It Took Me 8 Minutes to Book a Trip from Hawaii with Miles & More Miles

Update July 1, 2014:

The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.

  • 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 Companion Ticket after first purchase
  • 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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Booking a United flight with Lufthansa miles is extremely easy. I just booked myself a one way ticket from Honolulu to Chicago for 20,000 Lufthansa Miles & More miles + $2.50 in eight minutes.

I was using miles I had gotten by opening the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on the card in the first 90 days. (Hurry: this offer expires June 30, 2014 and will presumably be replaced by the standard offer of only 20,000 bonus miles.)

Using Lufthansa miles to book United flights within the Western Hemisphere is one of the best uses of Lufthansa miles because those flights incur no fuel surcharges, just low government taxes from $2.50 per segment.

Plus for many routes within the Western Hemisphere–including between the mainland United States and Hawaii–Lufthansa charges fewer miles than United for the exact same flights.

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 3.58.54 AM

  • What United award space can you book with Lufthansa miles?
  • How did I search for the award space?
  • How did I book the award space?
  • How did I select seats on the United flight?
  • Why was booking with Lufthansa miles better than booking with United miles?

Award Search

Lufthansa miles can be used to book Saver award space on any United flight.

I searched for Saver award space on the direct flight from Honolulu to Chicago on united.com because United award space is not searchable on Lufthansa’s website. (How to search united.com.)

Remember Counter-Intuitive Truth #1: Where you search for award space is NOT related to the miles you are using to book the award.

The direct flight has plenty of economy award space in October and November (yellow days), but no business or first class space.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 1.33.06 AM

Booking

I selected a date with space and wrote down the date, flight number, and cabin of the flight with Saver award space to book it by calling Lufthansa at 800-581-6400 between 8 AM and 8 PM ET.

This phone call took only eight minutes. I fed the agent the information and she informed me the flight would cost 20,000 Miles & More miles + $2.50. United would have charged 22,500 United miles + $2.50 for the same flight.

The helpful agent even let me pick out a seat on the flight. It’s rare that an airline can select a seat on a partner. This was a nice perk of using Miles & More miles. If you book a Lufthansa flight with United miles, the United agent cannot select a seat for you. It takes a separate phone call to the operating carrier of the flight.

Then the agent gave me two confirmation numbers. The Lufthansa confirmation number can be used to change or cancel the ticket, since Lufthansa is the issuer of the ticket. The United confirmation number can be used to check in on the day of the flight since United is the operating carrier.

I also used the United confirmation number to search united.com for the reservation and then to save it to my page of reservations on united.com.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 2.44.05 AM

Why Book This Flight with Lufthansa Miles?

Remember Counter-Intuitive Truth #2: The miles you should use for an award are not related to the carrier you plan to fly.

Lufthansa miles are better than United miles for this United flight because Lufthansa charges fewer miles and has a lower cancellation fee.

United would charge 22,500 United miles for this flight in economy. Lufthansa charges 20,000 Lufthansa miles.

United would charge $200 to get my miles back if I cancelled. Lufthansa will only charge $60.

Lufthansa Offer Expires June 30, 2014

After meeting the minimum spending requirement on the Lufthansa card, you’ll have 55,000 miles. That’s enough for a roundtrip to Hawaii on United flights with one way in First Class (including on routes with flat beds in First Class, see this trip report.)

Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus miles

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchases or balance transfer
  • Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Cardholders receive a companion ticket after first use of the account and annually after each account anniversary
  • 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 member airlines and on other partners
  • $79 Annual Fee. Please see Terms and Conditions for complete details

Application Link: Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard®

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12 Responses to It Took Me 8 Minutes to Book a Trip from Hawaii with Miles & More Miles

  1. I discovered that regardless of what miles you use to book some Lufthansa flights, they can be pulled up in my Miles and More account using the Lufthansa record locator. I was able to manage seat reservations for myself and my relatives whom I helped book some trips. Only annoying feature is it only seems to let you change the international flight seats, while the short connecting flights from FRA or MUC have to be called in.

  2. Do you still need to know your miles&more pin in order to do phone bookings?

    • Just need to know the Lufthansa booking code associated with the flights. United shows those on the reservation page, along with their own booking codes.

    • Scott Grimmer

      Yes, I store mine on Award Wallet, so I don’t have to remember it.

      • Few years back, when doing phone bookings through M&M they would ask for your Miles&More program pin, which is no way related to your Lufthansa profile login. It is the pin they send you by mail after you enroll into the program and which you immediately loose of forget. It was never required for online bookings (you just needed to login), but was always asked on the phone. A bit of PITA, because I never know mine and resetting and getting a new one took some time.
        Judging by your replies, the answer is no on the pin question. Right?

        • Scott Grimmer

          The answer is YES, you are required to use a PIN for award bookings. I have mine saved on Award Wallet.

          • Thanks. Got it. What I have saved in Award Wallet is my Miles&More profile password, which lets me log in and do the bookings. I guess there are multiple ways to setup miles & more account then. You can have both username/password and m&m number/pin. Either one is fine for online bookings, but on the phone they always require the latter one.

  3. iwantmoremiles

    I do not want to keep my Miles and More credit card. If I cancel it, will I lose my miles? It seems to be 18 months from when I earned them is when they expire. Is this true?

    • Scott Grimmer

      The miles expire 36 months after being earned whether you have the card or not. You won’t alter that time line by cancelling the card.

      • Aren’t they kept alive by making a card purchase once every 6mo?

        • Scott Grimmer

          If you have Lufthansa card and make a purchase every month, you stave off 36 month rule, but please redeem them within 36 months on principle! Earn and burn!

          “2.5. Mileage expiry

          Any mileage not redeemed within 36 months of the date of accrual (date of flight, start of hotel stay, time of car rental) will expire at the end of that quarter (e.g. miles expiring in August of any given year would expire at the end of September of that same year), failing other arrangements published in the Miles & More communication media. Attention will be drawn in good time to the date and extent of the lapsed mileage in the Miles & More account information or in the personal Internet mileage account.”

          and

          “No mileage expiration: all unused miles, which have been awarded to your Miles & More account and those you will earn in the future remain valid for an unlimited period of time and will no longer expire provided that you make a purchase for which miles are awarded at least once a month and have held a Miles & More MasterCard for at least three months.”

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