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50,000 mile Lufthansa credit card bonus = United first class for $89

by on Wed March 2, 2016 • 34 Comments
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Lufthansa 50000 offer

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 additional 30,000 award miles after $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. There is a $89 annual fee that’s not waived, and this is an improvement on the standard offer for 35,000 miles.

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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…

  • lufthansamastercard170Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
  • Cardholders receive a companion ticket after first use of the account and annually after each account anniversary 
  • No Foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance member airlines and on other partners
  • $89 Annual Fee. Please see Terms and Conditions for complete details

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.

Check this calculator out to see how many Lufthansa miles you need for flights

United business / 2 cabin first class for 35,000 mile within the U.S.

United business / 2 cabin first class for 35,000 Lufthansa miles within the U.S.

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.

Click here for the Lufthansa award chart prices

There are also great seasonal deals.

Check out this Lufthansa promo page with current mileage specials.

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…

  • Outbound: Chicago – Munich (stop and visit) – Rome
  • Return: Rome – Vienna (stop and visit) – Frankfurt – Chicago

will work.

But…

  • Outbound: Chicago – Munich – London (stop and visit) – Frankfurt – Rome

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.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

Yes

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

34 thoughts on 50,000 mile Lufthansa credit card bonus = United first class for $89

  1. veldeb

    Hi
    I saw on the website WalletHub, that the 35,000 bonus miles is worth about $780 in travel. I that true, or what is the dollar value of 35,000 miles?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Veldeb – Really depends on how you use them. 35,000 miles can get you a roundtrip first class flight on United Airlines within the United States. The catch is there needs to be award space available, so you need to be really flexible with dates. But a first class flight can cost $500, $600 or more, so the miles could save you that.

      If you want an Economy flight within the U.S. on United that will run you 25,000 miles, and probably save you $300 or so, but again you’ll need to be really flexible with dates and times.

      Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Karolina – You can use the miles to book SAS flights. But you can’t convert them into SAS miles to add to miles you might have with SAS.

      Unfortunately there aren’t any U.S. based cards that earn miles you can exchange with SAS.

      Reply
  2. Cristina Avery

    I fly from SFO to Amsterdam and LOVE Lufthansa’s Economy Premium each year for my personal travel. If I want to rack up points just for this specific purpose which card do you prefer… the surcharges of Miles & More compared to the cost of transferring Sapphire miles to a Lufthansa specific flight? I do not want to travel United or KLM planes. How do the cards compare on their miles “expiring” and annual fees? No blackout dates?
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Cristina – At this point there isn’t a way to book premium economy tickets with United miles, so if premium economy is your goal, then go for the Lufthansa miles.

      Reply
  3. Scott

    i travel to saudi arabia for work every other month and back to the USA. My company pays for my tickets (economy) Is there a way to have a certain card that will get me upgraded to business class by earning miles. I’m a United silver member now, and I primarily fly lufthansa and united. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Scott – That’s a tough one. Your best bet is going to try to get to Premier 1K status (100k qualifying miles, and $12k in spending on United tickets). That will give you 6 upgrade certificates you can use on any single flight – United or Lufthansa, though in reality you’re often waitlisted and don’t know whether you’re confirmed until the flight is ready to depart.

      Upgrading with miles on United miles involves big fees unless your employer is buying full ‘Y’ or ‘B’ fares. Are they letting you book those (they’re not cheap)?

      Reply
        1. MileCards.com

          @Scott – If you can get Y class via govt fares then you can upgrade the leg to Europe on United for 15,000 United miles with no fees. You’re best off earning United miles / Chase Ultimate Rewards points via a Sapphire or Ink card.

          Then if you want to upgrade the leg from Europe to Saudi Arabia with Lufthansa it’s another 25,000 miles each leg. But you might be fine with just the upgrade on the to/from Europe part.

          Reply
  4. Ben

    I fly to Prague from Los Angeles (or San Diego which is closer to me, whichever works best) once per year with my family (of 3). I usually end up flying Lufthansa or Swiss due to best price/availability. Which card should I get? I would love to put a dent in that hefty annual expense. I definitely have no “allegiance” to any airline, just want to get there on a good route at the best price. Any ideas?

