For some, Lufthansa First Class is their aspirational goal. Using United miles, there is a (poorly kept) secret for how to get Lufthansa First Class seats: wait until the last week or even the last day!
Lufthansa only releases its first class availability to United right at the wire. For instance, I am sitting in the Lufthansa business lounge in Frankfurt right now, waiting to fly FRA-LHR-LAX on Lufthansa and United business class. (Flat bed here I come; I got three hours of sleep the last night in Frankfurt.)
I thought I would take a look online at the award availability for the Lufthansa direct flights from FRA-LAX. Here is the availability for today June 20:
Of course, since I already have a flight booked, I’d actually only have to pay the 17,500 miles difference between my business class redemption and this redemption plus the difference in taxes and fees (about $70) and a $75 change fee.
I value 17,500 and $145 way too highly to make this change, plus I don’t want to wait around until 2 PM and arrive three hours later than I’m scheduled to arrive. I’ve got a big softball game at 6:15 PM!
But for those of you who want Lufthansa First Class award space, this is how you get it. Today is the only day on the 335 day booking calendar with First Class saver space on a direct FRA-LAX flight.
How to exploit this knowledge is beyond me. I think the best plan, for the ultra-flexible, is to plan a vacation without the flights, then book the flights in the last week. You will incur the $75 fee, but at least you will avoid change fees.
The downsides are of course manifold. Beyond having no certainty you will have a flight, you probably can’t book Lufthansa first on the way back unless your itinerary is less than a week or so.
So for now, Lufthansa First Class with United miles is inconvenient and unusable for most of us. But if you are set on flying Lufthansa First Class, this is how you do it.