How to Book Lufthansa and Lufthansa Partners with Points (and Get a Rubber Ducky)

This in-depth guide shares the pros and cons of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program, as well as how to book flights using miles with both Lufthansa and Lufthansa partners.
Last updated Dec 28, 2020 | By Lee Huffman
How to Book Lufthansa and Lufthansa Partners with Points

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Lufthansa Airlines is not an airline many people in the U.S. are familiar with, but it’s regularly ranked as one of the top 20 airlines in the world. Plus, you may have heard travel friends share stories about rubber duckies and chauffeured rides in Porsches. These unique touches are just a couple of the reasons experienced travelers love to earn and redeem Lufthansa Miles & More miles.

In this article, we'll show you how to earn and redeem these valuable miles, as well as how to use Lufthansa partners to book your flights.

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About Lufthansa

Lufthansa is based in Cologne, Germany, and was founded in 1953. It has more than 138,000 employees. The Lufthansa Group operates Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Eurowings. It also has various joint ventures with United Airlines, Air Canada, All Nippon Airways, and Singapore Airlines.

Lufthansa operates international hubs out of Frankfurt, Munich, and Zurich, Germany, as well as Vienna, Austria. It flies a route network to more than 270 destinations across 86 countries. Popular Lufthansa routes include San Francisco to Frankfurt and Chicago O'Hare to Munich.

Travelers love the Lufthansa first class experience. In the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, Germany, you'll enjoy white glove attention in a lounge dedicated to first class passengers and members of HON Circle, which is Lufthansa’s highest level of status. Inside, there are luxurious amenities such as a cigar lounge, more than 130 different whiskeys, and the famous Lufthansa rubber ducks. Plus, you can be chauffeured to your plane in a Porsche for the ultimate pre-flight experience.

Lufthansa partners

There are many Lufthansa partners in the hospitality industry. Many of the Lufthansa airline partners are in the Star Alliance, but Lufthansa has direct agreements with several other airlines as well. It also has relationships with hotels, online travel agencies, transportation companies, and more. So let’s take a look at all the ways these Lufthansa partners can help you both earn and redeem loyalty rewards.

Star Alliance partners

Lufthansa Airlines is one of more than two dozen members of the Star Alliance network. Lufthansa has codeshare agreements with these airlines that allows travelers to use partner rewards miles to fly on Lufthansa. Additionally, when flying on Lufthansa, you can credit your flight segments and distance flown to any of the Lufthansa partners that are Star Alliance members. So, for example, you could use Singapore Airlines rewards to fly Lufthansa, or when you fly Lufthansa you could have the rewards for that flight credited to your Singapore Airlines loyalty account.

The current list of Lufthansa partners in the Star Alliance are:

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Scandinvian Airlines (SAS)
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

Because you may not fly each of these Lufthansa partners on a regular basis, you may find it most useful to credit a flight to one of the partners. This will prevent you from having a few miles in a bunch of different programs that aren't enough to redeem for a free flight. Instead, you can pool those points in the one program that is most useful to you. Plus, concentrating your flights to one program could help you achieve elite status with your preferred airline.

Additional airline partners

Lufthansa also partners with other carriers that are not member airlines of the Star Alliance. You may not recognize many of these names, but these partners can come in handy when flying to certain regions around the world:

  • Air Astana
  • Air Dolomiti
  • Air Malta
  • Condor
  • Eurowings
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Luxair
  • Olympic Air
  • SilkAir

Other travel partners

Hotels also partner with Lufthansa. These hotel partners make it even more possible for you to earn additional rewards:

  • Althoff Collection
  • Best Western Hotels & Resorts
  • H-Hotels.com
  • Hotel DE
  • HRS Das Hotelportal
  • Hilton Honors
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Jumeriah Hotels & Resorts
  • Kempinski Hotels
  • Leonardo Hotels
  • MAXX by Steigenberger
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Melia Hotels International
  • Radisson Hotels & Resorts
  • Rocco Forte Hotels
  • Romantik Hotels & Restaurants
  • Steigenberger Hotels & Restaurants
  • Tru by Hilton
  • Vienna House
  • Vienna House Easy
  • WorldHotels
  • World of Hyatt
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Lufthansa Miles & More: the Lufthansa loyalty program

The frequent flyer program for Lufthansa is called Miles & More, and it is free to join. Once your account is created, you can even receive retroactive credit for flights already taken, up to six months back.

