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German-owned Lufthansa has long offered one of the most sought-after first class flying experiences. It may not offer the glitz and glamour of competing airlines' first class experiences that include onboard showers, bedroom suites or bartenders, but it’s comfortable and predictable — and sometimes that trumps all.
That’s not to say you can’t expect red carpet treatment from the moment you check into your flight. Lufthansa offers a superb, almost flawless, first class product that is well worth the miles (and effort) it takes to book.
Read on for how to book Lufthansa first class and what to expect.
» Learn more: The best airline credit cards right now
5 ways to book Lufthansa first class tickets with points
As one of the most coveted first class cabins in the sky, it’s safe to say that booking Lufthansa first class with miles is elusive. Being on top of your game will help when it comes to snagging a first class seat when booking your trip.
1. Miles & More
Miles & More will be your ticket to the best award seat availability; however, other airline programs are worth considering for their lower award prices and fees.
Although the program doesn’t offer the lowest award prices out there, booking through Miles & More is your best bet for locking in a Lufthansa first class seat. The fact that Lufthansa releases first class award seats at a maximum of 15 days in advance to Star Alliance partners makes it incredibly difficult to book through partner programs.
However, when you use your Miles & More miles to book directly through the program, you gain access to first class seats up to 359 days before departure. This makes planning a trip and booking a first class flight on Lufthansa that much easier.
Unfortunately, booking through Miles & More does come with its fair share of drawbacks. First, you’ll have to pay fuel surcharges, which can range from $500-$800 on one-way flights from the U.S. to Europe. With Marriott Bonvoy being the only transfer partner, accruing enough miles to book a first class flight may be challenging for many U.S. travelers. Lastly, you’ll need sufficient miles in your account in order to search for award availability online.
When it comes to searching and booking award flights, using the Miles & More website is straightforward. You'll need to be logged in and have enough miles in your account for your award flight. Once you locate a flight that fits your travel preferences, book it online directly. Alternatively, you can call Lufthansa’s U.S. service center at 800-581-6400.
2. Asiana Club
For the absolute cheapest Lufthansa first class awards, you’ll have to book through Asiana Club. Although earning Asian Mileage Club miles may not come easy for U.S-based flyers, putting in the effort to do so will pay dividends with the miles saved. Their award chart is unbeatable in terms of award prices.
Of course, even with miles in your account, you're still at the mercy of Lufthansa releasing first class seats 15 days before departure. If things align, you could be booking a Lufthansa first class ticket from the U.S. to Europe for only 50,000 miles one-way. That’s significantly less than the cost of some other airline program options.
The drawback to booking through Asiana Club is that carrier surcharges will still be levied on your award ticket. Therefore, you can expect to pay $800-$1,000 in taxes and fees when booking a Lufthansa first class ticket using Asiana Club miles. That said, the cost in miles that you'll pay will remain unmatched by any other airline program.
» Learn more: Star Alliance award sweet spots and transfer partners
3. Avianca LifeMiles
Avianca LifeMiles offers competitive award rates and doesn’t impose surcharges on award tickets. However, the booking process may not be as smooth as you'd wish.
Transfer partners of Avianca include American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Capital One Miles and Marriott Bonvoy. This makes it easy to top up your account when you're ready to book. The program also frequently offers promotions that let you purchase miles at a relatively low cost.
The booking process involves calling Avianca's customer service center, which can be hit or miss. Be prepared to potentially receive incorrect information or have a call or two dropped before completing your booking. You’ll have to weigh the savings against the potential complexities to determine whether it makes sense for you. Alternatively, you can book online; however, there are reports of inaccurate award space showing on LifeMiles’ award engine.
Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Avianca LifeMiles at 1.2 cents each.
4. United MileagePlus
United’s MileagePlus program is a safe bet when it comes to booking Lufthansa first class since it’s relatively easy to earn miles. Although award prices are higher than with other programs, taxes and fees are low, and you won’t pay any carrier-imposed surcharges. A bonus is that you can quickly transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards® and Marriott Bonvoy into your United MileagePlus account.
You can easily book Lufthansa first class using your United miles online. All you need to do is sign in to your MileagePlus account and search for award travel. Once you've selected your travel dates, you can complete the booking process.
The most challenging part of this whole process will be tracking down available first class seats.
