How to book Lufthansa 747 First Class with miles (and 2020 routes)

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Book Lufthansa 747 First Class on points

If you’ve read our articles about flying the Lufthansa 747 first class, or the amazing Lufthansa first Class Terminal at Frankfurt airport, then it’s no surprise that you’re here to find out how to book one of the world’s best luxury travel experiences with miles.

The “Queen of the Skies” is an icon but sadly disappearing from the skies. Over the next few years it will become very hard to fly on a 747 at all. Options for flying in first class are already very few.

Even without the rarity factor, the Lufthansa first class experience is hard to beat. An entire terminal dedicated to first class passengers with sensational food and your own private luxurious dayroom with a bath and shower, and a private transfer to the aircraft in a Porsche. It’s unforgettable.

Here’s all you need to know about how to book Lufthansa first class on the 747, and we’ll even tell you how to get a free flight from Paris or Istanbul while you’re at it.

How many 747s are left?

Lufthansa has just 19 747-8s and even fewer 747-400s. Across all carriers there are only a few dozen still flying and they’re all on their way out. KLM will stop flying their 747s in 2021, BA by 2024, and Qantas are stopping in 2020. Lufthansa expect to replace half their 747s with 777s by 2025.

Which ones have first class?

At Lufthansa, only the 747-8i has first class. You can fly first class with Lufthansa in the A380, but if you want to be able to say you flew the legendary 747 in first, you have limited time and a limited choice of routes.

All Lufthansa routes with 747 first class in 2020

It’s hard to get a definitive list of Lufthansa routes with thte 747-8i, and it changes often. At the moment, the Lufthansa 747-8i flies from Frankfurt to:

  • Bengaluru
  • Boston
  • Buenos Aires
  • Chicago
  • Delhi
  • Hong Kong
  • Houston
  • Johannesburg
  • Mexico City
  • Newark
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Sao Paulo
  • Shanghai
  • Tokyo
  • Washington

Chicago is switching to the 747-400 in October 2020
San Francisco will be getting the 747-8i from 29th March 2020
Delhi will be using the 747-8i from 29th March 2020
From the 1st of January to the end of March 2020 the 747-8i won’t be flying Shanghai

From Munich there are currenty no 747-8i services. First Class from Munich will be on the A380.

This can and probably will change throughout the year as Lufthansa shuffles things around to manage their schedules and aircraft maintenance.

Finding availability

The most popular routes like San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo, can be very, very hard to find. You’ll have much more success with destinations like Mexico City or Delhi. New York JFK is very hard to find, but Newark can be quite easy.

When booking with Miles and More miles, you have access to award bookings as much as 361 days in advance. Partner airlines can only book at most 14 days in advance. This doesn’t mean that all flights will have award availability from 361 days out. Popular routes like San Francisco are like gold dust and only seem to appear a few days out.

If you really want to fly the amazing Lufthansa 747 first class, then having Miles and More miles is a real advantage. In the UK, the best way to earn them is with the Miles & More credit card. See more ways to earn lower down.

Without M&M miles, you have to be willing to arrange your trip at very short notice. At most, 14 days in advance but in reality often as little as a day or two before departure, sometimes even the day of deaprture. You have to be flexible and ready to go, and opportunistic, and lucky.

How many miles/points is Lufthansa 747 first class?

Most of these routes are 91,000 or 111,000 miles one way.

Get the best seat on Lufthansa 747 First Class

The seats with the best privacy are rows 1 and 2, but really all the seats are great. 3D and 3G are the only pair, the others are all window seats. When you book, you can see the seat availability map before you complete the booking. You can also use the brilliant Expert Flyer to check seat availability before booking.

lufthansa 747-8 first class seat map

Booking with M&M

The best way to find availability for the Lufthansa 747 first class is at the Miles and More flight award search. It’s a much slower process looking on the Lufthansa booking site. At Miles and More, you can more easily scan through a week at a time.

It can be very hard to find availability. Start by looking for one of the less popular routes like Mexico to get the hang of it and see what you’re looking for. If you start out looking for San Francisco or Johannesburg you won’t see anything and will start to believe it’s not possible.

Avoid the frustration and give yourself motiviation by looking for a flight to Mexico to see how it works.

To increase your chances of finding something, search for one way flights. When you find the dates you want then you can book a round-trip. Lots of people only have enough points for a one-way flight anyway.

Here’s a search for a one way to Mexico. You’re looking for direct flights operated by Lufthansa on the Boeing 747-8i. Be careful and make sure you’re not looking at at the 747-400 or the A380.

Finding availability for Mexico is quite easy. It can be really hard at more popular routes.

