50,000 mile Lufthansa Miles & More Mastercard sign-up bonus is back

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UPDATE: The 50,000 mile bonus is expired. You can now earn up to 35,000 award miles with qualifying transactions, along with the following benefits:

  • Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
  • Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
  • Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Companion Ticket after first purchase, then annually thereafter
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

Link: The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World Mastercard®

One of the most popular Barclaycard sign-up bonuses of the year was the 50,000 mile sign-up bonus they offered on The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World Mastercard® last May. Well, that sign-up bonus is back for a limited time, whereby they’re offering 20,000 miles after the first purchase and an additional 30,000 miles after spending $5,000 on the card within 90 days. The card does have a $79 annual fee, which isn’t waived for the first year.

When it comes time to redeem Lufthansa Miles & More miles, there are a few things worth noting.

  • They have a zone based award chart, and as you can see the redemption rates aren’t especially attractive in many cases.
  • Miles & More imposes fuel surcharges on the majority of award redemptions, which can add up quickly.
  • Lufthansa Miles & More miles are valid for 36 months from the date of issue, even if you have activity in the account.

That being said, there are a few circumstances under which the program can be extremely valuable, and if you’re considering taking advantage of this offer it’s worth knowing how to maximize Lufthansa Miles & More miles:

For travel within the US

Lufthansa Miles & More charges just 25,000 miles for a roundtrip domestic US coach award, or 35,000 miles for a roundtrip domestic US business class award. They even offer one-way awards at half the cost of a roundtrip.

  • While 25,000 miles is the standard roundtrip coach award cost, the 35,000 miles for a domestic business class award is among the lowest premium cabin redemption rates for any airline.
  • Lufthansa will charge the business class price for United domestic three cabin business class or United domestic two cabin first class, both of which book into the “I” (business class) award fare bucket.
  • Unfortunately US Airways first class awards book into “O,” which is the first class award fare bucket and wouldn’t be eligible for those rates.

So after you’ve completed the minimum spend you’d have more than enough miles for either four United one-way domestic coach tickets or three one-way domestic business class tickets.

For travel in Lufthansa first class

Nowadays Lufthansa only releases first class award space to Star Alliance partners at most 15 days out, and even within that time frame they’re stingier than ever before. Sadly even for cabins that are half empty a couple of days out they’re often still not releasing space. A one-way first class ticket between the US and Europe costs 85,000 Miles & More miles, plus taxes and fuel surcharges.

This sign-up bonus gets you a good ways towards that, and given that you can transfer in points from Starwood it might be a good value to make up the difference and book Lufthansa first class.

Lufthansa First Class - book in advance using Miles & More miles

For travel in Swiss first class (for bookings made before January 1, 2014)

Swiss, which is part of the Lufthansa family, does not release any first class award space to their partner airlines. None whatsoever, not even day of departure. So literally the only way to book Swiss first class on miles is through Miles & More, through which they ironically release a fair bit of award space, often multiple seats per flight.

  • Swiss is even changing that policy as of January 1, 2014, at which point they’ll be restricting Swiss first class award space only to Miles & More HON & Senator members.
  • If you can earn the necessary miles before January 1, this is literally your last chance to book Swiss first class on miles as a non-HON/Senator member.

Swiss_First_Class_Award_Space

And Swiss does have one of the world’s best first class products, in my opinion, with amazing in-flight catering. So if you haven’t yet flown Swiss first class and want to use miles, Miles & More is your only option for doing so. They charge 85,000 miles for a one-way first class award between the US and Europe, plus taxes and fuel surcharges.

Swiss First Class - only available through Miles & More

Bottom line

This is a very good sign-up bonus, especially given that the card is issued by Barclays, and you can often earn bonuses on their cards multiple times. Here’s to hoping the increased sign-up bonus lasts…

Link: The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World Mastercard®

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Comments

  1. Lucky, regarding M&M miles expiring, you should add that your miles don’t expire if you’ve had the card for three months and make one transaction per month.

  2. Hmmm can’t decide which one to apply for in my next apporama? This card or the US Airways? I can eventually combine USAir miles with AA but award availability has gotten worse from what I read. Lufthansa seems to have more availability but requires more miles. Any suggestions?

  3. @Blah

    I’m with you! I currently have enough points for a one-way in F and a return in J. But if I can churn by yearend, I would love to book the roudtrip in F on LX.

  4. @Brian It’s trickier than that. I think you have to have one transaction every billing period, which for most people will be quite different from the first and last days of the month. And if you miss one payment period within the 3 years, too bad for you.
    🙁

  5. @Robert Hanson – So what you do is make a transaction about two weeks before your statement closes every month (or even once a week, if you want to be sure). Depending on when your statement closes, a recurring bill could work. Or you could buy a couple of candy bars at CVS.

  6. Hey Lucky, are M&M routing rules as lax as UA? For example: you can route middle east to middle east via europe on UA and it prices as ME to ME. Think the same is possible with M&M? The M&M chart isn’t great but this would make it a lot better 🙂

  7. the YQ on LH/LX/OS is bruuutal. does anyone know of any US to euro (or anywhere else) routes using MM miles where the YQ is <$300 please?