You'll earn Lufthansa miles when using your membership number while flying on Lufthansa and Lufthansa airline partners or when booking hotels and rental cars through the Lufthansa travel portal. You can also earn miles by using Lufthansa's credit card or by spending money with its partners.

Lufthansa Miles & More membership tiers

There are four tiers of membership in the Lufthansa Miles & More loyalty program. You qualify for higher levels of elite status primarily based on the number of status miles you earn in a calendar year. You can also convert up to 25,000 Lufthansa reward miles into status miles each year at a rate of 5:1. Maxing this out can give you an additional 5,000 status miles per year.

Member

You start out as a member when you sign up for a Miles & More account. Membership allows you to start earning miles towards future redemptions of flights, hotels, and more.

Frequent Traveller

You advance to Frequent Traveller status once you've earned 35,000 status miles in a calendar year. Lufthansa also offers a fast track to Frequent Traveller elite status if you fly 30 flights on select airlines within a calendar year.

At this status level, you earn up to 50% more award miles and 25% more status miles. You'll receive business class check-in with Lufthansa airline partners and be at the third-highest waiting list priority on flights. You can access the Lufthansa Business Class lounges and get up to three pieces of luggage checked for free.

Senator

Senator status is earned once you accrue 100,000 status miles in a calendar year. You receive two upgrade vouchers per year to fly one booking class higher. While traveling, you have access to the Senator and Star Gold airport lounges and can check up to four bags with no additional charge. A companion can fly with you for 50% fewer miles with no limit to the number of tickets you may book this way.

HON Circle

The highest Lufthansa status tier is HON Circle. It is achieved by earning 600,000 status miles in two consecutive years. Members with this status will have the highest priority on the waiting list for flights and receive six upgrade vouchers each year. You’ll be able to access the Lufthansa First Class Terminal regardless of the class you are flying. You'll also enjoy limousine and transfer service to and from the airplane at select airports when flying on participating airlines. HON Circle members can also give Senator status to a spouse or life partner.

How to book with points on Lufthansa

To book a flight with Lufthansa, you need at least 7,000 miles in your account in order to search award availability. Here are the steps to take to find Lufthansa award flights:

  1. Start by logging into your Miles & More account
  2. Select your departure city, destination, and travel dates
  3. Pick your class of service
  4. Choose your desired flight
  5. Pay for the flight using miles or Cash & Miles
  6. Pay for taxes and fees associated with your award redemption

Early bird flight discounts

Lufthansa rewards travelers who book in advance. When you book nonstop flights on Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, or Luxair you can save up to 65% on your flight. You must depart from Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, or Luxembourg with a four-day minimum stay. These discounts are available when you book 30 days prior to departure for nonstop flights worldwide, and 90 days before departure for flights within Germany and Europe.

Mileage bargains

Travelers can also take advantage of Lufthansa's mileage bargains. These discounted flights run between select cities for a limited time. To find the deals best suited to you, select search filters to choose your departure city, destination, and service class.

How to Book Lufthansa and Lufthansa Partners with Points (and Get a Rubber Ducky)

How much is each Lufthansa mile worth?

How much credit card points are worth will vary from reward program to reward program. Lufthansa Miles & More miles are worth 1.4 cents on average based on reader feedback and experience. Your value will vary depending on how you're redeeming your miles. In most cases, you will receive the best value on your miles when you redeem them for premium-class international flights.

Examples of how you can fly Lufthansa with points

Flying with Lufthansa can be a memorable travel experience, especially when you’re flying to one of your favorite destinations. Here are a few examples of how to fly on Lufthansa while using miles from both the airline and from Lufthansa partners.

First Class from Chicago to Frankfurt for 85,000 Lufthansa miles

Get spoiled and enjoy all of the amenities in Frankfurt's First Class Terminal for 85,000 Lufthansa miles each way. Keep in mind that you cannot search for award space until you have the required number of miles in your account. So you won’t see a flight worth 85,000 Lufthansa miles until you actually have 85,000 Lufthansa miles. On the plus side, award availability is first released to Miles & More members before it’s released to the loyalty program members of any Lufthansa airline partners.

