Lufthansa First Class is among the world’s leading premium cabin experiences, with a peculiar set of rules and guidelines on how you can book through your preferred loyalty program.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about booking Lufthansa First Class using points, including the routes, availability, points required, and booking logistics.
Let’s begin with a closer look of the prize on offer…
The Lufthansa First Class Experience
In Lufthansa’s First Class cabin, you’ll get your own suite with a considerable degree of privacy, a 17” in-flight entertainment monitor, a dazzling selection of expensive wines and spirits, a consistently excellent onboard gastronomic experience including caviar, and one of the most comfortable beds in the sky.
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In addition, if you are departing or connecting in Frankfurt Airport, you have the opportunity to make use of the standalone Lufthansa First Class Terminal, where you can enjoy a relaxing bath with champagne on ice, a restaurant-quality dine-on-demand menu, and a well-stocked bar.
Furthermore, you’ll be personally driven to your departing flight in either a Porsche or a Mercedes-Benz, casting aside the usual grievances associated with air travel.
The First Class Terminal is part-and-parcel of the overall Lufthansa First Class experience, arguably surpassing even the onboard experience in terms of its sheer opulence. Be sure to leave at least a few hours’ time to enjoy it fully.
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If your journey begins or passes through Zurich, Switzerland on the same day as your flight, you can also visit the world-class Swiss First Lounge, where you’ll get to nap in your very own in-lounge hotel room before digging into world-class food and drink.
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Which Routes Offer Lufthansa First Class?
The first step to booking any sort of aspirational travel is to figure out your routing.
Keep in mind that their First Class routes used to be even more plentiful in the past, and a series of aircraft reconfigurations due to COVID-19 has reduced that number.
That’s why I’d recommend aiming to fly Lufthansa First sooner rather than later if you’re interested, since the trend is that there’s progressively fewer and fewer routes, and therefore award space, available.
The below maps indicate which of Lufthansa’s routes offer First Class as of March 2022. The airline used to offer First Class cabins on four aircraft types, but since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sole remaining Lufthansa aircraft to offer First Class are the Boeing 747-8 and the Airbus A340.
Furthermore, First Class was historically offered on flights based out of both Frankfurt and Munich. As of late March 2022, First Class routes will begin to resume ex-Munich on the Airbus A340, with the rest departing ex-Frankfurt on the Boeing 747-8 or Airbus A340.
Flights to/from Frankfurt
Out of Frankfurt, Lufthansa currently offers First Class service to the following destinations:
- North America: New York JFK, Newark, Washington Dulles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mexico City
- South America: São Paulo, and Buenos Aires
- Africa: Johannesburg
- Asia: New Delhi, Shanghai
Flights to/from Munich
Out of Munich, Lufthansa is scheduled to offer First Class service to New York JFK and Los Angeles as of May 2022.
The above maps show a significantly reduced number of Lufthansa First Class routes as compared to pre-pandemic levels.
It’s possible that Lufthansa will add more as the demand for travel restrictions ease and demand continues to increase, but for now, the greatest number of routes exist between Germany and North America.
Specifically, First Class routes to other Asian destinations (Bangalore, Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo), as well as to destinations in Africa (Lagos and Addis Ababa) and the Middle East (Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Kuwait, and Bahrain) have been curtailed.
Boston is the sole destination in the United States that has yet to see its First Class route restored.
Also, take note of the fact that the A340 operates exclusively on flights to and from Munich.
While some routes between Frankfurt and North America may also feature the A340, Lufthansa does not market these flights with First Class. Rather, passengers who book in business class may opt to pay for an upgrade to the First Class seat, at a cost of €450.
How Many Points Does Lufthansa First Class Cost?
How many points are required to fly Lufthansa First Class? The answer of course depends on which loyalty program you’re redeeming with.
For most Canadians, the program of choice will be Aeroplan, in which case a one-way North America to Europe redemption costs between 90,000–100,000 Aeroplan points.
Recall that Aeroplan rewards are subject to zone-based pricing on the Flight Reward Chart. The below chart shows the points required to fly between the North America and Atlantic zones.
The sole Lufthansa First Class route that falls within the first distance band is between New York and Frankfurt. An Aeroplan redemption from Newark or New York JFK costs 90,000 Aeroplan points.
All other North American destinations fall within the second distance band, meaning a Lufthansa First Class ticket on Aeroplan costs 100,000 Aeroplan points.
Departing from São Paulo, 11 hours and 30 minutes of First Class bliss will set you back 100,000 Aeroplan points.
Meanwhile, flying out of Buenos Aires will cost 130,000 Aeroplan points.
If just want to attain the Lufthansa First Class experience at the lowest cost, flying from Frankfurt to Delhi will achieve that goal for only 65,000 Aeroplan points.
Luckily, earning enough Aeroplan points for one of these flights isn’t terribly difficult to do. The quickest way to achieve this is by earning signup bonuses on credit cards that earn Aeroplan points directly or that transfer into the program. In some cases, a single welcome bonus will afford you enough points to fly Lufthansa First Class!
