Air Canada vs. Lufthansa

Air Canada outpaces Lufthansa on a number of fronts, including ease of earning and redeeming points.
Josh Garber
By Josh Garber 
Updated
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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For those looking to travel internationally, there is no shortage of options. Whether you are looking to visit our neighbors to the north or take a European excursion, there is likely to be an airline for you.

Among your many options are two major players: Air Canada and Lufthansa. Both airlines are members of the Star Alliance with large domestic and international footprints. But which one is right for you, and are they worth booking for your next trip? 

Here we’ll compare the two airlines, including their loyalty programs, credit card options and flight offerings to help you make the decision.

Where they’re based and where they fly

Winner for most options: Lufthansa

Air Canada hubs

Air Canada’s hubs can be found in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. From these hubs, Air Canada flies to 51 Canadian airports, 51 U.S. airports, and flies to over 75 airports internationally, with key destinations including:

  • Los Angeles.

  • Miami.

  • Geneva.

  • Sydney.

  • Hong Kong.

Lufthansa 

One of the largest airlines in Europe, the German flag carrier Lufthansa has hubs in:

  • Berlin.

  • Dusseldorf.

  • Frankfurt.

  • Munich.

  • Vienna.

  • Zurich.

Lufthansa flies to more than 230 destinations in 77 countries, with key destinations including:

  • New York City.

  • Cape Town.

  • Rome.

  • San Francisco.

  • Tokyo.

Travel credit card availability

Winner for most valuable airline credit card: Air Canada

Air Canada credit cards

The Aeroplan® Credit Card (Annual fee: $95).

Welcome bonus: Earn 70,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Earning rates:

  • 3x points at grocery stores, restaurants and on Air Canada purchases.

  • 1x points on all other eligible purchases.

Other benefits:

  • Free first checked bag for up to nine people traveling on the same reservation on Air Canada flights.

  • Access to preferred pricing on flight rewards.

  • Aeroplan points will not expire so long as you are cardholder.

  • Travel insurance coverage.

Terms apply.

Lufthansa credit cards

The Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card (Annual fee: $59).

Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 award miles if you spend $3,000 in purchases and pay the annual fee, both within the first 90 days.

Earning rates:

  • 2x miles on ticket purchases made directly with Miles & More integrated airlines.

  • 1x miles on all other eligible purchases.

Other benefits:

  • Two complimentary Lufthansa business lounge vouchers annually.

  • An annual companion ticket after each account anniversary.

  • No foreign transaction fees.

Airline loyalty programs

Winner for ease of miles: Air Canada

Aeroplan

You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express and Capital One points to Air Canada’s Aeroplan loyalty program, making it easier to earn Aeroplan points to use for reward bookings. Additionally, Aeroplan makes it easy to search for award flights on its website and app, so you can review potential flights before transferring points to Aeroplan or making big purchases on your card to earn enough points for a specific trip.

When it comes to earning points, if you have Aeroplan elite status, you can select a benefit where you earn additional Aeroplan miles based on your elite status level:

Elite Statues Level

Extra Aeroplan miles

25k

25%.

35k

35%.

50k

50%.

75k

75%.

Super Elite

100%.

Miles & More

In order to book an award flight with Lufthansa, you’ll need to have earned at least 3,000 award miles, which makes it difficult to check for speculative bookings. Additionally, Lufthansa does not currently have a credit card, airline or hotel transfer partner. This means you’ll either need to fly Lufthansa or a partner airline, or have a Miles & More credit card to earn award miles. 

If you have Lufthansa elite status, you can earn additional Miles & More award miles based on your elite status level:

Elite Statues Level

Extra Miles & More award miles

Frequent Traveler

Up to 50%.

Senator

Up to 50%.

HON Circle Member

Up to 50%.

Fare classes

Winner for most fare class options: Air Canada 

Air Canada

Depending on route and specific flight, Air Canada offers a number of different fare classes to flyers. Below are some of the fare classes that may be offered on your Air Canada flight and some basic information about them:

Economy fares:

  • Basic. Not refundable, no future travel credits and no changes permitted.

  • Standard. Not refundable, though changes are allowed for $100 CAD ($74).

  • Flex. Not refundable, but you can rebook the flight for the fare difference only.

  • Comfort. Refundable and can rebook flights for the fare difference only.

  • Latitude. Refundable and can rebook the flight for the fare difference only.

Premium economy and business fares:

  • Lowest. Not refundable, though changes are allowed for $100 CAD ($74).

  • Flexible. Refundable and can rebook the flight for the fare difference only.

Lufthansa

Similar to Air Canada, Lufthansa offers a number of different fare classes to flyers depending on the route and specific flight. Below are some of the fare classes that may be offered your Lufthansa flight and some basic information about them:

  • Economy Light. Not refundable and can rebook for a fee.

  • Economy Classic. Not refundable and can rebook for a fee.

  • Economy Flex. Refundable for a fee and can rebook for the fare difference only.

Premium economy and business fares:

  • Saver/Basic. Not refundable and can rebook for a fee.

  • Flex. Refundable and can rebook for the fare difference only.

First class fares:

  • Basic Plus. Refundable (except for $750 of the fare) and can rebook for the fare difference only. 

Are Air Canada and Lufthansa partners?

Air Canada and Lufthansa are both part of the Star Alliance, making them partner airlines. This means that you can book Air Canada flights using Lufthansa’s Miles & More program and you can book Lufthansa flights using Air Canada’s Aeroplan program. 

Being partners, it also means that you can earn Aeroplan miles by flying on Lufthansa and that you can earn Miles & More miles by flying Air Canada.

Can you transfer miles between Air Canada and Lufthansa?

Although Air Canada and Lufthansa are partners, you cannot transfer miles between Air Canada and Lufthansa. 

Is Air Canada or Lufthansa better?

Whether Air Canada or Lufthansa is better for you depends on a number of factors, including where you’re based and where you travel to, but overall, Air Canada has a super loyalty program (made better by ease of earning and redeeming points), and better credit card and fare class options, giving Air Canada a slight edge over Lufthansa.

All information about the Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Cardis no longer available through NerdWallet.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

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5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

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Points

Intro offer

75,000

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5%-5%

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Cashback

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Up to $300

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
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