SWISS First Class Miles & More awards are going the way of the dinosaurs, at least for non-elites. As SWISS announced back in September, starting January 1, 2014 you'll no longer be able to redeem Miles & More miles for a SWISS First Class award ticket, unless you're an Hon Circle member or Senator (and even they have to call in–first class award availability won't be displayed online).
So, if you've accumulated Miles & More miles, you have ~5 weeks to book your 2014 SWISS First Class award.
Is it worth it? Here are the pros and cons as I see them:
- Great food (especially departing Switzerland): Hot Amuse Bouche even before take off, Taste of Switzerland menus, Balik salmon, Nespresso espresso
- Excellent bedding and pajamas
- Arrivals service in select cities, such as Bangkok (met and escorted through customs and baggage claim)
- Ideal if you want to fly non-stop to or from Switzerland (Zurich or Geneva)
- Last chance (for non Miles & More elites) to fly this product
- Ground services not as good as Lufthansa: SWISS' Zurich First Class Lounge can't compare to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt
- Service can be inconsistent: sometimes great, sometimes mediocre (in the context of other airlines' first class)
As with other Miles & More awards on Lufthansa, Miles & More awards come with significant fuel surcharges, although these are lower if flying one way from Europe to the U.S.
What are Examples of the Miles and Fuel Surcharges Required for SWISS First Class Awards?
What's the Best Way to Top Up My Miles & More Account to Redeem for SWISS or Lufthansa First Class?
If you've gotten 50,000 Miles & More miles from the Lufthansa Premier Miles & More MasterCard, you can top up your account for an award by t
ransferring from Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG): 20,000 SPG points = 25,000 Miles & More miles. If you're planning to redeem for a SWISS First Class award before the end of the year, I recommend initiating the transfer soon, since SPG does manual transfers only ~2 times a month to Miles & More.
How Far in Advance Can I Book SWISS Awards Using Miles & More?
While Miles & More awards in Lufthansa First Class may be booked up to 361 days in advance, lately I've only seen SWISS First Class award space up to 10 months in advance–so you can now book into mid-September 2014.
Why Can't I Book a First Class Award Between SFO and ZRH?
For whatever reason, this particular SWISS first class award is pretty much impossible to get. I haven't seen any availability at all for this award for any of the dates I've searched, only between LAX and ZRH.
Will SWISS Business Class Awards Still be Available to United and Partners?
Currently SWISS does still release business class awards to United and Star Alliance partners, mostly a few days in advance of the departure date. For a trip report, see my SWISS Business Class Review
What's with the Edelweiss First Class Flight Out of NYC?!
This is actually simply an Edelweiss crew on a SWISS A330-300, with the same seats, hard product, catering, etc. If you're paying for this flight you'll also earn your usual Miles & More miles, so it's basically equivalent to flying either of the other SWISS first class flights out of NYC.
Do you plan to book a SWISS First Class Award before it becomes impossible for non-elites?
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