Here we see FRA to MEX for 101,000 miles and €336.95 (£288) one way. You’re looking at the top row in this screen shot. The other rows don’t use the 747-8i.

The cash rate for that date is €6594.95 (£5641).

lufthansa 747 first class booking mexico
How to book Lufthansa First Class with miles

When I booked my flight to Shanghai the cash price was over £10,000 but I got it for just £272.57 and 105,000 miles. That’s an absolute steal, especially as I also got a free flight from Zurich and a visit to the sensational Swiss First Class Terminal at ZRH.

While preparing this article I easily found availability to:

  • Bengaluru (91,000 miles)
  • Houston (91,000 miles)
  • Newark (91,000 miles)
  • Chicago (91,000 miles)
  • Beijing (111,000 miles)
  • Sao Paolo (111,000 miles)

and surprisingly, to New York JFK at 91,000 miles plus €340.85.

For others it requires more hunting, and on all routes availability is tight. It’s is a case of finding availability and then setting your dates, rather than setting your dates and hoping for availability.

The hardest of all seems to be San Francisco. You’re more likely to find availabiltiy there only at the very last minute.

Booking with Star Alliance

Air Canada Aeroplan and ANA Mileage Club charge very high fees, often around £1000 for Lufthansa award tickets.

United MileagePlan is the usual favourite, but if you’re based in the UK and mostly fly into Europe you’re unlikely to have many United miles.

Booking with cash and miles

Don’t.

Lufthansa will let you use your miles for a discount off the cash price of any ticket. You get hardly anything. Those 91,000 miles that would get you a first class flight to Mexico worth more than £5000 would save you about £450 when used in a cash and miles booking. It’s a really bad deal.

Have a free trip to Paris while you’re at it

You can easily add a connecting flight before or after your 747 flight little extra cost. In fact sometimes it even reduces the cost.

For example, flying FRA to PEK would cost 110,000 miles and €347.97.

You could fly FRA-PEK-HKG for the same miles and €415, with the FRA-PEK leg in the 747-8i.

You could start from London, but the UK air taxes make it less attractive. For example, fly from LHR to FRA and on to Newark EWR for 91,000 miles and £450. If you booked FRA to Newark by itself it would be 91,000 miles and £291. You’ve paid an extra £160 and you could have bought a cash ticket for that.

Start in Europe and the taxes are much lower, making it a realistic opportunity to add an extra destination to the start of your trip. For example, start in Paris, and the taxes are just £260, which is £30 LESS than if you started at FRA for the exact same flight on the 747. Start from Brussels and you’ll save another £5 off that.

lufthansa 747 first class booking newark
FRA to EWR on Lufthansa First Class
lufthansa 747 first class booking connection
Adding a connection from CDG

You could start in Zurich. I did this and it meant that I was able to get into the utterly incredible Swiss Airlines First Class Terminal at Zurich Airport. Only Swiss long haul flights in first class leaving from ZRH get access to the first calss terminal, so your short-haul business class connection to FRA won’t get you in. However, I’ll tell you how I got access here – The Swiss First Class Terminal at Zurich Airport.

Be aware that the connecting flight into Frankfurt will only be a regional narrow-body jet with no first class. You’ll get business class, and lounge access, but that’s all.

If you can be flexible with your planning, you can easily find a way to have a short break in Paris or Brussels or Zurich before a free or very cheap flight to Frankfurt to begin your first class experience. It won’t cost any extra miles and sometimes will even reduce the taxes.

It’s also really important to make sure that your connecting flight leaves you plenty of time to enjoy the magnificent Lufthansa First Class terminal at Frankfurt. There is no point adding on a flight from Paris if it means you don’t have time to enjoy the First Class terminal. You really should try to leave yourself at least 3 full hours there, ideally more. You could stay all day and love it.

You can get even more creative. Set your origin to Istanbul. You can fly from Istanbul to Frankfurt and then first class in the 747 to New York Newark for just 91,000 miles and £254 in tax. That’s an amazing deal.

lufthansa 747 first class booking istanbul extension
Add a connection from Istanbul for a huge value Lufthansa First Class deal

That flight from Istanbul, TK 1587, would have you into FRA at 10:10 giving you a 3 hour stay in the first class terminal.

lufthansa 747 first class booking istanbul connection
Always allow plenty of time at the Frankfurt first class terminal when connecting

The cash price for that flight is £5609. You’d be able to have a holiday in Istanbul, experience the Lufthansa First Class terminal, be driven to your plane in a Porsche, and then spend 8 hours in First Class on one of the few remaining 747s before arriving in New York, for 91,000 miles and just £254.