  8. I signed up and was instantly approved and of course before that I removed the &referrerid=CFOMCF516809194 from the url and then applied.
    I wish there were cashback websites that offer cashback for those kind of products.
    lucky maybe you can write about that, but I don’t think you’ll do it.

  9. -the YQ on LH/LX/OS is bruuutal. does anyone know of any US to euro (or anywhere else) routes using MM miles where the YQ is <$300 please?

    -a USA domestic flight on UA/US will be the same price in LH miles as UA/US miles? ..impossible to get any award search results from MM.com (for me at least)

    -does UA charges YQ when using LH miles USA-euro??

  10. @Lucky,
    Where to search for/book US domestic award flight using the 50K miles earned from this card? at lufthansa.com website?
    Thanks,
    Andy

  11. @WorldWingedExplorer I’m embarrassed for you.

    Thanks for the tip Lucky. Time to rethink my next credit card application.

    Is this the first time the 50k offer has been available in the fall/winter? I was just searching earlier today to see if the 50k offer was usually only available once per year.

  12. @ Kate P – It really depends on what your travel goals are, and if you’re hoping to fly Swiss or Lufthansa First I’d certainly choose this card. Otherwise US Airways miles probably make more sense.

  13. @ Dave – Barclaycard has been fairly liberal in the past, but I don’t have experience with this card specifically.

  14. @ jimmy – A one-way First Class ticket from Los Angeles to Munich would have ~$450 in taxes and surcharges, on average.

  15. @ J.A – I haven’t tried that route specifically, though the routing rules are typically much more stringent than United. Good thought though!

  16. @ Mr. Cool – The fuel surcharges are quite high, and there aren’t any US to Europe routes where those will be lower, unfortunately.

    You can search for saver space on united.com, and would then pay the Miles & More price when you go to book. You will need to call to book a partner award.

    There are no fuel surcharges on United for domestic US flights and flights to South America, but they are added to flights to Europe.

  17. @Lucky,
    To book US domestic flight (economy or business class):
    1. Find out award flight ticket at united.com;
    2. Call Lufthansa to book the United flight ticket using Miles&More.
    Am I right? Thanks in advance.

  18. @lucky another note on expiration of M&M miles (though not relevant for most of you out there): If you have the German Miles & More credit card, your miles do not expire as long as you’ve got the card. So a combination of having both cards would be nice… Now I need to find a way how to apply for the US credit card.

  19. Does M&M limit award redemptions for the account holder only? Or, can I redeem an award for myself from my wife’s account?

  20. @Lucky

    so how much do they charge for the EWR-HNL flight in biz? 70k RT?
    that award chart is so confusing because they do have North America to North America for 55k but then also a “domestic” section for 35k… what a mess!
    so what is the NA to NA part of the chart for? USA to Canada?

  21. You have zero chance of churning. That’s over thanks to the over hyping of Barclay’s earlier this year.

  22. 85,000 Miles + $500 for a one way flight to Europe?

    Yeah I think I’ll pass.

    Just not a good value in my book, even for LH/LX.

  23. @ Peter — I’d say probably 1.2 cents per mile. If you can use them for domestic United itineraries you can probably do much better than that, though.

  24. @ Lantean — I believe they only let you fly straight to Australia without going through another continent, so options may be limited there.

  25. @Lucky

    Thanks Ben, that’s a bummer, I guess that leaves us with United from LAX and SFO or ANZ from HNL on their super old plane.
    🙁

  26. @Lucky, Till,

    Thanks for reminding me. It was my fault to misread it. I clicked your link to apply and got a pending message to wait for their decision.

    I had 4 Barclay cards and cancelled 2 cards (Wyndham and US Airways) in June, applied for and got instant approval of Arrival Master Card in July. Now, I am holding 2 Barclay cards and have been using them very actively to carry $5K balance on each card. They should see I am not idle on either card.

  27. M&M web site sucks as it doesn’t price out awards fully if you don’t have enough miles so you have to call in to inquire but, to give everyone an idea about YQ charges on LX, I paid a bit under $350 for ZRH-ORD-IAH in F (LX to ORD then UA to IAH).

    I suppose it’s more than I’d paid for SQ awards and, even more so, than UA awards but it’s still not as brutal as BA awards 😛

  28. @ Lucky – was the offer pulled just from your affiliate program or from everyone? I had received an email about this offer from M&M – it states it’s good through Dec. 15 and, if I click on email link, it still shows 50K bonus.

    BTW, I’m thinking of applying for that card (w/ Barclays), Citi card (AA for 40K or Hyatt?), and Chase Sapphire Pref. Is there a preferred order in which to apply even if it’s on the same day?

  29. Re: comment # 3 – can someone please confirm this is correct?

    Brian L. said,

    Lucky, regarding M&M miles expiring, you should add that your miles don’t expire if you’ve had the card for three months and make one transaction per month.

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