Outside of Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles offers a competitive redemption rate for Lufthansa First Class. For 87,000 LifeMiles, you can fly between North America and Europe (or vice versa). The cost is the same to depart from San Francisco as it is from New York.
In Canada, LifeMiles aren’t as easy to come by as are Aeroplan points. Earning LifeMiles is best accomplished by:
- Dabbling in the US credit card market, where LifeMiles are a transfer partner of Citi, Capital One, and American Express
- Transferring from Marriott Bonvoy at the ideal ratio of 60,000:25,000
- Buying LifeMiles during one of their numerous promotions
Asiana Airlines also has a mileage program, which requires only 50,000 miles to fly one-way between North America and Europe. To book Lufthansa First Class from or to North America, you must call the Asiana Airlines reservation centre.
Since Asiana Club is a transfer partner of Marriott Bonvoy, that means it only takes 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to book Lufthansa First Class, taking into account the 5,000-mile bonus when transferring in chunks of 60,000.
Note that Asiana is due to exit Star Alliance in the coming years due to their merger with Korean Air, so this sweet spot is set to expire in the relatively near future.
Lufthansa First Class Award Availability: 15 Days Before Departure
Airlines know that many people would love to fly First Class, and even more people would relish the opportunity to do so at little cost by redeeming their points. Therefore, they typically implement policies to make it very challenging to actually book First Class seats.
Lufthansa’s well-documented policy involves suppressing First Class partner availability until about 15 days before the day of departure. For any of their routes, you’ll only see award space (if any) if your flight is departing within the next 15 days.
Not all availability gets released exactly at T-15 either – it could be released at any point within the 15-day window. The best thing to do is to get yourself a flight alert service, like ExpertFlyer, so that you’ll be notified as soon as the award space drops.
Which routes have the best availability trends? Generally speaking, the more “coveted” a route is, the harder it is to find availability, although most routes will still have at least one or two seats trickle through over a given period.
So, finding multiple seats on a flight from the West Coast to Frankfurt may be more difficult to find than a flight from, say, Mexico City.
Among the US routes, availability seems to be better to destinations in the eastern half of the United States than to the West Coast hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
(Depending on the route and the existing passenger load in the eight-seat cabin, it’s indeed possible to see more than two – sometimes, up to five, six, or even all eight – First Class seats showing up as awards.)
Remember, flexibility is key. While availability may be tough to come by, if you can pick between flying on different dates and/or different airports, that vastly increases your chance of successfully locating an open award seat (or multiple seats) and putting your name on it.
Logistics of Booking Lufthansa First Class
Let’s wrap up by talking about a few of the finer logistics when it comes to securing your Lufthansa First Class booking.
Booking trips at the T-15 marker may be challenging for many travellers. That’s why a common workaround is to make an alternative booking first, and then change your flight to Lufthansa First Class once you locate the space.
For example, say you need a flight from Montreal to Istanbul, and you’d like to experience Lufthansa First Class. It might be worth the peace of mind to book an award on the direct Turkish Airlines flight first, to ensure that you have a ticket to get you to Istanbul no matter what.
Then, when the two-week booking window for Lufthansa First Class opens, you can search for flights departing from any of the airports on the US eastern seaboard, and change your itinerary once you find the space.
As of March 2022, Aeroplan continues to offer a flexible free change policy. After this policy ends, making a last-minute itinerary change would cost $100 per passenger (unless you’re an Aeroplan Super Elite member), which is a small price to pay for the privilege of flying Lufthansa First Class.
Meanwhile, if you’re trying to do a more advanced redemption – say, by transferring Marriott Bonvoy points to Asiana Club to book the flight for 50,000 Asiana Club miles – you have to be careful and take note of how long it takes for Bonvoy points to transfer to other programs.
With Asiana Club, it seems like the transfer process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so it’s up to you to decide whether you’re comfortable with the risks.
There’s the risk that your transfer takes too long and the availability gets picked up by someone else, as well as the risk that you transfer your points (which is irreversible), but you never manage to find availability.
Lastly, if you’d like to optimize your Lufthansa First Class itinerary, I’d recommend booking a westbound transatlantic flight rather than an eastbound one (i.e., from Europe to North America, rather than from North America to Europe).
That’s because eastbound flights tend to be overnight, which can limit your enjoyment of the overall experience. Even if you’re intent on staying up throughout the whole flight, the fully dark cabin may make that challenging.
On the other hand, westbound flights take place during the daytime, allowing you to easily indulge through the meal services, sip on champagne over the clouds, and get some light rest while maximizing your enjoyment.
Plus, be sure to leave yourself enough time to experience the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, which opens at 6am. This means that you might opt for a route with as late of a departure time as possible, so that you have ample time to indulge in the First Class Terminal before your flight.
When I first made the effort to fly Lufthansa First Class, I spent a good chunk of time studying everything about it prior to booking my flight. I can say with certainty that it was 100% worth the effort.
The German flag carrier blocks off their First Class award space until 15 days before departure, and often releases more seats even closer to departure.
This can make it challenging to plan a proper trip on Lufthansa First Class – but with a backup booking in place and a keen eye for award space during the T-15 window, you too can experience the glory of Lufthansa First Class and the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt for yourself.