlyer. This is a moderately accurate indicator of if Lufthansa First Class will release award space.

All Lufthansa First Class flights have 8 cabin seats, so you can determine how many seats are sold from looking on Expertflyer, under their Flight Availability tab.

Flight Availability on ExpertFlyer

Flight Availability on ExpertFlyer

There are certain routes where premium demand is heavy, and thus a flight with only two seats sold (showing F6 A6) may not necessarily release seats. The Los Angeles and San Francisco flights fall into this category, while Houston, Miami, and New York JFK sometimes are also tough to find availability on.

Unfortunately, Lufthansa has cancelled First Class service on their Frankfurt to Vancouver and Toronto flights – the only LH F to Canada is on their Munich to Vancouver and Toronto flights.

The easiest flights to snag award space on are probably to Boston and Mexico City. For example, the Munich to Boston flight on May 15th is showing as F8 A8, meaning there are no paid first class seats sold. There is award space on that flight.

ExpertFlyer MUC-BOS Flight Availability

ExpertFlyer MUC-BOS Flight Availability

Lufthansa First Class Award Munich to Boston

Lufthansa First Class Award Munich to Boston

With some gateways like Chicago or Washington Dulles, award seats will be held back until around T-4 even though the flight shows F7 or F6 at the 10-14 day mark.

ExpertFlyer Flight Availability Chicago to Frankfurt

ExpertFlyer Flight Availability Chicago to Frankfurt

Award Space Chicago to Frankfurt

Award Space Chicago to Frankfurt

To snag Lufthansa First Class awards, I’ll personally start looking at flights around 3-4 weeks before the departure date, and narrow in on flights where there are at least five first class seats for sale (F5 A5). Then I will check multiple times daily to see if an award seat turns up.

Two tools will automatically search award availability for you. I will usually set up an alert on those sites as well. I currently use Wandering Aramean’s Travel Tools (WATT). In addition to searching star alliance space, they also have great oneworld alerts. Award Nexus also does the same thing, but I don’t like it because you’re limited to the amount of searches you can perform and have to pay to top up.

Have you ever flown Lufthansa First Class?

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Comments

  1. “Lufthansa first class is also one of the easiest first class products to access.”

    “Lufthansa starts releasing first class awards to non Miles & More members starting 14 days from departure.”

    Not everyone is able to make vacation plans on less than two week’s notice, you know.

    But of course a college student would think that…

    “As well, I inserted a 23 hour layover in Vienna, allowing me to visit the First Class lounges in Frankfurt and Munich all in one ticket. ”

    I hope you made sure to maximize your first class experience.

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/lufthansa-austrian-swiss-brussels-lot-other-partners-miles-more/1040252-definitive-how-maximise-lh-f-experience-thread.html

    😉

  2. Would you be able to book a flight using United miles from USA to Europe (so that you have a flight) and then change it to LH when space appears close in? I know there will be change fees and whatnot but might be worth it especially since you know you have a flight, a last minute change to LH for $100 would be great!

    Also, in that scenario, if you are flying J and want to change it to LH F would they just charge you the difference in miles in addition to the change fee?

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