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®

Back in October I wrote about the increased sign-up bonus on the Lufthansa Miles & More MasterCard, which at the time didn’t have an expiration date. The expiration date of this offer has now been updated to December 15, 2013, so you have till Sunday to apply for this card under the current offer. My guess is that the offer will then go back to the 20,000 miles after the purchase that it previously was.

This isn’t the first time Barclaycard has offered this sign-up bonus — back in May they also had the same 50,000 mile sign-up bonus. You earn 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.
  • 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.

In the past I’ve written about the following redemption options for maximizing 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. The Starwood Personal American Express and Starwood Business American Express each offer 25,000 point sign-up bonuses, and points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.

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 (probably a bit late through this sign-up offer), this is literally your last chance to book Swiss first class on miles as a non-HON/Senator member.


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

Due to the United devaluation, has the value of Miles & More miles increased?

The funny thing is that as it is, you can only redeem partner miles for travel on Lufthansa 15 days out at most, and even then availability is restricted. However, United is devaluing their award chart as of February 1, 2014, at which point a one-way first class partner award between the US and Europe will cost you 110,000 miles in first class. Meanwhile Lufthansa charges just 85,000 miles plus fuel surcharges, so I’d say Lufthansa miles have become a better value for first class Lufthansa redemptions. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that availability through Lufthansa is much better (and available much earlier) than through partner airlines.

Bottom line

This is a very good sign-up bonus, especially given that the card is issued by Barclays. United’s award chart devaluation makes this offer even more valuable for travel on Lufthansa, in my opinion.

Link: The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard®

  1. December 10th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Bl@h said,

    anyone comment on the churnability?

  2. December 10th, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    BigA said,

    Best way to make SEN in the US?

  3. December 10th, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Al said,

    Isn’t there a requirement to put spend on the card each billing period? Do you know if Barclays has the right to claw back the miles if there is no spend after X periods of non credit card use?

  4. December 10th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Al — Aside from completing the minimum spend there’s no spend requirement I know of. I’ve never heard of Barclaycard taking back the sign-up bonus.

  5. December 10th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    lucky said,

    @ BigA — From scratch, or what’s the motive? Generally paid first class tickets within North America are one of the better ways to qualify “efficiently.”

  6. December 10th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Todd said,

    Hi Lucky: I read your blog daily and look forward to your trip reports. I am hoping to try the new First next Thursday if it comes available at any gateway. Have you tried the new c product out of lax? We are also on the west coast and could go through SEA if it shows . Thanks

  7. December 10th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Todd — I haven’t tried the new business class, though it looks fairly good. Good luck, hope the space opens up!

  8. December 10th, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Ivan Y said,

    Got this card a few weeks back and I think will use it for LH F since I’m in Houston. This is a great time to apply for the card (due to bonus points) but probably too late to book a first-class ticket on Swiss.

    Did manage to fly LX F before the deadline (ZRH-ORD) and it was very, very nice. FWIW, I flew SQ F on same trip (IAH-DME; then DME-VIE on OS) and would have to give a slight edge to SQ. Actually liked SQ food (must’ve lucked out) and SQ wins in entertainment (better IFE and have Bose headphones). YMMV but service in LX was perfectly fine and didn’t feel slighted because I didn’t speak German (something I’d read about LH).

    P.S. To a vent a bit, United Club in ORD is a madhouse. Felt lucky to find a seat – didn’t have working power though :(

  9. December 10th, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Lantean said,

    I applied a few weeks ago, got a decline letter. Called today and recon would not help. She saw all my previous apps with other banks and was very stern. She also mentioned i don’t use my us air cards much.

  10. December 10th, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Brian L. said,

    @lucky & @al – In order to keep your miles from expiring, you have to make at least 1 transaction per month/billing period. If you don’t, the 3 year expiration clock starts ticking. I’d recommend making one every two weeks just to be safe. Just buy a candy bar at CVS or something.

  11. December 15th, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    T3pleshot said,

    Looks like it is already expired. However I already used your link and got approved for 1 app (in the family). Second one is no go, unfortunately.

  12. January 24th, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Hessel said,

    What’s the best way to search for Lufthansa award space in the US? I am a M&M member and looking for SFO-ATL at the end of March. Whatever I try, nothing comes back which I find hard to believe.

  13. January 24th, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Ivan Y said,

    @ Hessel — if you are using M&M site’s award search, it only works for LH group airlines. I’d use United’s site to find Saver availability on the flights you need and then give M&M USA a call to book (800-581-6400; Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm EST) and I believe there’s no fee for phone bookings.

    P.S. Did a search for SFO-ATL on United’s site for second half of March. No direct flights but Saver available every day Mon-Thu; nothing on Fri or Sun, only one Sat (3/29).

  14. January 24th, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Hessel said,

    Answered my own question, LH nor the M&M page come back with anything. United.com shows plenty so I guess that’s the way to go #puzzled

  15. January 24th, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Hessel said,

    Ah didnt see you reply, thanks Ivan !

  16. January 24th, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Steve said,

    @Hessel – United shows phantom awards @ time… the ANA tool is the best way to verify flights availability

  17. January 24th, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Ivan Y said,

    Generally using ANA is more reliable but flights between SFO & ATL are only on United itself or US Airways so united.com would work too :)

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