You can fly from the UK to Istanbul just as cheaply as you can fly to Frankfurt, so if you have the time you could easily turn your Mexcio holiday into an Istanbul and Mexico (or Beijing or wherever) holiday at no extra cost.

Can you connect from outside Europe?

Well, you could fly from Hong Kong to Newark via Copenhagen for 97,000 miles and just £59 taxes, but it won’t be in First Class, it will be business Class on SAS.

Likewise you could fly from Dubai to Newark via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian in business Class for just 71,000 miles, but again that’s not First Class.

There are lots of crazy iptions for routing with Lufthansa miles that could get you a long way in business Class for very little money, but for the first class experience you’ll need to pick an origin closer to Frankfurt, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Oslo, even Istanbul, all work.

What about stopovers?

If you book a round trip award you can include a stopver in each direction but the stopover can’t be in the “region of origin” so you couldn’t start in Paris and have a stopover in Frankfurt. You can only book over the phone, and you can’t book stopovers on one-way award bookings.

We’ll publish a full guide to Miles and More stopovers later.

Earning points

You currently can’t buy them directly.

Miles earned form flying expire after 36 months, even if you have more recent activity.

You can stop expiry by having the Miles and More credit card. The Miles and More card earns miles at the rate of 1.25 miles per £, and comes with 10000 bonus miles when you sign up.

You can earn by flying with Lufthansa and their partner airlines (including Brussels Airlines, LATAM, Catahay, and Air New Zealand). Lufthansa are a good option for flights into Europe from UK airports outside London. A business Class flight from the regions on Lufthansa will often be very good value compared to economy on BA from London.

Hilton has in the past offered a very lucrative bonus of 2000 miles per stay. If this ever comes around again it’s a great opportunity.

There is frequently an offer from The Economist to earn Miles and More miles with a subscription. At the moment you can earn a 12000 miles bonus with a one year subscription at £215. If you would buy it anyway or can charge it to your business, this is a good deal. 12000 miles used for First Class awards would be “worth” £600 or more. Of course, “worth” is subjective. You wouldn’t actually pay £5000 or £10000 for a flight. It’s up to you what value you choose to place on the Lufthansa First Class experience.

Here’s the full list of ways to earn Lufthansa Miles and More miles. Some of the best ones are:

  • Blacklane airport transfers – 2 miles per £
  • IHG, Melia, Marriott, Days Inn, Best Western, Hyatt and other hotels – typically no better than 2 miles per $ but using the points for hotel stays is usually a better deal
  • Miles and More Hotels – at least 1000 miles per night 
  • Get Your Guide tours – 4 miles per €
  • Hertz, Enterprise, Avis car rentals – 500 miles per rental
  • Heathrow Rewards – 1 point is worth 1 mile
  • Bicester village – 1 mile per £

Get 500 miles for free when you install and log into the Miles and More mobile app for the first time.

Sign up to the Lufthansa Miles and More newsletter for more offers.

Stop Miles and More miles expiring

Miles and more has always had a strict 36 month expiry on miles. 36 months after points were earned, they expire, even if you have more activity since then.

You can now pay to extend them for another 36 months. It’s not clear what the fees are.

You can also transfer miles to another member for a fee. Maximum 35000 per year, where the fee would be £298. It’s not a good deal.

FAQ

Where does the Lufthansa 747-8i fly in 2020

Bengaluru, Boston, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Delhi, Hong Kong, Houston, Johannesburg, Mexico City, Newark, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Tokyo, Washington

Which Lufthansa routes have 747 first class

Only the above routes to or from Frankfurt

How much is Lufthansa 747 first class

Typically between £5000 and £10000, or 91,0000 to 111,000 Miles and More miles one way

How many miles do you need for Lufthansa 747 first class

91,0000 to 111,000 Miles and More miles one way

How do you book Lufthansa 747 first class on points

With Miles and More miles you can book 361 days in advance. With Star Alliance partners including United Mileage plan, ANA Mileaga Club, and Air Canada Aeroplan, award seats may be available 14 days in advance.

What’s the best route on Lufthansa 747 first class

The most popular are San Francisco and Ney York JFK. It’s much easier to find availability for Houston, Newark, Mexico, Delhi, and Beijing.

What’s the best seat on Lufthansa 747 first class

They’re all great. there are only 8. For solo travellers, 1A and 1K are the most private.

What is a Miles and More mile worth?

When redeemed for long haul first class flights on Lufthansa and Swiss you can easily get more than 5p of “value” per mile. I booked FRA to PVG (Shanghai) for 105,000 miles, when the cash rate was over £10,000. That’s almost 10p per mile. People argue about what “value” really means, but 100,000 Miles and More miles can buy you a first class flight that would otherwise cost £5000 or more.

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