Barclaycard Lufthansa Card with 50,000 Miles (Use For 2 Coach Tickets or 1.5 First Class Tickets Within the US)

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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.  The $79 annual fee is NOT waived in the first year.  But $79 for 2 domestic coach trips seems worth it to me.

Lufthansa is a German airline, but is a member of the Star Alliance.  This means that you can redeem Lufthansa miles for flights on other Star Alliance airlines, including United & US Air in the US.

That said, the $5,000 minimum spending requirement is higher than it usually is for Barclaycards.  For example, you get 35,000 miles with the US Air card after your 1st purchase, and have to spend only $3,000 on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® to get the sign-up bonus (worth ~$400 in travel)

With the Lufthansa offer, you get:

  • 20,000 miles after the 1st purchase &
  • 30,000 miles after spending $5,000 within 3 months

You get the same amount of miles even if you are approved for a lower version of the offer (as Barclaycard sometimes does).

You also get a companion ticket, but it is almost worthless because it is valid only on coach tickets and you have to buy 1 coach ticket at a higher price than regular coach tickets AND also pay the taxes and fees for the free “companion” ticket.

Spending $5,000 within 3 months is stiff.  I’d rather spend $5,000 within 3 months on the Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or the American Express Business Gold Rewards card for 50,000 points.

But this could be a good option, for folks who can manage the minimum spending requirement because the card is from Barclaycard which usually uses the TransUnion credit bureau, which is often not used by the other banks.  It is nice to have a decent offer which is not from Chase!

Flyertalk member habsben has found a link to an offer with 50,000 miles, but with only a $2,500 minimum spending requirement within 3 months.  However, you will get only 5,000 miles if you’re approved for the lower card.

I hate these bait and switch tactics, so applying for the offer with the higher minimum spending ($5,000 within 3 months) could be worth it since Barclaycard doesn’t spell out exactly what makes you qualify for the better card.

How to Use 50,000 Lufthansa Miles

In short, you will pay fuel surcharges for all award redemptions except on United (except flights to Europe & Asia), US Air and LOT (a Polish airline).

You can also book 1-way awards at half the price of round-trip awards with Lufthansa miles, which adds flexibility to how you can use the miles.

You can book awards online on the Lufthansa website for flights on Lufthansa, Austrian Air, Swiss Air.  But you have to call Lufthansa to book awards on other partners including United and US Air.

Here’s a link to the Lufthansa award chart.  Note that you can fly entirely within 1 country (say within the US) for 25,000 miles round-trip or 35,000 miles (17,500 miles for a 1-way) in United First Class (since it books as business class) within the continental US.

I personally feel that using Lufthansa miles for travel within the US is the best use of their miles because you don’t pay high fuel surcharges.

25,000 For a Round-Trip Coach Award (on US Air or United) & 35,000 for a Round-Trip First Class (on United) Award Within the Continental US or within Canada

Mighty Travels shares his thoughts on the Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite MasterCard 50,000 mile card and has another post on how to find value using Lufthansa miles.

1)   2 Coach Tickets Within the Continental United States

It is only 25,000 Lufthansa miles for a round-trip in coach, within the Continental US or within Canada, on US Air or United.  If you find a low-level award on US Air or United, you can use your Lufthansa miles to book that award. There are no fuel surcharges on US Air or United.

Note that flights to Hawaii cost more miles, and that you have to call Lufthansa to book the award.

2)   1.5 First Class Tickets on United Within the Continental United States

It costs 35,000 Lufthansa miles (compared to the 50,000 miles it would usually cost if you used United miles) for a round-trip First Class award on United within the continental US or within Canada.

You will have more than 17,500 miles left over once you complete the minimum spending requirement, so you can book another 1-way award in business class on United within the US!

However, this won’t work on US Air.  It works on United because United First Class seats books as business class when you use Lufthansa miles.

Note that flights to Hawaii cost more miles, and that you have to call Lufthansa to book the award.

3)  To Europe From Dallas for 55,000 Miles in Business Class

It costs 55,000 Lufthansa miles to Europe from Dallas in business class.  You have to book by May 31, 2013, and travel from May 8, 2013 to June 16, 2013.

55,000 Miles in Business Class From Dallas to Europe

Note that you will also pay fuel surcharges of ~$400+ each way.  But a paid business class ticket will cost ~$3,000.

4)   To Europe From The US for 50,000 Miles in Coach

It costs 50,000 Lufthansa miles in coach from the US to Europe on Lufthansa or any partner airline.  Note that you will pay fuel surcharges (~$300+ per 1-way) if you’re NOT flying US or LOT, so this may not be worth it in coach.

5)  Access to First Class Seats on Swiss & Lufthansa

Lufthansa & Swiss block other Star Alliance partners (like United) from accessing some of their First Class award seats.

But folks with Lufthansa miles get access to more award seats on Lufthansa and Swiss flights in First Class, so using Lufthansa miles is a good way to get into First Class on those airlines.

First Class on Lufthansa
First Class on Lufthansa

But you will pay a lot!  It costs 170,000 miles for a return first class award (or 85,000 miles for a 1-way award) + fuel surcharges of ~$400+ per 1-way segment.  On the other hand, you may get to sleep in a bed while flying!

Bottom Line

Either way, the Lufthansa 50,000 mile offer could be worth it for some.  At the very least, you are getting 2 coach awards within the Continental US with just 1 credit card.

But do your own research to see if it makes sense for you because there WILL be high fuel surcharges added to many awards (except on United, US Air, and LOT).

PS: I’m traveling, so I won’t be able to get to the comments soon!

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