How to book Lufthansa first class with points and miles

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Germany’s flagship carrier — Lufthansa — has engineered a quintessential first-class experience: functional, consistent and comfortable, yet without the over-the-top opulence of some of its counterparts.

There’s no debating that Lufthansa first class is a pleasure to fly, but the ability to secure precious award seats can be difficult. However, even with this inconvenience, it is still worth the extra effort.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about booking Lufthansa first class with points and miles.

Where is Lufthansa first class offered?

02 May 2018, Germany, Frankfurt am Main: An Airbus A-380 of Lufthansa starts on the western runway of Frankfurt am Main's airport. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa (Photo by Boris Roessler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Lufthansa currently offers first-class services aboard three long-haul aircraft: the Boeing 747-800, the Airbus A340-600 and the Airbus A380. The airline expects to add a new first-class seat to the Airbus A350 as part of the highly anticipated Allegris rollout later this year.

Lufthansa operates a variety of these aircraft on routes between the U.S. and Germany:

  • Between Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and the following airports: Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Miami International Airport (MIA), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Between Munich Airport (MUC) and the following airports: Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LAX, MIA and EWR

Lufthansa also operates first class to select destinations in South America, Africa and Asia from Frankfurt and Munich.

What’s included with a first-class Lufthansa seat?


Lufthansa’s first-class cabin will be similar regardless of which aircraft you fly, as each aircraft type has eight seats.

Upon boarding, you can expect a variety of first-class staples: a plush seat with a generous 81 inches of pitch, inflight entertainment with a 17-inch display, Bose noise-canceling headphones, an amenity kit stocked with high-end toiletries, pajamas and slippers, turndown service, a caviar appetizer and a selection of top-notch wine and liquor.


Caviar is a signature part of the Lufthansa first-class experience, so much so that in 2016, the airline was responsible for about 5% of all caviar consumed globally.

One of the finest features of flying on a Lufthansa first-class ticket out of Frankfurt is access to the First Class Terminal. This is where Lufthansa separates itself from the pack — physically and figuratively.

The First Class Terminal has its own entrance and is accessible solely to those few travelers with a first-class ticket or to Lufthansa’s top-tier HON Circle elite members. After your “personal assistant” coordinates check-in, you can spend time relaxing in a variety of ways: by catching a nap in a daybed, taking a shower, enjoying a gourmet meal, chilling at the bar with a selection of over 130 different whiskies or unwinding in the cigar lounge.


In short, the carrier’s First Class Terminal provides no hassle, no lines and white-glove service at every turn.

After clearing immigration, you’ll be chauffeured across the tarmac in a Porsche or Mercedes directly to your plane. If you’re flying on Lufthansa’s flagship A380, you’ll be put in an elevator that goes directly to the upper deck, skipping the boarding gate entirely. This is truly first-class style.

How do I find Lufthansa award availability?


The trick to booking Lufthansa first class is finding award space. It sounds simple enough, yet it is, in a word, elusive. But if you understand the quirks of Lufthansa’s most cherished award space, snagging a seat for yourself may not be as tough as it seems.

The easiest way to book Lufthansa with points and miles is to use Miles & More, the loyalty program of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines. Like Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program, Lufthansa reserves more first-class seats for its members than members of partner airlines.

The issue is that Miles & More is not a transfer partner of any major credit card programs, so earning miles in this program is difficult. This program also charges large carrier-imposed surcharges, making the redemption less attractive.


Lufthansa does not open any first-class award seats to Star Alliance partner bookings until a maximum of 15 days before departure.

However, not all routes, nor all seats, will be released at that time. Lufthansa will likely release additional seats on more routes about a week before the flight. In other words, finding first-class award space can require constant monitoring for two weeks before your flight.

In the weeks before your desired flight, consider using Google Flights or ExpertFlyer to see how many paid first-class seats are available on each flight so you can determine how many seats may be released as awards at the last minute.

If there are zero seats available or only one seat is for sale as a cash fare, it’s unlikely there will be any first-class award seats released. If more than four first-class seats are still for sale, at least two will likely be made available to book with partner miles, though this may only be a day or two before departure.

The tool also has a handy “first-class flight finder” that will show you all the available seats with the dates and routes.


Once you know there is first-class award availability on a flight you want to book, you can decide which points and miles to use to book. You’ll need to decide quickly as other savvy travelers could snap up the seats before you get the chance.

As a member of Star Alliance, Lufthansa flights are bookable via a plethora of partner award programs when you’re ready to jump on an award flight. However, not all award charts are created equally.

Each partner has different rules that dictate how many miles and dollars any given flight route will cost. Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect with each of the major Star Alliance partner programs for flights between the U.S. and Germany. Remember, these amounts will change drastically for flights between other regions.

Avianca LifeMiles

Avianca LifeMiles will be your best friend or your worst enemy. Redemption rates are low, taxes are low and one-way tickets are allowed.

So, what could go wrong? Well, a lot.

Avianca’s customer service is notoriously bad, and its booking platform can be unreliable. Avianca’s call center is also unreliable; inconsistent information and disconnections are rather common.

If your award ticket works out, LifeMiles will be one of the best deals for Lufthansa first class, considering the fees and mileage rates. But if something goes sideways, don’t say you haven’t been warned.


United Airlines MileagePlus

  • Mileage required (one-way): 120,000 miles to Europe
  • Taxes and fees: Very low, only $5.60 for a flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt
  • Transfer partners: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy

United MileagePlus’ award rates are at the high end of the spectrum, but taxes and fees are very reasonable. Fortunately, United MileagePlus miles are some of the easiest to obtain.

Air Canada Aeroplan

  • Mileage required (one-way): 90,000 miles from the West Coast or 100,000 miles from the Midwest and East Coast
  • Taxes and fees: Reasonable, around $50 for a flight to Germany or less than $200 for a flight from Europe to the U.S.
  • Transfer partners: American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One miles and Marriott Bonvoy

Air Canada Aeroplan used to be one of the top options for booking Lufthansa first class due to the comparatively low redemption rate. However, increases to its award flights mean LifeMiles is a cheaper option.


Best way to earn points and miles for Lufthansa first class

As we mentioned, Lufthansa’s Miles & More program is not part of a transferable rewards program such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards or Capital One miles.

Therefore, you cannot simply transfer your hard-earned points and miles. However, you can book Lufthansa first class with all of the major transferable currencies by choosing the right transfer partner, such as Aeroplan, MileagePlus or LifeMiles.


Here are some of our favorite cards that all currently offer attractive welcome bonuses and will allow you to transfer to a partner airline in which you can book a Lufthansa first-class ticket:

Bottom line

Lufthansa’s first class is undoubtedly one of the finest ways to cross the Atlantic. It’s also fairly attainable using points and miles, relatively speaking, at least.

By understanding when Lufthansa releases award seats (starting within 15 days of departure, with more in the final few days) and knowing which Star Alliance partner programs will provide the best value, you may enjoy an elevated flight experience the next time you travel to Europe.