Aeroplan Fuel Dump: Lufthansa Style

Everyone loves Lufthansa First Class – it’s the “poster boy” of travel hacking, for better or for worse. It’s easily the most accessible first class product using miles so has become almost become the default first class airline, so to speak. However with the past United MileagePlus devaluation and US Airways switching from Star Alliance to Oneworld, the opportunities to fly Lufthansa First Class is somewhat diminishing. Aeroplan always remains an option, although their fuel surcharges on Lufthansa remain a major deterrent… but there is something you can do about that.

Aeroplan Fuel Dump on Lufthansa

A round-trip from Toronto to Frankfurt in Lufthansa First Class will normally set you back $876 in fuel surcharges on both a paid or an award ticket. Hefty, isn’t it?

Over $1000 in taxes and fees - of which $876 is fuel surcharge - on Lufthansa First Class Toronto to Frankfurt

Over $1000 in taxes and fees – of which $876 is fuel surcharge – on Lufthansa First Class Toronto to Frankfurt

However, one very useful trick is that a simple open-jaw returning to the USA instead of Canada eliminates the fuel surcharge by almost half – as simple as that.

A simple open jaw reduces the fuel surcharge by almost $400 - here flying Toronto to Frankfurt to New York

A simple open jaw reduces the fuel surcharge by over $400 – here flying Toronto to Frankfurt to New York

How awesome is that? There is still a not-insignificant fuel surcharge, but given the hefty partner first class rates when using United miles and the mixed-class restriction on Avianca LifeMiles, the relative value of using Aeroplan for Lufthansa First Class redemptions is not a horrible proposition by any means.

Even More Advanced Techniques

An open-jaw is a great way to reduce fuel surcharges already, but it comes with its own costs such as positioning and possibly an overnight hotel? Wouldn’t it be great if we could reduce those additional costs? Well you can… if you route the return via your city of origin. Confused? Let’s take a look.

Since the trick works the same originating in either the US or Canada, let’s switch it around this time. We already know that flying Chicago to Frankfurt to Toronto would save over $400 on fuel surcharge compared to a simple Newark to Frankfurt round trip – but we can also route the return as Frankfurt-Chicago-Toronto. Since the fuel surcharge is the same as a nonstop, you can essentially save $400 of fuel surcharge, and end up with essentially a round trip from Chicago to Frankfurt plus a side one-way from Chicago to Toronto.

Now you can “throw away” the last leg, but Aeroplan entitles you to a stopover as well as an open jaw on an international Star Alliance itinerary. So you can end up with a round trip Lufthansa First Class award plus a free trans-border business class one way for 125,000 plus only $400 in fuel surcharges. In terms of a Lufthansa First Class award, this is the single most lucrative redemption throughout the Star Alliance network.

Note, you will need to call the Aeroplan Service Centre to book any of these advanced tricks, as the online booking engine does not support complex itineraries.

125,000 Aeroplan miles for Chicago to Frankfurt round trip in Lufthansa First Class, plus a free one way from Chicago to Vancouver, while simultaneously saving over $400 in fuel surcharges

125,000 Aeroplan miles for Chicago to Frankfurt round trip in Lufthansa First Class, plus a free one way from Chicago to Vancouver, while simultaneously saving over $400 in fuel surcharges

Acquiring Aeroplan Miles

You can accrue Aeroplan miles for Lufthansa First Class at a 1-to-1 ratio from American Express Membership Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest. Credit cards that offer Aeroplan accrual (with first year annual fee waived) include:

Alternative cards include the American Express Platinum Card (Canada) which comes with a 60,000 point signup bonus, as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest Card (Canada) which comes with a 10,000 point signup bonus.


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Comments

  1. Is this limited to First class or would work for biz class too?
    And for that matter does this work on eliminating YQ for other airlines?

    Thanks.

  2. It should be noted that Lufthansa doesn’t release First Class award space to its Star Alliance partners earlier than 14 days before the flight.

  3. Would this work (getting rid of LH YQ) using miles other than aeroplan?
    i.e. miles and more? and would it work on one way awards?

  4. Thanks again for a great posting

    Though not sure I am totally getting it

    I want to fly to London from Toronto with my family – seems only way to reduce fuel surcharges is to use a points card with bonus to cover most of those charges – like a capital one

    How would I apply this technique? Ideally I would like to fly to London and home from Rome

    Thanks

    • If you’re looking to fly on Lufthansa using Aeroplan, then you can fly Toronto-Frankfurt-London then Rome-FrankfurtToronto-Chicago/NYC which will reduce your surcharges by half. However if you’re not looking for first class, check for availability on the non-fuel surcharge airlines first.

  5. Does not seem like this can be booked through the aeroplan website using the multi-city tool?
    Have you been able to book this through the call center?

    Thanks.

  6. Does this still work? I believe this disappeared after the aeroplan 2014 Fall update. Are there any other tricks for reducing YQ on aeroplan in general?

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