At Lufthansa, there are many ways to secure an upgrade to a higher travel class. Instead of taking a seat in economy class, there are a total of five ways to enjoy the greater comfort of premium economy, business class or even first class instead, and we want to take a closer look at these options in this article.
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Upgrade with Miles
When upgrading with miles, it is first necessary to distinguish which program the miles come from. You have by far the best chances with miles from Lufthansa’s own frequent flyer program Miles&More. But that doesn’t mean it’s always worth it:
With Miles&More Miles
Members of Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program have the opportunity to use their award miles to upgrade. This is now possible from all paid booking classes, while previously the cheapest booking classes K, L and T in economy and N in premium economy class were excluded. However, the lower the booking class, the more expensive (in miles) the upgrade. Incidentally, the same also applies to the travel class: an upgrade from economy class to business class requires more miles than, for example, an upgrade from premium economy to business class.
A distinction is also made between the respective continents, areas and sometimes individual countries, regarding the mileage price for an upgrade. Although upgrades for flights within the respective areas are the cheapest, this is rarely worthwhile (especially within Europe). You can find the award miles required for the respective upgrades in the Miles&More table.
However, the big question is whether it is worth using the award miles for an upgrade, because simply booking an award flight does not cost that much more, especially since (in addition to the high taxes and fees) no economy or premium economy ticket has to be booked beforehand. One thing is clear: Upgrades can’t compete with a mileage bargain, because you can always get business class trips to North America for 55,000 miles + around €500.
Standard award flights to North America cost at least 56,000 miles in each direction. If you now consider that an upgrade from economy class requires between 35,000 and 50,000 miles, it becomes clear that this does not necessarily have to be a good deal. Depending on the situation, however, an upgrade can make “sense”, e.g. with a very good deal for economy class, other circumstances or simple spontaneity.
The same applies to upgrades from economy to premium economy. Miles&More asks for between 20,000 and 50,000 miles per segment for an upgrade. It often makes more sense to book premium economy directly instead of upgrading from economy. So you should always weigh up carefully whether an upgrade with miles is worthwhile in your personal case and whether it really makes sense.
With Miles from other Frequent Flyer Programs
You can not only book upgrades with award miles from Miles&More itself. Other Star Alliance airlines also offer the option of upgrades booked with miles at Lufthansa & Co.
However, there are usually major restrictions here, so only certain booking classes are eligible for an upgrade. With Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, for example, these are Lufthansa’s booking classes G, E, Y and B to upgrade from economy to business class. Booking class C, D or J is required for an upgrade from business class to first class.
In practice, such Star Alliance upgrades are therefore pretty pointless. It is not uncommon for an economy ticket in booking class Y to cost more than a paid business class ticket.
Upgrade with Miles&More eVouchers
eVouchers are given to Senator and HON Circle status members in Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program. Miles&More frequent flyers can use these to upgrade to a higher travel class. Senators receive two and HON Circle Members six of the eVouchers. These vouchers can be used for upgrades as follows:
Flights within a zone (Europe, Asia, North America etc.):
- 1 eVoucher for business class upgrades from economy class
- 1 eVoucher for first class upgrades from business class (e.g. in Asia)
Flights between zones (e.g. from Europe to North America):
- 1 eVoucher for premium economy upgrades from economy class
- 1 eVoucher for business class upgrades from premium economy
- 2 eVouchers for business class upgrades from economy class
- 2 eVouchers for first class upgrades from business class
Exceptions for upgrades from the lowest booking classes K, L, T & N:
- 2 eVouchers for premium economy upgrades from economy class
- 2 eVouchers for business class upgrades from premium economy
- 3 eVouchers for business class upgrades from economy class
It is not possible to upgrade to or from premium economy within a zone. However, the intermediate class is rarely offered within individual zones anyway. Should you, though, fly in premium economy (e.g. within Asia), you won’t be able to upgrade to business class using a voucher.
In principle, upgrades with eVouchers are possible with all airlines and on all routes that are also available for upgrades at Miles&More. Of course, you have the best chances at the Lufthansa Group airlines: Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Swiss. Otherwise, the above restriction on expensive booking classes will apply again.
Depending on the airline, the upgrades can either be made directly online under the existing Miles&More booking, using the corresponding upgrade form, with a printed voucher at check-in or – best and with the greatest possibilities – by telephone via Miles&More’s hotline.
Upgrade with United PlusPoints
The option to upgrade Lufthansa flights with vouchers is not only available at Miles&More. Since Lufthansa and United Airlines are in a close partnership, United MileagePlus frequent flyers also share this benefit.
In 2019, United rebuilt the system somewhat. PlusPoints are now available to all frequent flyers with Premier Platinum or Premier 1K status. Specifically, 40 PlusPoints for Platinum members and a total of 320 with 1K status.
These can be redeemed for upgrades at Lufthansa as follows:
- Economy class → business class: 40 PlusPoints
- Only from booking classes Y, B, M, H, U, Q
- Premium economy class → business class: 40 PlusPoints
- Only from booking classes G, E
- Business class → first class: 40 PlusPoints
- Only from booking classes J, C, D
Unfortunately, the cheapest booking classes (e.g. K, L, T, S, V, W in economy) cannot be upgraded using PlusPoints.
Bid for an Upgrade
Another way to secure an upgrade to a higher travel class with Lufthansa & Co. is myOffer. A cash bid can be submitted here (if available for the respective flight). The minimum bids differ depending on the region, i.e. between domestic German, intra-European and continental or long-haul flights. There are the following options:
- Domestic German flights: Upgrades from economy class to business class
- Inner-European flights / medium-haul: Upgrades from economy class to business class
- Intercontinental / Long Haul: Upgrades from economy class to premium economy, from economy class to business class and from premium economy to business class
You can use this link to check whether myOffer is available for your existing booking. Then you can also see how high the minimum bid for your flight is. You can bid up to three days before departure and will usually find out within 36 to 24 hours before departure whether your bid has been accepted. If your bid is successful, you will also receive the miles according to the new booking class.
Upgrade at a Fixed Price
If bidding for an upgrade is too uncertain, you can sometimes also book an upgrade at a fixed price. Whether this is the case can be seen directly in your existing online booking of the flight, often in the form of a banner. Not only can you upgrade to premium economy, business class or first class at a fixed price, but you’re guaranteed to get the upgrade.
However, fixed-price upgrades are usually more expensive than, for example, the minimum bid at myOffer. With the upgrade at a fixed price, the prices can vary greatly and are primarily dependent on the route, the occupancy and the duration of the flight. You can book your upgrade 360 days and no later than 24 hours before departure.
There are many ways to get an upgrade at Lufthansa. Everyone has to decide for themselves which is the most sensible. Do I want to use my valuable award miles, even though it is not uncommon for normal award flights to only cost a few more miles? Can I use my status’s eVouchers for an upgrade? Do I take the “risk” and bid for an upgrade? Or do I prefer to play it safe, save my miles and book an upgrade at a fixed price?
Since the eVouchers are intended for upgrades anyway, their use is probably the most worthwhile. However, in the lowest booking classes, one should think carefully about whether using up to three eVouchers is such a good deal. With a low bid, myOffer is probably one of the cheapest options – just without the security. If the price is not too high (which is often the case), a fixed price upgrade here and there can certainly be worthwhile.