Star Alliance members Lufthansa, Swiss and United Airlines have put together a great offer: First Class flights to the continental US are available at HUF 802,000 (~€2,084) with departure from Budapest. The true highlight of this sale are HUF 856,400 (~€2,225) connections to Hawaii. All itineraries feature a European business class flight to Frankfurt or Zurich and a first class transatlantic crossing. Flights to Hawaii have an additional layover in either Los Angeles or San Francisco. Travel dates can be found as late as April 2021.
Booking these fares poses a risk. Travel between the USA and Europe is still suspended. Further, these fares are not fully refundable and even a change of date may come with a large price tag. Even worse, both Lufthansa and Swiss are back scaling first class capacities. You may end up being downgraded to business class.
You may find flights to the following destinations:
- Fort Lauderdale at €2,349
- Nashville at €2,349
- Austin at €2,377
- San Juan, Puerto Rico at €2,380
- Honolulu, Hawaii at €2,476
- Montreal at €2,496
- Boston at €2,513
- New York at €2,516
- Chicago at €2,542
- Miami at €2,571
- Los Angeles at €2,614
- San Francisco at €2,614
- Dallas at €2,614
- and many more
An Inner European flight to Budapest is followed by a stop in Lufthansa’s or Swiss’ dedicated First Class Lounges. A Swiss or Lufthansa long haul plane will take you onwards to your American destination. Your journey ends with either a domestic first class or international business class trip to Hawaii or secondary US airports like Fort Lauderdale. You can find a review of Swiss’ first class goodness here.
We expect further shakeups in the airline industry over the following months. Some services might be cancelled, aircraft changed or downgraded. The schedule we describe may very well change.
Search & Book
The fare rules for these deal do not give us an expiration date. The travel period varies depending on your destination, but the lowest fare show up as late as March or April 2021. A rather long minimum stay of six days applies in order to score this tickets.
The easiest way to find travel dates and buy tickets is Lufthansa’s best price search. This comes with a but, as Lufthansa shows travel dates to Hawaii only for 2020 travel dates. Consulting Google Flights shows that there are availabilities in 2021, too. However, these connections have overnight layovers in California, often in both directions.
You can search additional dates yourself (instructions) and book them via swiss.com or united.com. Regardless which way you choose, we strongly recommend buying tickets directly with the airline.
Why is booking with an airline better than with an online travel agency?
More often than not, online travel agencies offer lower fares than airlines do. We still recommend booking with the airlines directly. There are three main reasons for that:
- The Covid-19 Pandemic
During the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19, planning international travel got more and more risky because of ever-changing restrictions. In contrast to many online travel agencies, most airlines modified their terms & conditions to become more customer friendly. Rebooking conditions are eased, change fees are waived and cancellations are much easier when there is no third party involved.
Further, by adding an OTA to your plans, you increase the risk of one service provider involved going bankrupt. Now, the airline and the online travel agency involved could vanish along with your money.
- Better Customer Service
In case any problems like delays, cancellations or missed connections arise, you can communicate directly with the airline. The airline has to take care of you because you have a contract with them.
If a travel agency issues your ticket, you may have to reach out to them first. You also depend on your OTA to forward you information like flight changes instead of receiving them directly from the airline. You may get a prime exhibition of responsibility shifting rather than problem-solving.
This especially applies to premium tickets. You don’t want to spend more than €1,000 to wind up with some budget OTA’s telephone hotline in case anything goes wrong.
- Baggage Fees
Economy fares not including hold luggage are more and more common. In most cases, travel agencies charge much higher baggage fees than the airlines themselves. If bags are not included in your fare, airlines are often the cheaper alternative.
These tickets are issued in three different booking classes: European flights in J, transatlantic flights in A and American connections in D. The Budapest- Zurich – San Francisco – Honolulu trip pictured above grants the following mileage:
- 55,348 Kilometers on Air China PhoenixMiles
- 48,544 Award Miles + 760 Points on Miles&More 2024
- 48,544 Miles on Miles&More
- 41,750 Miles on Aegean Miles+Bonus
- 41,750 Miles on Ethiopian ShebaMiles
- 36,966 Miles on Air New Zealand AirPoints
- 36,964 Miles on Air Malta Flypass
- 32,896 Points on SAS EuroBonus
- 32,896 Miles on Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- 32,496 Award Miles + 4,358 PQP on United MileagePlus
- 31,298 Miles on Air India Flying Returns
- 30,798 Miles on EgyptAir Plus
- 30,796 Miles on Singapore KrisFlyer
- 30,796 Miles on Thai Royal Orchid Plus
- 30,796 Miles on TAP Miles & Go
- 30,098 Miles on Copa ConnectMiles
- 26,170 Miles on Air Canada Aeroplan
- 25,970 Miles on EVA Infinity MileageLands
- 24,722 Miles on South African Voyager
- 24,720 Award Miles + 17,446 Tier Miles on Avianca LifeMiles
- 24,720 Miles on Asiana Club
- 24,470 Miles on ANA Mileage Club
- 9,588 Award Miles + 958 Tier Miles on Azul TudoAzul
- 5,992 Miles on Vistara Club Vistara
- 4,790 Avios on Aer Lingus AerClub
- 1,800 Miles on LATAM Pass
You can check different combinations with wheretocredit.com’s mileage calculator.
Information & Tips for USA
The USA offers many sights, natural wonders and cultural significance. Thanks to numerous airlines offering flights across the Atlantic, it is always pretty inexpensive to get there. Alternatively, you can also cross the Atlantic by boat.
Immigration, ESTA & Visa Requirements
The USA has one of the strictest entry regulations in the world. Most EU citizens, among others, are lucky to be able to participate in the so-called Visa Waiver Program. If you get an electronic entry permit (ESTA) for approximately €20, you don’t need a visa for entry.
The Best Time to Visit
Due to its sheer size, the perfect time to visit the USA varies greatly from region to region. In winter, Florida is very popular due to the mild temperatures. In the summer the West and East Coasts are flooded by tourists which drives up the prices for hotels and flights and during the Indian Summer in late autumn New England is a very popular destination. The hurricane season between July and September can be dangerous in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Florida and the southern states are regularly struck by these tropical storms. Blizzards occur from the East Coast to the Midwest during the winter months and regularly put air traffic and public life on hold.
The US dollar is widely used throughout the world and accepted as a currency in most tourist hotspots worldwide. That being said, carrying cash isn’t necessary in the US, all you need is a credit card! These are very common in the USA and are accepted pretty much everywhere without any issues. If you already have a credit card in your wallet, you should make sure that it does not charge a foreign currency fee if possible. Carrying a few dollars in cash doesn’t hurt though. You might need cash e.g. for the bus ticket if you want to buy it directly from the driver. Most of the time you even have to give exact change.
→ All Dealz for USA