5. Air Canada Aeroplan
Redeeming Air Canada Aeroplan miles is another option for booking Lufthansa first class, and award prices are reasonable. Aeroplan has a distance-based award chart, so you can expect to pay between 90,000 and 130,000 miles for a one-way first class award for flights 8,000 miles or less.
If you need extra miles to complete a booking, your transfer options are from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles and Marriott Bonvoy.
Booking online is easy on Aeroplan’s website. You’ll just need to log in to your account and click on “Use Your Miles.” Once you select your travel dates, you can complete the entire booking process online.
Other options for booking Lufthansa first class include Star Alliance airlines such as ANA Mileage Club, Singapore KrisFlyer and Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus. Award prices with these programs are on the higher end of the spectrum, but it may make sense, depending on your situation.
What to expect on Lufthansa first class
Between the incredible lounges, spacious lie-flat seats and polished in-flight service, Lufthansa’s first class experience is tough to match. It’s difficult to capture the total experience until you fly it yourself, but here’s a general overview of what to expect from check-in to touchdown when you travel on Lufthansa first class.
One of the highlights of flying Lufthansa first class is the airline’s exclusive Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, Germany. This is the ultimate way to experience everything Lufthansa first class has to offer. Don't be surprised if you find yourself wishing for a flight delay just so you can enjoy the pre-departure amenities a little longer.
Lufthansa operates first class lounges in Frankfurt, Geneva, Munich, New York, Tokyo, Vienna and Zurich. You’ll also be able to access Star Alliance first class lounges in other airports worldwide.
If you depart from Frankfurt via Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal, you’re in luck. This is an entirely separate terminal that caters only to first class and top-tier elite passengers. The exceptional service starts the second you arrive at the airport, with a personal assistant and valet parking service. From here, you can relax — your personal assistant will take care of all the check-in formalities. Your assistant will then escort you to the lounge, and even assist you through security and immigration.
At just shy of 20,000 square feet, the lounge within the First Class Terminal is spacious and offers a long list of premium amenities to help keep you comfortable. Here are a few highlights that you can enjoy in the lounge:
Take a refreshing shower or soak in a tub.
Enjoy a gourmet meal in the Wining & Dining area.
Taste over 130 whiskeys at the bar.
Kick back in the cigar lounge.
Catch some rest on a daybed in the quiet room.
Get to work in an individual office unit.
Relax with a treatment at the First Class Spa.
When it’s time to board, you have the option to have your personal assistant escort you through immigration and be driven across the tarmac directly to your plane, compliments of Lufthansa’s exclusive limousine service.
If you arrive in Frankfurt, you can access the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge, where you can freshen up with a hot shower and enjoy a gourmet meal.
The moment you step into Lufthansa’s first class cabin, you’ll quickly notice it’s sleek and refined, but not overdone with any sort of glitz.
No matter the aircraft you fly, all Lufthansa first class cabins look and feel pretty much the same. Each features 180-degree, lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 seat configuration, giving each seat direct aisle access. For in-flight entertainment, each seat boasts a 17-inch display and Bose noise-canceling headphones. Other amenities include slippers and pajamas, an amenity kit with toiletries, and turndown service.
» Learn more: In-flight entertainment: The complete guide
Whether you prefer to catch a flick, get work done or sleep, the spacious seats fit the bill. Even the tallest travelers will find the two-meter-long (6 feet 5 inches) bed conducive for sleeping. Do note that since there is no closing door or even partial wall, Lufthansa's first class seats don’t provide the same privacy level as some other carriers. This may feel overly exposed to some, but it also makes the cabin feel extra roomy.
If you're seated in the middle row, you have the option to raise the privacy partition, or you can share the experience comfortably with your travel companion.
Food and beverage
The quality of catering offered on Lufthansa first class is hard to match. Meal service kicks off with an amuse-bouche and Lufthansa’s famous caviar service. Its signature red rose, white tablecloth and china gets you as close to fine dining as you’ll see on an airplane.
During meal service, you’ll work your way through multiple courses of your choice. As you’d expect, drink options are nothing short of high-end. You can choose from premium Champagne, a precisely curated selection of four white and four red wines from around the world, and premium spirits such as Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Beluga Noble Russian vodka.
The bottom line
There’s no doubt that flying Lufthansa first class is an unforgettable experience, especially if you have the pleasure of enjoying its dedicated First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. Booking Lufthansa first class takes some legwork, and taxes and fees can be steep on award tickets, but once you experience it, there's a good chance you’ll want to do it all over again.
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