For a limited time, Barclays is offering an increased welcome bonus of 50,000 bonus miles on the Miles & More Premier World MasterCard after spending $5,000 within 90 days of account opening (OFFER EXPIRED). This is an considerable offer, and Barclays only offers this increased sign-up on this card twice a year.
The offer was last available earlier this spring, and only lasted for a little over a month, but now it is back for two full months.
The new increased welcome bonus offer is for 50,000 bonus Miles & More miles and looks to be good until November 30th, 2014.
Normally the card only comes with a welcome bonus of 20,000 miles, but now you can earn a total of 50,000 miles---you’ll get 20,000 miles after your first purchase and an additional 30,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 on the card within the first 90 days.
It’s great to see the 50,000 miles bonus offered again on this card, and it’s the highest welcome bonus I've ever seen offered on this card. Barclays only increases the bonus on this card for a limited time, so if you’ve been thinking about grabbing this card with the higher bonus, now is the time to apply.
The card does have a $79 annual fee that is not waived in the first year. It's still a great deal given that the 50,000 miles are worth at least 2 free domestic economy flights or a round trip flight to Europe from the US. One other nice perk is that you can also get a much better access to Business and First Class awards on Lufthansa and SWISS.
Which Barclays Credit Card Should You Apply For?
Currently there are three valuable Barclays credit card welcome bonus offers available. Each card has it's benefits and drawbacks of the other, and other current offers include:
The US Airways Premier World MasterCard (EXPIRED CARD) - This card will disappear soon which makes it one of the top Barclays credit cards to apply for. The welcome bonus on the US Airways MasterCard is 40,000 bonus miles after the first purchase and paying the $89 annual fee, which makes it an incredibly enticing offer. Applying for this card before it is gone is a no brainer and a great way to earn 40,000 US Airways miles for award flights. One of the most valuable aspects of US Airways miles include their super flexible award routing rules that let you add stopovers in almost any region!
Link: The US Airways Premier World MasterCard
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard - This is also among a favorite Barclays credit card and it's 2x earning for all purchases makes it an incredibly valuable card for everyday spending. The card is currently offering a limited time offer of 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days (OFFER EXPIRED). The high earning potential and super flexible reward redemptions makes it a card I will always keep in my wallet.
Link: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
Given that some of these card offers are will not be available in the future you have to weigh in how valuable the card bonus is for your travel needs. My guess is that the 40,000 mile offer on the US Airways MasterCard will last until the end of the year and that the 50,000 Miles & More offer will tend to come back every 6 months.
Miles & More Credit Card - Earn 50,000 Miles
With the current Miles & More Premier World MasterCard 50,000 mile bonus offer you’ll earn 20,000 miles after the first purchase and 30,000 miles after spending $5,000 within 3 months.
As a Barclays card, the $5,000 minimum spending requirement is higher than usual. For instance, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard has a $3,000 spending requirement for its 40,000 (worth ~$440 in free travel) mile welcome bonus and The US Airways Premier World MasterCard only gives 40,000 bonus miles after the first purchase and paying the $89 annual fee. With that said the 50,000 Lufthansa miles can be worth a lot more (~1,200+) when redeemed for award flights.
Lufthansa Miles & More Program
Miles and More is the loyalty program the German airline Lufthansa. The airline is also a member of Star Alliance, which means you can redeem Lufthansa miles on any Star Alliance airlines, including United, Turkish Airlines, and many other partners!
Having Lufthansa miles also gets you better access to award availability on Miles and More partner airlines including SWISS and Austrian Airlines. Finding award seats on these airlines is notoriously difficult using other Star Alliance airlines' miles, and after the United devaluation the cost of awards on these airlines increased dramatically. Given that Miles & More reserves award space for its own members having Lufthansa miles gets you access to much more award seats---making Lufthansa miles very valuable for awards to Europe.
When it comes to using Lufthansa Miles & More miles there a few essential things to know. The first is that their award chart is zone based and there are some real sweet spots. Secondly, Miles & More passes on fuel surcharges for many of the awards, so be aware of which airlines you can book on to avoid paying these. You won't pay fuel surcharges on awards with United (except awards to Europe and Asia), Polish LOT (Polish airline), TAM (South American airline), TACA, Air New Zealand, and Avianca.
Lastly, Miles & More has some of the most generous stopover and open-jaw rules among any airline miles, and makes it possible to book incredibly valuable award flights.
You can also use Lufthansa miles to book one-way awards at half the round trip price. On top of that, Miles & More’s generous stopover rules allow you to book stopovers on one-ways, making it possible for creative and flexible award routings.
After you create a Miles & More account you can book awards online on Lufthansa, Austrian Air and Swiss Air, but to book awards on other partner airlines you’ll have to call the reservation line at 800-581-6400 (8am-8pm ET Monday – Friday). By enrolling in the Miles & More newsletters when you’re registering a new account you will get 500 bonus miles.
