Barclaycard: Lufthansa Vs. US Airways Cards

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This week Barclaycard brought back the increased 50,000 mile sign-up bonus on their Miles & More World MasterCard, which is a promotion we have seen a few times before.

They’re also offering a 40,000 mile sign-up bonus on the US Airways World MasterCard. Given that Barclaycard won’t typically approve you for more than one card in a day, which offer is more compelling?

Admittedly it depends on everyone’s individual needs, but in general I would have to say that if I could only get one of those cards for now it would be the US Airways World MasterCard.

The Lufthansa MasterCard sign-up bonus is compelling

The Lufthansa World MasterCard has a great sign-up bonus, and is especially useful for redemptions in Lufthansa first class, as well as redemptions on domestic flights within the US. So in a way it’s a very “aspirational” currency, which I value a lot. After all, I’m about the aspirational redemptions!

That being said — and I’m just speculating here — I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see this sign-up bonus. Lufthansa is trying to get bigger on the credit card front in the US market, and I do expect we’ll see a similar offer again.

Why the US Airways offer is more compelling now

So what makes the US Airways offer more time sensitive and compelling?

The US Airways MasterCard is going away. Not now, but it will be going away early next year, as Citi takes over as the exclusive issuer of American’s co-branded credit. So I don’t want to say it’s the “last call” on this card because it isn’t yet, but you certainly have less than a year to still get this card. I suspect they’ll stop issuing cards a good amount of time before they lose the contract, given that they can’t make much money if you only have their card for a few months.

US Airways’ award chart hasn’t been massively devalued yet. There’s no doubt that we’re going to see a huge devaluation of American/US Airways miles soon. It’s the industry trend, and both Delta and United have substantially raised award costs recently. So it’s a given that the “new” American will do the same. To give a cheesy comparison, think of it as getting £40,000 today vs. $40,000 in a year (or whatever date in the future you’d get it). Those miles are probably worth a lot more today than they’ll be worth in a year. Of course that also assumes you spend them ASAP.

The oneworld award redemption opportunities are ridiculously good right now. The great thing about US Airways is that they have some of the most generous routing rules of any airline. Meanwhile American has among the strictest routing rules for AAdvantage awards. My guess is that American’s rules will prevail. So there really has never been a better time to book oneworld awards, given the routing possibilities.

Bottom line

Barclaycard is stepping it up in terms of their sign-up bonuses, and both of these cards are compelling. I would recommend getting them both eventually, but the above are just my thoughts on the order in which I’d apply. I don’t think a Lufthansa Miles & More devaluation is necessarily imminent, while I think a US Airways devaluation is a given. Furthermore, with the US Airways Card it’s very much a “use it or lose it” situation, given that it won’t be around much longer.

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Comments

  1. I just got my second US airway card this month and just closed the first one this morning. How much time do you recommend waiting before applying for the Miles and More card?

  2. the biggest problem with the Lufthansa card is that 99.9% of us can’t book Swiss F with those miles anyway… so they hardly offer anything that isn’t available somewhere else (cheaper).

  3. Can people get two US Airways cards, or two LH cards, or does Barclays prohibit that?

  4. @ Sharon — Tough to say, I don’t think there’s a “hard” limit. If you just got one recently I think you should be good applying for the Lufthansa Card.

  5. @ Lantean — Right, but you can lock in Lufthansa first class in advance. When I tout how it’s possible to redeem miles for Lufthansa first class, the biggest complaint I get from people is that they don’t have as much flexibility as I do, so booking within 15 days of departure isn’t practical for them. This is really the only easy way around that.

  6. @ TravelinWilly — Nowadays they’re stricter in my experience, and don’t ordinarily let you get multiple of the same cards.

  7. @ Sharon — From my experience with Barclay, you will be almost certainly be declined, but please report back if you decide to try.

  8. @ Ben — As a couple with 4 million AA+US miles and maybe 100,000 M&M, we’ll definitely be applying for the M&M card. I don’t foresee any need for more AA/US anytime soon.

  9. Thet declined me and said you could only have one of any product. I don’t get whey they did a credit report pull if they were going to decline anyway. And they labeled it “business loan” even though it was an application for the personal credit card. This was the 3rd time they’ve declined me on a product and the only bank to ever do it.

    I decided I had had enough of them and cancelled all cards (US Air and Arrival). Life’s to short to deal with Barclay.

  10. Lucky, would you recommend a 40k + annual fee offer or a 30k + 10k on anniversary + first year fee waived offer instead for the US Airways card?

  11. @ SFOPhD — I’m not convinced that the card will be around a year from now, so I would go with the 40K offer since there may very well be no account anniversary depending on when they discontinue the card.

  12. “as Citi takes over as the exclusive issuer of American’s co-branded credit” is incorrect.
    In emails from Barclays they say that once the merge is complete the us air card will be converted to a Barclays American Airlines card. So citi will not have an exclusive relationship.

  13. @Steve – Citi won’t have an exclusive relationship, but they will be the exclusive issuer, since Barclays won’t be able to issue new cards.

  14. Lucky (and others), what has your experience been cycling the Barclays US Airways cards? I had one about 2 years ago. Considering this offer, but the T&C state (rather vaguely) “If this is not your first US Airways MasterCard Account, you may not be eligible for these bonuses and/or awards.” Thanks!

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