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I’ve been digging into the Lufthansa Miles & More program because of the Barclays 50,000 mile credit card. This offer ends on June 30, 2014.
If you’re new to miles and points, like my mother-in-law, there are better cards for you to apply for like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, American Express Starwood card, Chase Ink Plus, or the other cards on the Hot Deals tab.
But if you’ve been doing this for a while, the Barclays Lufthansa card could make sense for you – especially if you can use their miles for travel within the US and save your more valuable miles. But make sure you know the quirks of the program BEFORE you apply.
There is another offer for 50,000 miles, with a lower minimum spending requirement, but you may get fewer miles if you’re approved for a lower card with that offer.
“Using Lufthansa Miles” Series Index
- Part 1 – 17 Ways To Use Lufthansa Miles
- Part 2 – Introduction, Rules, Fees, Mile Expiration etc.
- Part 3 – Calling Lufthansa Service Centers
- Part 4 – Award Pricing
- Part 5 – Segments, Stopovers, & Open Jaws
- Part 6 – How To Find and Book Awards
- Part 7 – Is The Companion Ticket Worth It?
- Part 8 – How to Avoid High Fuel Surcharges
- Part 9 – Hotel and Car Awards
- Part 10 – EXTRA Award Seats on Lufthansa, Swiss, Singapore Airlines & More…
How to Book Hotel Rooms & Car Rentals
You can book hotel stays and car rentals using Lufthansa miles, but they aren’t a great value.
Step 1 – Log in
Log into your Lufthansa account by clicking on this link.
Step 2 – Click “Spend Miles“
Click on “Spend Miles” at the top.
Then click on “Hotels” or “Car Rentals”
Step 3 – Enter Travel Information
Enter your travel information and then click “search hotels”
I personally wouldn’t use my Lufthansa miles for hotel nights because I get only 0.3 cents to 0.9 cent per mile value. This means that 50,000 Lufthansa miles are worth ~$150 to $450 if redeemed for hotels. Note that getting $450 in value will be very hard.
I’m sure I can use Lufthansa miles to get more than $450 in flights, so I’ll pass on the hotel awards. But do what makes sense for you!
You can cancel for free online (as opposed to a 20 euros or $26 fee for calling), but you have to cancel at least 72 hours before check-in (varies by hotel); otherwise you don’t get ANY refund.
You often pay the same amount of miles for an international flight as for a 1 night hotel stay.
For example, it costs 19,000 Lufthansa miles for 1 night at the Hilton Atlanta.
The same room costs $149 before taxes or ~$173 with taxes. That’s about 0.90cents per mile ($173/19,000 miles). Note that I wasn’t able to replicate 0.90 cents per mile in any of my other random searches. The cents per mile is a rough way to gauge how effectively you’re using miles or points.
So you can stretch your Lufthansa miles further when you redeem them for flights instead of hotels.
Let’s compare hotels in Hong Kong.
The Hyatt Regency costs ~39,000 Lufthansa miles for 1 night.
The Grand Hyatt costs ~114,000 Lufthansa miles for 1 night.
The cash price for the same night in the middle of October is $120 for the Hyatt Regency (~$135 with tax) & ~$383 (~$422 with tax) for the Grand Hyatt.
This means that you’d get a value of 0.37 cents per Lufthansa mile at the Grand Hyatt ($422/~114,000 Lufthansa miles) and ~0.34 cents per Lufthansa mile at the Hyatt Regency ($135/39,401 Lufthansa miles).
If you’re looking for luxury there are certainly 5 star hotels available.
The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong usually costs ~$600 for a standard room, but is available for 137,566 Lufthansa miles.
This is ~0.43 cents per Lufthansa mile ($600 / ~138,000 Lufthansa miles).
On the other hand, it would cost only 105,000 Lufthansa miles for a roundtrip business class ticket from the US to Europe.
Miles & Money Option
You can slide the bar around and choose exactly what combination of Lufthansa miles or cash you want to use.
Even with the slider set to the minimum amount of miles (3,500 miles) hotels almost always were MORE expensive than booking directly through the hotel or via an online booking website.
For example, it costs $179 (~$205 with tax) at the Renaissance in Atlanta using Kayak.
If you use 3,500 Lufthansa miles (the lowest amount of miles which you can use), you will still have to pay ~$212 in cash instead of $179 ($205 with tax) if you booked elsewhere.
Car rentals also aren’t a great value.
“Car rental bookings can be cancelled directly online without additional fees up to 7 days before pick-up of your rental car (12.00 noon local time). Between 7 days and 48 hours before pick-up (12.00 noon local time), a cancellation fee equivalent to EUR 30 will be charged for each car. Payments cannot be refunded for any cancellation made later than 48 hours before pick-up”
In other words:
- No fee for canceling a car rental 7 days before pick-up
- 30 Euros ($40) for canceling between 7 days to 48 hours before pick-up
- NO refund for canceling within 48 hours of pick-up
Here is a one day car rental in Atlanta airport for ~11,000 miles via Dollar car rental.
The lowest price on Hotwire is $39.
The same car costs $59 if you book directly through Dollar.
11,000 Lufthansa miles gets you a rental car worth $39 or 0.35 cents per Lufthansa mile ($39/11,000).
Remember that it is only 12,000 Lufthansa miles for a 1-way within the US with Lufthansa miles, so spending 11,000 miles for a $39 car rental doesn’t seem worth it.
Of course you can save money by using Lufthansa miles for car rentals and hotel nights.
But you will save even more money by using Lufthansa miles for flights!