I shared back in September my plans to fly back from England using Lufthansa First Class out of Frankfurt. As you may recall, Lufthansa only releases availability at most 14 days prior to departure. I had lots of Expertflyer alerts set up, and the stars must have aligned because I succeeded!
A few days ago, I saw an alert from ExpertFlyer that ‘O’ (First Class Award) space was available on New Year’s day from Frankfurt to Chicago. Result! I quickly cancelled my Air Canada ‘backup’ itinerary and rebooked myself into Lufthansa First Class – woohoo!
Icing on the cake, I actually saved a few bucks in taxes by cancelling and rebooking. Because my ‘backup’ flight originated in the UK, I was on the hook for the excessive U.K. departure taxes, bringing my total to around $550. The new booking (originating in Germany) only charged taxes of around $360, so even with the $57 cancellation fee on my original booking I saved about $140!
The New Plan
Unfortunately, Aeroplan award space from the UK to Frankfurt, and Frankfurt to Minneapolis, was not available, so I had to get creative. This is what I came up with:
UK to Frankfurt
For the positioning flight from the UK, I took a look at KLM awards using Delta SkyMiles. One of the cool things about KLM is that they fly out of Bristol Airport, which is the closest airport to where my family live. This means I don’t have to take a 90 minute train in to London and then back out to Heathrow.
As a Delta Platinum Medallion member, I am able to cancel award bookings for free, so I speculatively booked a KLM award for New Years Eve from Bristol to Frankfurt via Amsterdam. Total cost was reasonable – just 10,000 SkyMiles and about $60 in taxes.
Overnight in Frankfurt
The downside of this plan is of course that I will spend New Year’s Eve somewhere other than at home, but I was able to sort out a good plan. I will be staying at the Frankfurt Airport Hilton, which is directly adjacent to the Lufthansa Terminals (including the Lufthansa First Class Terminal). Cash rates for the one night were around $115, so I decided to save my HHonors points and book a cash rate.
Chicago to Minneapolis
I was really hoping I would be able to tack on a United segment to my Lufthansa itinerary to get home from Chicago, but unfortunately availability seems zeroed out for that day. As a result, I have booked another Delta SkyMiles award, for a *slightly* painful 14,500 miles. The cash rate for this flight would have been $174, so I suppose its not a terrible use of miles (1.2 cents per mile if you do the math). I can always cancel this booking if I find a better option.
All in all, I think I did quite well with my trip home from England! I am super excited to try out Lufthansa First Class for the first time ever, it will be great! And stay tuned for an exciting partnership on how I will be sharing my trip report – more to come!