Lufthansa offers one of my favorite first class products in the world, though unfortunately over the past few years it has become progressively more difficult to redeem miles for it. They only release first class award space to partner airlines at most ~15 days before departure, and even within that timeframe I’ve found they’re becoming stingier with releasing award space to the point that it’s tough to even find one first class award seat within a few days of departure in many of their premium markets (basically anywhere other than Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Montreal, Vancouver, etc.).
One thing that causes a lot of confusion regarding Lufthansa first class award space is that for over a year now United’s website has been showing phantom first class award availability on Lufthansa. Not only has United’s website shown Lufthansa first class award space more than ~15 days out that wasn’t actually available, but it has also not shown the correct award space within the timeframe where it’s actually released. In other words, United’s website has been utterly useless for searching Lufthansa first class availability. That’s not a huge deal, given that the ANA website can be used to accurately search Lufthansa first class award space, though it is a bit of a pain to use since you have to search route by route.
There’s finally good news as of a few days ago, though — best I can tell United has fixed their phantom Lufthansa first class award availability issue for the most part. For one, I no longer see them incorrectly showing Lufthansa first class award space more than ~15 days out. I also find that when the United website shows Lufthansa first class award space within ~15 days of departure, it’s accurate.
However, there’s one case in which I don’t find availability displayed by United to be accurate. Take a look at space from Frankfurt to Detroit in first class, for example. ANA shows award space every day between May 22 and June 2, which is 15 days from now.
United.com shows award space for all those dates as well, except June 2. When I checked about eight hours ago (Saturday afternoon) it didn’t show space for June 1 either. So it seems now that United’s website is only showing space for travel within 14 days. That means if Lufthansa releases award space 15 days out, United’s website won’t immediately pick it up. I’m willing to bet that in another 24 hours United’s website will show the space for June 2 as well.
But since award availability can accurately be searched on ANA’s website, why should you care about United’s website now displaying Lufthansa first class award space accurately (for the most part)?
Because ExpertFlyer.com lets you set availability alerts for flights, whereby they’ll email or text you when the space you’re looking for opens up (you specify the flight and fare class you’re looking for). Up until now this has been useless for Lufthansa first class, because ExpertFlyer is pulling their availability from United’s website. That means if United’s website was incorrectly showing Lufthansa first class award space you’d get an alert. Similarly if Lufthansa first class award space was actually available but just wasn’t showing on United’s website, you wouldn’t get an alert.
Anyway, Lufthansa first class award space is tougher than ever before to find, so being able to set ExpertFlyer alerts and getting accurate results is more valuable than ever. Here’s a post I wrote on how to use ExpertFlyer to set award availability alerts.
Hopefully this makes finding Lufthansa first class award space with partner miles a bit easier…