March 22, 2023 Buy Miles Bonanza
German precision: Lufthansa’s buy-miles sale (available to anyone) makes for First Class March Madness
Just last December we warmed you with the news that Lufthansa had introduced a buy-miles option for its Miles & More loyalty program — the umbrella loyalty program for the airline and Austrian and SWISS — where you can save big on First Class flights. That ended on January 31, but the sale is already back — available right now through March 31. And since we’re First Class airficionados (see our name), we’re very excited about another opportunity to add to our miles collection.
This month, we’ll also take a deep dive into getting connections from all over the U.S. to all over Europe to get a broader sense of the opportunities.
Luft My Miles Up Where They Belong: Lufthansa’s Bundle&Go Offer
Lufthansa calls it Bundle&Go. You can do this and score a 20% to 60% bonus through March 31. There’s a maximum purchase of 100,000 miles per transaction and up to 250,000 miles in a calendar year. Need more miles than that? Check out FCF’s (timeless) unlimited buy-miles strategy.
The Bundle&Go deal lets you purchase award miles in three increments of 10,000, 50,000, and 100,000 miles, and the 20% to 60% bonus comes on top of that. Lufthansa Miles & More members (sign up in five minutes if you’re not one) can purchase one bundle per transaction and the bonus miles do not count towards the annual limit. So if you max out one account, you can get 310,000 miles for a total of $4,880, or about 1.58 cents a mile. That’s great value as you’ll see in a moment.
Just a small note: Their fine print indicates it could take up to five days for the miles to post, however when we bought miles through this promo, they were credited almost instantly. Maybe we got lucky, but the timing is something you should keep in mind.
Don’t Live in a Lufthansa U.S. Hub?
~ Get Free Connecting Flights to Lufthansa’s Hubs Within the U.S. ~
Lufthansa offers awards that allow for partner travel between its U.S. hubs and countless other U.S. cities, so you can get free domestic connecting flights with United.
Sample Routes United Flies to Lufthansa’s U.S. Hubs:
Chicago To/From: Boston, Dallas, Denver, Ft. Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Raleigh
Houston To/From: Atlanta, Columbus, Denver, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Tulsa
Los Angeles To/From: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle
Newark To/From: Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Francisco
San Francisco To/From: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa, Toronto
Washington, DC To/From: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix, Seattle
*Connecting flights may not always offer a First Class cabin
Not Flying to Germany?
~ Get Connecting Flights Within Europe from Frankfurt or Munich ~
Fly almost anywhere in Europe on one ticket: Again, Lufthansa’s offers awards that allow connections on flights it operates, and its partners, so feel free to tack on the following destinations as long as they’re available beyond Germany with the airline or its partners: Aegean Airlines, Air Dolomiti, Air Malta, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Eurowings, LOT Polish Airlines, Luxair, Olympic Air, Scandinavian Airlines, SWISS, TAP Portugal, and Turkish Airlines.
Remember the typical Boise to Budapest connections allowance.
Sample Routes from Frankfurt and Munich to All Over Europe:
Frankfurt To/From: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Florence, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Malta, Milan, Munich, Mykonos, Naples, Nice, Paris, Rome, Santorini, Stockholm, Venice, Vienna, and Zürich
Munich To/From: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Florence, Lisbon, London, Milan, Mykonos, Naples, Paris, Rome, Santorini, Venice, Vienna, and Zürich.
*Flights within Europe may be in Business Class or economy.
Sample Itinerary with Connecting Flights:
Columbus to Copenhagen
First Class for Just 91,000 Miles
($2,769 Total Cost)
The Two Different Types of Mileage Awards
There are two award types you can book using Lufthansa miles. The airline offers a First Flex award (fewer miles, more cash) and First Flex Plus award (more miles, less cash). Depending on your itinerary, there are benefits to each.
The Two Principles to Keep in Mind:
Principle #1: There’s no limit to the number of miles you can buy with FCF’s unlimited buy-miles (timeless) strategy, so it doesn’t matter much that it costs more in miles to pay less in total cash with First Flex Plus awards. That said, you should run the numbers on your particular itinerary.
