From glasses of Gewürztraminer through to some excellent shopping – or perhaps, a performance at Oper Frankfurt – there’s a lot to see and do in Germany. And happily for us, there are so very many ways to fly there using points.
In fact, the choices are so vast you might even have a hard time choosing your favourite place to transit or stop over en route. But whichever path your trek takes, we’ve got some great details on how to fly to Frankfurt using your Qantas Points, Velocity Points and KrisFlyer miles. There’s also an interesting sweet spot with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and a lesser-known option via Aeroplan that you might not be aware of. So of course, we dive into these too.
In this guide to Frankfurt, we’ll walk you through many of those ways to put your hard-earned points to work. We also dive into the many lounge options at Frankfurt’s key airport, and how your accommodation can help you earn points towards your next trip. Let’s get started.
Flying to Frankfurt on points
As a major global aviation hub, the options to reach Frankfurt on points are vast. While there are no non-stop flights from Australia, many airlines provide one-stop options from major Australian cities.
We can’t go into the details of every route and every frequent flyer program, but here are just some of your choices when bound for Frankfurt.
Using Qantas Points
Many of Qantas’ partners serve Frankfurt. Here’s an overview of your key one-stop options when spending Qantas Points.
|Using Qantas Points to Frankfurt||Economy||Premium |
|From Sydney and Melbourne via Dallas/Fort Worth (Qantas + American Airlines)||55,200||108,400||144,600||N/A|
|From Perth via London Heathrow (Qantas + British Airways)||61,200||104,900*||146,500||N/A|
|From Perth via Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific)||61,500||109,000||139,200||N/A|
|From Perth via Dubai (Emirates)||61,500||N/A||139,200||199,300|
|From Sydney and Melbourne via Colombo (SriLankan Airlines)|
From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific)
From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via Shanghai (China Eastern Airlines)
From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via Taipei (China Airlines)
From Melbourne via Tokyo Narita (Japan Airlines)
|From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via Dubai (Emirates)||66,200||N/A||159,000||227,500|
*For Qantas and BA via London, Premium Economy is available on the Perth-London leg, with the BA sector is in Economy at this total price.
^For Australia-Frankfurt journeys, Premium Economy is not available on China Eastern or SriLankan Airlines.
There are many more options too, for those willing to think outside the box. For instance, Japan Airlines from Sydney to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport – and then JAL onwards to Frankfurt from Narita Airport. This means picking up bags and carting them between airports, but it’s certainly doable.
Qantas and its oneworld Alliance partners also intersect at a wide range of ports. This creates even more connecting opportunities – although some of these might be two-stop journeys. For instance, Qantas from Sydney to London via Singapore, connecting onto BA from London to Frankfurt.
Ways to earn Qantas Points
It’s very easy to earn Qantas Points in Australia, and we’ve covered many of these earning opportunities in our handy guide. But alongside the every day, making good use of bonus points offers can get your points balance growing even more swiftly.
A popular way to earn bonus points is to shop with Qantas Wine. Regular offers make it easy to collect in the region of 5,000-10,000 bonus Qantas Points per eligible case. Another common route is to successfully apply for a points-earning credit card during a sign-up promotion offering bonus points, and then to meet any minimum spending requirement.
Just one sign-up bonus could be enough for a one-way Premium Economy flight to Frankfurt – or a return Economy Class ticket. By combining the rewards of a credit card sign-up bonus with the points you already have – or will soon earn – you may even have enough points to fly Business Class.
Using Velocity Points
Virgin Australia’s web of international partners can also take you to Frankfurt. Here’s a look at how to get there and how many points you’d need.
|Using Velocity Points to Frankfurt||Economy||Premium Economy||Business|
|From Darwin via Singapore (Singapore Airlines)||56,000||N/A||104,000|
|From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via San Francisco (United Airlines)||59,800||N/A||127,500|
|From Perth via Doha (Qatar Airways)|
From Perth via Singapore (Singapore Airlines)
|From Sydney and Melbourne via Abu Dhabi (Etihad Airways)|
From Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide via Doha (Qatar Airways)
From Brisbane, Adelaide and Cairns via Singapore (Singapore Airlines)
From Sydney and Brisbane via Vancouver (Air Canada)
From Sydney via Tokyo Haneda (All Nippon Airways)
|From Sydney and Melbourne via Singapore (Singapore Airlines)||75,000||112,500||139,000|
You might notice that there’s no First Class column above. That’s because it’s not currently possible to use Velocity Points for a one-stop option where both flights are in First Class. For instance, Qatar Airways offers First Class on selected Australian routes, which can be booked with Velocity points – but the airline’s Doha-Frankfurt flights top out at Business Class.