Best Ways to Use 50,000 Lufthansa Miles
Lufthansa’s award chart has some sweet spots that make using these miles even more valuable.
In short, the 50,000 Lufthansa miles are worth:
- 2 round trip economy flights within the continental US,
- 3 First Class one-way flights on United within the continental US, a
- 1 one-way Business Class flight to Europe from Dallas for 55,000 miles
- 1 round trip economy flight to Europe from the US for 50,000 miles.
Likely the best uses will be for economy awards, but don't forget you'll also get access to much more First and Business Class award space on Lufthansa, Austrian and SWISS, but it costs a lot!
1. 2 Round Trip Domestic Economy Flights for 25,000 Miles Each
You can fly entirely within one country (continental US) for 25,000 miles round trip in economy. You won't pay any fuel surcharges when you fly on United within the Continental US or Canada.
If you want to fly to Hawaii it only costs 40,000 miles round trip in economy, which is also a great use of the miles and 5,000 miles cheaper than using United miles.
2. 3 One-way First Class Flights within the US for 35,000 Miles
It’s only 17,000 miles and only $2.50 in taxes (no fuel surcharges) to book a First Class one-way flight within the US on United. This includes flights from the mainland US to Alaska, but excludes Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. This means you can get a First Class one-way flight on United’s flat bed premium service flights between LAX/SFO and JFK.
This is 7,000 miles cheaper than using United miles. You get booked on United First Class when you book a Business Class level award for 35,000 Lufthansa miles, which makes using Lufthansa miles for flights within the US a valuable proposition.
3. 1 Round Trip Economy Flight from the US to Europe for 50,000 Miles
A round trip economy class ticket originating in the US to Europe is only 50,000 miles. This is 10,000 miles cheaper than most other US-based carriers, including American Airlines and United. You can fly on Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian, but you’ll pay more in fees than booking on Polish LOT (no fuel surcharges!).
Remember, you can book one-way awards with Miles & More and you get a stopover in each direction. This means when you book using one-way awards you can visit 3 European destinations on one round trip for 50,000 miles. Plus you can add an open-jaw.
4. 1 Round Trip Economy Flight to South America for 60,000 Miles
You can book a round trip economy ticket to South America for 60,000 miles. When you book flights on TAM, TACA, and Avianca you won’t pay fuel surcharges. You also have the flexibility of adding stopovers in each direction, but you cannot stopover in another region.
Get More Lufthansa Miles by Transferring SPG Points
Lufthansa Miles & More is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest. You can transfer any Starwood hotel points you earn from the Amex SPG personal and Amex SPG business credit cards to Lufthansa. If you need to top off your account remember you’ll want to transfer in increments of 20,000 points so you get the 5,000 extra bonus miles.
Annual Fee and Foreign Transaction Fees
No foreign transaction fees makes this a great card for international travel and you wont pay any fees when making purchases in foreign currencies.
The $79 annual fee is not waived for the first year, but it seems well worth it given that the 50,000 miles can be worth two economy flights within the US or a round trip flight to Europe.
The Bottom Line
The 50,000 mile offer on the Miles & More Premier World MasterCard is an incredible offer for anyone looking to earn extra airline miles for free flights. After earning the bonus the you will have 55,000 miles, which is enough for 2 roundtrip economy OR 1.5 round trip First Class flights within the US OR a round trip economy flight from the US to Europe. Given that Miles & More passes on fuel surcharges on some airline, you will get the most value flying United on domestic awards, Polish LOT for flights to Europe, or TAM, TACA, or Avianca for flights to South America.
You can also use Lufthansa miles to book one-way awards on any of the 26 Star Alliance partner airlines, allowing you to book a one-way awards with stopovers. You can have up to 2 stopovers and 2 open-jaws per round trip award. With these generous stopover rules this offer is one of the most valuable for award travel to South America, and you can book valuable stopovers and open jaw tickets to visit multiple countries.
If you apply and are not instantly approved remember to call into Barclays reconsideration line at (888) 232-0780) and dial 3 for application status or check your application status online. It can be as easy as providing additional information in order to get an approval.
Overall this is a great 50,000 mile offer and Lufthansa miles offer huge value for award travel to Hawaii, domestic First and Business Class, Europe, Asia, South America, Central America, and Australia. The award chart for Lufthansa is very competitive, and after the United's devaluation it may be more favorable for Business or First Class awards. You can get a roundtrip economy award ticket from the U.S. to Europe for 50,000 points, 105,000 in business, and 170,000 in first class.
If you want to read more about how to get the most from your Lufthansa miles, check out these posts:
Lufthansa Miles & More Basics
Part 1: The Program and Award Chart
Part 3: 10 Great Uses of Lufthansa Miles
Part 4: Stopover & Open Jaw Rules
Part 5: How to Book Awards