One of my favorite aspirational first class indulgences is a Lufthansa First Class flight, and it’s more attainable than you think. I truly enjoy the whole flying experience from start to finish… the caviar, the first class terminal and bubble bath (and the rubber duckies), private car transfer from the lounge to the plane… you know, the works.
There are several ways to book Lufthansa First Class awards using Star Alliance award programs, and redemption rates vary tremendously. For instance, United charges 110,000 miles one way from the US to Europe in Lufthansa First Class. While that is a high amount of miles to spend compared to other programs, a considerable plus side is that United does not charge any hefty fuel-surcharges that many of the other programs impose.
Still, I sometimes find it “worth it” to spend a bit more on taxes and fees if that means I’m saving a lot more points and miles for future redemptions.
Option 1: Fly Lufthansa First Class for 40,000 Points
In my opinion, a great way to book a Lufthansa First Class award for a reasonable amount of miles is with Asiana Airlines, which charges 50,000 miles each way between the US and Europe. You can get Asiana Club miles by transferring Starpoints, specifically by having the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and/or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
The best feature of using Starpoints is the 5,000 bonus airline miles you receive for every 20,000 points you transfer. With that being said, 40,000 Starpoints will get you 50,000 Asiana Club miles, which is enough for a one way ride between the US and Europe in Lufthansa First Class.
Keep in mind, Starpoint transfers into Asiana Club miles are not instant (takes 3-4 days to post), so it may be a good idea to have your Asiana loyalty account funded and ready to go if you have plans to fly in Lufthansa First Class in the near future.
Of course every program has its drawbacks to consider, too. With Asiana, some caveats include: having to make your booking over the phone during Asiana’s limited call center hours, you can only book award tickets with at least 72 hours prior to departure (which means you’ll have to stalk Lufthansa First Class availability like a hawk and be flexible, since Lufthansa only releases first class seats to Star Alliance partners within 14 days of departure to begin with). You’ll also be subject to high fuel surcharges (often $400-500 for US departures).
On the plus side, Asiana has pretty generous routing rules, and you’re essentially able to enjoy Lufthansa First Class for as low as 40,000 points.
Those who have the patience and flexibility to find the perfect award within a short window often find it “worth it” once presented with a generous portion of caviar… just saying.
Option 2: The Best Deal Out There
If you have a lot Starpoints (or Marriott) on hand already, there’s currently a few days left for a great transfer bonus promotion that is insanely lucrative. Until August 21, you can receive up to a 35% bonus when converting hotel points into Aeroplan miles. This is the highest Aeroplan transfer bonus to date.
Direct transfers from Membership Rewards points into Aeroplan do not generate a bonus, so a great way to take advantage of this promotion is by transferring Starwood or Marriott points into Aeroplan miles. While the transfer between Starpoints and Aeroplan miles are not instant, as long as the transfer is initiated by August 21, the bonus will post to your account (the terms state the bonus miles will post by the end of September).
The bonus also stacks with Starwood’s 5,000 mile bonus when transferring 20,000 points into airline miles. With the two bonuses, 20,000 Starpoints will generate 33,750 Aeroplan miles.
An even better redemption is redeeming for a Marriott nights and flights package. I had an incredible Marriott nights and flight redemption in Crete last year. Since 1 Starpoint = 3 Marriott Rewards points, it will only take you 90,000 Starpoints to generate 162,000 Aeroplan miles -and- 7 nights in a Marriott hotel (category 1-5). I can’t think of a better redemption of Starpoints at the moment than that.
Aeroplan only charges 70,000 Aeroplan miles each way for Lufthansa First Class between the US and Europe, so with 90,000 Starpoints, you’ll have enough for two tickets, plus 22,000 miles to spare.
I personally like Aeroplan because of it’s generous routing rules, the ability to book all Star Alliance partners conveniently online, no-close in ticketing fees or rules for last minute bookings, and a fantastic lap-child policy for traveling families. The only draw back are the high fuel-charges that are imposed on Lufthansa bookings ($400-$500).
At the moment, there are many ways you can book Lufthansa First Class awards at a great value. I’m about to call in my redemption for the Marriott nights & flights package so I can have 162,000 Aeroplan miles ready to go (and a 7-night hotel stay) for just 90,000 Starpoints.
What’s your favorite way to book a Lufthansa First Class award?