As with Qantas though, being a little creative can open even more doors. Velocity’s new partner All Nippon Airways (ANA) also flies from Perth to Tokyo, but to the city’s Narita Airport. ANA’s Frankfurt flights depart from Haneda, so this could be an option for those willing to change airports in between.
Similarly, you might also consider mixing and matching partners – or getting to Europe and buying a cash fare. Something like United Airlines to Los Angeles or San Francisco and then Virgin Atlantic to London can get you close to Frankfurt. From there, converting Velocity Points into KrisFlyer miles could land you a London-Frankfurt flight on Lufthansa. Creativity can really pay off if you’re in a jam and need to find something.
Ways to earn Velocity Points
One well-timed sign-up offer could get you close to a one-way Business Class trip to Frankfurt. Interestingly too, if you’re willing to begin your journey in Darwin, you’d need fewer Velocity Points to book Business Class between Australia and Europe compared to Premium Economy from cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
Many of Velocity’s credit card partners provide these rewards via manual points transfers. This means you might often earn points first in a bank’s own loyalty program, and later convert these into Velocity Points at varying rates. You can check the latest transfer rates for Velocity-affiliated credit cards here.
Using KrisFlyer miles
For travel on Singapore Airlines itself, KrisFlyer charges one redemption rate from Perth and Darwin, and another from the rest of the country. When flying between Australia and Germany on Star Alliance partners – or with a Singapore Airlines flight paired with a Star Alliance partner flight – the rates are the same from across Australia, where flights are available.
|Using KrisFlyer miles to Frankfurt||Economy||Premium Economy||Business||First/Suites|
|From Perth and Darwin via Singapore (Singapore Airlines)||47,500||N/A||119,500||N/A|
|From Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Cairns via Singapore (Singapore Airlines)||58,500||101,000*||130,500||183,500*|
|From Sydney and Melbourne via Bangkok (Thai Airways)|
From Sydney and Melbourne via Beijing (Air China)
From Sydney and Melbourne via Delhi (Air India)
From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via San Francisco (United Airlines)
From Sydney via Seoul (Asiana Airlines)
From Sydney via Tokyo Haneda (All Nippon Airways)
From Sydney and Brisbane via Vancouver (Air Canada)
From Australia to Germany (any Star Alliance airline + Lufthansa)
*Premium Economy and First/Suites are only available on selected flights from Sydney and Melbourne.
^Air China is the only partner on which First Class is available entirely between Australia and Frankfurt.
Another big advantage of using KrisFlyer miles is the program’s German partner, Lufthansa. For Lufthansa, Frankfurt is a major hub – which means lots of routes on which you can book with miles. While Lufthansa doesn’t fly to Australia, it’s possible to pair a Lufthansa flight with another Star Alliance flight.
You could fly Thai Airways to Bangkok and then Lufthansa onwards to Frankfurt, for instance. Or routes like United to LA or San Francisco, ANA to Tokyo, Air India to Delhi, Asiana to Seoul – and then Lufthansa for the connection. You could even do the same with Air Canada to Vancouver, or of course, Singapore Airlines to Singapore and then on with Lufthansa.
Ways to earn KrisFlyer miles
There are many ways to earn Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles in the credit card space. In Australia, this relies on earning points in a bank’s loyalty program first, and then converting these into KrisFlyer miles. This applies not only to points earned from spending, but also from credit card sign-up offers.
Of course, you can also convert Velocity Points into KrisFlyer miles at a 1.55:1 rate. And it’s also possible to book some of the same flights using either Velocity Points or KrisFlyer miles. The best option for each journey will depend on how many points you have, in which program those points reside, the cost of the redemption through each program – and of course, reward seat availability. But having access to points in both programs gives travellers more options.
Be aware though that KrisFlyer miles expire three years after being earned. Only Singapore Airlines’ top-tier frequent flyers are exempt from this rule. With this in mind, it’s generally a good strategy to only convert your points into KrisFlyer miles when you’re ready to book an award flight. Don’t forget to check for reward seat availability too, before converting your points into miles.
