Update 6/30/2014: The current welcome bonus has been reduced to 35,000 miles. All links in this post go to the following offer:
Application Link: Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®
The 50,000 mile Lufthansa Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard® offer is currently one of the best airline credit card offers available. It’s one of the few welcome bonuses that is worth a roundtrip flight to Europe from the US. Since it’s a valuable recurring offer I’m updating and adding more info to this series that will cover the basics of the Miles & More frequent flyer program and using Lufthansa miles.
[The current 50k offer is a limited time offer and published to end on June 30, 2014. As always, if you decide to apply for the credit card through my links the support is greatly appreciated!]
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
The increased 50,000 mile bonus offer for the Lufthansa Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard® is currently one of the best airline credit card offers on the market. You'll earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within 90 days, and after meeting the spending requirement you will have enough miles for a round trip ticket to Europe from the US or two round trip flights within the continental US.
In my opinion this is a great offer considering it will get you a round trip award flight to Europe, if you end up grabbing this card be sure to read up on how to maximize your miles with this series!
When booking Miles & More awards there are a few things to consider before locking down an award. Some things to consider include savings miles booking two one ways instead of a round trip and adding stopovers and open jaws to visit additional destinations on a round trip award.
The big trade off between booking two one ways or one round trip award include the option for stopovers you get with a round trip award. Both methods will get to you a round trip ticket, but each has its own set up rules.
Benefits of round trips:
Benefits of one ways:
It really comes down to your individual travel plans and which destinations you plan on visiting, but having the option to visit additional cities by adding stopovers at no extra cost is a huge benefit of booking Lufthansa awards.
If you don't plan on visiting more than one destination than it may make sense to books two one ways to save ~1,000 miles per round trip. Personally I love to use stopovers to see additional destinations for the same amount of miles and Lufthansa miles offer a huge value by allowing 2 stopovers per round trip.
Lufthansa has very generous stopover and open jaw rules that allow you to book some very interesting award trips and get a ton of value out of your miles. When you use Lufthansa miles to book an round trip award you are allowed 2 stopovers and 2 open jaws. However, stopovers are not allowed on one way awards.
These stopover and open jaw rules are much more generous than most US Airlines and since you can stay at a stopover destination for as long as you want, you easily visit more destinations for the same price. Say for example, a round trip economy award to Europe would allow you to see 3 destinations for only 50,000 miles round trip!
A stopover is when you stay over in any city for more than 24 hours during your itinerary, to learn more about then you can refer to my introduction to stopovers and open jaws. In general terms the stopover is en route to your destination, but your definition of your final destination may differ than Lufthansa. They consider the farthest city you visit as your destination, so keep this in mind.
For instance, you can book an award to Europe for 50,000 miles round trip using Lufthansa miles. Say you're planning on visiting Istanbul, then you can add a stopover in each direction within Europe. Here is an example:
On round trip awards you’re allowed one stopover per direction--this means two stopovers per round trip. To add stopovers the award has to cover two or more regions and cannot be in the region of your first flight (origin). You can find out which countries are included in each region per Miles & More's award chart check here.
An example of adding stopovers on an award to South America from the US would be a round trip from the US to Santiago, Chile with a stopover in Lima and return home from Buenos Aires and have a stopover in Bogota on your flight back. Since all airlines (except Air Canada) that fly from North America to South America don’t have fuel surcharges you could book this award for 60,000 points and ~$220 in taxes and fees.
You will have to call into Miles & More in order to search for stopovers and price out awards that include them. You can easily do this by calling 800-581-6400 (for award travel press '2', then '1'). I have generally had positive experiences dealing with Lufthansa's customer service and they are more than helpful when pricing out awards, but the office is only open from 8 AM to 8 PM (EST).
Here is a quick recap of Lufthansa's stopover rules:
Two open jaws are allowed on round trip awards. If you book a round trip award that visits two regions and you travel overland from regions, you will pay the award price for the more expensive region. To get around this you can book two one ways. This will essentially give you two open jaws, but you will not be able to add stopovers.
“Should the airport of departure and the final destination be located in different award zones (open-jaw flight), the higher award zone always applies and is used for mileage redemption.”
For example if you fly to Barcelona (Europe) and return home from Marrakech (Northern Africa) your award will be priced out for flying to the more expensive region--Northern Africa.
To review more info about Miles & More’s policies you can visit their terms and conditions page.
The biggest limitation of using Lufthansa miles is the maximum number of flight segments allowed for each award type. The maximum segment rules limit the number of connections you can have, and sometimes this means not being able to add a stopover.
On one way awards you are allowed half the flight segments that are allowed on a round trip award.
Each flight is considered 1 segment and you are allowed the following:
You are allowed 2 flight segments per direction on a same region award, this just means that you can have one connection and 2 flights. Remember that you CANNOT have a stopover in the originating zone, so no stopovers on domestic awards in the US or other single country awards.
On a two region award you are allowed 3 flight segments per direction and up to 6 segments per round trip. Since you can have stopovers on a two region award you are allowed to book two connections and one stopover per direction. The stopover has to be on the way to the destination, meaning the destination has to be the farthest in distance (turn around point).
A 3 region award lets you fly between 3 different regions on the award chart (1 region being the originating city). The award is a flat price of 100,000 miles no matter what regions you decide to fly to. You can have up to 4 segments per direction and one stopover during the whole trip.
The trick to booking 3 region awards is that you cannot connect in a 4th region, so you have to have direct flights if you are passing through an additional region. You can use the Star Alliance route map to look up non-stop flights to find an itinerary that stays within the 3 region award price.
Miles & More allows you to book one way awards for half the price of round trip awards. One advantage of booking one ways is that the awards will be priced out in multiples of 1,000 and always rounded down!
You won’t save huge miles by booking one ways, but if you are not planning on using the free stopovers that you get with a round trip, then you can save up to 2,000 miles on an award. This is one of the benefits of booking one ways.
A normal round trip business award from the US to Europe is 105,000 miles, but when you book the trip as two one ways the total is 104,000 miles (each one way is 52,000 miles). Plus you get the option of having 2 open jaws.
One of the best uses of Lufthansa miles is to redeem them for domestic awards for 25,000 round trip in economy and 35,000 round trip in Business Class. The domestic award chart applies to flights that stay within one country, which also means that you will only travel within one region and cannot have stopovers.
With that said it can still be a great value for flights within the US and you can even use them on partner airlines within other countries. Keep in mind that the same region award rules still apply, so you can only have a maximum of 2 flight segments per direction and no stopovers.
Miles & More publishes a long list of round trip awards to Europe discounted 50% off the normal price. You can book a economy flight to europe for 30,000 miles round trip and a business class flight for 55,000 round trip. However since these are promotion routes you cannot add stopovers to Mileage Bargain awards.
If you can match up the departure and destination cities you can book awards for half the price and save huge miles. To avoid fuel surcharges you can book on Polish LOT and only pay low taxes and fees on a round trip award.
As always, if you decide to apply for a card though my links the support keeps the blog going and is greatly appreciated!