Next month I want to fly Lufthansa First Class from the United States to Europe, like I did a few years ago, because I love the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, the luxury of sitting in the nose of a 747-8, and the onboard food and drinks.

But I want to do it smartly. Instead of paying 110,000 United miles one way, I want to pay 40,000 Starpoints. To do that, I needed to do a few things today, a month before my planned flight to get in position to book.

First a few facts about Lufthansa First Class bookings:

  • Lufthansa miles can book Lufthansa First Class up to a year in advance.
  • Partner miles can book it up to 15 days in advance.
  • Partner award prices vary greatly from 50,000 Asiana miles one way between the United States and Europe to 110,000 United miles. Some partners collect fuel surcharges on Lufthansa First Class award tickets; some don’t.
  • Taxes and fuel surcharges vary greatly by route.

The best way to book Lufthansa First Class is to use Asiana miles and book one way from Europe to the United States on a route with low taxes and fuel surcharges. This uses the fewest miles (50,000 Asiana miles = 40,000 SPG Starpoints), can cost as little as $200 out of pocket, and means you can enjoy the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt before your flight.

To set myself up to book an Asiana award, I needed to do a few things today, about a month before I plan to fly.

#1 Check the Award Chart

I haven’t checked Asiana’s award chart for a few weeks. It is still the same, showing 100,000 miles for a First Class roundtrip between the USA and Europe. You can book one way for half price.

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#2 Check Award Space

No award space is available in Lufthansa First Class for my preferred dates because I want to fly more than 15 days from now and award space is only open to partners 15 days out in Lufthansa First Class.

But as I often say, the best way to estimate whether award space will be available for you on your date at the last minute is to search for last minute award space now.

My ideal itinerary is Zagreb to Munich to Frankfurt to Washington-Dulles. I’d like to have a 23 hour layover in Munich during Oktoberfest, then a 3-6 hour layover in Frankfurt to enjoy the First Class Terminal, and then fly to DC.

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I searched the next few days to see if such an itinerary is likely. I think it is. There is a flight from Zagreb to Munich that lands at 8 AM that would be ideal (and if there’s no space on it, then I can probably find a one stop way to get to Munich.)

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 10.01.06 PMThen there are flights every hour from Munich to Frankfurt including a 7 AM departure that would give me five hours and fifteen minutes in the First Class Terminal. There is also plenty of award space on the daily 1:15 PM Frankfurt to Dulles flight in First Class.Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 10.03.06 PM Satisfied that I could find award space, I decided to go to the irreversible step three.

#3 Transfer Starpoints to Asiana Miles

I need to transfer from SPG Points to Asiana miles with some anticipation because my last transfer took a week to post, and the transfer can take as long as two weeks.

Once I make the transfer, I can’t send the Asiana miles back to SPG points. So there is some risk of losing my most valuable points (SPG) and not getting the ticket I want. You have to be comfortable with that risk to make the transfer. I am, because even if I can’t get Lufthansa First Class, there are great deals with Asiana miles between the United States and South America, which is a trip I take often.

To transfer points, sign in on spg.com and choose to Redeem Starpoints.
Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 4.17.55 PM Select the option to transfer to airline miles and select Asiana Club. For every 20,000 Starpoints, you get 5,000 bonus miles, 40,000 Starpoints equals the 50,000 Asiana miles I need.Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 4.19.52 PM

#4 Wait and See

Now I’ll wait to see when my Asiana miles post. Then 15 days before my desired date, I’ll start searching for award space, and hopefully I can book it about a week before departure. I’ll keep you posted.

Bottom Line

For Lufthansa First Class awards, you should use Asiana miles, and you should start planning and complete your preliminary steps about a month before departure.

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