Using Virgin Points from Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Here’s another option, and one not to be confused with Virgin Australia Velocity. Virgin Atlantic – based in the UK – has its own frequent flyer program: Flying Club. And with Virgin Atlantic now in the SkyTeam Alliance, as well as having a separate partnership with Japan’s ANA, there are some redemption opportunities to know about.
|Using Flying Club points to Frankfurt||Economy||Premium Economy||Business|
|From Sydney via Tokyo Haneda (All Nippon Airways)||62,500||N/A||92,500|
|From Sydney and Melbourne via Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam Airlines)|
From Sydney and Brisbane via Seoul (Korean Air)
From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via Taipei (China Airlines)
*Premium Economy reward seat bookings aren’t available on Korean Air.
Just know that Flying Club members can’t yet redeem Virgin Points on SkyTeam member China Eastern. It’s in the works – but for now, don’t expect to find these reward flights via Mainland China. And a separate reminder that while China Eastern is based in Mainland China, China Airlines – another Virgin Atlantic partner – is instead based in Taiwan.
Ways to earn Virgin Points through Flying Club
Flying Club certainly isn’t as accessible in Australia compared to larger programs like Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity. But it’s easy to amass a balance of Virgin Points by simply buying them. If that’s a path you’re going to take, keep your eyes peeled for the program’s regular promotions which reduce the overall price paid per point.
An alternative – and an easier option for many – will be to transfer points across from American Express Membership Rewards. For most Australian members, MR points can be converted into Virgin Points with Flying Club at a 2:1 rate. When you consider Flying Club’s attractive redemption rates – especially on ANA – it’s a sharp move to keep in your back pocket.
Also know that you cannot convert points directly between Velocity and Flying Club. The two ‘Virgin’ brands, while similar in name, are separate companies and loyalty programs.
Even more ways of flying to Frankfurt
We’ve covered a lot of methods for using points to jet between Australia and Frankfurt. But wait, there’s more!
Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways offers flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. And from these two Vietnamese hubs, also to Frankfurt. As it happens, Bamboo Airways is a partner of Air Canada’s Aeroplan program. You could buy Aeroplan points during promotional periods, or convert CommBank Awards points across to Aeroplan – albeit at a 4:1 transfer rate.
Another carrier with a one-stop option is China Southern. The airline left SkyTeam some time ago, but it still maintains a few bespoke frequent flyer partnerships. For instance, you can book China Southern flights through the American Airlines AAdvantage program, as well as Air France/KLM Flying Blue. You might consider buying AA miles when there’s an attractive deal running, or converting CommBank Awards points to Flying Blue at a more competitive 2.5:1 rate.
You could also use programs like Emirates Skywards to book flights with Emirates and other partners like Korean Air. Or perhaps, mix and match points and bookings to get to Frankfurt – if you don’t mind collecting and rechecking bags in between.
For example, you might be able to find reward seats on Qantas’ Perth-Rome route. And from Rome, use KrisFlyer miles to grab a seat on Lufthansa for a quick hop across to Frankfurt. Alternatively, you might consider options like Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or Qatar Airways Privilege Club.
Exploring Frankfurt Airport (Flughafen Frankfurt Main, FRA)
Arriving and departing at Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt is a large hub, but almost everything happens at two main terminals. They’re simply named Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Lufthansa also has a separate First Class Terminal. As hinted by the name, it’s reserved primarily for First Class passengers, as well as top-tier HON Circle frequent flyers.
To the public terminals though, Terminal 1 houses all gates beginning with A, B, C and Z. Terminal 2 is instead the home of gates D and E. T1 is effectively ‘Star Alliance central’ – home to Lufthansa and partners. T2 welcomes a wider range of international carriers, including Emirates.
The terminals are separate but are linked by the airport’s Skytrain service. It’s not easy to roam between them though, because parts of Frankfurt Airport are split into ‘Schengen’ and ‘non-Schengen’. In other words, some areas are only for flights within the European Schengen Area, and other zones are for travel beyond. For instance, you could fly from Frankfurt to Rome without clearing passport control to depart Germany or arrive in Italy. But flying from Frankfurt to Dubai comes with a stop at the border.
On my departure from Frankfurt, there’s barely a five-minute wait for passport processing – even in the ‘visitors’ queue. Australian passport holders get to use the automated passport gates here. Just be sure to get a stamp from the officer nearby once the gate lets you pass.
In Terminal 1, security screening is central as you enter the terminal. In T2, you’ll generally clear security at the gate – similar to how things work in places like Singapore. If you want to be first on the plane, leave the lounge a little earlier to get through. Most gates have a separate priority security lane for eligible high-tier frequent flyers and premium cabin travellers.
