The Best Lufthansa Routes for Last Second Premium Award Space


Update July 1, 2014:

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  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
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Lufthansa loves to release last second award space in Business and First Class between North America and Europe.

I flew Lufthansa First Class in March from Frankfurt to Washington DC on a brand new 747-8, a seat which I booked just a week or two before departure.

After my Porsche ride from the First Class Terminal to the 747-8

I loved the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt and the flight itself. Lufthansa First Class is probably the top product between the United States and Europe.

Lufthansa award space can most easily be booked by Americans with three types of miles. Between the United States and Europe:

  • United charges 70k United miles each way in Lufthansa Business Class and 110k miles each way in Lufthansa First Class. A ton of credit cards earn United miles or Ultimate Rewards, which transfer 1:1 to United miles.
  • Avianca/TACA Lifemiles charges 52,500 Lifemiles each way in Lufthansa Business Class and 72,500 miles each way in Lufthansa First Class. You can often buy Lifemiles for 1.5 cents each during frequent 2 x 1 sales.
  • Lufthansa charges 52k Miles & More miles each way in Lufthansa Business Class and 85k miles each way in Lufthansa First Class. For a very limited time, you can earn 50k bonus Lufthansa miles after spending $5k on The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard.

Also keep in mind that:

  • United and Lifemiles do not collect fuel surcharges on Lufthansa flights. Miles & More does collect fuel surcharges on Lufthansa flights.
  • United and Lifemiles can only book Lufthansa First Class 15 days in advance while Miles & More members can book the award space 361 days in advance, so last second award space is less important to Miles & More members.

Lufthansa flies to 20 North American cities. I looked up award space for this week on several of these the other day.

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Newark
  • New York (JFK)
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington
  • Mexico City
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

Which routes have great last second premium cabin Lufthansa award space?

I searched 10 routes between North America and Frankfurt the morning of April 29. All searches are for one passenger, though on a lot of the dates, more than one award seat was available. Any blue or green day has at lease one Lufthansa Business Class or Lufthansa First Class seat.

Washington-Dulles to Frankfurt

This route had the best award space with 10 straight days of last second award space.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.24.25 AM

Some of the award space is on United’s own planes on the same route, but much of it is in premium cabins on Lufthansa’s flights.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.24.12 AM

New York-JFK and Newark to Frankfurt

New York and Newark had award space for the day I searched and the next day but nothing for the 15 days after that.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.25.26 AM

Some of the space was from JFK to Frankfurt in First Class on Lufthansa.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.24.59 AM

Chicago to Frankfurt

Chicago to Frankfurt had the second best last second award space, behind only Washington-Dulles to Frankfurt.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.25.52 AM

The Lufthansa flights had award space in both Business Class and First Class.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.25.44 AM

Seattle to Frankfurt

The first three routes had both United and Lufthansa flights and multiple flights each day. Seattle to Frankfurt has one daily Lufthansa flight and no United flights.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.28.08 AM

The flight had very good Business and First Class award space in the 15 days after I searched. This route is a gold mine.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.28.14 AM

Vancouver to Frankfurt

Everything I wrote about Seattle to Frankfurt applies equally to this route.Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.28.40 AM Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.28.46 AM

Dallas/Fort Worth to Frankfurt

I wanted to search some routes that are NOT Star Alliance hubs, but instead are hubs for American Airlines or Delta.

Dallas/Fort Worth will get very little connecting traffic from United flights to help fill Lufthansa’s planes, since it is an American Airlines hub.

Perhaps because of this, last second premium Lufthansa award space is a gold mine on the route.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.31.28 AM

Most of the space is in First Class.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.31.19 AM

Atlanta to Frankfurt

Atlanta will have very little United connecting traffic, since it is a Delta hub. Unfortunately premium Lufthansa award space isn’t as widely available as from Dallas.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.32.20 AM

Furthermore the route is operated by a two-cabin plane without First Class.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.32.13 AM

Denver to Frankfurt

Denver is a United hub, so it is easy to get to Denver to fly this route on the days with last second Lufthansa award space.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.33.05 AM

A lot of the premium award space is in Business Class.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.32.59 AM

Detroit to Frankfurt

Another Delta hub, but much better award space than from Atlanta.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.33.28 AM

Many of the days have award space in all three cabins.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.33.22 AM

Orlando to Frankfurt

There was award space the day I searched from Orlando to Frankfurt in Lufthansa First Class, but no other day for the rest of the month.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.35.01 AMScreen Shot 2014-04-29 at 2.34.55 AM

Bottom Line

Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver, Washington DC, and Chicago had the best last second premium award space between North America and Europe of the 10 cities I checked.

Washington DC and Chicago are United hubs, so it would be easy to add United domestic flights onto the Lufthansa flight on the same award for no extra miles.

Vancouver is an Air Canada hub, so adding Air Canada flights is an option.

If you don’t live in Dallas or Seattle, those are the toughest award seats to use, since there are very limited connecting flights on United.

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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  1. Last week I was lucky enough and got4 first class seats on our FRA-JFK we booked in January for a party of 4. They do not seem to release any more seats for the same flight at the moment, correct?
    We will actually be coming from LHR with BA, so do you think Lufthansa could pick us up from T2 where BA comes to? I know they would do it in case we flew with LH instead. Though, I may have 3 arguments I’d hope they would fall into. One, my wife has been pregnant for the last 6 months. Two, both of my parents who also fly with us are in their mid-sixties and last but not least, it is going to be my birthday 🙂

  2. Did you take the FRA airport tour ? I have a 4.5Hr layover and a lounge pass too. The TPG rented a Porsche for a day too there.
    Thanks Scott
    Cave dweller

  3. I want to fly one-way FC back from Frankfurt with my wife in late June. I have enough Miles and More points to get one FC ticket now, but I would have to get another ticket with either UR or MR points, which I guess usually requires waiting until 2 weeks prior to be able to book. I can fly into virtually anywhere in eastern US or midwest, as we have SW points and companion pass to then get us home to Nashville. I’m in a quandary and not sure what to do. Any suggestions? Worried about picking a flight now, buying one ticket, and then not being able to get the other FC ticket later on the same route.

  4. Any other way of racking up Miles & More other than the Barclay Card? I’m guessing my fiance and I will each get one, each get a biz class one-way, then the other one-way with United (or other UR partner), or AA. Or would we each be able to get 105k somehow?

  5. Did you spend united miles for this? Is there any way to use miles-and-more miles for Lufthansa flights from US to Europe without fuel surcharges? Maybe it’s possible to transfer them to united miles somehow?


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