Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
Some deals come back with regularity. The Southwest Rapid Rewards 50k offer shows up a few times a year. The Starwood 30k offer appears about once a year. And now the Lufthansa MasterCard 50,000 mile offer from Barclaycard is part of that group.
It’s been on hiatus for a while, but an alert Reddit user spotted the offer to earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase and an
Lufthansa miles are the only way to enjoy Lufthansa’s extravagant first class flights with advance award availability. If you use Star Alliance partner miles like United MileagePlus or Air Canada Aeroplan, you’ll only find seats available less than two weeks prior to departure. Lufthansa miles are also useful for flights on United within the U.S. at good award prices, especially in first class.
The Miles and More card was recently updated with new benefits like two free lounge passes a year and the ability to earn elite qualifying miles, though that benefit is pretty limited.
Here are some other features of the card…
Book United flights with only 35,000 miles for domestic first class
25,000 Lufthansa miles gets you a roundtrip economy class ticket within the U.S. on United, which is similar to United’s own prices.
But for just 35,000 miles you can get a roundtrip domestic first class flight on United (Lufthansa considers U.S. domestic first class to be business class, and charges at the business class rate).
That compares to the 50,000 miles United normally charges for the same ticket.
You’ll also save 1,000 miles if you book your trip as two separate one-way reservations as for unknown reasons Lufthansa charge 17,000 miles each way for domestic business class tickets (that’s 34,000 miles roundtrip if you do two one-way reservations to make a roundtrip).
That means the 55,000 miles you’ll earn from the bonus and $5,000 spending required to get it will net you enough for 3 one-way tickets on United in first class within the lower 48 states. That’s 17,000 X 3 = 51,000 miles.
What’s the catch?
You can only have one connection each way of your trip. So for example flying St. Louis – San Diego via Houston will work. But St. Louis – Houston – San Francisco – San Diego won’t work, limiting options, though most of us don’t book tickets with 2 painful connections along the way.
The award availability you see on United.com while not logged in with your account is available to all Lufthansa Miles and More members.
United’s premium ‘PS’ flights from Newark – San Francisco and Los Angeles are bookable with Lufthansa miles 34-35,000 miles instead of the 50,000 miles United charges. This is one of the best uses of these miles, but availability can be very hard to find in advance.
You can also fly to Europe on Lufthansa or any partner for 50,000 miles roundtrip in Economy, an exclusive benefit for U.S. based Miles & More members.
Just beware that flights to Europe booked on Lufthansa or any partner except LOT Polish include major fuel surcharges of up to $1,000 roundtrip.
For other regions book United, TACA, Avianca or Copa (within North / South America) to avoid fuel surcharges. To Asia, airlines like Singapore and ANA tend to have more reasonable surcharges than flights to Europe.
There are also great seasonal deals.
And for advanced mile users, there are some interesting angles.
Getting into Lufthansa and Swiss Airlines’ coveted first class is easier with these miles.
Compared to United’s now-inflated rates to get into Lufthansa first class (160,000 miles ONE WAY to Europe) the Lufthansa rate of 85,000 miles one way plus about $500 in surcharges is a comparative bargain.
Which is shows you just how things have changed in miles and points in the past year.
So you could get this card (55,000 miles after you’re finished with the $5,000 spending requirement) and transfer 25,000 Starwood points (which gets you 30,000 Lufthansa miles) to fly in Lufthansa First Class to Europe.
Then use other miles like United or American to get yourself home (or the other way around if you prefer to enjoy Lufthansa or Swiss first class on a day flight).
Stopovers are possible, but with some big catches.
You can stop over once in each direction on your roundtrip award to Europe to add visits to extra cities. The catch is you can’t have more than 3 flights each way when you’re traveling from the US to Europe.
So for example…
won’t work because you’re taking 4 flights to make that happen.
Cancellation and changes are cheap
Unlike United miles that charge you $75 – $100 for changing dates and $200 for changing your destination or canceling your trip and redepositing miles, Lufthansa miles let you change or cancel an award ticket for just $60.
Barclaycard can be strict with card approvals, but if you want to fly on Star Alliance airlines, this is a great way to diversify your points portfolio.
Follow @MileCards on Twitter for the latest updates and new offers
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