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Answers (6)

starting with miles, family bonding, LH, and LAX BERLIN

starting with miles, family bonding, LH, and LAX BERLIN

  1. zoechow

    Dear Lucky and everyone,

    Everything about miles is new to me, but I’ve started learning. In part, I realized that I am flying more and more for work. In part because, sometimes bringing my family with me, I realized that the topic of miles and premium flying seems of great interest to my son (13), and a real potential bonding activity for us, and I want to take every chance I can find to bond over common hobbies and activities before he’s grown.

    I started getting up to speed with some questions at FT, but I’m left with harder questions and no answers there. The plurality of my miles will come with 1, maybe increasing to 2, trips from Los Angeles to Europe per year. Usual destination is Germany, and mostly Berlin more specifically. I have tended to fly LH. My memories of stopovers on the way back in NYC, and flying Domestic Airlines are such that I prefer not to do that anymore. But I’ve never flown premium anything, save one trip not in Prem Econ on LH on an A380 (nice, and worth the $299 upgrade I paid). I have only just joined a bunch of programs. I’m almost done with the spend for all the bonus from a new LH Miles and More card; next up is the new Chase and hopefully those 100,000 miles.

    My goals are, first, the bonding over planning premium travel with my son, and second to make the flying I am already doing more comfortable (not necessarily cheaper too, although I’d take that for sure.) I generally buy economy tickets and can get mine (but not my son’s) reiumbursed through the work I do while travelling.

    Problems: I don’t really see how I can hope to pull this off, neither as award travelling in business (let alone first), nor as the award upgrade I would want from econ to business (let alone first).

    Award flights: I don’t see how my soon to be 60,000 LH miles will get me there close with LH. Premium tickets seem cost a lot of miles *and* a huge amount of dollar charges too. I looked into Lifemiles, but availability seems basically nothing. (sometimes it offers an econ ticket to Europe and the a nearly worthless “business” connection within Europe).

    Miles Upgrades: I guess my first plan was to buy economy for both of us, and use miles to upgrade to business. But as I get a sense of fare classes, and how to search for them on ITA Matrix, I am starting to doubt that there is any worthwhile way to collect miles for use in upgrading to business on LH (or any airline with good service LAX Berlin?). Upgrades with miles to Premium Econ. on LH seem to require fare classes (H, M, Q, S, U, V, W), and the cheapest I see of these (S) is very nearly the cost of a Premium Economy ticket (and greater than I have paid for Econ + cash upgrade). The mileage calculator reports on upgrades to business and only specifies vaguely the fare classes “(e.g. M H)”. But I am assuming that the same problem applies here.

    Finally, paying cash for upgrades seems possible with a broader range of fare classes, and possibly worth it for the 299 Euro jump to Premium Economy. My sense is that the resulting Premium fare class is N and not eligible for further miles upgrade to business?

    As far as using miles in other programs, rather than miles and more, it seems that LH does not release much space to other programs until right before travel, and with the family and my son’s school and my work we probably need to plan in advance.

    Are there any possibilities here of using miles of any kind (I’m starting with Miles and More, but could branch out) to upgrade from Econ to Business?

    (Note: I don’t think I fly enough to get status anywhere; maybe in a year an average of one trip from LA to the east coast North America, one to the Midwest, one in the West, and one to Europe, and another flight then within Europe.)

    Any advice on any of this appreciated! Is the dream of business class to Europe with my son doomed?

    thanks in advance!
    zc

  2. MidSouthSkier

    Welcome [USER=2303]@zoechow[/USER] – sounds like you’ve done a good bit of research and that’s great.

    So here’s the thing with LH, as you’ve noticed: if you want to get premium cabin award space in advance (more than ~2 weeks ahead) you need M&M miles to do that AND they have those nasty fuel surcharges. Perhaps [USER=7]@Tiffany[/USER] can speak to whether or not using LH miles for upgrading is a good idea or not but I suspect it may be the best way to lock down seats in advance.

    Another option is to check for space from other airports. I understand you’re not a fan of flying to the east coast domestically to catch the international connection but are you willing to fly north or to the middle of the continent to connect?

    LH flies from Munich to Chicago & Denver and from Frankfurt they fly to a whole host of cities: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver

    West coast flights to Europe in premium cabins are, in general, not terribly plentiful because everyone wants them! I have an LA-based friend that I give a hard time when she complains about connections that now she sees what those of us in mid-size cities deal with every time.

    I’m hoping that others can chime in here as I’m not familiar with upgrading paid fares.

    But the good thing about your M&M credit card is that your LH miles will not expire as long as you own the card. Otherwise, your miles would expire after 3 years unless you had status with LH.

  3. Gaurav

    Just don’t forget to put a charge on the card every month!

  4. zoechow

    [QUOTE=”MidSouth Skier, post: 20779, member: 184″]Welcome [USER=2303]@zoechow[/USER] – sounds like you’ve done a good bit of research and that’s great.

    So here’s the thing with LH, as you’ve noticed: if you want to get premium cabin award space in advance (more than ~2 weeks ahead) you need M&M miles to do that AND they have those nasty fuel surcharges. Perhaps [USER=7]@Tiffany[/USER] can speak to whether or not using LH miles for upgrading is a good idea or not but I suspect it may be the best way to lock down seats in advance.

    Another option is to check for space from other airports. I understand you’re not a fan of flying to the east coast domestically to catch the international connection but are you willing to fly north or to the middle of the continent to connect?

    LH flies from Munich to Chicago & Denver and from Frankfurt they fly to a whole host of cities: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver

    West coast flights to Europe in premium cabins are, in general, not terribly plentiful because everyone wants them! I have an LA-based friend that I give a hard time when she complains about connections that now she sees what those of us in mid-size cities deal with every time.

    I’m hoping that others can chime in here as I’m not familiar with upgrading paid fares.

    But the good thing about your M&M credit card is that your LH miles will not expire as long as you own the card. Otherwise, your miles would expire after 3 years unless you had status with LH.[/QUOTE]
    Thanks, this is helpful. And it is nice to know I’m on the right tracks in research.

  5. zoechow

    [QUOTE=”Gaurav, post: 20788, member: 79″]Just don’t forget to put a charge on the card every month![/QUOTE]
    Wait, this is something I didn’t know: you need a charge a month to retain the miles?

  6. Gaurav

    [USER=2303]@zoechow[/USER], yes that is the case. See: [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2014/10/17/lufthansa-miles-expire/[/URL]

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