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LifeMiles and a Sign-up Bonus Allowed me to Fly First Class from Frankfurt to New York City

A few weeks ago, I flew Lufthansa First Class from Frankfurt to New York City.  That flight on Lufthansa has to be one of the best flights of my life if not the best.  Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal is an entire experience on its own.

However, Lufthansa First Class isn’t cheap.  Lufthansa’s First Class product typically costs a little over $7,000 on the Frankfurt to New York-JFK route.  With the impending costs of college and daily expenses, there’s no way I could ever afford a $7,000 ticket.  Using Avianca LifeMiles and the Avianca Vuela credit card, I was able to fly Lufthansa First Class for under $700.  Here’s how.

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(Image: Alaska Airlines)

(Image: Alaska Airlines)

Using Avianca LifeMiles to Book Award Travel on Lufthansa

There have to be over a dozen ways in which you can book award travel on Lufthansa.  Popular ways to book Lufthansa award travel include using American Express Membership Points, Chase Ultimate Rewards, United Mileage Plus miles, and Aeroplan miles.  Everyone has their preferred method of booking Lufthansa award travel.  I chose another fairly popular method, Avianca LifeMiles.

I just want to go on record that I’m not saying that using Avianca LifeMiles is the most efficient or inexpensive way to book First Class award travel on Lufthansa.  $700 is not cheap.  I’m still fairly new to points and miles, so I’m just learning through experience.  However, using Avianca LifeMiles worked for me, and I’d probably use LifeMiles again if I ever book a Lufthansa First Class award.

Lufthansa First Class50MPP

How I Earned 87k LifeMiles

Earn 40K to 60K LifeMiles (Image: Avianca)

Earn 40K to 60K LifeMiles (Image: Avianca)`

To book a First Class award from Europe to the United States (or vice versa), you’ll need 87,000 Avianca LifeMiles.  That might seem like a lot, and it kinda is.  The best way to shave at least 40,000 Avianca LifeMiles off this burdensome amount (60K with promo code) is to apply for the Avianca Vuela Visa credit card.

Issued by Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, American citizens can use this card to earn LifeMiles.  The current sign-up bonus (without a promo code) is 40k LifeMiles after the first purchase.  This means that once you get the card, you could just rent a movie online or buy a pack of gum.  Once the first statement closes, you should see the miles post to your account within the next few weeks.  The card does come with a $149 annual fee.  As for the promo code, I used to have the code.  If I knew the code, I’d share it in this post.  The code bumps the first-purchase sign-up bonus to 60,000 LifeMiles.  If you manage to earn 60,000 LifeMiles, that leaves you with just 27k LifeMiles till you can fly First Class across the Atlantic.

Let’s say you’re spending bonus miles have posted.  What now?  I got lucky and managed to buy miles during one of Avianca’s fantastic LifeMiles promotions.  The promotion I took advantage of has since ended, but you can still buy LifeMiles.

Link to apply for Avianca Visa Vuela Credit Card (not affiliated)

Buying Avianca LifeMiles

You’ll need to buy 27,000 Avianca LifeMiles to have enough miles for a Trans-Atlantic First Class award redemption. During the promotion, I would have needed to buy just 14,000 miles which cost $462.  Today you’d need to spend $891 for the miles required to reach 87,000 LifeMiles.  If you spend $891 to buy 27,000 miles, I won’t blame you.  Lufthansa First Class costs over $7,000 so getting a seat for a little over $1,000 is still a great deal.

Earn Double LifeMiles (Image: Avianca LifeMiles)

Earn Double LifeMiles (Image: Avianca LifeMiles)

What I ended up doing was buying just 10,000 Avianca LifeMiles for $330.  Because of the promotion, I ended up with 20,000 miles.  That put me at 80,000 LifeMiles.  I still needed 7,000 LifeMiles.  During the time of booking, I spent just $99.00 to cover the 7,000 missing miles.  That brought me to 87,000 LifeMiles.

I’d honestly wait for the next Avianca promotion.  Avianca runs LifeMiles promotions fairly often, and the promotions are fantastic.  Avianca has won Freddie Awards for their LifeMiles promotions.

Link to buy Avianca LifeMiles (not affiliated)

Are There Fuel Surcharges?

Yes.  There are fuel surcharges and taxes.  However, the taxes and fuel surcharges aren’t outrageous.  Taxes and fuel surcharges will run just a little over $100.  Overall, not a bad deal.

Breakdown of How Much I Paid:

Avianca Vuela Card Annual Fee$149.00
20k LifeMiles during promotion$330.00
7k LifeMiles at time of booking$99.00
Fuel surcharges/taxes/carrier imposed fees$115.00

So not the best redemption and a little steep.  Excitement got the best of me, and I used a lot of cash to rush this trip.  However, it’s still a great deal.  If Lufthansa First Class on this route costs $7,000, this means I paid just 9.9% of the fare.  Keep in mind that $7,000 is the cheapest First Class ticket on this route.  Tickets in Lufthansa First Class frequently cost over $10,000 one-way.  Again, not an ideal way to redeem miles for Lufthansa First Class but it’s a fairly simple and pain-free way of doing so.


I’m still learning which programs allow for the best award redemptions.  I’m also discovering the pros and cons of each program.  This trip turned about to be a little bit more expensive than I had hoped.  Still, I’m happy I booked my Lufthansa First Class award the way I did.  For a little under $700, I paid less than 10% of the cost of a first class ticket on Lufthansa.  LifeMiles is a fantastic program that frequently marks down the cost of their miles.  Again, not the best way to book Lufthansa First Class but certainly an easy way to book an award.

How have you booked Lufthansa First Class award tickets?  Have you used LifeMiles recently?