Lufthansa First Class remains my favorite way to fly. Not only is it an aspirational experience, but also an easily reachable one.
Earlier this year I enjoyed an incredible flight in Garuda Indonesia First Class which was absolutely amazing onboard, but lacking on the ground. Air France and SWISS both offer remarkable first class products as well. But when price plus ground experience are factored in, Lufthansa still comes out on top.
Lufthansa First Class remains aspirational, yet is reachable without spending thousands of dollars of hundreds of thousands of points. In fact, Lufthansa First class is downright cheap if using the right currency.
40K Starwood Points = One-way Lufthansa First Class EU-US
Asiana Club is the loyalty program of Asiana Airlines and also a Starwood transfer partner. Although it is overdo for a devaluation, Asiana charges only 50,000 miles one-way for a first class ticket between the USA and Europe.
Starwood provides a 5,000 miles bonus for every 20,000 miles transferred, most on a 1:1 basis. That means a one-way first class ticket on Lufthansa booked with Asiana is only 40K Starwood points. That’s a incredible deal considering Aeroplan charges 70K one-way and United charges 110K one-way.
Several things to keep in mind, however:
- Transfers from Starwood are not instant (generally 3-4 days)
- Fuel surcharges are collected (~$400 each way)
- Bookings must be made over the phone (800-227-4262)
- Lufthansa (and all partner) tickets must be issued at least 72-hours in advance of travel
My friend John has been trying to use his Asiana miles to get to/from Europe in Lufthansa First Class for over a year, to no avail. While Lufthansa is good about opening up last-minute award space in first class as much as 14 days in advance, often it opens only a day or two before. With Asiana, that is too late.
So you really need to plan in advance and be flexible if you want to take advantage of this great deal with Asiana. First, your points have to be in the account before you know if space will open. Second, space must open more than three days prior to travel.
For west coast travelers, I find that increasingly difficult (especially since first class is no longer offered on the Frankfurt – Seattle route). But for midwest and east coast travelers, getting first class from New York or Washington a few days in advance is generally doable.
Lufthansa First Class remains attractive not just because it represents a great onboard product with great ground experience, but because it is relatively easily reachable with your miles. Use Asiana and you’ll pay less for first class then you will for business class on many carriers.