In the past three years, I’ve travelled to over 20 countries for a few hundred dollars in taxes and fees (I’ll get to how in the posts to come). Most of the time, I’m flying business or (as was the case last week) first class on points.
Last week, I had planned to go to India via a long sightseeing layover in Madrid for 70,000 points on Iberia and British Airways, but in an effort to try and squeeze a little more time in with friends in Mumbai, I checked out United’s award availability for a speedier travel plan and to my surprise, saw that Lufthansa could get me there quickly in FIRST CLASS!
Typically it’s 110,000 points to get Europe first class on Lufthansa using United Points and 60,000 to get to India from Europe. However, Lufthansa had award availability for 140,000 and about $75 in fees—saving me 40,000 points for the ORD-BOM itinerary. While 140,000 points is still a lot, to buy the ticket would cost me over $10,000, so I was getting about $.07 per point (a phenomenal rate when you think that most of the purchases on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card are earning 3 points per dollar). In addition to a great point conversion rate, I knew I'd get to spend time in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal (yes, “terminal” not lounge) while in Frankfurt, and refunds were available for my old itinerary for a nominal fee ($25).
So how was it? It was everything I could hope for and more. From the new United Polaris Lounge in Chicago to the flight to the off-the-charts Lufthansa First Class terminal, it was worth every point and is in my mind the only way to get to India from the US.