Lufthansa Releasing First Class Awards In Advance!

Lufthansa Releasing First Class Awards In Advance!

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I’m still working on figuring out exactly how widespread this is, though in the meantime wanted to share what I know, so that OMAAT readers can hopefully snag some comfortable transatlantic award seats. Thanks to a reader for bringing this to my attention.

Lufthansa first class awards 15+ days in advance

Historically Lufthansa has only made first class award seats available to members of partner airline frequent flyer programs within 15 days of departure (meanwhile members of Lufthansa’s own Miles & More program had access to these seats further in advance, though with major fuel surcharges).

Well, for the time being it looks like Lufthansa first class award space is being made available to partner programs up to 30 days in advance. It remains to be seen if this change is permanent, temporary, or just an error, but in the meantime you might as well take advantage of the award space while you can.

Currently Lufthansa only offers first class on its Boeing 747-8 fleet. North American destinations include Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Mexico City (MEX), Miami (MIA), Newark (EWR), and San Francisco (SFO). Award availability seems best in advance between Frankfurt and Chicago, and as I dig deeper, it seems that a vast majority of the space in advance is in fact on that route.

Lufthansa’s 747-8s are the only planes with first class

This award space is bookable through most partner programs, including Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, and United MileagePlus. However, exact available award seats vary by program, so you’ll want to run a few searches.

Which frequent flyer program should you book through?

In general the best value is going to be through Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles:

  • Avianca LifeMiles charges 87,000 miles for a one-way first class award between North America and Europe; LifeMiles is transfer partners with Amex, Capital One, and Citi
  • Air Canada Aeroplan charges 100,000 miles for a one-way first class award between North America and Europe that covers a distance of up to 6,000 flown miles, and for 5,000 additional miles you can add a stopover; Aeroplan is transfer partners with Amex, Capital One, and Chase

I should mention that in theory booking through Asiana Club would also be a great value, as you’d pay just 50,000 miles one-way for first class between North America and Europe. The catch is that you’d be on the hook for fuel surcharges (~$244-800, depending on the direction you’re traveling in), and also that the only practical way to earn Asiana Club miles is through Marriott Bonvoy. I don’t consider this to be a particularly practical option for most.

Snag Lufthansa first class award seats in advance

Bottom line

Lufthansa seems to be releasing some first class award seats to members of partner frequent flyer programs more than 15 days in advance. Specifically, there seems to be the most availability between Chicago and Frankfurt, where we’re regularly seeing first class awards three to four weeks in advance.

Hopefully this is useful to some people who may be trying to finalize transatlantic travel over the coming weeks. If you notice any other trends, please do share them below!

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  1. Will

    It appears that all space has been pulled.... There are still plenty of open seats between ORD/MIA/IAH - FRA. MIA-FRA and ORD-FRA both showed space 8 days out from yesterday but everything appears gone now. Have you seen anything to suggest different or read anything as to why this has happened? I have been looking through Aeroplan and United.

  2. Joe

    Does anyone have any insight into the lack of star alliance availability on LifeMiles avianca? For example, this week for EWR to FRA there is TONS of availability on United, but every day on Lifemiles shows "not available"

  3. dogdogcatcat

    just booked CDG-FRA-EWR first weekend of september using aeroplan! expertflyer wasn't showing any space, but i checked anyway and it was there. couldn't believe it! i cross-checked, ua didn't show it but sq did, so i figured it was real. confirmed in seat 1k! go forth, everybody. (obviously it wasn't showing on lifemiles.)

  4. Future ex Senator

    Much easier trick than waste money on credit card points just buy cheapest economy ticket you can on long haul and then pay a mere 460eur for an upgrade in business. Just got screwed on LH to Almaty economy ticket 600 eur max upgrade one way 469 euro at gate 2x this roughly half full fare I paid.
    LH is completely disregard its loyal customers senator etc
    In addition they never repaid me...

    Much easier trick than waste money on credit card points just buy cheapest economy ticket you can on long haul and then pay a mere 460eur for an upgrade in business. Just got screwed on LH to Almaty economy ticket 600 eur max upgrade one way 469 euro at gate 2x this roughly half full fare I paid.
    LH is completely disregard its loyal customers senator etc
    In addition they never repaid me a ticket since 2020.
    A joke of an airline subsidized by European and German taxpayers
    Sad as I liked the product in first
    But now it is a free for all approach.
    Will be on another carrier next.

  5. laurent

    Lifemiles has almost no availability with Lufthansa or ANA whatsoever, let alone in First Class

  6. D3kingg

    I was tempted. FRA-ORD on Aug 31 or Sept 1 has seats in row 1 on the 748. There’s a TRYP in downtown Frankfurt for 47EUR and aero plan 100K plus $233. I’ll wait. Lufthansa First would be the flight of a lifetime. But It’s not like there won’t be new airline products in 2022 and 2023. Asia won’t be closed for ever.
    All i did at the height of the pandemic was fly domestic first in row 1 and 2 on the 77W with American I was like 6 for 6. I’ve quenched my thirst.

