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?
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.
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.
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:
- American Express AeroPlus Gold Card – 30,000 Aeroplan miles after after $500 spend within the first three months (offer ends July 14, 2014)
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card – 25,000 Membership Rewards points after $500 spend within the first three months
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.