Truly, I don’t mean to be rude but, I’m thinking a lot of people are getting their Lufthansa information from Dr. Flyertalk. And no offense to Dr. Flyertalk, but he’s gotten a little old and senile. He says a lot of crazy things like, “does anyone have any good deals for United flights?” in the hotel deals section. And as kind to me as Dr. FT has been, I generally take his diagnoses with a grain of salt.
I’m not going to name names, but I’m going to start straightening up the facts.
1) There are many Star Alliance members without fuel surcharges (not just LOT (who… does have fuel surcharges)).
Yes, passing on fuel surcharges sucks, but isn’t the information public about who does and doesn’t have fuel surcharges? Did someone not just check ITA? Sure domestic flights, that’s true… but also, these airlines don’t have YQ as well:
- US Airways
- Air New Zealand
- The latin airlines: Avianca, TACA, TAM
- United within the US.
Despite what the good doc says, LOT does have fuel surcharges. But they are often as low as $120 for an international flights when using Lufthansa miles. Adding connections and things increases it, as you fly more and collect the airport taxes.
2) They allow two stopovers and two open-jaws on international trips.
If you can workout a trip with an airline like Air New Zealand, US Airways to Europe or a trip to South America, you can seriously get a great trip. Especially if you love South America.
For this reason, I’m going to go ahead and say the best use of Lufthansa miles could be a roundtrip to South America with two stopovers and two open-jaws. 60,000 miles for a roundtrip certainly isn’t a steal, but it’s average. Which is only notable because many of their other prices are too high.
3) US to Europe is 50,000 miles for a roundtrip.
Good deal enough said.
3) Mileage Bargain goes year round
30,000 miles for a roundtrip to Europe in Economy and 55,000 in Business class. The list constantly changes but it’s always loaded with tons of routes.
This would without a doubt be the best deal except for fuel surcharges. But a couple of details could make it better.
First, LOT sometimes has cheaper routes. Particularly I saw Chicago to Warsaw come and go from the list. Still, most routes are on Lufthansa or Austrian, which both charge a ton for fuel.
Second, this list has a lot more options than US to Europe. It’s basically Europe to everywhere. You could even combine the two. But basically, the other one appealing to me is flights within Europe. 10,000 miles for a roundtrip in Europe. I thought about using one to do Paris to Istanbul and get out on the way back to Paris in Vienna.
Mileage Bargains must be booked online and therefore can’t include stopovers.
4) Things are more complicated than you would think.
In a bad way.
- Know that if you touch three regions the price goes up to 100,000 miles!
- Segments are limited each direction on a roundtrip! Only 2 segments on domestic trips: 3 on two region awards; and 4 on three region awards (which cost 100k). This can be a bummer. 3 segments is 2 connections.
- No holds on most partner airlines
- Only Miles and More partners can be booked online
- The companion ticket is an absolute rip off! Trust me.
- The open-jaws don’t appear to be allowed on the stopover?
In a good way.
- No close-in fee
- No phone booking fee
Two last notable things:
Alaska is priced out as the US – only 12,000 miles each way.
It’s only 20,000 miles from Hawaii to Australia/New Zealand/Oceania. This is pretty neat if you ask me. So a roundtrip to Hawaii is 40,000 and a roundtrip to Oceania is 40,000 from Hawaii.
You could basically do a 4 stopover and 4 open-jaw trip. Two stopovers in Hawaii (?), and two stopovers in Australia/New Zealand/Oceania. Stopovers- that doesn’t include the destination.
It’s a bit tricky, especially the second pic. See, most Star Alliance availability is sparse over the pacific and requires routing through Asia. Which is fine on United, but with Lufthansa, again, you pay 100,000 miles for a three region award.
Anyways, there are tons of fun ideas like this possible with Lufthansa. You could do the same thing piecing together Mileage Bargains. Tons of interesting options. And the worse the other charts get, the better this is looking.
And it’s not great for everything, but if you can’t find good uses… you’re aren’t looking.