LifeMiles Just Got More Valuable: Lufthansa First Class Bookable Again

Avianca is a Star Alliance airline that regularly sells miles cheap, I bought quite a haul at around 1.35 cents per mile recently.

They offer one way awards, cash and points awards, and make their Star Alliance partner awards bookable online. They do not add fuel surcharges to award tickets.

You do have to pretty much book only those awards that can be found on the website, customer service is frustrating by phone (though better by email), and you have to book only one class of service on an itinerary (so you cannot book an economy seat domestically, for instance, in conjunction with an international business class flight).

One of the other big drawbacks to the program has been that it could not access Lufthansa first class awards. When the program first launched as a part of Star Alliance they had better access to Lufthansa first class than other Star Alliance programs. I assumed it had something to do with an incorrect ‘point of sale’, that they were accessing the space as though they were part of Miles & More. Eventually Lufthansa first class access was shut down entirely, either as a way to clamp down on this error or to limit skyrocketing costs to the program.

Whatever the reason, Avianca LifeMiles can once again book Lufthansa First Class awards!

Here’s Detroit – Frankfurt a couple of days from now:

You can book it for either 87,000 LifeMiles one-way, or for 50,000 LifeMiles and $500.

Other routes are available, for instance here’s first class Frankfurt – Beijing.

Bear in mind that they have the same access to these seats as other Star Alliance programs like Air Canada Aeroplan and United Mileage Plus. That means that under normal circumstances you’ll only see first class award space on Lufthansa within 14 days of departure. But you will see that space again within 14 days of departure, which is huge in my opinion.

And that means return trips to the fabulous First Class Terminal in Frankfurt.

(HT: Jeremy C.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Could be a glitch, like Aeroplan has had in the past, resulting in phantom space. Have you tried ticketing one yet? If this is actually bookable, I’m going to kick myself for not jumping on one of the (many) LifeMiles purchase bonus offers in the last few months!

  2. I read a couple of bloggers and each have a different take when purchasing miles, not once have I seen a blogger write, MUST BUY MILES NOW… Now Gary writes this post and states how he bought a lot of miles… It’s a bit frustrating.

  3. @AJ – I haven’t issued tickets, but it’s definitely not phantom space, the space matches what Aeroplan and United see and is within the timeframe that Lufthansa usually opens space.

  4. @Tony I believe I wrote a couple of months ago when I bought the miles, I considered under 1.4 cents to be a good enough deal. Not a MUST BUY MILES NOW deal. But good enough that I wasn’t going to get hurt buying. Or at least not hurt too badly. 😉 In general I prefer holding cash over holding miles.

    This news is just a nice surprise 🙂

  5. Actually, Flyertalk poster “imverge” broke the news on the Avianca forum an hour earlier before your post.

  6. @iv Umm, ok? I got an email from a reader and so properly credited them for giving me the tip. If someone else wrote about it somewhere else and didn’t share it with me, that helps not at all. But I’m happy to share the info with readers in hopes that they’ll benefit.

  7. Thanks Gary…got shut out out on comments on lucky”ys blog. I’ve been a buyer of tese miles for a while…..finally paying off lie we’d hoped

  8. Thanks Gary…got shut out out on comments on lucky”ys blog. I’ve been a buyer of these miles for a while…..finally paying off like we’d hoped….just got some auoto-correct……lucky still blows!!!!!!

  9. just a word of caution, LM is engaged in some heavy Starnet blocking across the networks. A lot of otherwise available seats on carriers like SAA or Thai is not otherwise bookable on many routes. I had been trying to book LHR-JNB for a week and LM didn’t show it once or acknowledge it existed.

  10. It’s nice but keep in mind that Tarmac service for connections almost impossible to get because for Lifemiles that requires a F to F transfer since no mixed cabin allowed. And there are almost no F intra Europe to speak. So this is essentially only for FRA or MUC departures.

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