    Reply
  5. Lee Hill

    I live in the US and have many trips to Germany planned this year.
    I already have a United Mileage Plus Explorer Card.
    Which additional card should I get? 1) Lufthansa or 2) Chase Sapphire preferred.
    I expect that most of my trips to Germany will be on Lufthansa, but would the best card decision be different if I don;t fly lufthansa all the time? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Lee – Go with the Sapphire – you can add to United miles you already have and will earn from those trips, since you can earn United miles flying Lufthansa.

      Reply
  6. kim

    Hi – Which card is best for flying out of US to India. I prefer no/low annual fee. I have a small business but spend mostly on groceries (walmart) and department stores. Thanks for any advise

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @kim – If you’re okay with flying economy, and are generally able to find airfare under around $1,000 roundtrip when you travel, then a basic no fee card that earns points you can use like cash for travel is fine. Reason being, if you use ‘real’ airline miles, you typically have to pay 80,000 miles or more per roundtrip – and if you’re short you can’t make up the difference with cash.

      Instead a decent travel rewards card that isn’t tied to a specific airline can let you pay part in points, and part in cash.

      There’s a list of no annual fee cards here:

      http://milecards.com/cardfinder/no_annual_fee_travel_credit_cards/

      If you can bank with Bank of America, their Travel Rewards card is a good deal that can be even better with additional points if you keep certain balance levels in your account.

      Walmart isn’t usually classified as a ‘grocery’ merchant so cards that give you extra points for grocery won’t help there.

      Reply
  7. Ali

    This is a serious warning……. don’t fall for their 50,000 miles scam…… they would give you every reason why they can’t grant you the miles even if you spend the minimum required amount and fell short one little thing.
    Warning……… do not open an account with Miles & More MasterCard. These guys are the biggest scam ever. Bad customer service. Worst company to ever deal with. Try to stick with Credit Card company that is the USA (they know customer service) based, not a British or whatever other country’s credit card companies are…………….

    Reply
  8. Chinelo

    I have about 46000 miles and I live in Lagos Nigeria. I can’t find a flight I can use the miles on that don’t have a very expensive surcharge. My miles will expire by the end of the month. Any advice?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Chinelo – Unfortunately most do have a surcharge. You might have luck on partners like Turkish Airlines that have somewhat lower surcharges. You’ll need to call to check prices on those.

      Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Ahmed – Unfortunately no. If you want to fly Lufthansa consider an Aeroplan card or an Amex Membership Rewards card.

      Reply
    2. larry

      WHICH CARD GETS YOU A BUSINESS OR FIRST CLASS TICKET TO EUPOPE FOR THE LEAST MILES. HOW MANY MILES? SAPPHIRE ,LUFTHANSA OR UNITED?

      Reply
      1. MileCards.com

        @Larry – Sapphire / United is your best bet for that. 115k roundtrip on United’s flights. 140k roundtrip on partner flights like Lufthansa.

        Reply
  9. Patt Kennedy

    I’m a bit overwhelmed looking at the various offers for a card that provides airline miles. I want to earn miles for Business Class from either San Francisco, or San Jose, California, to Greece. What is the best credit card option without fuel surcharges? I love flying Lufthansa. Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Sung

    Hi there — looking at availability via United’s website, I see there are plenty of seats for First Standard Award but very little for First Saver Award. Will the M&M points work for First Standard?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @gaurav – It’s a confusing chart. Look at the bottom left for the ‘domestic’ price. For whatever reason, any flight within the mainland U.S. gets the ‘domestic’ pricing. The ‘North America’ pricing is for example for flights from the US to Central America. You can use this calculator to check the prices of routes:

      http://www.meilenrechner.de/spend_miles.php?language=eng

      Reply
  11. Mike

    Thank you for this valuable article but I am afraid I don’t get it clearly.
    What credit card can I apply for if I want a free flight to Europe? United? Lufthansa? Something else?
    In other words, if all I want from it is enough points to cover one round-trip flight from U.S. to Europe, which card would allow me to do this? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Mike – To confuse you further…

      If you’re just after a roundtrip to Europe the simplest card to get is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You get 50k points for signing up and meeting spending requirements, 5,000 if you add an authorized user. Combining all that together you can end up with about 60k points very quickly. And that’s enough for a roundtrip to Europe via United MileagePlus with no fuel surcharges to worry about. You can fly United, Lufthansa, Swiss, Air Canada, or any other Star Alliance carrier with award space. Learn more about it here:

      http://milecards.com/106/best-airline-miles-card-chase-sapphire-preferred/

      Reply

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