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Barclaycard increased the sign-up bonus from 20,000 miles to 50,000 miles with the Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite MasterCard, but the offer ends on December 15, 2013 i.e. Sunday.
See this post for all the ways to use your Lufthansa miles!
In short, you can use this for ~2 coach tickets or 1.5 business class flights within the Continental US on United.
Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite MasterCard
Link: Lufthansa 50,000 Miles
You have to spend $5,000 within 3 months to get the full 50,000 mile bonus. This is higher than other Barclaycards.
For example, you get 35,000 miles with the US Air card after your 1st purchase, and only have to spend $3,000 on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® to get the sign-up bonus (worth ~$400 in travel).
You also get a companion ticket with the card, but it’s only valid for coach. You have to buy a “H class or higher” (i.e. a more expensive coach ticket) AND also pay the taxes and fees for the free “companion” ticket. So this likely won’t save you any cash. But it is good marketing!
The $79 annual fee is NOT waived in the first year, unless you’re a Senator or HON Circle member. But $79 for 2 domestic coach flights sounds good to me.
Spending $5,000 within 3 months could also be tough for some. If you’re new to miles and points, I’d rather spend $5,000 within 3 months on the Chase Ink Bold or the Chase Ink Plus to get 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. Or on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express for 25,000 points. That’s because those points are easier to use if you’re just starting out.
But the 50,000 mile Lufthansa card could be a good option for some because the card is from Barclaycard. They usually uses the TransUnion credit bureau, which is often not used by the other banks. And also doesn’t have as many lucrative miles and points offers as the other banks.
That said, Barclaycard is trying to increase their market share and is likely to issue the Hawaiian Air credit card next year, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this offer again!
How to Use 50,000 Lufthansa Miles
Link: Lufthansa Award Chart
You will pay fuel surcharges for all award redemptions except on United flights within the US and North and South America, US Air and LOT (a Polish airline). But you do NOT pay fuel surcharges for flights within the US on United. or US Air.
But note that US Air is leaving the Star Alliance in ~3 months, so you won’t be able to use Lufthansa miles for US Air flights after that.
You can book awards online on the Lufthansa website for flights on airlines such as Lufthansa, Austrian Air & Swiss Air.
But you have to call Lufthansa to book awards on other airlines such as United and US Air. There is no charge to book awards on the phone.
Dial 800-581-6400, press “2″, and then press “1″ to redeem miles for a flight.
You can fly within 1 country, say within the US, for 25,000 miles round-trip in economy. Or for 35,000 miles in United First Class (because it is considered business class when you use Lufthansa miles) within the continental US. You can also book 1-way awards with Lufthansa miles.
1) 2 Coach Tickets Within the Continental United States
You only pay 25,000 Lufthansa miles for a round-trip coach ticket within the Continental US or Canada on US Air or United. There are NO fuel surcharges on US Air or United.
And you will pay only 24,000 miles for the flights if you book them as 2 separate one way awards. That’s because Lufthansa rounds down the 1-way cost from 12,500 miles to 12,000 miles!
Flights to Hawaii cost 20,000 miles for a coach one-way award, which is still a good deal!
2) 1.5 First Class Tickets on United Within the Continental United States
You only pay 35,000 Lufthansa miles (compared to 50,000 United miles) for a round-trip First Class award on United within the continental US or within Canada.
And you will pay only 34,000 miles for the flights if you book them as 2 separate one way awards. That’s because Lufthansa rounds down the 1-way cost from 17,500 miles to 17,000 miles!
See this post for more details on how to find United awards seats and book them with Lufthansa miles.
3) To Europe From the US for 50,000 Miles in Coach
You can fly to Europe in coach for 50,000 miles round-trip.
You will pay fuel surcharges (~$300+ per 1-way) if you’re NOT flying on US Air or LOT, so this may not be worth it in coach.
And US Air will soon leave the Star Alliance, which means that you have only ~3 months to book flights for travel on US Air with Lufthansa miles.
4) Access to First Class Seats on Lufthansa
Lufthansa blocks other Star Alliance airlines such as United from accessing some of their First Class award seats.
But if you have Lufthansa miles, you get access to more First Class award seats on Lufthansa. But you will pay a lot of cash and miles.
You will pay 170,000 miles for a roundtrip First Class award + fuel surcharges of ~$800! But you’d get to sleep in a real bed while flying…
Note that Lufthansa seems to be releasing First Class seats less frequently than when I wrote about this previously in June 2013. That said, you usually will still find them available the closer it is to your departure.
You can get 2 round-trip coach award flights within the Continental US from the Lufthansa 50,000 mile offer.
Or use them for 1.5 First Class flights within the Continental US. Or use them in any of these 18 different ways!
Note that you will likely pay fuel surcharges if you redeem them for most international flights, but there are ways to avoid or lower the fuel surcharges!