Booked: Lufthansa First Class (Again)

Time for some more caviar

Last year, on our way home from Portugal, we were able to fly Lufthansa First Class from Frankfurt to Washington booked a day or so before we flew. Tomorrow, we are headed to Liverpool for a short trip to take in a match at Anfield, see some family in the north of England and basically get away for a few days.

I set a few alerts for Lufthansa First Class flights for our return date (next Monday) in ExpertFlyer, but to be honest, I really expected to stick with our booked Virgin Atlantic A350 business class tickets even though I would have to drive down to London Heathrow instead of just returning the rental car to Manchester (where we arrive Thursday morning). Overnight, I received an alert that there were two seats on the Munich-Chicago flight in First Class on Monday. I still had a ton of LifeMiles sitting in my account (almost 500k) thanks to canceling our safari trip (and not being able to rebook the Turkish flights when we finally took the trip) plus I transferred all my 200k Brex points when there was a transfer bonus (and thank goodness I did as they were devalued soon after).

I checked LifeMiles and surprisingly, I was able to not only book the First Class flight, but also tack on a business class flight from Manchester to Munich at no extra cost in miles, avoiding the schlep to London that morning. The last thing to check before booking was to make sure we had a possible flight home from Chicago late that evening. The last Delta flight leaves at 8pm CDT, about an hour and 45 minutes after the Lufthansa flight arrives. Thankfully, we won’t be checking bags and we have Global Entry plus Delta has relocated to T5 at O’Hare where the Lufthansa flight arrives so we should easily be able to make that international to domestic connection. We’ll also get home about 90 minutes earlier than the original itinerary.

Given that I did not have to pay extra for the Manchester to Munich flight and that the times lined up without a ridiculously early morning (it’s about 50 minutes to Manchester airport from Liverpool and the flight is at 10:45am), I thought it made sense to just go ahead and book before my wife even woke up to ask her opinion. She loved our last trip in Lufthansa First Class.

I booked the flights on LifeMiles for 87k miles per person plus about $300pp in taxes and fees (UK departure taxes always sting). Then I booked the Delta flight for about 19k SkyMiles each (while canceling the previously planned Delta JFK-ATL flight I had booked for 8k SkyMiles each). Finally, I changed my rental car booking with National to return the car at Manchester and saved one day’s rental cost as we would be returning it much earlier than originally planned. Once everything was set, I canceled the Virgin Atlantic flights. There’s a GBP60 charge per ticket to cancel, but I’ve emailed customer service to see if that can be waived as we originally booked a Manchester to Atlanta flight that was later canceled. Let’s see if I get someone nice to waive the fee. Even if I don’t, we are getting a large refund to Amex Platinum as the fees for the Virgin flight were about $700 per person!

When I told my wife the new plan, she only had one question: “Will I get another rubber duck?” Of course she will.

Lufthansa is flying more planes with First Class to the US right now than they have for several years. They have brought all of their A340-600s back into service and are about to activate several A380s. Remember that next year, they will start rolling out a brand new first class product. I suspect they will make first class much harder to book with miles and may even eliminate partner bookings like Air France has done with La Premiere. I suggest if you want to fly First Class with Lufthansa, do it in the next year or two before the ability to do it at reasonable cost (in miles) disappears forever.

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