Business Class from Atlanta to Stuttgart for 55,000 Lufthansa miles

Taking advantage of Lufthansa's mileage bargains is a great way to stretch the value of your miles. For a limited time, you can fly round-trip in Business Class from Atlanta to several cities in Germany for only 55,000 Lufthansa miles.

How to Book Lufthansa and Lufthansa Partners with Points

Chicago to Frankfurt in Economy for 30,000 United miles

You can book flights on Lufthansa with United miles. United miles can be earned a number of ways, including flying United, using a United Airlines credit card, or transferring points from your Chase Ultimate Rewards account. In this example, you can fly one-way in economy class for 30,000 United miles and $5.60 in taxes.

How to Book Lufthansa and Lufthansa Partners with Points

How to earn enough miles to fly Lufthansa

You have several options to earn enough miles to fly on Lufthansa. You can earn miles directly from Lufthansa, through one of the Lufthansa partners, or by spending with specific credit cards.

1. Fly with Lufthansa

When you fly with Lufthansa, you will earn miles based on the price of your ticket in euros and a factor based on your level of elite status. If you pay in another currency, the price will be converted into euros at the conversion rate valid at the time the ticket was issued.

  1. For base-level Lufthansa loyalty program members, your factor is four.
  2. If you have elite status, your factor is based on the airline you are flying. For flights operated by Lufthansa, Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, LOT Polish Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways, Air Dolomiti, or Brussels Airlines, the factor is six. The factor is five for Eurowings and all other Lufthansa partners.

For example, a 300 euro flight on Lufthansa will earn 1,200 miles for a base-level member and 1,500 miles for anyone with elite status. Members with elite status also qualify for extra miles called an Executive Bonus. These bonuses provide up to 50% more miles on your flights.

2. Earn miles with Lufthansa partner airlines

When flying Lufthansa partners, you can credit your flights to the Miles & More loyalty program. Lufthansa's website details a number of opportunities to earn bonus miles based on which one of the Lufthansa airline partners you are flying. For example, you can earn double miles with Brussels Airlines.

If you book through Lufthansa, you'll earn miles based on the amount paid and the factor described above. When booking through another airline's channel or an online travel agent, you'll earn a fixed number of miles or miles based on the fare class and distance flown.

3. Make purchases with Lufthansa hospitality partners

Lufthansa Miles & More members can earn additional miles through the airline’s other partnerships. When you book hotels and rental cars through Hotels and Cars by Points, you will earn bonus miles based on the type and length of reservation you make.

For example, you can earn 5,500 bonus Lufthansa miles for a two-night stay at the Le Meridien New York, Central Park.

How to Book Lufthansa and Lufthansa Partners with Points

You can also earn miles on car rentals. In this example, a three-day rental in Los Angeles earns 950 Lufthansa miles. If you select a more expensive reservation, the number of miles earned also increases.

How to Book Lufthansa and Lufthansa Partners with Points

4. Use Chase credit cards

There are no Chase credit cards that earn Lufthansa Miles & More miles. But these are still some of the best travel credit cards that can get you on a Lufthansa flight. Several Chase cards earn United miles or earn points that transfer to United. United is also a member of the Star Alliance, so you can book flights on Lufthansa using United Airlines MileagePlus miles.

Chase offers the following United credit cards that earn United MileagePlus miles:

There are also three credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards that can transfer to Chase travel partners:

The Chase points transfer to both United and Singapore Airlines on a 1:1 basis. This means 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points convert into either 50,000 United miles or Singapore Airlines miles. Before transferring to either airline, make sure the award flight you want is available to book using miles.

5. Use American Express credit cards

You cannot transfer American Express Membership Rewards directly to Lufthansa. But you can transfer these points to a few Lufthansa partners. These transfer partners include Air Canada, ANA, Avianca, and Singapore Airlines. Membership Rewards points transfer to these Lufthansa airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. So 50,000 Amex rewards convert into 50,000 miles with your chosen airline.

