A couple of months ago my parents decided they’d like to go to fly to Europe for a couple of weeks and asked me if they could fly in First or Business class and so I recommended to get some credit cards and after a couple of months they had enough miles to fly Lufthansa First Class to Europe and back for both of them.

About a month ago they told me to book the ticket since they feared that later there wouldn’t be any seats and apparently it took them forever to get vacation time off during these particular dates. I told them the only thing that is available is Economy and that First/Business would begin to show up about two weeks before departure. They told me just book the tickets in Economy and then they asked me if the tickets could be switched to First/Business later, so I told them yes… but there will be a change or cancellation fee. So we ended up buying the Economy ticket a month ago.

About a week ago, space showed up for Lufthansa First Class for 2 people on their flight and I told them it would cost approximately $800 to change the ticket and book the whole trip in Lufthansa First Class. Here’s how that was calculated:

  • Outbound would be booked using United miles so it would be just ~$130 per person in fees and close-in booking fee
  • $400 for both people for cancelling the old Economy ticket on United (they have no status)
  • ~$200 fuel surcharges per person to book the return flights through Aeroplan

So they would be refunded ~$100 per person from United for the Economy tickets, so that in theory would take care of the United fees again. So in total it would be $400 United cancellation fee + ~$400 Aeroplan fuel surcharges = ~$800 USD.

$800 USD for two people in Lufthansa First Class happens to be a good deal for them. If they would’ve listened to me and had me not book the ticket until the First Class Space showed up, it would only cost them ~$400 (Aeroplan) + ~$200 (United) = ~$600 USD. Keep in mind that the previous ~$800 didn’t have the United fees included since those would be refunded upon cancellation of the original Economy ticket.

Anyway, I tell them for $800 they can fly Lufthansa First Class and told them exactly how much each component of the trip costs.

“We’ll pass… we aren’t paying that much just to be comfortable”

Ok, firstly it’s not just to “be comfortable”, but it’s Lufthansa First Class we are talking about. HELLO!!!!

I begged and tried and everything that I could do, but they ended up flying to Europe in Lufthansa Economy for 120k United miles + ~$200 fees. If you ask me, they still saved $3000 USD that this ticket would’ve cost in Economy.. so at least they did save some money… BUT they would’ve saved even more money if they flew in Lufthansa First Class which costs $7-15k USD per PERSON. I mean I don’t know how they could’ve passed up this amazing opportunity… oh, well.

Which brings me to – Miles and points aren’t for everyone. Yes, they ended up saving a few thousand but in the long run I feel like this was not maximised since they had enough miles to fly in First Class and they stuck with Economy just so they wouldn’t have to pay more out of their pocket. Yes, I could’ve gotten the Arrival+ credit card, but we were running out of time and only applied for enough cards as needed.

I mean on the other hand, they saved a ton of miles for that and can fly to other places using those miles… so I guess that’s good for them? Not to mention as of right now they’re stuck on a B747-400 in Economy in a window and aisle seat… instead of being on the upper deck in the new Lufthansa First Class. I guess you can’t convince everyone…