  7. Joe

    Has anyone found availability for EWR to FRA or FRA to EWR?
    I haven't seen anything during August or September in First Class

    1. Sosie

      Sure if the there is space available it will get available within the few days of the flight I was planning to fly this week and when I checked it was available on Sunday 7 seats monday 4

  8. Motion to Dismiss

    I actually noticed this a few weeks ago when I got an ExpertFlyer alert for F space on ORD-FRA for a date next week. I booked it as soon as I saw it! There were 6 F seats available for award bookings and given that it was weeks out, I assumed it was a glitch. Good to know this may be more widespread! I hope this sticks.

  9. jordan23

    just wish the flights back to the US didn't leave so early. Need more FCT time

    1. Mick

      Outlier, but I prefer the Munich first class lounge. Mostly in the situation that you have to trek outside to the fct. I like the deck in Munich.

  10. Mick

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen lh biz (and maybe first) available for greater than 14 days from ord for a while. Maybe even pre pandemic.

    1. Sosie

      Business they always had in advance it's only first that wasn't available

    2. Mick

      Thanks! It’s been a while lol.

  11. Thomas DC

    I don't see much availability overall but I do see 3 seats First class 87,000 + $158/each on September 1 via LifeMiles. Better than nothing -- thank you, Ben for pointing this out.

    This availability IS visible on ExpertFlyer. However, it's pretty easy to search quickly on LifeMiles as well, as you can scan dates and if there is First availability, that column will pop up and if there's none, the column will not be there.

    1. jordan23

      Don't trust it as I have seen no availability when displaying a weeks worth but availability showing when changing to specific date

  12. Brad C

    Any idea when the First Class Terminal will reopen?

    I don't think it's worth spending the miles on first class from Europe to US until it does.

    1. Paul

      Agreed. Any timeline news on when Lufthansa First Class Terminal will open?

    2. Florian

      When Joe decides to open up US borders. But - plot twist - maybe Joe is actually waiting for Carsten to open up the FCT first...? :D

    3. Jakob

      September 1st! According to Lufthansa_FCT on Twitter

  13. duren

    News announced the day after the Lifemiles promo ends !

  14. jfhscott

    This is of no use for Endre, as he pays for first.

    1. dave

      Haven't you heard? Endre no longer flies with the commoners who scratch and scrimp to get enough miles to fly first class for once in their pathetic lives, He simply found the experience dreadful and bought his own jet.

  15. patrick

    What is know about how much each of the programs charge for fuel?
    Thanks

  16. DZ

    They also fly FRA-SFO. I just booked two seats. The availability showed up 16 days out. Strangely it did not show up on United. I first saw it on Aeroplan then confirmed through Singapore Air.

    1. Brian

      I must be doing it wrong, but I can’t seem to find any availability through United at all. The First saver award doesn’t ever show up via ORD or EWR.
      I’ll be heading back from Europe on 8/20 and have Polaris booked, but was really trying to get An LH First flight.

      Anyone have a suggestion on how to make it happen?

    2. Ben's reader

      May I know the rate in Singapore miles and fees? Thanks

  17. DavidO

    @Lucky, Expertflyer is showing the 748 flying FRA-SFO as well. Not sure when it started but I think as of a few days ago.

    1. Greg

      Started 7/31 was on the first flight SFO-FRA - snagged 2 seats few days prior

      UNITED avail still wonky vs Aeroplan and even Lifemiles

    2. Greg

      Also no sparkling Rose on SFO-FRA

      Starters were served on the larger biz class starter plates maybe a first day hiccup

  18. Izz

    This is awesome, thanks for posting this Ben!

    One question, wouldn't it be best to book through Asiana though? They charge only 50,000 miles for F each way, and you can transfer Bonvoy there. 120,000 Bonvoy = 50,000 Asiana. But they do charge fuel surcharges. I am not sure how much the charges are, so not sure which is the best route.

    1. Kair

      Asiana fuel surcharge for that route in F is substantial. $1000 range for a round trip I believe.

  19. Mike

    Ngl, I’ve noticed this for about a month. Random dates leaving ORD 3-4 weeks in advance of a given departure date.

Featured Comments Load all 33 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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jfhscott

This is of no use for Endre, as he pays for first.

Brad C

Any idea when the First Class Terminal will reopen? I don't think it's worth spending the miles on first class from Europe to US until it does.

dave

Haven't you heard? Endre no longer flies with the commoners who scratch and scrimp to get enough miles to fly first class for once in their pathetic lives, He simply found the experience dreadful and bought his own jet.

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