American Express offers multiple rewards cards that earn Membership Rewards points. The Platinum Card from American Express and The Business Platinum Card from American Express are both good options. Both Platinum cards earn bonus points when booking flights directly with airlines or through Amex Travel, and the Business Platinum has a $200 annual airline fee credit. With either card, you'll receive entry to Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges; reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees; and automatic Hilton and Marriott Gold status.

6. Use Lufthansa’s Miles & More Card

Lufthansa's Miles & More credit card is issued by Barclays, which can help to diversify your wallet away from Chase, Citi, and American Express and their credit card application rules. It offers a hefty sign-up bonus as well as the ability to earn miles on all your purchases. You’ll also be able to earn bonus miles on Lufthansa purchases. There are also other travel perks such as Lufthansa Business Lounge vouchers and a companion pass that you will receive annually. If you fly Lufthansa often, this might be the best airline credit card option for earning miles. 

7. Have friends or family transfer Lufthansa miles to you

Transferring Lufthansa miles from someone's account is also an option if you find yourself just shy of what you need to redeem for a flight. You can transfer a minimum of 500 miles and you are limited to sending and receiving a maximum of 35,000 per year.

There is a fee to transfer miles and it can take up to three working days for the miles to show up in your account. The fee is $11.80 per 1,000 miles transferred. Lufthansa does not offer a discounted rate if you transfer more miles.

Generally, transfers are not a good value because of how high the fees can be. If you were to send the maximum of 35,000 miles, it would cost $387.75. Unless you are trying to book an expensive award flight, it doesn't make sense to pay that much. Your best bet is to make a small transfer if you need just a few miles to book an award ticket.

8. Book flights using Cash & Miles

You can’t purchase additional Lufthansa miles, but you can combine miles and cash to book flights on Lufthansa, Star Alliance, and Eurowings. To book a Cash & Miles flight on Lufthansa or Lufthansa partners, you need at least 3,000 miles in your account.

A couple more things about earning Lufthansa miles

Unless you have elite status or make a purchase with the Lufthansa credit card, your miles will expire 36 months from the date they are earned. Miles that have expired cannot be reinstated by using your Miles & More credit card.

If you want a quick way to get started earning Lufthansa miles — download the Lufthansa app, and you'll earn 500 miles the first time you log in to the iOS or Android app.

The best credit cards to earn you more Lufthansa miles

There is only one credit card available that actually earns Lufthansa miles. However, there are several credit cards that earn miles with Lufthansa partners that will enable you to book flights on Lufthansa.

Lufthansa Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®
United Explorer Card The Platinum Card from American Express Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Welcome bonus Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus an additional 25,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 in the first 6 months Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10X points on purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets for first 6 months (on up to $15,000 combined) Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months Earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards rate 2X miles per dollar on tickets purchased from Miles & More partner airlines and 1X per dollar on all other purchases
2X miles at restaurants and eligible delivery services, hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel, and eligible United purchases; and 1X miles on everything else 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases 10X points on Lyft rides, 3X points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit), 3X points at restaurants, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else 5X points on Lyft rides; 3X points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1X points per $1 on everything else
Annual fee  $89
$95 (waived first year) $550 $550 $95
Foreign transaction fee None None None None None
Free checked bags Not waived Waived for one bag of cardholder and companion on United $200 annual credit can pay for bag fees $300 annual travel credit can pay for bag fees None
Lounge access Two complimentary Lufthansa Business Lounge vouchers annually Two complimentary United Club passes annually Access more than 1,200 lounges with Priority Pass, Centurion Lounge, and others Access more than 1,000 lounges with Priority Pass None
Companion ticket Each year upon renewal None None None None
Elite status Convert up to 25,000 miles into status miles None Complimentary Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status None None

Lufthansa Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

The Lufthansa Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® is the only available credit card that earns Lufthansa miles. You'll receive a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within 90 days of account opening. You will earn 2X miles on tickets purchased from Miles & More partner airlines. In addition to Lufthansa itself, these partners include Adria Airways, Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines Group, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Eurowings, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Luxair and Swiss International Air Lines. You will earn 1X miles on all other purchases.

