Lufthansa First Class is an oft-reported on mode of transport. It is indeed one of my favorite travel experiences, particularly when departing Frankfurt since you get to use the First Class Terminal (where you’re guaranteed a Mercedes or Porsche chauffeur to your next flight). If you’re connecting at Frankfurt, you usually have to exit the airport and walk down the taxi line to find the FCT, since it’s separate from the main airport.
I’ve found the service to be great on all of my Lufthansa First experiences, both in the lounge (where the assistants and waiters don’t incessantly ask you if you need anything like in some Asian lounges, but are still keen to make sure you have a good time) as well as in-flight (where the crew is a bit more laid-back than Asian carriers but still proud to provide good service, unlike on many U.S. carriers).
After about 10 days in Spain and Portugal, it was time to head back home. I mentioned in an earlier post that I used 62,500 Aeroplan miles transferred from American Express Membership Rewards to book Lufthansa First Class from Frankfurt to Chicago, connecting from Lisbon in Lufthansa European Business Class (Economy class seats with an empty middle seat).
I had about 5½ hours between my Lisbon inbound and connecting Chicago flight. In the past, I’ve usually used that time to hop on the S-Bahn and explore around Frankfurt (usually to Mainz) and then come back and spend 2-3 hours in the FCT. However, I recently turned 25, so I’m eligible for this –
As a Lufthansa First Class passenger, you can rent a Porsche for 3 hours for €99.10, inclusive of taxes. Included in the price is 150km (93 miles) of driving distance, gas, and insurance. If you drive over 150km, you pay €1.18 per km (currently $2.11 per mile) including tax. There is also an option for a 24-hour rental, which includes 200km and insurance, but not fuel – that’s about €300.
As for insurance, according to the Avis site, it includes “CDW/TP (reduced excess for any damage to the vehicle including theft). This reduces the excess for all Porsche cars per incident to 1500 Euros.”
There are some requirements you need to fulfill in order to rent, including:
- Driver must be at least 25 years old
- Held a drivers license for at least 3 years
- Customers from outside Germany must present two credit cards from two credit card companies, one of which must be a “gold card.”
I renewed my driver’s license about 4 months ago, but it also has the original issue date from when I was 16 years old in the corner. I wasn’t asked about that.
As for the credit cards, I used a Citi Prestige card as my main payment method, mainly because it provides primary CDW up to $100,000 when used abroad. I know insurance is included in the rental, but I wanted to be safe just in case (especially for a car that starts at €105,000 in Germany). My second card was an American Express Platinum card. Neither of these is a “Gold Card,” so I feel as long as you use a credit card that looks like it might be used to rent a Porsche, you’re okay.
Booking the Porsche
I clicked the link provided on the Lufthansa website to book the Porsche through Avis. There were some hiccups at first, but I was able to make one after a little while. At least I thought I did, because I got an e-mail a few days later saying my reservation request was denied. I tried making more reservations, but the booking engine wouldn’t work. I decided to try my luck once I landed in Frankfurt. If it didn’t work out, the First Class Terminal isn’t a bad consolation prize.
That said, the AVIS counter still had my information from these online attempts, because they had the address I put on my reservation request and not the address on my driver license on my receipt. Also, I inserted my American Airlines AAdvantage number into the loyalty program field since each rental earns 500 miles (and since I value AA miles close to 1.9 cents each, that’s like a $9 rebate). I must have signed up for some promotion because I actually got the 500 miles + a 750-mile bonus for a total of 1,250 miles back on my rental.
Booking at the Airport
My inbound flight from Lisbon parked at a gate right across from the A pier First Class Lounge, so I went inside and presented my onward First Class boarding pass to Chicago. The agent asked if I was “aware” of the First Class Terminal, which I found a bit funny because it’s usually the reason why I book through Frankfurt. I told him I was interested in the Avis deal to rent a Porsche for 3 hours and wanted to see if I could set it up while in the lounge. He knew a bit about it, but his colleague standing next to him was very familiar with it and told me to enter the lounge while she made a phone call.
About 10 minutes later, the agent came up to me in the lounge and went over the requirements listed in order to rent. I was told a car was being readied for me and would be available soon. He gave me directions on how to reach Avis, so I finished my coffee (no alcohol before driving!) and headed out.
The line at Avis was incredibly long – even in the Preferred line, which only had 1 agent dealing with a tough customer before me. I stood in line for about 30 minutes, but it turned out that the keys to the Porsche arrived just as I was talking to an Avis agent. I gave her my driver license, Citi Prestige, and Amex Platinum, and soon had the keys and Lufthansa/Porsche booklet. A slightly different version of the booklet I received is available in PDF form on the Lufthansa website.
The agent also remarked that the Lufthansa agent from the lounge had already requested them to switch the GPS to English and explained that I could choose a driving route on that. I had brought a GPS mount for my phone just in case there were problems with the car’s navigation system (it’d be very easy for me to get lost in Germany!). However, I didn’t run into any issues, though the mount did make it easier to take hands-free pictures while in the car. 😛
I walked outside and found my car, a black Porsche 911 Carrera S, waiting for me in the first parking spot with a full tank of fuel.
I took a couple minutes to figure out how to adjust the seat, fix the mirrors, and program the GPS, and after a few snapchats, I was off on the Rheingau Route, which took me along the A66 toward Wiesbaden, where I then drove along the Rhein river and then up into the hills where I got to drive on some hairpin turns.
It’s worth noting that the GPS waypoints programmed in the Porsche aren’t exactly points of interest, so it took me a while to figure out how to get on the road next to the river to take a quick break. I drove a total of 144km, despite the route I chose being 131km (I did miss an exit on one highway, so had to loop back, but I don’t think it was anywhere close to 13km). With my stops, I had the car out for about 2 hours. Lastly, the pre-programmed routes take you back to the Avis station, which you shouldn’t do because you can drive the car straight to the First Class Terminal.
Let me repeat that.
You can drive a €105,000+ sports car straight to the First Class Terminal, where an assistant will come outside to greet you and another assistant will return the car for you. You then are sipping on a cocktail in the lounge within a few minutes. If that isn’t one of the coolest things ever, I don’t know what is. Just make sure to ignore the GPS once you’re around the Frankfurt Airport, and follow signs for Terminal 1, then follow signs for Lufthansa First Class Terminal. It will be on the right before the main terminal.
This was definitely one of the funnest layovers I’ve ever had. I’m pretty sure I burned through about €30-€40 worth of fuel, which makes the fact that the €99 rate includes fuel even more awesome. I did get a bit nervous when the route I followed encounter some dirt/gravel roads, and I made it a point to get out of the car before entering the highway to make sure that the marks on the car were just dirt and nothing too serious.
I’ve usually done the walk from the main terminal to the First Class Terminal, entered the lower entrance, and taken the elevator up. It’s so much cooler to drive up straight to the lobby. Bless the Germans and their infinite wisdom when it comes to living the life.
Thanks to Lufthansa (and the miles & points game), I can now tick off “drive a Porsche on the Autobahn like you stole it” off my bucket list!