In this video I want to walk you through one of the easiest ways to use travel rewards points to get to Europe: Using United Airlines miles on their Star Alliance partner Lufthansa to fly direct from many US cities to Europe.
While it might sound confusing to book a flight on a German airline using a US airline’s miles, this is really simple! I’m always looking for ways to make travel rewards easier and more accessible for ‘regular’ people (like me!) and this video gives you some straightforward ways to get to Europe using miles.
See below the video for the full transcript as well as the complete list of all the US routes that Lufthansa currently flies.
Video: Find and Book a Lufthansa Flight with United Miles:
Hello, this is Brad Barrett, and in this video, I want to talk about one of my favorite ways to book an award flight to Europe. Europe is a huge destination for travel rewards points, and it can often be somewhat difficult. But what I like to focus on, just generally speaking, is I like to look at this from the point of view of a regular person.
Most people don’t have hours in the day to figure out how they’re going to travel for free. It kind of loses a lot of its value if you’re spending ten hours a day trying to figure out how to book an award flight. So, I focus on simple programs and points that are actually easy to accumulate and easy to use.
And I generally like United Airlines miles. These are pretty easy to come by, because they are Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.
So, especially if you have a family, you have two people opening each card you can rack up a significant number of miles fairly quickly. Now actually, what I found is that the German carrier, Lufthansa, is actually one of the easiest ways to get to Europe. I just found through trial and error that there’s a ton of availability on these flights.
So what I set out to do was to look up all of the routes, the US routes on that airline. So if you scroll below, you’ll see the short summarized schedule that I put together of all the current flights that Lufthansa flies.
So, when you are putting together an award booking, you really want to focus on the most difficult aspect of the flight first. So, often when you’re going to Europe, it’s flying across the ocean, okay? So, that’s kind of the constraint in the system here. You want to find that first. And then you can always add on additional legs from there.
So, you might not live in one of those handful of places that they fly to directly, but that doesn’t mean you cannot put together this award booking or that you have to make your own way to that city or some such. It’s nothing like that. It’s just that you always want to find the hardest leg first.
So let’s focus on that for now. And since United and Lufthansa are Star Alliance partners, you can use United miles on those flights. And there are none of those crazy fees or surcharges that a lot of the other airlines charge. So, this is really a great and very inexpensive way to get to Europe.
So, what we’re are actually going to do, I’m going to game out a couple of different options. We’ll do, if you see below, you see that they fly from Boston to Frankfurt. When I’m recording this, it’s the end of February in 2015. And I always say that it’s the hardest time to fly is July, generally speaking, other than big holiday weeks.
But July is the hardest time to get on an award flight. Just because of summer vacations and such. But let’s see if we can do this about four months in advance, let’s say for two people.
So, we’re at just the United.com, the regular United website. I’ll type in Boston to Frankfurt. I click this, “My dates are flexible.” And we have July 2015. The length of the trip doesn’t really matter. But we’ll put in two adults for now. We’ll say Economy. And then you click Award Travel. And then you just click Search. And the United computer just thinks for a little bit. And it will arrive at a calendar here.
Now, since we put my dates are flexible, we are looking at two months. And this is a really pretty picture. You’re looking for the yellows and the greens because those are Saver Award economy. You always want a Saver flight, because that’s the lowest level points. And this case, it will be 60,000 for a round trip. So 60,000 points is not all that difficult to come across. You can directly open up one Chase Ink Plus card (Note: this card is no longer offered) with the current bonus and get fairly close to that. So, that’s one credit card bonus, would get you a round trip to Europe.
So in this case, incredibly in July, there are 29 of the 31 days, there’s saver-level availability, just four months out. So, let’s just click on one of these dates and see what we have. Just arbitrarily pick the 8th. And let’s see. We scroll down. And this is great. These are the non-stop flights.
So, there are flights from Boston to Frankfurt operated here by Lufthansa. There’s actually two that day. There’s one at 4:40 p.m. and one at 10 p.m. And you would just click here, 30,000 miles, because that’s the one-way flight. And it would only cost you $5.60. So if you felt like just flying to Europe, it would cost you 30,000 miles and $5.60 to get there.
That would be another 30,000 on the way back and probably slightly more (in fees). There’s usually some minor departure taxes and such from European countries, but it should be well under $100. So, okay, so that’s very encouraging.
And I guess let’s do another one, we’ll, just for argument’s sake, just to prove that wasn’t a fluke. Why don’t we say Atlanta? All right, Atlanta, Georgia, to Frankfurt. Again, “My dates are flexible,” July 2015. Why don’t we go up to four people? We’ll make it more difficult this time. And we’ll click Award Travel. Let’s see how good what this looks like in a minute here.
So again, we’re looking for yellows and greens. And wow! This is actually even better. There are 30 of the 31 days you can get summer flights to Europe using United miles on Lufthansa. Let’s just take a look. We’ll check that same date just for fun. All right, the computer thinks. And here we go. We have a nice direct flight, Atlanta to Frankfurt, Lufthansa, same deal, 30,000 miles and $5.60 per person.
So, if you had a family of four and it’s the end of February. Normally, you’d think you’d be locked out of award flights. But it would be as simple as just coming on here, and two minutes later, if you have the points, you could book these things. It would be really, really straightforward.
So again, definitely look at the list below. That is the comprehensive list of all the Lufthansa flights from the U.S. to Germany. And from there, you really can add on additional legs. So don’t think you’re stuck just going to Frankfurt or Munich. You can definitely connect anywhere that Lufthansa connects, and (if) they have that Saver Level availability.
So from there, you should definitely play with this and add different legs. And you can even get a cool free stopover, which actually gives you like a second destination. And I’ll definitely have a future video on booking a free stopover with United miles. That gets a little more complicated and outside the realm of this video. But you definitely have some options.
So again, thanks for watching, and any questions, just ask below in the comment section. Thank you.
Lufthansa Routes to/from the United States:
- Atlanta (ATL) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Boston (BOS) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Boston (BOS) – Munich (MUC)
- Charlotte (CLT) – Munich (MUC)
- Chicago (ORD) – Dusseldorf (DUS)
- Chicago (ORD) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Chicago (ORD) – Munich (MUC)
- Dallas (DFW) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Denver (DEN) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Detroit (DTW) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Houston (IAH) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Munich (MUC)
- Miami (MIA) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Miami (MIA) – Munich (MUC)
- Newark (EWR) – Dusseldorf (DUS)
- Newark (EWR) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Newark (EWR) – Munich (MUC)
- New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- New York (JFK) – Munich (MUC)
- Orlando (MCO) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Philadelphia (PHL) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- San Francisco (SFO) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- San Francisco (SFO) – Munich (MUC)
- Seattle (SEA) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Tampa, FL (TPA) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Starts 9/25/15
- Washington, DC (IAD) – Frankfurt (FRA)
- Washington, DC (IAD) – Munich (MUC)
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