Principle #2: In general, you want to go with Lufthansa’s Flex Plus award because the total cash outlay (after buying miles and paying the taxes) usually works out to less total cash — unless your itinerary requires flying with an airline other than Lufthansa, Austrian, or SWISS — like United — in which case you MUST use a First Flex award.
Sample First Flex Award Opportunity
On Routes that Include a United Domestic Connection to a Lufthansa U.S. Hub
For example, the round-trip cost of a First Flex ticket between the U.S. and Europe on Lufthansa is 182,000 miles (91,000 each way). So the cost of buying those miles during this sale plus taxes on tickets between the U.S. and Europe is about $1,337 if you book two one-ways (if booked as a round-trip, you’ll pay an additional $636-ish in taxes, who knows why!), which comes to a total cost of $4,202.
Considering that published First Class round-trip fares from Columbus to Copenhagen in the aforementioned example goes for $8,700+, your savings can easily be $4,960 (57%) round-trip.
Sample First Flex Plus Award Savings
On Miles & More Member Routes that ONLY Include Lufthansa, Austrian, and SWISS
For example, the round-trip cost of a First Flex Plus ticket between the U.S. and Europe on Lufthansa and two of its Miles & More member airlines is 230,000 miles (115,000 each way). So the cost of buying those miles during this sale plus taxes on tickets between the U.S. and Europe is about $120 if you book a round-trip, which comes to a total cost of $3,740.
Considering that published First Class round-trip fares from New York to Venice in the aforementioned example goes for $10,020+ round-trip, your savings can easily be $5,818 (58%).
Best Long-Haul Routes to Find First Class Award Availability
First, remember the opportunity travel mindset, the positioning flight strategy, the Boise to Budapest connections allowance, and why not to Book Backwards, so you can have the proper perspective on these long-haul “bridge flights” opportunities–where First Class comfort matters most!
Below, find the best award seat availability at the time of publication, which will certainly change over time:
- Chicago-Frankfurt has a handful of days with one- and two-seat availability outbound only in December and January. Single-seat availability is looking pretty slim, so it’s best to use this route for spontaneous travel, or close in upgrading.
- Boston-Munich availability has decreased from plentiful to a handful most months. You can find up to four seats on a handful of dates outbound for spontaneous travel, or close in upgrading. There are a few months with a handful of days with one and two available seats for travel through the fall. So it’s best to book now if this route is on your radar.
- Chicago-Munich availability has decreased from a lot of seats to a few most months. One to two seats can be found on a handful of dates in April, July, and August in both directions. The opportunity of booking two seats is less now, so it’s best to book right away.
- New York-Munich shows decent availability for one to two travelers in both directions in August.
- Washington, DC-Munich has the best availability of all routes for one to two travelers from May to October.
Currently we’re not seeing free award seats available on a number of Lufthansa’s routes from Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, as well as the Washington, DC-Frankfurt and Miami-Munich routes.
|4 to 8 Days Per Month||9 to 12 Days Per Month||13+ Days Per Month||4 to 8 Days Per Month||9 to 12 Days Per Month||13+ Days Per Month|
|Chicago - Frankfurt||March, Nov., Dec., Jan.||Dec., Jan.||March|
|Boston - Munich||March, April, July, Aug., Sept., Oct.||March, May, June, Aug. to Oct.||April, Aug.||April|
|Chicago - Munich||April, May, Sept.||April, Aug., Oct.||July, Aug.||April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct.||April|
|New York - Munich||March, Sept., Oct.||July, Aug., Oct.||Aug.||June.||Aug.|
|Washington, DC - Munich||April, May||June||July to Oct.||April||May, June||May, July to Oct.|
Gotta Love This Ticketing Strategy
The world is your oyster and Lufthansa’s buy-miles sale will get you there for MUCH less. Stock up on miles, keep your eyes on the charts, learn about all the possible departures (50+) and destinations (100+), and get ready to tick off your bucket list in comfort at 30,000 feet!