Each year, cardholders receive a companion ticket and two complimentary Lufthansa Business Lounge vouchers. When booking hotel and rental car reservations through the Lufthansa travel portal, you can also save 15% on those reservations. Cardholders can also exchange up to 25,000 miles each year toward elite status.

United Explorer Card

The United Explorer Card earns miles with United Airlines. You can earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus an additional 25,000 bonus miles after spending $10,000 in the first 6 months. This card also earns you 2X miles at restaurants and eligible delivery services, hotel accommodations booked directly with the hotel, and eligible United purchases; and 1X miles on everything else. United is one of the Lufthansa airline partners in the Star Alliance, so you can use United miles to book flights on Lufthansa.

Best Rewards for United

Benefits

  • Up to 65,000 mile sign-up bonus
  • 2X miles on United purchases, restaurants, and delivery services
  • Free first checked bag
  • 2 United Club Passes annually

The Platinum Card from American Express

American Express Membership Rewards points can transfer to four Lufthansa partners at a 1:1 ratio. With the Amex Platinum, you can earn 75,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10X on U.S. gas station and U.S. supermarket purchases for the first 6 months (on up to $15,000 combined). The card also earns 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. 

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • 75,000 Membership Rewards point welcome offer
  • 10X points on purchases at U.S. gas stations and supermarkets
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $15 in free U.S. Uber rides each month ($20 in December)
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Terms apply

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to United Airlines on a 1:1 basis with no fees. The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card can earn you a sign-up bonus of a 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in first 3 months, which is worth up to $750 in travel. Spending with this card earns 10X points on Lyft rides, 3X points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit), 3X points at restaurants, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else. Cardholders also receive a $300 travel credit that can be used to pay for any travel purchases. Plus, you’ll get access to Priority Pass lounges and rental car insurance.

#1 Premium Travel Credit Card

Benefits

  • 50,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and at restaurants
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2021
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

Small business owners have a good option with the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card. This card offers a chance to earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months, which is worth up to $1,000. These points can also be transferred to United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio for no fee. To increase your ability to earn rewards, employee cards can also be issued at no charge, and credit limits can be individually assigned.

Hot Sign-up Bonus

Benefits

  • 100,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and common business spending categories
  • Flexible redemption options
  • Additional employee cards at no extra cost

Commonly asked questions about booking Lufthansa with points

Are United and Lufthansa partners?

Yes. Both airlines are part of the Star Alliance. Lufthansa partners can redeem their reward miles for flights on Lufthansa, and vice versa. Additionally, travelers may credit their flights to other airlines within the Star Alliance. So you may fly Lufthansa but have those miles credited to a different airline’s loyalty program, for example.

Is Lufthansa a partner with Delta?

No. Delta is part of the SkyTeam alliance. You cannot redeem Delta miles to book a flight on Lufthansa or vice versa.

Is Lufthansa a oneworld partner?

No, Lufthansa Airlines is part of the Star Alliance. You cannot redeem oneworld partner miles to book flights on Lufthansa. Nor can you credit oneworld flights to Lufthansa.

How much is one Lufthansa mile worth?

As with all airline miles, the value depends upon how you use the miles. On average, one Lufthansa Miles & More mile is worth 1.4 cents based on the experiences of people in the points-and-miles community.

Can I use Lufthansa miles to book hotels?

Yes, you can book a room at more than 300,000 hotels around the world using your Lufthansa miles. Prices for rooms start at just 3,000 miles. Payment can be made with miles or a combination of miles and cash. Lufthansa miles can also be used to book rental cars or to purchase gift cards.


The bottom line on Lufthansa

Lufthansa miles are a valuable addition to your travel rewards portfolio. There are many options to earn these miles through Lufthansa, Lufthansa partners, and a variety of credit cards. Not only is earning these miles valuable, but achieving elite status with the Lufthansa loyalty program also offers tremendous benefits, including a 50% companion ticket discount, airport lounge access, and flight upgrades. All in all, this is a loyalty program worth getting involved in.

#1 Travel Rewards Card

Benefits

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • Up to $50 statement credit for grocery store purchases
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits