Imagine taking off to Europe in a spacious ergonomic seat in Lufthansa first class, indulging in signature caviar service and some top-shelf spirits before your gourmet meal, then watching a flight attendant transform your seat into a two-meter-long fully flat bed where you’ll sleep peacefully under a temperature-regulating duvet for the rest of your flight.
Now imagine paying $16,000 for it.
There’s a reason most of us don’t fly first class, and it’s not because we prefer the legroom, service and food in the back of the plane.
But with some airline miles and a good deal of luck, an otherwise cost-prohibitive flight in Lufthansa’s first class cabin could be in reach. Here’s everything you need to know about scoring a first class seat on Lufthansa.
What to expect flying first class with Lufthansa
The Lufthansa first class experience varies a little from plane to plane and from airport to airport.
For example, your first class seat on a Lufthansa 747 from the West Coast to Frankfurt, Germany, comes with a personal, lockable wardrobe at the front of the plane for your extra carry-on items. If you’re on Lufthansa’s Airbus 380, you’ll have access to a luxurious first class restroom with a changing and washing area separate from the toilet area.
But regardless of which type of plane you’re on, you’ll enjoy luxuries and comforts that make your flight a pleasure.
Seats. Read any Lufthansa first class review and you’ll see that the seats are a big part of the Lufthansa first class experience. The ergonomically designed seating in your open suite stretches over 80 inches long and 30 inches wide. The headrest, seat back and ottoman are all fully adjustable, and the carefully designed lighting includes a reading lamp, mood-setting night light and electronically adjustable window blinds.
Baggage. First class passengers get three checked bags and two carry-ons included with their ticket.
Lounges. Lufthansa has its own first class lounges and facilities at a number of airports, including Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Geneva, Vienna, New York-JFK and Tokyo-Narita. At the Frankfurt and Munich airports, the lounge experience is simply over the top; in Munich, for example, you can enjoy perks like relaxation rooms with daybeds, showers and a hot tub. What’s more, Frankfurt has a whole terminal just for first-class passengers.
Personal airport assistant. If you’re flying first class out of Frankfurt airport, you can drive right up to the airport entrance to find a personal assistant waiting to escort you through check-in and security while a valet takes care of your car. Other airports served by Lufthansa also have personal assistants to smooth the journey to the gate.
Dining. Like most major airlines, Lufthansa offers first class passengers a high-end culinary experience with sommelier-selected wines. Lufthansa also offers two extras hard to find elsewhere: signature caviar service and the ability to choose when you want your meal served.
How to book a first class ticket on Lufthansa
Because Lufthansa is a member of Star Alliance, you can book its first class through Lufthansa itself or one of its airline partners. Popular partners for booking Lufthansa are:
If you have miles in Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program, Miles & More, you can redeem 182,000 of them for a round-trip first class flight between the U.S. and Europe. But there’s a catch: Unlike a lot of frequent flyer programs that let you trade American Express points, Chase Ultimate Rewards® points or some other rewards currency for their miles, Lufthansa miles can’t be amassed by converting points from other major travel rewards programs.
Travel with a partner and designate Lufthansa miles as the currency you want to earn.
However, Lufthansa miles aren’t the only currency that can be redeemed for a first class seat on Lufthansa. If you have United MileagePlus miles, Air Canada Aeroplan miles or another partner airline currency, you can book first class Lufthansa award flights directly through the partner airline.
United MileagePlus members, for example, can book seats in Lufthansa first class directly through united.com. The cost starts at 110,000 MileagePlus miles each way and goes up based on season and demand.
But here, too, there’s a catch. Lufthansa doesn’t open up first class seats for partner award bookings until 15 days before departure. So if you want to use miles from United, Air Canada or another Star Alliance partner to book a Lufthansa first class ticket, you have to wait till just 15 days before your departure, hope they open up seats on a flight you want, then hope you grab them before someone else scoops them up — potentially in a matter of minutes.
Business class seats on Lufthansa open up much sooner for travelers using miles of partner airlines. You can usually find these business class partner awards months in advance. So if you can’t roll with the uncertainty of trying to book a first class award on Lufthansa using partner airline miles, business class may be your best bet.
Ways to get good value booking Lufthansa first class
Lufthansa doesn’t make it easy to get value out of its first class awards, but there are a few strategies you can use.
Collect Lufthansa’s own mileage currency
If you pay with Miles & More miles, you can find first class award seats almost a year before departure. If you pay with the miles from a partner airline, like United, you have to wait till 15 days before departure to even see if there’s a first class award flight. If not, or if someone else grabs it, you’re left high and dry just days before you’d hoped to begin your trip.
Learn about Lufthansa’s partners so you know all the ways you can earn miles. This includes not just flying partner airlines but also renting cars with partner rental agencies, staying at partner hotels and shopping with partner merchants.
If the only time you’re willing to travel is peak summer travel season and the only time you’re willing to depart is a weekend, you’ll have a harder time finding first class Lufthansa seats you can book with your miles. Search for flights on, before and after your ideal travel times so you can see options that could save you miles or money.
Arrive early to enjoy the lounge
Depending on which airport your flight departs from, you’ll have access to either a Lufthansa lounge or one of 900 partner lounges. Though some are better than others, they’re all worth spending some extra time in to enjoy a drink or a meal, indulge in luxuries like a shower or spa service or just stretch out and relax before your flight.
If you fly Lufthansa first class
Lufthansa’s first class cabins offer some of the most memorable travel experiences in the sky. To avoid breaking the bank, you can book with miles of either Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program, Miles & More, or one of its partners, like United Airlines or Avianca. But those partner bookings are much harder to come by because the first class seats usually don’t open up till about 15 days in advance.
Instead, collect miles directly in Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program by flying Lufthansa or partner airlines, signing up for a credit card and choosing to earn Lufthansa miles on hotel stays and car rentals.
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