If you’re looking for the local or high-speed trains to and from Frankfurt Airport, they stop at Terminal 1.
Lounges at Frankfurt Airport
A whole stack of lounges are ready and waiting for eligible travellers at Frankfurt Airport. Interestingly, along with the wide selection of lounges serving airline passengers, there’s also a Deutsche Bahn lounge for eligible high-speed rail travellers. This isn’t a lounge you can access by status, but it’s worth a visit if you’re holding a First Class rail ticket.
Of course, we’ve already mentioned Lufthansa’s exclusive First Class Terminal. But on top of that, Lufthansa also has a ‘Welcome Lounge’ for arriving passengers. It’s not openly available by status either, but you may be eligible if arriving in Business Class or with selected highest-tier loyalty cards.
As with the ways of flying to Frankfurt, we can’t list every lounge for every airline. After all, if your access comes by travel class, your airline can point you in the right direction. But many travellers use strategy for lounge access. On that front, here are the main options open to key frequent flyers, elite credit card holders and lounge members.
Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge, plus other oneworld Sapphire and Emerald
- The Emirates Lounge (Terminal 2, when flying Emirates only – but not open to other oneworld frequent flyers).
- Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge (Terminal 2).
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge (Terminal 2, for Platinum/Emerald-tier flyers only).
- Primeclass Lounge (Terminal 2, when flying Royal Air Maroc only).
- Priority Lounge (Terminal 2, only when flying Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways).
Virgin Australia Velocity Gold, Platinum and Beyond
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (Terminal 1, when flying Air Canada only).
- Primeclass Lounge (Terminal 2, when flying Etihad Airways only).
- Priority Lounge (Terminal 2, only when travelling on Qatar Airways).
Star Alliance Gold
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (Terminal 1).
- Lufthansa Business Lounge (multiple locations).
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge (multiple locations).
- Lufthansa Bistro Lounge (Terminal 1).
- Lufthansa Panorama Lounge (Terminal 1).
- LuxxLounge (Terminal 1, only when flying with Air India).
SkyTeam Elite Plus
- Air France/KLM lounge (Terminal 2).
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (Terminal 1, only when flying Middle East Airlines).
- Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge (Terminal 2, only when flying China Eastern and Korean Air).
- Priority Lounge (Terminal 2, only when flying China Airlines and Saudia).
American Express Platinum and Centurion
- Lufthansa Business Lounge (multiple locations, when flying Austrian, Lufthansa or SWISS only).
- Lufthansa Panorama Lounge (Terminal 1, when flying Austrian, Lufthansa or SWISS only).
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge (multiple locations, when flying Business Class* on the above airlines only).
- Lufthansa First Class Lounge (Terminal 1, for Centurion Members only, when flying on the above airlines). This privilege does not extend to Lufthansa’s First Class Terminal.
- Plaza Premium Lounge (Terminal 2, but temporarily closed).
*American Express Platinum members must be flying Business Class for Senator Lounge access, but Centurion Members can be flying in any cabin.
- LuxxLounge (Terminal 1).
- Air France/KLM Lounge (Terminal 2).
- Primeclass Lounge (Terminal 2).
- Priority Lounge (Terminal 2).
Earning and using points on hotels in Frankfurt
Frankfurt is brimming with accommodation options spanning low-cost to luxury. Especially if you’re using points to fly to Frankfurt, being savvy with your hotel bookings can help replenish your balance of rewards points ahead of your next jaunt. Here are a few simple tips to make the most of these opportunities.
Book directly with the hotel
Do you travel often? If so, earning and retaining elite status with your favourite hotel chain can be a great way to go. You may be able to unlock perks like free daily breakfast, room upgrades and late check-out. Programs such as Accor Live Limitless, GHA DISCOVERY, Hilton Honors, IHG One Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson Rewards, World of Hyatt and Wyndham Rewards all have a strong presence in Frankfurt.
Keep in mind, most chains only honour status privileges for guests who book direct, rather than via a third-party. You also generally don’t earn hotel points and elite nights/points/stays unless booking direct. Radisson Rewards is a notable exception, although members still don’t earn redeemable Radisson Rewards points from third-party bookings.
Book through a third-party provider
Hotel loyalty programs are great for frequent travellers. But those who rarely leave home might not find them as useful. Especially if it means earning a small number of points in a seldom-used account, which won’t get you far. In that instance, earning airline frequent flyer points or miles could make more sense.
