Anatomy of an Award: Booking Incredible Singapore Business Class to Europe with Lufthansa Miles

Update 3/14/14: The 50k mile offer is dead. All links in this post go to the following offer:

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Annual Complimentary Companion Ticket after first purchase, then annually thereafter
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

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I just (almost) booked myself an award from Moscow, Russia to Greensboro, NC with 13 hours in Singapore Business Class for 52k Lufthansa miles + $240.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 2.32.36 PM

The 50,000 mile sign up bonus on The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard ends December 15, 2013. I want to give another example of a great way to use the sign up bonus for the many people who’ve emailed me to tell me they’ve gotten the card.

I’ve already discussed:

This Anatomy of an Award will illustrate:

  • How to book a ticket with Lufthansa Miles & More miles
  • How to search for Singapore Business Class bed award space
  • How to add on segments within the US (and the solution to the problem you face with adding domestic space)

Why Singapore Business Class?

Next March, I’ll be in Europe, looking for a way to Greensboro, NC. I was hoping to return in Lufthansa First Class to enjoy the First Class Terminal and finish off my dream trip with Singapore Suites, Cathay Pacific First Class, and Lufthansa First Class.

Plan A: Cathay Pacific First JFK-HKG-SIN, Singapore Suites SIN-LHR, Lufthansa First FRA-ORD

Plan A: Cathay Pacific First JFK-HKG-SIN, Singapore Suites SIN-LHR, Lufthansa First FRA-ORD

But the United devaluation kicks in right before I want to book Lufthansa First Class, which will go from 67.5k miles one way to 110k.

Happily I was lucky enough to hop on the glitch two weeks ago when Lufthansa First Class award space was bookable with United throughout 2014, so I’ll be visiting the First Class Terminal next September.

That means that flying Lufthansa First Class is no longer a priority for me in March. Instead, I looked at the other great options to fly from Europe to the US. One that immediately jumped out at me is Singapore Business Class. Singapore flies from Frankfurt to New York as part of a flight from Singapore to Frankfurt to New York and from Moscow to Houston as part of a flight from Singapore to Moscow to Houston.

Plan B from Europe to the US is Singapore Business Class

Plan B from Europe to the US is Singapore Business Class

Singapore Business Class caught my eye because the fully flat beds look more like a First Class product to me, and I would expect the service and food to be above US-based airlines’ first class standards.

Seriously, check out this video of Singapore Business Class.

Searching for Award Space

Moscow to Houston was my top choice. The route is longer than Frankfurt to New York, flies from Russia where I’ve never been but am eager to go, and goes to Houston where I have friends.

I searched for Moscow to Houston on singaporeair.com. I was planning to use Lufthansa miles to book the award, so I would eventually book with Lufthansa, but where you search and where you book are often separate place. (For instance, I search Cathay Pacific space on ba.com then by calling American Airlines.)

Searching at singaporeair.com is easy. After signing in, check “Redeem award flight(s)”, type in your cities, dates, and cabins. Do not check “Pay with KrisFlyer miles” which is actually a scheme where you get a fixed value for your KrisFlyer miles.

Moscow to Houston runs five days a week, and I found excellent award space. Lufthansa has access to all Business Class Saver award space, so I was looking for an “Available” in that column. Ignore the Standard and Full columns. Also ignore the mileage price listed. Lufthansa’s price in miles is determined by Lufthansa’s own award chart.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 3.04.02 PMThe date I wanted had Saver award space, so I noted its date and flight number and moved on to finding the connecting flights from Houston to Greensboro. Lufthansa has access to Saver award space on United and US Airways, so I went to united.com to search for the domestic legs.

I decided to spend the evening in Houston to catch up with friends and take off the next morning to get to Greensboro in time to see the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Spending the night in Houston is allowed for no extra miles as long as I take off within 24 hours of landing.

Searching for award flights the next day, I found excellent award space in United economy and US Airways First Class. The latter would of course be more comfortable and involve a shorter trip via Charlotte or Washington-National.

Unfortunately as I’ve mentioned a few times, US Airways First Class space codes as three-cabin First Class space on Lufthansa awards. United’s domestic First Class space codes as Business Class space on Lufthansa awards.

That means that adding US Airways First Class space would cause the award to price at the First Class Europe-USA price of 85k miles one way instead of the Business Class price of 52k miles one way. I certainly wouldn’t blow an extra 33k Lufthansa miles to upgrade two short flights to US Airways First Class.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 1.21.32 PM

Not worth 33k extra miles

Not finding a United First Class itinerary with Saver space, I noted the best economy itinerary from either airline, which happened to be on US Airways.

Booking the Award

Booking an award with Lufthansa miles is very easy. I dialed 800-581-6400 and waited on hold a few minutes.

When I was connected, I fed the agent the three segments I had found online–one in Singapore Business Class and two in US Airways economy.

She pieced them together and quoted me a price of 52k Lufthansa miles and $240.20. This includes a fuel surcharge of about $200, exactly what Singapore would collect if you booked the Moscow to Houston flight with KrisFlyer miles.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 2.34.50 PM

The Singapore Price (174 eur is $235. The other $5 is the taxes on IAH-CLT-GSO.)

The 52k miles price is straight off the Lufthansa chart with one quirk: the price should be 52,500 miles, but Lufthansa rounds down to the nearest thousand miles. This chart shows the roundtrip prices with Lufthansa miles.


I was about to give my credit card, and I chickened out. I’m not 100% sold on Russia in early March, especially since I need to get a visa. Should I book the ticket?

Getting the Miles

The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard currently offers 50,000 bonus Miles & More miles after spending $5k in the first three months. This offer will end December 15, 2013. The standard offer is only 20k bonus miles.

