October 7, 2016
How I flew Lufthansa first class to Beijing for only $92.40
Straight to the Point
I was completely blown away by pretty much every aspect of Lufthansa’s international first class experience. By the time my 9.5-hour flight ended I was wishing it was longer and that I could stay on board for a few more hours.
Getting on the plane
I recently had the opportunity to fly Lufthansa’s A340-600 from Munich to Beijing. The first class experience in Munich begins at check in. I didn’t check in anywhere near the economy or business class check in area. The signs in Munich direct first class passengers to their dedicated check in room. There was no wait to get a boarding pass or drop-off bags and I went through a private security area just for first class passengers.
Now for the actual flight. As soon as I put my bag on my seat I was greeted by a hostess and offered a glass of champagne. The head flight attendant on board came by soon after to personally introduce himself and assure me that he was available if I needed anything. By the time the plane boarded and we took off I was already through two glasses of free champagne and a pre-flight snack.
Let’s get to the most important aspect of the flight-the seat itself. There were only 8 seats in the first class cabin and three were empty, so 5 of us had the cabin to ourselves. Each seat took up four windows worth of space. There was a stationary leather leg rest which acted as a sizable storage trunk for your belongings. The armrests opened up to contain extra storage space as well. The seat was the most comfortable seat I’ve ever been on in a plane. And of course it was fully lie-flat and turned into a bed overnight. The seat also had an electronic divider that you can use for additional privacy. I will say the TV was a tad on the smaller side consider the viewing distance and what other airlines are offering in first class.
Soon after we took off, and our champagne was refilled yet again, we began the four course meal. For starters the hostess came around with a cart of caviar and various garnishes. Next we were given a choice of appetizers. I went with smoked salmon, grilled vegetables with goat cream cheese, and a salad. For the actual dinner we had four tempting options. I opted for the Turbot with cherry tomato confit, grilled leak, and orange rice-and it was delicious. (I should add that I was given a special fish knife since I was eating fish-the attention to detail was impressive). And finally for dessert I chose Strawberries with Bavarian cream (because I was leaving Germany) and Mango Soup with pink grapefruit and Sago (because I was flying to Asia). The whole dining experience was a delight. The hostesses were very attentive and if I even looked like I might need something they were there to help. After enjoying a couple free glasses of Cognac Rémy Martin CM 28 (which retails for around $200/bottle) and chocolates, it was time for bed.
I should have mentioned that before the flight took off, I was given a pair of Lufthansa pajamas and slippers for the flight! I went to the bathroom to change into the pjs and of course they were very comfortable! When I came back my bed was made and my sheets were waiting for me. The mattress padding and the blankets were very comfortable.
We were served breakfast somewhere over mainland China. I started with tea thinking I’d get a cup of tea. Instead I received a whole pot of freshly brewed tea for myself! For the actual meal we were served fresh fruits, croissants, various jams, cheeses and puddings. Oh, and the hostess cooked fresh scrambled eggs in a skilled-perfect way to start your day in China!
So for the important part. How did I book a one-way ticket which normally retails for $9,500 for only $92.40? There’s actually several ways to book this ticket using miles. I’m going to outline what program I used for this flight this time around. I’m a big fan of Chase Ultimate Rewards points which you can acquire with several Chase credit cards like the Sapphire Preferred/Reserve, Freedom, Ink etc. For this flight, I transferred 115,000 miles from my Chase Ultimate rewards account to my United Airlines account (one of 11 Chase transfer partners). The great thing about United is that the Chase miles are posted to your account instantly. Because United and Lufthansa are both part of Star Alliance, you can book Lufthansa award flights through United’s portal. It’s important to note that Lufthansa releases first class flight awards to its partners about two weeks before the actual flight. So if you want to book a first class Lufthansa flight with United miles, make sure to check for availability about two weeks before the flight. I redeemed my brand new 115,000 United miles and paid the required $92.40 in taxes to book this incredible flight. This redemption gave me a value of 8 cents per mile which is a great value to get for your miles!