If you want to earn Qantas Points
The simplest option for Qantas Frequent Flyer members is to book through Qantas Hotels. This provides at least three Qantas Points per AU$1 spent, or even more for Qantas Points Club members or during promotional periods. You can also be rewarded for Airbnb stays, albeit at the reduced rate of one Qantas Point per AU$1 spent. If it’s your first Airbnb booking, you’ll get an extra 500 Qantas Points on top.
Don’t forget to shop around and compare prices though. Sometimes, Qantas Hotels can be more expensive than other third-party channels. But then again, you might also be able to use Qantas Points to book your accommodation if you’re looking to save some coin.
If you want to earn Velocity Points
Are Velocity Points more important to you? Book your Frankfurt accommodation through Rocket Travel to take home three Velocity Points per AU$1 spent.
If you want to earn KrisFlyer miles
With KrisFlyer, Rocketmiles is a handy option. It’s unrelated to Velocity’s partner Rocket Travel, but Rocketmiles has its own loyalty program. The points earned there can be converted into KrisFlyer miles, among other partner programs.
If you want a discount on your booking
Prefer to save some money this time around rather than notch up even more points? Have a look at Booking.com’s Genius loyalty program, which can offer discounts of 10% or more on hotel stays.
There’s also American Express Travel. That’s where you can redeem annual travel credits provided via eligible Amex cards. For instance, Amex Platinum Edge includes a yearly $200 credit and Amex Explorer offers an annual $400 credit. The Amex Platinum Card is another card with this handy perk, bundling an annual $450 Platinum Travel Credit among other travel benefits. Naturally, there’s no surcharge when you pay by Amex.
Our final tips and tricks
Getting ready for your own German adventure? Here are some of our trips to squeeze the most value out of your journey to Frankfurt.
Getting to Frankfurt
- If you’re really having trouble finding reward seats into Frankfurt, consider flying into or out of another point in Europe. On this visit to Germany, I arrive into Munich, hop aboard the high-speed rail to Frankfurt, and fly out from here.
- In general, finding reward flights from Australia to Frankfurt can be trickier than for some other destinations. That’s because you need to find reward seats on at least two flights each way, given there’s a transit point. Being flexible with dates and transit cities can make this a much easier task.
- These days, reward flights on Emirates can attract significant carrier charges alongside the points or miles required. These can usually be avoided by booking through Air Canada Aeroplan, although Aeroplan points are much harder to earn in Australia, so it’s all relative.
- Don’t forget to check the visa or visa-waiver requirements at your transit point. For instance, you’ll need an ESTA to transit through the United States or an eTA to transit through Canada. This applies even if you’re not leaving the airport. India can also be tricky, particularly if connecting between different airlines in Delhi.
- If you plan to book Singapore Airlines using points, be aware that the availability of reward seats for Velocity members doesn’t always match what’s available with KrisFlyer miles. Sometimes, Velocity members can book confirmed seats on flights only available on ‘waitlist’ to KrisFlyer. While at other times, KrisFlyer members can book seats not open to Velocity. It helps to check both.
- Speaking of Singapore Airlines, if you book via Velocity, you’ll need to pay carrier charges in addition to the genuine tax. In fact, Velocity levies carrier charges on reward bookings with Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways too.
Once you’re here
- Credit cards are widely accepted in Germany, including contactless payments and mobile wallets. From a cup of coffee to a train ticket, I don’t need to touch cash once this entire visit. For maximum ease and flexibility though, a small wad of Euros may be useful.
- The bulk of Australian points-earning credit cards levy an international transaction fee. If you’re going to pay the fee anyway, you might consider using a card that at least provides bonus points on international spend. Cards like Citi Premier, Citi Prestige and the Qantas Premier Platinum Credit Card all provide additional points abroad compared to everyday spends in Australia. Some cards, like CommBank Ultimate Awards, even give triple points on overseas transactions but without charging a foreign transaction fee.
- When it’s time to depart Frankfurt, don’t forget that you may have access to multiple lounges, so consider all your lounge options. While an airline might direct you to one particular lounge, you could also be eligible to visit another. That alternative could be quieter than the ‘default’, making for a more comfortable start to your journey.
And with that, it’s time to fly. Enjoy your journey to Frankfurt, and have a Brezel (pretzel) for me!
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Germany as a guest of Emirates. Featured image courtesy of Igor Flek / Unsplash.
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