Not only are Star Alliance members Lufthansa, Air Canada, SWISS, and United currently selling incredibly cheap flights from Barcelona to Boston (€168), as we reported here, but now they are also offering a great deal to San José and San Francisco, California. However, there are two downsides to this deal. First of all, you can only take a carry-on on this trip. Adding luggage would increase the price by over €100, no longer making it an outstanding deal (even if still quite cheap). Secondly, the cheapest prices are only limited to a couple of dates in January 2020. If you’re willing to pay roughly €20 more (which still makes it a great price), you can also fly in February 2020.
Only the flights to San Francisco remain available.
Unless you’re flying SWISS, where you’ll just have one layover in Zurich, you’ll mostly fly Lufthansa to Frankfurt, and then continue to Canada with either Lufthansa or Air Canada, before then flying on to California with Air Canada or United.
The long-haul flights are roughly 10 hours long, the short-haul flights take about 2 hours. Drinks and meals/snacks are included, no matter which fares you select.
Search & Book
Sadly, the fare rules do not state until when this price will continue to be available, so we recommend booking rather sooner than later. They do, however, state that your trip has to take place between January 12th and March 1st, 2020, that you can’t fly on Fridays or weekends, and that the trip length has to be between 7 days and 12 months long.
Finding your perfect dates is easiest using Google Flights. To find the cheapest fare, use our Travel-Dealz flight search. You can, of course, also book directly at the airline (e.g. aircanada.com), but that will cost you more. If, however, you do want to add luggage to your trip, then booking at the airline might be the wiser choice.
To facilitate your search for available dates, we’ve created an availability calendar for trips of 8-14 days (for other trip lengths use Google Flights):
Tickets are issued in booking class L, no matter which of these airlines you fly with. If, for instance, you fly with SWISS to San Francisco, for the roundtrip you would get:
- 6,360 on United MileagePlus
- 6,360 on Air Canada Aeroplan
- 3,810 on ANA Mileage Club
- 3,210 on SAS EuroBonus
- 3,180 on EVA Infinity MileageLands
- 3,180 on EgyptAir Plus
- 3,180 on Ethiopian ShebaMiles
- 3,160 on Miles & More
- 260 on Asia Miles
Another example: flying to San José, with Air Canada via Frankfurt and Vancouver would get you…
- 10,380 on Air China PhoenixMiles
- 6,500 on United MileagePlus
- 6,230 on ANA Mileage Club
- 6,160 on Ethiopian ShebaMiles
- 6,070 on SAS EuroBonus
- 6,000 on Thai Royal Orchid Plus
- 5,820 on Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- 5,820 on Aegean Miles+Bonus
- 5,820 on Asiana Club
- 5,820 on TAP Miles & Go
- 5,820 on Air India Flying Returns
- 5,820 on GOL Aéreos Smiles
- 5,340 on Copa ConnectMiles
- 3,250 on Miles & More
- 3,180 on Air Canada Aeroplan
- 2,910 on Avianca LifeMiles
- 340 on Asia Miles
- 340 on EVA Infinity MileageLands
Star Alliance Light Fares
This is a Star Alliance fare that does not include check-in luggage. Additionally, some other disadvantages may apply, especially when flying with United:
Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian
Lufthansa Group airlines call this fare Economy Light. You can select your seats during the check-in process. While these airlines still allow Star-Alliance-Gold customers to bring one 23kg bag, it is said that this benefit will soon be eliminated without much warning.
The long-haul United Basic Economy allows Star-Alliance-Gold customers to fly with 2 x 23 kg luggage, or even 3 x 32 kg if you’re a MileagePlus frequent flyer. Nevertheless, there are other restrictions:
- You cannot reserve your seats. Even at the time of check-in, you’ll be automatically assigned a seat, which you cannot change.
- You’ll be the last one to board the plane (except if you’re a frequent flyer).
- Additionally, if you’re a MileagePlus-customer:
- No free Economy-Plus upgrades
- Only 50%
PQMinstead of 100%, and only 0.5 PQS per flight
- No modifications (e.g. Same Day-Changes) possible
- Upgrades are not permitted
On flights with Air Canada, there is also a Basic Economy, but it is not quite as restrictive as United’s. If you have a Star-Alliance-Gold-Status, you can give up a 23 kg luggage, and Air-Canada-Altitude status holders can even be allowed up to 3 x 32 kg.
Other restrictions include:
- You can reserve seats, but at a higher price than usual for Economy.
- For Air Canada Altitude customers:
- 25% miles for transatlantic flights, none for domestic.
- Upgrades are not permitted.
- From Prestige 25K onwards you can select your seats.
If you feel that these restrictions are unbearable, you should book over the airline’s website, such as Lufthansa.com, and select the rate that includes luggage for roughly €100 more.
Information & Tips for California
California is located in the southwest of the USA and is a popular holiday destination for tourists from all over the globe. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Highway 1, Yosemite National Park, etc… – there’s a lot to attract tourists to the state oh-so prominently featured on the silver screen.
Flights from Europe and especially from Germany to California are often quite cheap. Deals between 200€ and 300€ (checked luggage is an approx. 100€ surcharge) to the west coast are meanwhile nearly the norm, offers in Business Class are unfortunately somewhat less common. The most relevant airports for international air traffic are Los Angeles [LAX], San Francisco [SFO], Oakland [OAK] and San Jose [SJC].
Best Time to Visit
Temperatures in California are quite warm and moderate all year round, but if you want to go to the beach you should aim for visiting between May and October, here the water temperatures are best for taking a swim. In the inland and in the desert regions temperatures can reach more than 40 degrees Celsius in the summer, especially in Death Valley (one of the hottest places on earth!). Caution is advised in these temperatures.
All Dealz for California