  • Earn up to 35,000 award miles with qualifying transactions
  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Companion Ticket after first purchase, then annually thereafter
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

———————————————

Application Link: The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard®

Any questions about booking Singapore Business Class with Lufthansa miles or booking with Lufthansa miles in general? What’s your favorite use of Lufthansa miles? Should I book this trip and visit Russia?



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26 Responses to Anatomy of an Award: Booking Incredible Singapore Business Class to Europe with Lufthansa Miles

  1. Is LH the only *A member that SQ opens up their long-haul J product to?

    • TACA/Avianca LifeMiles can get it.

      • If SIN-SYD on a SQ 777-200 is considered “long haul”, I was able to book an award thru United’s site. I thought it was only Suites awards that are not allowed unless using KrisFlyer points?

        I’m still learning fare codes, mine is listed as “I”. Shouldn’t it be “O” for a Business award?

  2. Great Post. I love learning about the smaller programs. I am investigating booking a flight from BCN – JFK. Would I be able to combine a star alliance flight from Barcelona to FRA in a booking in a Singapore Suite from FRA – JFk? If so, what’s the best way to book? Dos it have to be two separate rewards?

  3. Scott,

    Book it!

    Yes, it might be cold, but pack a nice pair of gloves and a balaclava and you’re good to go.

    Moscow is incredible.

    We went in May of this year (in Singapore Air First Class, nice!). It was chilly in St. Petersburg and pretty nice in Moscow in early May.

    Anita

    • I want to. I’m not ready to read up on visa requirements at the moment, but when I have time to make sure that that won’t be an obstacle, Russia is on my list. Russian is also one of the two languages I am considering attempting to learn.

      • The visa is expensive regardless of where you live, and it is more of a PITA if you don’t live in a city with an embassy.

        If you don’t live in an embassy city, send it in on the first day of the 45 day window if you can. My husband and I were both selected for more intense screening and we had to pay an outrageous expedite fee to get our visas and our passports on time. It smelled like extortion to me, but we had no choice but to pay; we were 25 days out from the trip and they had our passports!

        • That might be enough of a turn off for me to avoid Russia.

          • I lived there 20 years ago and got cheap flights to take my family there this year. When I discovered it would cost additional $1250 for the 5 of us for visas, I was upset. I didn’t want to pay that just to exit the airport I knew I’d pay a lot, but nowhere near that MUCH. I had to tell my best friend that I wasn’t coming after all. Luckily, he has visited me in the states a few times. He cursed his government and told me I wouldn’t want to visit there now anyways. Russian is hard and I am multi-lingual, but it’s awesome. GO FOR IT! I ♥ Russia! It is Putin we don’t ♥. I do not wish to travel without my family so it isn’t an option for me alone which would be much simpler and cheaper even w/o points + only one pain in the a$$ visa.

          • Well, if extortion at every step of the way and at every corner is a turnoff, you might as well pass on this. That’s Russia for you.

            My own story was last summer when I was debating nonreving on UA to Moscow, then taking a train to Kiev for the Euro 2012. I filled up and filed everything online with the Russian consulate in Houston and nonreved down there the next day. You can’t actually take the paperwork to the consulate – they have an “agreement” with a third party company that you have to submit the paperwork too (ie you just pay more than the official visa cost for this “benefit”).

            When I got there, they asked for an invitation, even though my dad is Russian and I have family there. Just visiting family doesn’t let you off the hook. They need an official inviation letter (even if you were planning on staying at a hostel). Of course, *wink* *wink*, there is this other outfit in town that could take care of this for you and you can have this all straightened out by tomorrow… for another $150. Oh, and by the way, we will need you to submit your Ukrainian passport as well (never mind that I am applying as a US citizen with a US passport and neither US nor Ukraine recognize dual citizenship so I wouldn’t even supposed to have a Ukrainian passport anymore). But no, they will need that… wait for it… as a proof that I don’t have a Russian citizenship.

            At that point I just laughed at their faces, tore up my paperwork and nonreved to a civilized country before jumping on a low cost flight to Kiev.

            Now, all this said, and I know how much you like South America, this really shouldn’t be too much of a difference.

        • @Anita, were you applying for the multiple-entry visa or the single-entry visa? I heard it’s quite simple for the single-entry but that the 3-year multiple one requires an interview?

  4. I’ll be in Russia in February for the Olympics! If you can come earlier, then go to Sochi with us! Or go to the Paralympics instead, which will be held in March.

  5. Pingback: mile tweets | Anatomy of an Award: Booking Incredible Singapore Business Class to Europe with Lufthansa Miles

  6. Russian is pretty challenging to learn. The alphabet isn’t too hard, but the grammar is like Latin, with declensions and such. I got to go to Moscow on a student trip when it was still part of the USSR in 1989, so I’d like to go back and see what’s changed.

  7. I’ve been reading up on how to book these kinds of awards through the great posts on your site. The part I haven’t learned yet is how, in this example, you called the 800 number and fed the agent the routing (I believe you call it “the long sell”?). Can you point me to a post that explains this?

    • No, this doesn’t involve a long sell. I just feed the agent the dates, cabins, and flight numbers. There is no trick to it.

  8. Scott, A little cold, but visa is easy (not inexpensive); use an agency such as gotorussia.com (used them a dozen times and about to use them again). No need to visit the consulate.

  9. I got the Miles & More Card back in June. Some of the 55,000 miles have already been used in 2 one-ways, intra-European flights leaving 25,000 points. I’m thinking that with a little more spend I could get the balance back up to 30,000- 35,000.
    I’m curious what excellent trips from North America to Mexico or Central America could be planned with Lufthansa miles?

  10. Pingback: Hurry: Last Chance to Get the 50k Mile Lufthansa Offer | milevalue.com

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